Beach Harbor Resort
Life’s Better at the Beach – Year-Round
Nasewaupee, Door County, Wisconsin
The proprietors of Beach Harbor Resort and Waterfront Mary’s Bar & Grill in the small town of Nasewaupee near Sturgeon Bay, Wisc., definitely do not roll up the sidewalks when the weather turns frigid. On the contrary. Jon and Patti Hansen provide all of the elements necessary for a fun party atmosphere with a Caribbean beach vibe year-round. In winter, customers arrive in parkas and Uggs rather than shorts and flip-flops, but they’re looking for the same things as the summer visitors – the opportunity to pursue their favorite sports and leisure activities, a great meal, comfortable accommodations – and, they just wanna have fun. A large fire pit on the beach stands in for the hot summer sun.
While the jet skis, sail boats and volleyball courts hibernate, snowmobilers, ice fishermen and cross country skiers converge here. Beach Harbor Resort is adjacent to Potawatomi State Park, a veritable wonderland for winter fun seekers. The resort property includes 500 feet of Lake Michigan shoreline, which assumes a fantastic crystalline frozen beauty until the spring thaw.
Jeff Collpits, a native of Maine, is the manager here. “We heat things up in winter with live bands every Friday and Saturday night. I tailor the music to the crowd. If a tour group of Baby Boomers is expected, we might feature an Elvis impersonator, an acoustic guitarist or a band that plays oldies. For younger audiences, we bring in heavy metal rock bands – some local groups and some from as far away as California. Tuesday is ‘open mike’ night, which is always a blast.”
Waterfront Mary’s Bar and Grill menu runs the gamut from Seafood Chowder (Collpits’ Mother’s recipe from Maine) to Rib Eye Steaks to the perfect-for-sharing Munchie Basket (jalapeno poppers, onion rings, deep-fried ravioli, Mozzarella sticks, French fries, cheese curds and chicken tenders with marinara for dipping). Nightly specials offer variety and keep regulars coming back again and again. Monday stars sushi and eggrolls; Tuesday, build-your-own tacos; Wednesday, 18 flavors of wings at just 25 cents each; Thursday, half-price apps and 25-cent beer-battered shrimp; Friday, traditional fish fry night (cod, haddock, perch or walleye); Saturday, super gyros; and Sunday, big breakfast and Bloody Marys.
“Our Bloody Marys are amazing,” Collpits said. “We use Cucumber Vodka, Emeril’s spices, pickle juice, olives, pickled mushrooms, a dill pickle spear, lemon and lime wedges and a slim beef stick.” From May to the end of October, the resort hosts a traditional fish boil on Saturday nights. This involves boiling local Whitefish, potatoes and onions in a giant cauldron over an open outdoor flame. After October, the weather prohibits this popular draw. Fish lovers can still get their fix all year with the Thursday, Saturday and Sunday Cod Dinner. “This is the type of fish dinner we enjoyed on the east coast,” Collpits said. “We serve boneless Cod loins, baby red potatoes, carrots and onions with rye bread and cherry pie a la mode.”
Waterfront Mary’s dining room seats 50 and the bar 25 more. The enclosed outdoor patio has another 75 seats and is totally heated, so customers can watch the moon shimmering on the icy water and other northern lights of nature to their hearts’ content while tapping their toasty toes to the music.
The resort has 33 sleeping rooms, plus several cottages to accommodate families and groups of friends. The property sits on 1.2 acres of prime beachfront. During summer tourist season, kayaks and paddle boats are free for guests, and sailboats, speed and fishing boats can be rented on site. All manner of events have been held at Beach Harbor Resort – weddings, corporate functions, family reunions and private parties for all kinds of fun special occasions. “Fun is one of our specialties,” Collpits said.