Home Tour - Bed & Breakfast Inn - Fish Creek

As I've shared several times in the past - I love Door County, WI. It's the peninsula that sticks out into Lake Michigan, north of Green Bay.  I've vacationed there since 2000, when I took my first-ever vacation alone, just 2 weeks after my younger sister passed away of cancer.  It was such a relaxing place to visit - yet plenty to do if you really want to.  I rented a condo, with a view of the water in Fish Creek.  Before I planned that vacation, as I have each time I've been there, I researched Door County
and found out about The Thorpe House Inn, a B&B in Fish Creek.  While browsing their site, I read about an author, LaVyrle Spencer and a book she wrote while she stayed in Fish Creek at the Thorpe House Inn.  It was called Bittersweet.  I made sure that I had that book with me, so I could sit, relax and read it while on my mini-vacation.  I'm going to share the information about Thorpe House Inn and LaVyrle and her book with you, and I hope you enjoy it. 

Thorpe House History

Thorpe House Inn, 1905

Historic Fish Creek, WI Lodging
The Thorp House Inn and its cottages are listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and offers visitors a historic Fish Creek, WI lodging option. In 1902, Freeman Thorp, nephew of Asa Thorp, founder of Fish Creek, began the building of the house. Tragedy struck on October 3, 1903, when the steamship Erie L. Hackley capsized in a sudden squall, claiming the life of Freeman and 10 others.
Fate necessitated that the widowed Jessie Thorp begin renting rooms to tourists. Later named Cedar Ridge, Breezy Hill, and The Heritage, the Thorp home continued to accommodate guests well into the 1960′s.
In 1986, after extensive restoration, its doors opened to visitors once again, this time as a Door County bed and breakfast. As a tribute to the Thorp women, the guest rooms bear their names.

Inspiration For The New York Times Bestseller, Bittersweet

"In Bittersweet, LaVyrle Spencer spins a spellbinding tale of true love and   postponed romance between two spirited individuals, played out against the breathtaking landscape of Door County. Brimming with emotion, superb storytelling, the richly drawn characters, and spirited passion that make all her books irresistible and exquisitely satisfying. Bittersweet is another masterful novel in the heartwarming Spencer tradition."
Putnam Publishing
About the author...

LaVyrle Spencer

She is an American best-selling author of contemporary and historical romance novels. She has successfully published a number of books, with several of them made into movies. Wikipedia

Born: July 17, 1943 (age 69), Browerville
Movies: Family BlessingsHome SongMorning GloryThe Fulfillment of Mary Gray
Awards: RITA Award for Best Novel

Today, she is a bestselling author of historical and contemporary romances. Her flair for writing was evident in high school but she didn’t start her first novel at that time. Instead, shortly after graduation she married Dan Spencer. They had two daughters. In her thirties, she read a novel by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. That prompted her to think about a becoming a novelist. Her first novel, The Fulfillment, was spawned from a recurring dream she had been having about her grandmother’s life on a Minnesota farm. She sent the manuscript to Woodiwiss, who read it and sent to her editor at Avon. It was published in 1979. 

Spencer likes to write stories that center around the themes of abiding love, strength in adversity and family bonds. Several of her books have been made into films. She has also won numerous awards for her writing.

LaVryle retired in 1997 to write screenplays only after having written 22 novels.  She had reached her financial goals and wanted to spend more time with her family. She is currently living with her husband in Stillwater, Minnesota. She is enjoying her retirement traveling, gardening, and has taken up photography.

It's been 21 years since Bittersweet was published and not a week goes by without at least one call from a devoted fan. People often ask what prompted LaVryle Spencer to write a book about an innkeeper at a bed and breakfast in Door County.
LaVryle Spencer first stayed at the Thorp House Inn during its opening week in July of 1986. She and her husband Dan were the third couple to walk through the door. It was at breakfast the following morning that LaVyrle happened to mentioned she was an author. Almost everyone at the table knew of her or had read her books. After their visit, the Spencers left with promises to return and armloads of books!
Sometime before her next visit, LaVyrle hatched the idea for "the" book. She arrived with spiral notebook in hand and a plot already forming. She sketched the entire village on a long roll of white paper that would be taped to the walls of her circular "turret" office. Bittersweet was published and became a bestseller, printed in 17 languages. Many of our guests say it's their favorite of all LaVyrle's books, and it continues to be a best seller in Door County.

Thorpe House Inn & Cottages Today

Historic lodging in the heart of Fish Creek – just steps from parks, shops and restaurants. Choose from our five elegant B&B guest rooms – or you may prefer one of our private housekeeping cottages – furnished in country antiques. Whirlpools and fireplaces available. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Inspiration for LaVyrle Spencer’s best selling novel “Bittersweet”. 

 Phone: (920) 868-2444 
 Address: 4135 Bluff Lane 
 City: Fish Creek 
 Website: www.thorphouseinn.com 
 Has Wi-Fi: yes 
 Open Year Round: yes

Map with Wisconsin on the left & Michigan on the right - the A in red, signifies Fish Creek

Some of the small roads - less traveled, look like this after it snows.

Bitter Sweet
A novel by
LaVyrle Spencer 

How do you teach a heart to love again? Maggie Pearson. Shattered by the loss of her husband, she struggled each day to put her grief behind her. To be there for her teenage daughter. And to face life again. When she returned to her Wisconsin home town, she never expected to feel a spark of longing-for her old high school sweetheart ... Eric Severson. His marriage to a driven career woman had left him childless and unhappy-he knew there had to be more to life than always wanting what you couldn't have. Seeing Maggie again filled him with hope. Maybe the answer to his dreams had just come to town.... Their memory of young love blossomed into an affair that would shake both their lives-and would challenge everything; they believed about loving each other. Could they follow a dream from the past? Or had they missed the chance of a lifetime?

This was a very intense emotional book. Although it was short, it captured the emotions and feelings of Maggie and Eric. I felt their desperation and need to be together.

Some of the other books I've read that were written by LaVyrle are:


  1. What an amazing place! I have read all of Ms. Spencer's books. She is a favorite of mine.

  2. Jan, this is a really enjoyable post! Thorpe Inn is lovely and I enjoyed reading about Lavyrle Spencer. You are the second person who has recommended her books to me so I know I will have to check for them at our library. Thanks!

  3. I've read a couple of her books, love them. This was truly an enjoyable post, thanks for sharing!

  4. What a lovely place!! I love history and this home with its tragic history turned inspirational to the point of a book being written was wonderful! I am looking forward to reading that book!

    Finally making my way through the GYB party :-)

  5. I've enjoyed your blog so much, I nominated you for a Liebster blog award. You can read the details in a post on my blog. Have a great weekend!

  6. I happen to be re-reading Bittersweet right at this moment. Probably for the 5th time at least. I have all of her books and enjoy reading each one again every few years. I was recently in Green Bay and after I came home I had to pull this one off the shelves and read it again. I can't believe how close I was to Fish Creek! I guess I know what side trip we'll be taking when we're there again next year. Thanks for sharing this!


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