Owners of B&Bs love to travel. You read that right. They like to leave the inn from time to time to experience other cities and other inns. And that’s just what they get to do at least annually at the November Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association’s innkeeper conference. It’s a time to tour B&Bs, discuss traveler preferences, celebrate accomplishments including our soon-to-be released cookbook, and reconnect as friends. B&B owners are in it because they love what they do and that really comes through at that gathering. It comes through when they get back to the inn too! By the way, if you’re interested in becoming an innkeeper, give us a call and we’ll find a place for you at the next Aspiring Innkeepers Seminar, November 4, 2012 at the Jefferson Street Inn, Wausau.
Archive for October, 2012
When you go somewhere special, do you like to stay somewhere special? As in an inn with an intriguing past life? If yes, then try the circa 1910 Brumder Mansion in Milwaukee, where ghost sightings are part of its lore and its lure – there, that’s our nod to Halloween. To acknowledge the final weeks of the 2012 presidential campaign, we bring you the Livingston Inn in Madison, a 160-year-old Gothic Revival mansion with political ties – it was home to two of Madison’s first mayors. Yet, we think the Wisconsin inn with the most intriguing history has to be the Hamilton House B&B in Whitewater, where the owners learned of secret tunnels leading to other homes and the local train depot, believed to be part of the Underground Railroad, only after purchasing the inn. Innkeeper Kathleen Fleming tells us there are three tunnels leading from the basement, all brick lined with timber top and dirt bottom. They also discovered a fourth tucked behind a chimney that leads to a tiny hiding space on the top floor. Every Sunday morning, Kathleen’s husband Jim, a born storyteller according to Kathleen, shares the intriguing history of the inn with guests.
It’s last call for fall colors. Use this map from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, which appropriately reminds us of candy corn, and cross reference it with our map for B&Bs by region and presto, you have a last-minute autumn getaway plan. Then it’s time to start thinking holidays and deciding where you’ll stay instead of bunking down with relatives. A B&B is the next best thing – cozy bed, home-cooked breakfast, warm hospitality and, best of all, no imposition on the in-laws to detract from the joy of family.
B&Bs throughout North America, including some right here in Wisconsin, will be opening their doors to active and retired military and vets and one guest on Sunday, November 11, Veteran’s Day, for a free night stay as a small thank you for their service. Here’s a link to Wisconsin inns participating in this wonderful program called “B&Bs for Vets.” As you can imagine, there are more vets desiring to participate than rooms available, despite the generosity of innkeepers, so the organizers are gently suggesting that vets who have previously enjoyed this special thank you from innkeepers let vets who’ve not participated have first opportunity to enjoy the experience.
This is also a good time to note that we have a standing page on our web site dedicated to military discounts offered year-round by a number of our B&Bs.
From the Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to all who have served our country.
The annual Cranberry Festival in Warrens has come and gone, with cranberry fests in Eagle River and Stone Lake coming up this weekend. All of which means the tangy red fruit –Wisconsin’s official state fruit by the way – will soon be hitting grocery stores for all those favorite cold-weather recipes and holiday treats. Stewart Inn in Wausau shared with us this recipe for Irish Oats that just begs for a lazy morning, a bottomless cup of strong coffee and good conversation.
Irish Oats with Fruit & Cranberry Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup milk or soy milk
1 Tbsp brown sugar or
1 package Splenda
¼ tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp salt
¾ cup steel cut oats
1 can frozen cranberry juice concentrate
¾ cup water
⅛ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
2 each dried apricots, prunes, and dates, chopped
¼ cup Craisins
¼ Granny Smith apple, peeled, and chopped pecans and blueberries
½ banana, chopped
2 Tbsp cream or soy milk
Plan ahead, this dish needs to refrigerate overnight. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the first five ingredients and bring to a boil. Stir in the oats, reduce heat, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until thick, about 15 minutes. Pour into a bread pan sprayed with cooking spray. Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate overnight. Thaw the cranberry juice overnight. The following morning: Pour the juice into a saucepan and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until juice has reduced by half and thickened. When it begins to foam, it is almost done. Set aside and it will thicken more as it cools. To prepare the fruit topping, bring the first three ingredients to a boil. Add the dried fruits, apples, and pecans to the mixture and heat 3-5 minutes, stirring gently. Add the remaining ingredients and stir just to mix. Cook one minute and set aside. Cut the chilled oats into 4 triangles. Melt 2 tablespoons butter on a nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Add oat triangles and cook 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and heated through. Put 1 triangle on a warm plate and top with ¼ cup warm fruit. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of the cranberry syrup. Yield: 4 servings.