Skip to content

Ask a Local: Jeannie Kokes Owner of Hotel Washington & Studio


Washington Island is rooted in community — and that doesn’t just mean its handful of farms that provide sustenance to the families and businesses here. A new generation has revitalized agricultural efforts to build and sustain a community of people who support one another. Jeannie Kokes and her dedicated staff at Hotel Washington & Studio strive to do that as well.

The elegantly appointed guest rooms and cottages on the 1904 property are furnished with handcrafted maple beds made from island timber. The restaurant serves produce sourced from the island; meat and fish come via ferry from the peninsula. The hotel’s market features homemade bread, pastries, and products from Wisconsin. A peaceful getaway on Washington Island with giant shaded oak trees, a yoga studio, pop-up live music, and an expansive lawn that overlooks Detroit Harbor and welcomes families and dogs — it’s no wonder Kokes says she can’t imagine living and working anywhere else.

Q. Where do you go to enjoy nature?
A. Little Lake Nature Preserve is gorgeous and a place to reflect on the Native American influences there. It’s also thrilling to see the Milky Way and the northern lights in early summer.

Q. What is a good place to learn about history?
A. Once a season I go to Rock Island and listen to stories from docents about the lighthouse.

Q. What do you like to do in the winter in Door County?
A. Winter here is profoundly still. I like to take quiet, peaceful walks in the woods, go snowshoeing, and watch ice floes on the bluffs. Next year I may try ice fishing

Q. What is your favorite on-the-water activity?
A. Long-distance swimming is my chance to interact with the universe and meditate, and I usually do that at Schoolhouse Beach.

Q. What is the best place for local gifts?
A. Fair Isle Books & Gifts is a gem. I bought some beautiful night-lights there, which an artist created out of fossilized leaves. The Twice Around Shop, a resale store, always has interesting treasures, too.

Q. Where do you like to go for breakfast?
A. Mike Remke, Ann Lennon, and their two daughters at the Red Cup greet everyone as they come in the door. The atmosphere is just so wonderful! I usually order a cup of coffee and a bagel or avocado toast.

Q. Where do you go for a special dessert?
A. Amanda here at the hotel makes amazing caraway-and-honey ice cream. For my birthday she gifted me her burnt caramel sauce, and I treated myself to a spoonful every day to make it last!

Sign up today!

Visit Door County virtually with monthly newsletter updates. Each issue is jam-packed with vacation ideas, special offers, recipes, festivals, events, and more.

The Official Door County Newsletter

View All Articles