Archive for December, 2011

In Search of Snow in Wisconsin

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

About this time of year people are usually firmly divided into two camps – those who can’t get enough of the fluffy white stuff and those who would rather visit the dentist than trudge around in the snow.  The latter group is all smiles, given Wisconsin is conspicuously bereft of snow drifts.  That’s not to say there’s no snow at all.  In fact, in the very northern counties of our state, more specifically the Hurley and Mercer areas, you’ll find fair snow conditions for snowmobiling according to observers for the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.  Close-by B&Bs, all within an hour’s drive, include Inn at Pinewood in Eagle River (criss-crossed by miles of snowmobile trails) and Bayfield’s Artesian House, Rittenhouse Inn, and Pinehurst Inn
Cross country ski enthusiasts take heart, the Polk County area in far western Wisconsin reports good conditions, and there are two inns to choose from – the St. Croix River Inn in Osceola and the Wissahickon Farms Country Inn in St Croix Falls.
Like to downhill ski?  Head to Granite Peak in Wausau, and stay at the Stewart Inn, a real Arts & Crafts masterpiece.  Or try Cascade Mountain or Christmas Mountain Village, both in the Wisconsin Dells area, where you’ll also find Bowman’s Oak Hill B&B as well as White Rose Inns
Rest assured, snow will fall just as surely as Wisconsin B&B innkeepers will welcome you to their inns with a hot cup of coffee or cocoa, a roaring fire, a cozy bed and the warmest hospitality this side of anywhere. 

Happy holidays!

A snowy welcome at Wissahickon Farms in St Croix Falls, on Wisconsin's western border.



Wisconsin Snow Conditions Report is Live and Making Headlines

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

For a number of years now the Wisconsin Department of Tourism has offered visitors a handy tool – an up-to-the-minute snow conditions report.   It’s great for all you outdoor enthusiasts who downhill ski, snowmobile, cross-country ski, snow shoe, winter hike, or just enjoy a sleigh ride or sledding.  Volunteer reporters around the state regularly update the online interactive map, which is conveniently divided by activity – snowmobiling, downhill ski and snowboarding, and cross country skiing.  You can also sign up to receive a weekly snow report via e-mail.   This year, the Tourism Department cleverly used a Wisconsin map made to look like a mitten to announce the report was up and running, and that’s when things got interesting.  Let’s just call it a case of “Mitten-gate.”  Seems Michigan claims it’s the Mitten State and has been for some time.  Wisconsin Tourism was quick to offer a mea culpa of sorts, saying it doesn’t want to steal the Mitten State moniker; it wants to be known as the Fun State.  The good-natured back-and-forth made headlines all over the country!  Check out the story in USA Today.   By week two, the mitten map of Wisconsin was also sporting a cheesehead, proving we Wisconsinites do have a sense of humor.


Hometown B&Bs for Wisconsin Badger and Green Bay Packers Fans

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Like you didn’t know this already, but we Wisconsinites take our sports devotion quite seriously.

In fact, who’s to say we didn’t invent the tailgate party here?  Now that the Badgers are Rose Bowl-bound, and the Packers remain undefeated, we thought it was only fitting that we honor the B&Bs that serve fans for home games.

In Madison, there are a half-dozen inns to choose from, including the Arbor House, an Environmental Inn located just across the street from the University of Wisconsin Arboretum.  Arbor House is a 2011 Madison Magazine “Best of Madison” award winner.  Just off the Capitol Square is the Hotel Ruby Marie, built in 1873 during the heyday of the booming railroad era.  Not only is breakfast included, but so is a nightly happy hour.

In Green Bay, the Astor House B&B offers romantic accommodations perfect for Packer-loving fans.  Just to the south of Green Bay, in De Pere, is the family-friendly Sabamba Alpaca Ranch Bed and Breakfast, where you can enjoy some together time “on the ranch” enjoying the alpacas and gazing at the stars on a clear country evening. Their alpaca products , by the way, are incredible and may be purchased online.  Also in De Pere is Joannes B&B.  This red brick inn is located in the community’s historic district. And here’s the clincher for Packers fans, taken from the inn’s web site: From 1923 until 1946 the Joannes Family resided in the home. Leland H. Joannes was among the Green Bay Packer “Hungry Five.” With others he helped keep the Green Bay Packers franchise in operation during the early years. Joannes was the president of the Green Bay Packers for 17 years through the Great Depression, near bankruptcy and a stock sale.

Joannes B&B in DePere, just south of Green Bay. Home to former Green Bay Packers President.

Wisconsin B&B Pastry Chef Shares Favorite Holiday Cookie Recipe

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

We asked innkeepers for a favorite holiday cookie recipe,
and not surprisingly the first to land in our inbox uses an ingredient
associated with breakfast – oatmeal.  Pastry Chef Mary Jo Johnson at
the McConnell Inn in Green Lake – yes, some of our
innkeepers are culinary school grads – shares the inn’s favorite holiday cookie
recipe for Oatmeal Snowflakes.  Chef Mary
Jo noted, “These cookies are simple, but have a
festive winter appeal on your holiday cookie tray.”

1 cup butter
½ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
1 cup flour
1 ½ cups oatmeal
Mix all ingredients well. Drop by small spoon onto cookie sheet lined with
parchment or silpat.
Dip glass in powdered sugar and flatten cookie. Bake at 350° for 8 minutes or
until edges are just golden. Cool on pan before removing, dust with powdered
sugar. Yield: 4 dozen cookies.