“I said I was never going back, but here I am,” says Jewel Peterson Ouradnik, owner of Rowleys Bay Resort. She grew up in the family business, working to turn a fishing camp into its current 70-room lodge and resort, complete with all the amenities.
Among those amenities is one of the most popular fish boils in Door County—a feast that really can’t be explained until you experience it. It’s a simple enough meal, unchanged since its beginnings in the late 1800s. Fish, potatoes, onions, salt, and water all go in a cauldron to be cooked over fire—which then gets a dousing of kerosene, the water boils over the top in a huge flash of smoke and fire, and the food is served.
At Rowleys, the spectacle comes complete with a storyteller who walks you through the story of Peter Rowley and the history of the Bay, all the way back to Potawatomi in the 1600s, through the development in the 1900s, to the present day. Now, the resort includes a 100-seat dining room, conference/banquet room, and a bakery. It’s an ideal place for bird watching, fishing, and eating—with the “longest buffet in Door County” offered to guests and the general public.
History is lived out at Rowleys Bay, with Ouradnik’s grandmother’s trunk part of the décor, and much of the original wood repurposed inside the conference center. Details are important—right down to the cardamom bread made with a sweet dough and a ribbon of cardamom because, “Mom always did it that way.” Get the recipe here!
Growing up in the business made Ouradnik long for something different. Now, looking out on 100 acres of beautiful bay waters on Lake Michigan, she says, “I can do this forever.”
This is part of The Food Channel‘s coverage of Door County, Wisconsin, from a recent tour hosted by the Door County Visitor’s Bureau. Find all the stories in the series here.
Travel accommodations and tour arrangements in Door County were provided by the Door County Visitors Bureau in conjunction with Geiger & Associates Public Relations.
Photos by Paul K. Logsdon.