Lydia Polzer | |

Snake Island house

While in Door County, Wisconsin recently, I picked up a real estate guide the size and heft of a Sears catalogue. Recovering from the resultant backstrain, I paged through the offerings. One, above all others, caught my eye.

“Exclusive private island . . . a true paradise for the selective buyer . . . a true sampling of all Door County is meant to be . . . the home has been meticulously planned and lovingly hand-crafted . . . a private pier provides easy access to the amphibious auto, which is included. . . .”

But as you can tell from the photo – this is the most crass new dwelling – designed like a mock colonial mansion, to feed the need for status with no thought to the environment nor energy saving issues, nor design. Vast expanses of red brick waste the opportunity for new high tech materials, that are better and cheaper. I was suprised the property was not sold together with one of those “Lordships” you can buy on the Internet.

And so I went to find Basin Island, as the listing ( ) described it, which turned out to be what the locals have long called Snake Island, a 26-acre plot a short distance south of Sturgeon Bay. Technically, if Lake Michigan gets much lower, it won’t be an island so much as a peninsula; the water level is so low now you could walk to the island without getting your knees wet, but an island it is.

Sally and John Guger of Lodi bought the property in 1992 and over a period of years built a nearly 4,000-square-foot house, complete with wind and solar power so the property is completely off the grid. This was an opportunity to build a home for the future, but the Gugers had no vision, except for the row of zeros when the time came to cash in.

“It’s so close (to the mainland) and that’s what’s such a magical thing,” Sally said. On the island “we feel like we’ve left civilization and we’re in our own little universe, but we can still go to town for a movie.”

Ordering a pizza is a whole other matter. And to answer the question every reader is thinking:

$2.9 million.

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