Collin and Sara Doherty
opened the Roots Inn & Kitchen bed and breakfast in
Sister Bay last year.
Many people consider a career
change at some point in their life, but not
all follow through with it like Collin
Doherty said his family
wasn’t surprised when he told them he’d be
leaving his father’s law firm to open a bed
and breakfast with his wife, Sara.
“I’ve never been afraid to
try new things,” Doherty said about the leap
of faith it took to leave a successful
career and start his own business.
| “I’ve never
been afraid to try something different.”
– Collin Doherty, who left a position with a West Bend
law firm to open a bed and breakfast in Sister Bay.
He’s always been the
adventurous type. After graduating from the
University of Arizona with a degree in
physiology, he backpacked through Europe and
Asia, lived as a ski bum in Colorado and
taught English in South Korea, all before
deciding to go to law school.
Although he didn’t know it at
the time, it was his time abroad that would
ultimately lead to his choice to change
Doherty pursued his legal
education at Golden Gate University in San
Francisco, finishing in the top 3 percent of
his class, and graduated from the University
of Wisconsin Law School in Madison. He’d
done so well academically that becoming a
lawyer — like his father and brother — was
the conventional route.
Living abroad, however, had
given him a unique perspective. He didn’t
want a job that he considered stressful and
all-consuming, he wanted more time to
“You’re totally thrown into a
world that is unfamiliar,” said Doherty.
In order to continue learning
about different cultures and languages, as
well as meeting people from different
backgrounds than his own he, and Sara,
decided a bed and breakfast would allow them
to meet people and talk with them about
After three years working as
an attorney, and his wife as an addiction
counselor, they both left their careers to
open their business in Door County. They
found the perfect bed and breakfast for
sale, and they now spend their days cooking
for their 12 guests and giving them a hand
with their travel plans.
The immediate success of the
B& B was perhaps a sign that the couple made
the right choice, and it has also allowed
them to open up another rental property — a
log cabin built in 1900, in addition to a
new restaurant attached to their bed and
breakfast, Roots Inn & Kitchen.
Doherty said being an
adventurous person is in his nature, but
having Sara by his side has always given him
that extra push.
The last 14 months have kept
them busy, but as the old cliché promises,
it doesn’t feel like work to them.
Now, they have the
opportunity to make other people happy in an
atmosphere that is suited to their
“Making other people
comfortable, making other people enjoy their
lives,” is what Doherty said drives him. He
knew his career as an attorney allowed him
to help people, but now he can help people
and live a life he finds less demanding.
Doherty wants to lead by
example. He said it’s never too late to
change the path you’re on.
“So many people think you
have to go the traditional way, you don’t,”
said Doherty. “Sure you can start that way,
but never be afraid to try something new.”
He plans to run the B& B for
years to come. In turn he can meet travelers
coming to Door County, and in time it might
even allow him to travel more. His next
goal: to travel to a new country every