Innkeepers Share the Secret of Making the Perfect Scone

March 30th, 2016

A scone recipe that’s perfection every time? We considered that a culinary myth until we heard from Eagle Centre House B&B. The innkeepers there swear this recipe for basic scones is foolproof. Don’t be fearful of making scones, this recipe will get you hooked.  As for what to spread on top of a scone, we like lemon curd, clotted cream, honey butter or homemade jam. We’re traditionalists that way.

 

Basic Scone Recipe

The following recipe makes approximately 12 scones

 

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

5 tbsp. (1/3 cup) sweet butter

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

1/3 cup milk

 

Place the baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F.  Sift the measured flour twice with the baking powder and salt.  When I was a young girl learning to cook my mother had a flour sifter for this task, it was a contraption that reminded me of a coffee can, had a mesh bottom, and a handle that was squeezed to turn a blade near the bottom to move the flour around and push it through the sieve.  I don’t happen to have a handy tool like that, so I just used a fine mesh metal strainer I use for washing and draining fruits and vegetables, and held that over a bowl and shook the strainer to get the flour to go through.Sifting Flour  If you would like to add some variety to this basic scone recipe this is the point where you could add some orange zest and dried cranberries, or lemon zest with dried blueberries.  Chopped nuts also add another layer of texture and flavor.  Dice the fats into the dry ingredients, then lightly rub in with cool fingertips or a pastry blender until completely blended.  The butter and shortening will look like small peas or oatmeal when it is fully incorporated with the flour.  Make a well in the center and stir in the milk.  Lightly mix with a fork until the ingredients form a soft dough.  Turn out onto a floured board and knead very lightly fEagle Center House Sconesor about 1/2 minute to a loose, smooth dough.  The trick to making a nice light scone is to handle the dough as little as possible, yet it is important to get all of the flour incorporated with the butter and shortening.  Roll out with a rolling pin or pat with the hand to approximately 3/4 inch thick.  Stamp out with a 2 inch cutter or cut into triangles with a sharp knife, I also like to use a pizza cutter.  Lightly knead together any trimmings and roll and stamp out again.  Lift with a spatula onto the hot baking sheet, placing 1 inch apart.  Brush only the tops with lightly beaten egg or milk.  Bake toward the top of the oven for approximately 10 minutes, or until well risen and golden brown.  Lift onto a wire rack with the spatula to cool.  If this is your first attempt at baking scones you may feel frustrated with the dough making process, but trust me, persevere and you will be thrilled at the results. Even if your scones don’t look like they are ready for a photo shoot in the culinary magazine, they will taste light, and buttery and, quite frankly, fantastic!

Seek the Unique – Wisconsin B&B’s with a Theme

March 17th, 2016

 

For those who seek a more unique experience when travelling a Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast will be sure to fit the bill. We all know Wisconsin’s Bed and Breakfasts are well known for their personalized service and scrumptious breakfast. But did you know innkeepers are knowledgeable on the local activities and history of their community? The innkeeper will be able to fill you in on the local lore and legends of the area and provide stories that will inform and inspire you.

When is a B&B more than just a bed and a breakfast? When it’s a microbrewery, a lighthouse, a celebrity hangout, a farm, a golf course or an art studio. Themed B&Bs are big on talk-value with your buddies and huge on enjoyment for you.

Take the Inn at Windmill Farm in Door County, with its studio and gallery where one of the hosts, Ed, leads watercolor classes. He has been an artist fMorning Mist Studio_Gallery Inn at Windmill Farmor over 35 years and teaches at the Kansas City Art Institute Ed’s work can be seen at Windmill Farm in the Morning Mist Studio/Gallery in the historic barn. Your other host, Frank, has a great background in fine antiques and has great pieces for sale at Lupine Antiques at Windmill Farm in the historic barn.  In addition, he brings to the Inn an extensive knowledge of landscape design.

The Silver Star B&B Inn near Spring Green has rooms themed to famous photographers such as Alfred Stieglitz, EdwSteiglitz-Steichen room at Silver Star B&B Innard Steichen, John Szarkowski, Monor White, and Julia Margaret Cameron. The photographers honored had a significant impact on the industry, contributing to the development of photography as an artistic medium.

Visitors will find original fine art and photography displayed throughout the inn, reflecting the passion of the owner. The Silver Star B&B Inn is also located less than 10 miles from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin and the House on the Rock.

There’s Brewery Creek Inn in Mineral Point with its own on-site craft brewery. A three story lime stone building on Commerce Street, there are five rooms located above the Brewpub Restaurant.  Two on the second floor and three on the third.  The Brewery Creek Brewpub is an intimate space with exposed stone walls, hand hewn timbers and beams, supporting posts and a beautiful bar. The BrewPub is closed by 10:00 pm, which guarantees quiet for the guests lodging in the rooms above. They brew all of their own beer in their own brewery.  Jeff focuses on European style ales, both modern and antique.Crafted Beer at Brewery Creek Inn

 

 

Door County Lighthouse Inn is just that, an inn with architecture that mimics the storied lighthouses of the region. Each room is tastefully decorated with a nautical theme which reflects the rich maritime and navigational history of the area. Each of these lighthouDoor County Lighthouse Innses are located a short distance from the Inn and are great places to explore. Door County’s lighthouses, many of which were built in the 1800s, have saved countless lives as they guided ships to safety. Today, they stir hearts as symbols of strength and protection.

 

 

 

Lake Orchard Farm Retreat in Sheboygan is a working farm but it also has a golf course and clubhouse.  Located near Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Golfing at Lake Orchard Farm Retreatour operating farm has rolling fields, natural woods, fruit orchards and a Lake Michigan view. If that isn’t enough to entice you to visit, they have a 9-hole golf course with a clubhouse they provide for guests to use at no additional charge.  When the weather isn’t nice enough to play outdoors, they have a lounge area with a pool table where guests can gather and spend time.

 

The The Livingston Inn in Madison is the place where prominent filmmakers stay during the annual Wisconsin Film Festival in April and the innkeepers have the inside track on tickets for their guests. The Livingston InnThe Wisconsin Film Festival is presented by the UW-Madison Arts Institute in association with the Department of Communication Arts. Founded in 1999, the Festival presents an average of 150 film screenings over 8 days every spring, making it the largest university-produced film festival in the nation.

So you could say the overarching theme here is to try something different the next time you travel.

Favorite Wisconsin “Inn-Sider” Tips for Things to Do In March

March 2nd, 2016

March is a time of year that leaves many of us longing for spring, and in Wisconsin, we still have a number of weeks befwisconsin_winter_barn_postcard-r6298c8d8e196446e9394804543c9897e_vgbaq_8byvr_512ore those warmer temperatures grace us once again and entice us to spend more time outdoors.  This is when cabin fever can be at its worse.  The ski hills do a great job of making snow for the downhill skiers and snowboarders.  But for those of us who prefer to stay on a more level plane, March’s weather in Wisconsin can be tricky and many times there may not be enough snow for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.  Let’s face it, it’s been a long winter and most of us are ready to do more than go for a walk in the neighborhood or visit the mall to get out and about and feel rejuvenated.  Fortunately, Wisconsin has much to offer in the way of indoor activities, and most of the time we don’t need to look much further than our own backyard.

Visit a local museum, what a better way to find out about our local and state history than to visit a museum. With a quick search on the internet I discovered Wisconsin has over 420 museums.  The list is long and varied, you are sure to find one that suits your interest. Here are a few out of the ordinary that may peak your interest and be worth getting in the car to go visit.

The Chocolate Experience Museum in Burlington, WI is free to the public during regular business hours.  What’s not to love… a free tour (they do ask for a donation) and chocolate!! Burlington’s Chocolate Experience Museum exists to educate visitors about the history of chocolate and the part it plays in the world, improve the local economy and economic stability for Burlington as a tourism destination.

Did you know Harry Houdini was from Appleton, WI?  The History Museum at the Castle has an exhibit, AKA Houdini which lets you experience some of Harry Houdini’s tricks of the trade through hands-on activities. It is great fun for the whole family! See why the world renowned magician called Appleton his hometown.

And we can’t talk about Wisconsin without mentioning cheese.  Monroe, WI has the National Historic Cheesemaking Center. Enter ….”an era that was, that will never be again” as you step inside the Imobersteg Cheese Factory, restored and located on our campus, where each year on the second Saturday of June a 90 pound wheel of Swiss cheese is made right before your eyes, as it was done over 100 years ago.

Check out the local Center for the Arts, Wisconsin communities are doing a wonderful job of bringing in exhibits, entertainers and artists to their area.  You can see an up-and-coming comedian, a musical, an orchestra, or the ballet.  They have art exhibits, magicians, and choir concerts.

The Heyde Center for the Arts in Chippewa Falls has a wide variety of activities scheduled for March, which includes 2 exhibits, ​Industrial Art and Design, and GEMS: Contemporary Metalsmiths and Art Jewelers in Menomonie, a community choir concert, the music of Simon and Garfunkel, and TV Town: A Midwest Musical Comedy.

The Grand Theater in Wausau has quite a range of entertainment scheduled for the month.  Get The Led Out on March 2 is committed to recreating the magic of Led Zeppelin in all its depth and glory, Get The Led Out features six talented musicians playing all of the classic hits!  42nd Street, March 21, tells the story of a starry-eyed young dancer named Peggy Sawyer who comes to New York to audition for the new Broadway musical Pretty Lady. When the star breaks her ankle, Peggy takes over and becomes a star.  “Symphony on the Rocks”, March 25, is VIC FERRARI and 26 of the best classical and pop musicians from the Midwest. This is the first Symphony in North America to perform with iPads only! You see all musicians working together, not hiding behind a conductor or a music stand.

Dine at a Supper Club What could be more Wisconsin-like than having dinner at a Wisconsin Supper Club?  Did you know there are over 350 of them in this state? And, they even have a website to help you find the nearest one, Wisconsin Supper Clubs. Supper clubs are a dying breed, which is sad, because we’ve turned to quick food from chain restaurants rather than supporting these great places. Take a night off from cooking, get gussied up, and head to one of our great Wisconsin supper clubs.

Book a stay at a luxurious B&B One more wonderful thing about Wisconsin is the hospitality of the innkeepers at our Bed and Breakfasts. Did you know there are more than 120 B&B’s listed on the Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association’s website? No matter the weather, you will find a Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast to be warm and inviting.  It is the perfect place to start your March adventure, you might find a roaring fire in the common area where you can enjoy a glass of wine or hot cocoa with other guests, or maybe your room will have it’s own fireplace and even a Jacuzzi tuWarm and Cozy - White Lacee Innb where you and your loved one can relax in a warm bath.  A delicious home-cooked breakfast will be made just for you with plenty of hot coffee and juice to get you going.  Our innkeepers are a wealth of knowledge of local activities, so if you don’t have an itinerary planned for the day, they will be able to help with suggestions of interesting things to do in the area that fit your interests.  There is an abundance of activities in Wisconsin during the month of March, and you are sure to find an unique adventure close to a Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast.

 

 

 

 

5 Romantic Getaways in Wisconsin

February 10th, 2016

What motivates people to give B&Bs a try? The answer is often tied to romance, with charming inns naturally giving off a romantic vibe, and not just for Valentine’s Day. Here are inns that clearly love a good romance package:

Westport Bed and Breakfast, in Manitowoc, offers everything needed for romance with that special someone in your life. It can’t get better than their “Most PopulaElegance at Westport Bed and Breakfastr” Romantic Getaway package complete with flowers, chocolate and champagne. When you start to get a little restless and are looking for something to do, Manitowoc has much to offer. Try visiting the Rahr-West Art Museum. It was built in 1891 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but I bet you didn’t know it is also home to Sputnikfest because a piece of Sputnik IV landed in front of the mansion in 1962. So you say you’d rather spend some time outdoors enjoying everything Mother Nature has to offer? In the Manitowoc area there is no shortage of fun, take your pick of snowmobiling, cross country skiing, indoor skating, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. Check out the Manitowoc-Two Rivers Visitors website for more ideas.

Romantic and Enchanting - Honeybee Inn B&B

For that perfect romantic getaway, your hosts at the beautiful Honeybee Inn extend a gracious welcome.  Guests can retreat to one of four distinctly romantic and enchanting guest rooms. For an excursion you could visit the Beaver Dam Area Arts Association. It is less than a 20 minute drive from the Honeybee Inn and has a variety of exhibits and events throughout the year. Outdoor activities abound at the beautiful Horicon Marsh. The Friends of the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center can help you figure out the best way to spend time with your loved one while enjoying the beauty of nature.

A delicious and romantic breakfast is served by candlelight at Naeset-Roe Inn, located in Stoughton. It Candlelight Breakfast at Naeset-Roe Innis guaranteed to top off your weekend of romance. Stoughton has a strong Norwegian heritage, so it is only natural that you would find such attractions as The Nordic Nook, and the Viking Brew Pub. If you are interested in learning about the local history, the Luke Stoughton House is a great place to start. If you are interested in catching a play, the Stoughton Village Players can be found right on Main Street.   Lake Kegonsa State Park has over 5 miles of cross-country ski trails and 1+ miles of snowshoe trails. For the more adventurous, you could also try your hand at ice fishing.

Listed in the nation’s top 10 romantic inns, White Lace Inn, in Sturgeon Bay, will provide everything Warm and Cozy - White Lacee Innyou need for the ultimate gift of a cozy and romantic getaway. Weather permitting, the Sturgeon Bay Historic Walking Tour has a downloadable/printable .pdf map that offers a unique opportunity for visitors to take a self-guided walking tour of some of the most beautiful neighborhoods and shops in Wisconsin. The Door County Maritime Museum will help you connect with Sturgeon Bay’s historic working waterfront and the impact Lake Michigan has had on the area.

Here at  Albany House Bed & Breakfast, in Albany, they take pride in helping guests have the bestAlbany House Bed & Breakfast experience possible.  Your romantic getaway will surely become that weekend you talk about for years to come. The New Glarus Woods State Park is only a 20 minute drive from the B&B and offers both cross country skiing and snowshoeing. If you like taking a drive in the country and looking at the various types of barns in the area, Green County has a Barn Quilt tour to get you out and about & enjoy the farm country. The Green County Tourism website has information about this and many other things to do in the area.

No matter your definition of romance, one of the 120 Bed & Breakfasts that belong to the Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association will be able to help you reconnect with that special someone in your life and you can create an adventure the two of you will remember for years to come.

 

Award Winning B&B Recipe

August 11th, 2015

Ever think of a B&B breakfast as being a buffet?  The Port Washington Inn features their Door County Cherry Bread Pudding, as favorite on their brunch buffet. The innkeepers here emphasize quality ingredients and buffet items made from scratch, no shortcuts, and that makes their full breakfasts second-helping worthy. The dish was a favorite with the Judges of our Innkeeper Cook Off contest…perhaps it will become your favorite brunch dish!

Pudding: 
¼ cup butter, melted
1 loaf of bread, cut into cubes
6 large eggs
3½ cups milk (2% or any, including some half & half, if desired)
½ cup Wisconsin maple syrup
1 cup dried Door County Cherries
raw sugar
Preheat oven to 450°F. Melt ¼ cup butter in a jelly roll pan. Add the cubed bread to the pan. Place in oven and toast until nicely browned (watch carefully!). While bread cubes are toasting, use a blender to blend the eggs, milk and maple syrup. Place toasted bread cubes into a large bowl and pour the liquid from the blender over them, mixing well. Add this mixture to a previously well-buttered 9×13-inch baking pan. Add more milk (or half & half ) so the level of liquid in the pan is approximately equal to the level of the bread. Sprinkle the dried cherries over the top, mixing them throughout the pan. Sprinkle lightly with raw sugar. Bake until the middle is firm and the top is nicely browned (approximately 1 hour).
Sauce:
frozen tart cherries, pitted
frozen sweet cherries, pitted
raw sugar
For the sauce: Purée equal amounts of tart and sweet cherries, sweetened to taste with raw sugar. For a thicker sauce, leave cherries whole and lightly sweetened to create a sauce as they thaw.
Innkeeper Tip: We use two of our small loaves of homemade wheat bread. Make sure you have enough toasted bread cubes to fill a 9×13-inch pan, slightly heaped, as they will be absorbing some of the liquid.
Picture yourself enjoying breakfast on the porch of Port Washington Inn.

Picture yourself enjoying breakfast on the porch of Port Washington Inn.

 

Wisconsin Landmarks Bucket List

July 13th, 2015

Silver Star B&B Front Porch

It’s not unusual for a bucket list to be tied to those landmarks that define a place. In Spring Green, it’s a performance of Shakespeare under the stars at the American Players Theatre; enjoy a gentle sleep at Silver Star B&B located on a bucolic 340-acre estate. In Green Bay, it’s a tour of the just-renovated Lambeau Field; spend the night at Astor House B&B. Run away to Circus World in Baraboo; overnight at Pinehaven B&B or Inn at Wawanissee Point.  Check those off the list!

Silver Star B&B Deck

Silver Star B&B Deck

3149

Pinehaven B&B

 

Astor House Receives Award

June 30th, 2015

The Green Bay Historic Preservation Commission, at its 14th annual Historic Preservation Awards Ceremony, awarded the Astor House B&B with a Culturally Significant Award. This award recognizes a building that contributes to or exemplifies cultural trends in the City of Green Bay. The Astor House was the home of Dr. Julius Bellin, founder of Bellin Hospital. Since 1999, Greg (deceased) and Barb Robinson have welcomed guests at the 5 guest room B&B. Of course, being located in Green Bay, Packer weekends fill up fast!

Washington House Inn inducted into Trip Advisor Hall of Fame!

June 23rd, 2015

We are proud to announce that Washington House Inn has been recognized as a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame winner!  The ‘Hall of Fame’ was created to honor those businesses that have earned a Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years.  When you, the guest, take the time to share your experiences, you are assisting other travelers to find the B&B  Inn that is tailor made for their getaway.

Set in a historic 1886 Victorian cream city brick building in Cedarburg, Washington House Inn is luxurious lodging within walking distance of historic downtown restaurants, shops, a local winery and brew pub and seasonal festivals.  Guests are pampered by the boutique hotel’s thoughtful amenities, including warm flickering fireplaces, whirlpool tubs and steam showers, and a deluxe continental breakfast.

Find your tailor made getaway at WisconsinBandB.com

 

Historic charm blends perfectly with modern amenities at the Washington House Inn.

Exposed stone walls hints at the Washington House Inn's 150 year history as the first hotel in Cedarburg. As additions of cream city brick were made to the wood frame structure, the hotel operated continuously.

Exposed stone walls hints at the Washington House Inn’s 150 year history as the first hotel in Cedarburg. As additions of cream city brick were made to the wood frame structure, the hotel operated continuously.

Quilts – keep one close!

May 13th, 2015

Quilts – it’s a good idea to keep at least one close by here in Wisconsin! There’s an Amish Quilt Auction in Amherst (between Stevens Point and Waupaca) Saturday May 16 (www.maderauction.com) featuring over 300 quilt and wall hangings. We’ll recommend getting an early start – Artha Sustainable Living Center B&B is within a few miles, and the Stevens Point, Manawa, Waupaca, and Weyauwega B&Bs are less than a 30 minute drive. Make your reservations / mark your calendar for the August 29 quilt auction too.

Warmth under the 'wedding ring' quilt at Crystal River Inn, Waupaca.

Warmth under the ‘wedding ring’ quilt at Crystal River Inn, Waupaca.

Keep the chill away at Willow Pond B&B and Events in Weyauwega

Keep the chill away at Willow Pond B&B and Events

 

Wellness While Away

April 17th, 2015

Tempted to let your fitness routine lapse while enjoying your B&B getaway?  Innkeepers like Marilyn at Riverview B&B in Neshkoro make it easy to treat yourself to a workout – in a room with a view of history.  Inspired by a presentation on John Muir’s history in Marquette County and the talents of a local muralist, the Muir Room exercise area was created.  Practice yoga, walk/jog on the treadmill – TV viewing optional. The wall murals not only reflect local history, but are similar to the views of the White River that guests will enjoy at Riverview B&B.

And, if you need a bit more motivation to ‘get moving’, Marilyn’s yummy Blueberry French Toast Bake will do it!

Riverview exercise room 4Riverview exercise room 5