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5 Places to Host a Holiday Gathering


There are many reasons to make Door County your holiday destination, and one of them is the chance to delegate hosting duties! While some of us excel at hosting and thoroughly enjoy the tasks and planning involved, others would relish the opportunity to gather your holiday group outside of your own home. Luckily, there are some excellent options for doing this in Door County, no matter how small or large your gathering. Here are five ideas to get your started on planning your Door County holiday celebration.

Reserve Space at a Restaurant

Many of your favorite restaurants that stay open through the winter season offer options for larger groups to dine and host on location. The benefit of the slower season allows for more flexibility when it comes to bringing in larger groups, too. Check with restaurants directly to determine the options and budgets.

A fine-dining restaurant is decorated for Christmas and the tables set for a party.

Escape to a Cozy Cottage

Maybe you enjoy cooking (and couldn’t imagine the holidays without Aunt Ida’s marshmallow fluff or grandma’s famous stuffing) but don’t enjoy the pre- and post-holiday cleaning, arranging, decorating, and associated domestic duties. Then maybe hosting at a rental house is the right choice for you! Bonus points if the rental is over the river and through the woods.

Explore the year-round rentals here to find your options. 

Be sure to understand the rental policy and check with owners if guest count for the gathering exceeds allowed number of rental guests.

A family snowshoes near an old wooden cabin in the woods.

Rent a Banquet Room at a Lodging Establishment

In a similar vein, many lodging establishments and resorts offer access to banquet rooms for hosting events. Why not stay, play and dine in a place where all of you family and friends can be in one place (but separate quarters)? It’s a win-win when it comes to convenience and often very family friendly. (Did someone say there’s a pool?!)

Use a Park Space for Rustic, Bundled-Up Fun

Looking to truly make your gathering an adventure? Use one of the state parks lodges to take your adventure to a rustic, outdoorsy level. In Peninsula State Park the Weborg Shelter is a great option. It is an enclosed building on a scenic point overlooking the shores of Green Bay and the village of Fish Creek. The shelter has six picnic tables, seating for up to 50 people, and a fireplace to help heat the room (firewood not provided.) 

At Whitefish Dunes State Park, the enclosed lodge is a beautiful space with two sliding glass doors on the Lake Michigan side of the building for viewing the water and towering cedars. A large fieldstone fireplace is the focal point of the enclosed portion of the shelter and is perfect for warming up in winter. 

A snowy shelter in the park.

Potawatomi State Park's reservable shelter is along the south shoreline picnic area and also has a fireplace with plenty of windows to welcome the outdoors in. Or hit the cross-country ski trails in Newport State Park before warming up by the fireplace at the shelter, which is smaller, hosting 4 tables.

Reservations during the winter are not available—primarily because they are not needed! The upside to this is the use of the shelter is included with your park pass. Check with the park office for full details on bringing a group to the shelters during the winter season. 

Schedule Your Gathering at the Village or Town Hall

Another lesser-known option is to look into the availability of space at the local town and village halls. It’s a very Hallmark-holiday vibe and sure to be memorable. Each community in the county usually has a rental space to recommend for your gathering. For example, Ephraim’s Historic Village Hall is a beautiful place that is very popular for wedding receptions in the summer, while Sister Bay’s Town Hall hosts a variety of events and community gathering year-round. Contact the village or town administrator or rental options.

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