One-of-a-Kind “Music Motel” Opens its Doors in Sturgeon Bay With Open House Tours, June 27

Holiday Motel's classic neon

Holiday Motel's classic neon

For millions of Door County visitors since 1952, the iconic red and white façade of the Holiday Motel has put an end to the question, “Are we there yet?” A similar sense of excitement can still be felt in downtown Sturgeon Bay where the Steel Bridge meets Michigan Street, as the remodeling and “retrovation” of the historic, eighteen-room motel nears completion.

In June 2009, its vintage neon sign won’t be the only thing abuzz, as the Holiday Music Motel re-opens its doors to the public, and continues to make history as Door County’s first boutique motel.  On Saturday, June 27 the Holiday invites the community to tour the newly renovated Motel at an Open House from 1 to 7:30 pm, featuring live music between 1 and 4 pm, and special promotions for all who stop by. RSVP on Facebook: Holiday Music Motel Community Open House!

The unique idea for a “Music Motel” evolved in conjunction with the growing popularity of Steel Bridge Songfest, a week-long music festival held each June in Sturgeon Bay’s Historic Downtown District.  The annual festival is the brainchild of Christie Weber, Founder of Citizens for Our Bridge, and her brother, noted singer/songwriter pat mAcdonald.  The goal of the festival is to promote the preservation of Sturgeon Bay’s historic Michigan Street Bridge through the power of creative expression, while introducing new visitors to all that downtown Sturgeon Bay has to offer.

When the festival began in 2005, the Holiday Motel’s central location between Third Avenue and the historic Steel Bridge made it the perfect site for musicians to gather.  In its second season, the festival expanded by adding a week-long songwriting workshop, coined the “Construction Zone,” wherein twenty-five songwriters were invited to the Holiday Motel to collaborate on original songs inspired by the historic bridge.

Since 2006, over 200 songs have been written at the Holiday Motel and recorded on-site at its very own recording studio. Several CDs, “Steel Bridge Songs” Volumes I, II and III were subsequently released, featuring songs and performances by Jackson Browne, Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Gos, pat mAcdonald, Freedy Johnston, Adam Mackintosh, Anna Sacks, and countless other talented songwriters and musicians who traveled from destinations world-wide to perform at Steel Bridge Songfest.  The latest volume of “Steel Bridge Songs,” recorded in June 2009, is the first collection of songs written and tracked at the new Holiday Music Motel, and will be released at Steel Bridge Songfest 2010.  All proceeds from the sales of the “Steel Bridge Songs” compilations are donated to the Michigan Street Bridge Fund.

The Holiday Motel became an instant favorite among the many musicians who made it their home away from home for one special week in June.  When owners Peter and Marilyn DeVaney put the Motel up for sale, pat mAcdonald, Christie Weber, Jackson Browne, Anna Sacks, and a dozen other like-minded music lovers, formed Holiday Motel Management, LLC and purchased the motel in May 2007.

On August 5, 2007, the Motel’s antiquated wiring sparked an attic fire resulting in extensive structural, smoke, and water damage to both the roof and the interior of the building.  The Holiday Motel had to close its doors for major roof repairs and interior rehabilitation.  Over the course of the last two years, the old motel was gutted and then painstakingly restored to preserve its historic 1950’s feel, while implementing green building practices and streamlining its energy efficiency in order to obtain LEED-certification.

Guest rooms at the Holiday Music Motel feature a delightful mix of modern conveniences and retro charm.  The Motel’s vintage 1950’s Simmons furnishings have been refurbished and reinstalled alongside brand new beds topped with inviting, white comforters. All rooms feature Wi-Fi Internet access, a small refrigerator, cable TV, telephones, individual thermostats, and sound-treated floors and walls.  Guests to the Holiday Music Motel will find its affordable new rooms clean, comfortable, smoke-free, and pet friendly. Located in the heart of Sturgeon Bay’s Historic Downtown District, the Motel is only a short walk from restaurants, bars, coffeehouses, boutiques, concert venues, museums, the ship canal, and the historic Michigan Street Bridge.  For over half a century, the Holiday Motel has been a landmark signifying the unofficial “start” of Door County, and the wealth of the County’s natural beauty, dining opportunities, recreational activities, and cultural events are just a leisurely, scenic drive from the Holiday’s front door.

Unlike any other hotel in existence, the Holiday Music Motel’s guest rooms feature a digitally wired jack that connects each room directly to the on-site recording studio.  During events such as Steel Bridge Songfest, Construction Zone musicians will be able to record the birth of a new song, or an impromptu jam session, directly from their room.  During the slower months of the year, the owners of the Holiday Music Motel hope to organize a variety of workshops, artists’ retreats, and educational programs that will take advantage of the Music Motel’s unique capabilities.

“We hope to make the Holiday Music Motel the catalyst for a songwriting renaissance in Northeastern Wisconsin” says mAcdonald. “The place has already inspired songwriters from across the nation. We want it to be a little Mecca for creative minds-and that could be anyone. Artists, songwriters, people who just love music, or just love a great classic motel, should all feel at home here.”

As Door County’s bustling tourist season approaches, area hotels are readying their “No Vacancy” signs.  With peak season rates starting at $75, the newly reopened Holiday Music Motel, located at 29 N. Second Avenue, offers a great last-minute getaway, as rooms (at the moment) still remain available.  Visit the Holiday’s website at or call 920.743.5571 for reservations and additional information, or stop by the Open House on Saturday, June 27 between 1 and 7:30 PM to personally experience the new Holiday Music Motel’s unique accommodations!

Contact: Anna Sacks, General Manager

Call: 920-743-5571 or Email:

Holiday Music Motel / 29 N. Second Avenue / Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 / 920-743-5571

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