Door County Sheriff's Office photo

ROWLEY’S BAY — Now that Rowleys Bay Resort owners have had time to reflect on the devastating fire that tore through the Door County Landmark in early September, they’ve changed course and decided not to rebuild.

In a post Friday to the resort’s Facebook page, owners Jewel and Bob Ouradnik said it’s time for someone else to build their dreams with the property.

Shortly after the fire Sept. 5, the couple vowed to rebuild and reopen sometime in 2024.

But after much reflection, they’ve decided what’s best for them is to retire.

“At nearly 62 and 70 years of age, we now see the opportunity to retire and enjoy each other and our family,” they said.

The couple said they have already met with their commercial real estate agent and have started conversations with prospective buyers.

The full Facebook message from the owners of Rowleys Bay Resort:

James 4:13-15 Bible NIV
13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

God has been at work in our hearts since the fire at Rowleys Bay Resort on September 5, 2023. When we experienced the fire and destruction, we could only imagine ‘repair and rebuild’; it was the only path that we could see at that time. Since then, we have been asking God to direct our path and help us to see what His plans are for us. The message is becoming more and more clear to us – it is time for someone else to carry on and build their own dreams. We will not be rebuilding. We have met with our commercial real estate agent and have already started conversations with prospective buyers. At nearly 62 and 70 years of age, we now see the opportunity to retire and enjoy each other and our family.

The Peterson Family have been good stewards of the land at Rowleys Bay since 1970. For 53 years, we have made this our home and our dream. Guests have become dear friends and their vacations have built a lifetime of memories. Many will remember Leonard and Alice Peterson with children in tow as they came from the homestead in Sister Bay to build a labor of love. We worked hard over the years to build the resort from a run down fishing camp, changing the name to Wagon Trail Resort in 1970. We then rebranded in 2010 and changed back to the original name, Rowleys Bay Resort, to embrace our history and heritage.

We’re looking forward to the next chapter at Rowleys Bay, and are so grateful for the time we had here on the bay. We have been blessed by those who chose to spend time with us, enjoying the beauty that God provided in our little corner of the world. We are also thankful for staff who have helped us along this journey over the years, and we have so many wonderful memories of all of you.

We certainly couldn’t have done it without you. You were all an integral part of our dream. While we will certainly miss each and every one of you, we know that God has plans for all of us, and we are excited to watch them unfold.

Jewel and Bob Ouradnik

By Dan Plutchak

Editor and publisher of the Door County Shore Report