The Innkeepers

Meet Rita and Dave Nelson

Innkeeping is a way of life for us as we begin our 15th year at the Port Washington Inn. Our guests often ask what we do in our spare time…..or do we have any? Behind-the-scene priorities related to innkeeping do fill a surprising number of hours but we DO get out and about to enjoy local attractions such as Harrington Beach State Park, just ten miles from the inn. We also enjoy our family, including our son Aaron, our daughter Noelle, and our son Zach, his wife Rita, and their beautiful daughter, our first grand-child, Zaida Mae.

When people ask how we happened to get into innkeeping, we attribute it to Rita’s mid-life crisis! Dave had already made a career change and Rita was ready to pursue something which allowed for more creativity than her position in the registrar’s office of a small college. Rita and Noelle had stayed at a small bed and breakfast on one of their trips together and that experience became the inspiration that led to becoming innkeepers of the Port Washington Inn.

Fifteen years later as the new siding and windows now display their final coat of paint, we realize that in addition to becoming innkeepers, we became involved with historic restoration and with eco-friendly practices. Thus, our inn increasingly reflects our philosophy of preserving the best of the past while incorporating the best of the present.

Guests of the inn typically comment on the pleasant feel of the inn; they appreciate that the decor creates an atmosphere of ‘good living’ in keeping with the house. One of the special features of this house is its many large windows which allow exquisite light to inhabit each room. Controlling the amount of sunlight (and providing for privacy) has led us to provide layered window treatments that allow guests to customize their guest room lighting to their preferences. Rita’s sewing room has provided many of the custom window treatments throughout the building.

Dave and Aaron’s woodworking shop has created many beautiful pieces of furniture that enhance guestrooms and common areas throughout the inn. Without their ability to make these antique reproductions, the Port Washington Inn furnishings would not reflect the authentic atmosphere we are proud to provide for our guests.

Good honest food brings enjoyment and satisfaction to us all and providing that experience for our family was and is a priority. That philosophy of creating good food from good ingredients naturally extended to the food we offer our guests. It is especially fun to create that food in the kitchen we designed around our AGA cookstove!  In designing our kitchen, we worked with the professionals to meet all the requirements for a commercial kitchen and this allows us to offer such add-ons as our Gourmet Picnic.

We are proud to share our inn with our guests.