Archive for August, 2012

Superlatives to Guide B&B Travelers to Wisconsin part 2

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Remotest Inns:  Located on a secluded 340 acre estate, Silver Star B&B Inn – Spring Green is perfect to connect with the great outdoors.  Forest Moon Bed & Breakfast – Hayward is a log home situated in a clearing in the heart of the forest. Experience the rural tranquility and rugged beauty of the Driftless Area at Inn at Lonesome Hollow– Soldiers Grove, situated on 160 rural acres, half of which lie in their completely private valley.

Inn at Lonesome Hollow, Soldiers Grove

Prettiest Inns:  Totally subjective, so we had to include a few in this category, with the caveat being they are all “painted ladies,” as in Victorian beauties. Check out Miller’s Daughter B&B – Green Lake, Scofield House B&B – Sturgeon Bay, Victorian Dreams B&B – Lodi, The Roth House – Soldiers Grove, and Dreams of Yesteryear – Stevens Point.

Victorian Dreams B&B, Lodi

Eeriest Inn:  Purported to have had ghost sightings is the Brumder Mansion B&B – Milwaukee.

Brumder Mansion B&B, Milwaukee

Stateliest Inns: We pick Joannes B&B – De Pere,  Ludlow Mansion – Monroe, Inn at Pine Terrace– Oconomowoc which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Joannes B&B, De Pere

Sportiest Inn: As in offering lots of outdoor sports options to guest. And this category goes to Justin Trails B&B Resort – Sparta.

Justin Trails B&B Resort, Sparta

Love-liest Inn:   White Lace Inn – Sturgeon Bay takes the cake. In it’s 30 years of operation has  helped a total of 1,300 couples tie the knot making it the love-liest inn.  A close second goes to White Rose Inns – Wisconsin Dells which hosts approximately 50 weddings every year.  Their slogan is “You make the choices we do the rest.”

River View Room at White Rose Inns, Wisconsin Dells

Superlatives to Guide B&B Travelers to Wisconsin

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Why not fill up fall with B&B getaways in Wisconsin to all the “est” inns. Here’s what we mean:

Oldest Inns:

Structure:  Wisconsin House Stagecoach Inn – Hazel Green. Built in 1846, Wisconsin House is structurally our oldest member inn.

In Operation:  Old Rittenhouse Inn – Bayfield.  In 1974 Old Rittenhouse Inn was the first B&B to open in Wisconsin  when the idea of a Bed & Breakfast was just gaining acceptance in the Midwest.

Wisconsin House Stagecoach Inn, Hazel Green

Newest Inns:

Structure:   At the Lake House – Lake Geneva. Built as a B&B in 2010.

In Operation:   O’Neill Manor – Neillsville.  Opened May 2012

O’Neill Manor, Neillsville.

Largest Inn:

Washington House Inn – Cedarburg with 34 rooms.

Washington House Inn, Cedarburg.

Tallest Inn:
Strawberry Lace Inn – Sparta with four floors.

Strawberry Lace Inn, Sparta

Highest Inn:
Inn at Wawanissee Point – Baraboo. Perched 800 feet above the Wisconsin River Valley, this 42-acre estate offers a 36-mile view of the Lake Wisconsin Valley.

Inn at Wawanissee Point, Baraboo

Greenest Inn: The top four point-getters in the Travel Green Wisconsin certified program include Pinehurst Inn – Bayfield at 140 points, Artha Sustainable Living Center – Amherst at 125 points, Token Creek Eco-Inn – Madison at 112 points, and Crystal River Inn – Waupaca at 100 points.

Innkeepers Steve and Nancy Sandstrom at Pinehurst Inn, Bayfield.

…Stay tuned for part 2 of the “est” list released this Friday!

You Can Never Have Too Many Tomato Recipes

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Some of us are tomato snobs – we only eat fresh tomatoes grown in our gardens or sourced from local farms.  And once you start eating this way, there’s no going back.  If your tomato plants are heavy with sun ripened Roma, Wisconsin 55 and Better Boy varieties, then you’ll want to try this tomato recipe from the Cream Pitcher B&B in Blue River, Wisconsin’s Southwest “Driftless” area.

Heirloom Tomato Pie

1 cup flour

¾ cup yellow cornmeal

¾ tsp salt

1 stick cold, unsalted butter cheese (cut into ½-inch pieces)

¾ cup, plus 3 Tbsp shredded Manchego cheese

4 Tbsp ice water

dried beans (as weights)

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme


2 Tbsp olive oil, divided

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2¼ lbs. mixed heirloom tomatoes

¾ cup shredded mozzarella

¼ cup mayonnaise

3 Tbsp breadcrumbs

3 Tbsp chopped fresh chives

3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

kosher salt

freshly  ground pepper


Pulse the flour, cornmeal and salt in a food processor to combine. Add the butter and 3 tablespoons Manchego. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal with pea-size bits of butter. Drizzle in 4 tablespoons of ice water and pulse until the dough comes together. Add 1 more tablespoon ice water if necessary. Turn out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and pat into a disk. Wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes.

Put the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll into a 13-inch round. Transfer the dough to a 9½-inch deep-dish pie plate. Fold the overhang under itself and crimp the edges. Pierce the bottom of the crust all over with a fork. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. Line the crust with foil, then fill with dried beans. Bake until the edges are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and beans and continue baking until golden all over, 10–15 more minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

For the filling: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring until golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool. Meanwhile, thinly slice the tomatoes. Toss with 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a colander. Let drain about 30 minutes, gently tossing occasionally.

Increase oven temperature to 375°F. Combine the remaining ¾ cup Manchego, mozzarella, mayonnaise, breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons each chives and parsley, thyme, ¼ teaspoon each kosher salt and pepper and the sautéed onion in a bowl. Spread in the crust. Arrange the tomatoes on top. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with pepper. Bake until the tomatoes are browned, about 50 minutes. Top with remaining 1 tablespoon each chives and parsley.


A ‘long and winding road’ leads you to the Cream Pitcher B&B, in Blue River. Situated among the hills in Richland County (southwest Wisconsin), this unglaciated area offers awesome beauty as well as outdoor activities in every season. There are more than 3 miles of hiking trails through the 100 acres of woodland. Watch deer, turkeys and other wildlife; see and hear many species of birds. Enjoy the creek that flows close by…and the warm hospitality of innkeepers Diane & Vern.

Get Cooking

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

There’s something about enjoying a made-from-scratch breakfast at a Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast that often inspires the home chef in our guests. So we thought we’d post a list of some fun cooking classes around the state to get culinary juices flowing.

Bekah Kates, an incredibly cute shop filled with wonderful kitchen and home items, is located in an 1886 building (the owners lovingly restored it themselves) right on the downtown square in Baraboo.  The list of cooking classes here ranges from farmers’ market dishes to Thai to fancy French desserts.  Stay at Inn at Wawanissee Point or Pinehaven B&B, both in Baraboo.

At specialty shop Orange Tree Imports in Madison, a 35+ year mainstay on chic shopping boulevard Monroe Street, their list of chef instructors is very impressive.  And so is the list of B&Bs in the Madison metro area.

The Savory Spoon Cooking School in Door County occupies a former village school house built in 1879.  It appropriately bills itself as “a place for people who are passionate about food,” given they’re a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals.  This seasonal school is open June through October; take your pick of B&Bs up and down the Door County peninsula when you attend.

Coquette Café in Milwaukee’s historic Third Ward is famous for its authentic yet unassuming bistro fare you might find in the home kitchens of French grandmothers.  Their demonstration-style cooking classes are held Tuesday evenings, so sneak away midweek and stay at the Brumder Mansion B&B.

If La Crosse is a favorite getaway destination for you, sign up for a cooking class at the People’s Food Co-op.  For accommodations, reserve a room at Four Gables B&B or Wilson Schoolhouse Inn.

The list of classes at Dinner’s On in Altoona is temptingly eclectic.  We especially like that at the end of each class participants enjoy a full buffet, with plenty of time to discuss all the creations.  Stay at an Eau Claire area inn like Fanny Hill Victorian Inn or Otter Creek Inn.

Now get cooking!


Fanny Hill Victorian Inn & Dinner Theatre has a tradition of entertaining and delighting guests for over 30 years. A locally-owned dinner theater, restaurant, banquet facility and nine-room inn, Fanny Hill has a way of making guests feel welcome every time. Summer is the time to enjoy the manicured property with astonishing flower gardens and to catch the deck entertainment.


Theatre in the Open

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

You’ve heard of theatre in the round.  How about theatre in the forest.  Or in a tent.  Or on a lakeshore.  In Spring Green, the American Players Theatre is world renowned for its classical theatre performed under the stars in an amphitheater on a hill with trees all around.  In Door County, the Peninsula Players is America’s oldest professional resident summer theater, and there’s also American Folklore Theatre with musicals that are often Wisconsin-themed, and Door Shakespeare which stages its performances in a garden.  Lake Superior’s Big Top Chautauqua, Bayfield,  has a full summer season of plays and concerts and, yes, they are performed under a big tent.  In Mineral Point, there’s Alley Stage, and in Milwaukee the Peck Pavillion on the lakeshore has lots of free events.  Get outside, take a seat, enjoy the show, and then return to the B&B of your choice, knowing our member inns are also famous for receiving rave reviews.   


Mineral Point is known for its artist’s community and artisan shops … just a short stroll from Brewery Creek. As its name implies, Brewery Creek is more than an historic inn – it’s a brew pub, and restaurant known for a locally sourced menu.

A Fairly Busy Fair Schedule

Monday, August 6th, 2012

We found this handy web site that lists all the county, district and state fairs in Wisconsin.  While every state has its share of fairs, we think the ones in Wisconsin are far and away the best – we are the Dairy State after all and boast a farming heritage that’s second to none.  From Catch-a-Pig and Hug-a-Hog to Tractor – Horse – Truck – Lawn Mower pulls to Ted Nugent, Styx, and The Guess Who, fair-goers will certainly be entertained.  Some of our innkeepers have won ribbons for their baking, or have competed in our state-wide Innkeeper Cook-off.  Book your Fair getaway and wake up to a blue-ribbon breakfast. 

Hot wholesome just-out-of-the-oven bread from the kitchen of Port Washington Inn. Innkeeper Rita uses her home-made breads in her Door County Cherry Bread Pudding – the Grand Prize Winner of WBBA’s Innkeeper Cook-off.