It’s a county, a peninsula, and one of the state’s most popular tourism spots. If you’ve never been to Door County, then let’s rectify that right now. Along with sand dunes, sailing, arts and culture, it’s also home to more B&Bs than any other county in Wisconsin. Think of it as the Cape Cod of the Midwest.
Posts Tagged ‘B&B getaway’
Are you more interested in wheeling along than walking along? You’re not alone. Cycling is now being referred to as the new golf. Here in Wisconsin we have a great rails-to-trails bike system, 117 designated Rustic Roads spanning 669 miles through 59 counties, plus lots of opportunities to log miles in state and county parks. Wisconsin has some pretty awesome city cycling too. Take Madison, for example. They have a bike-share program, and commuter bike trails, with several connecting to excellent state trails, for those yearning for a longer-distance ride. Of course, golf is pretty spectacular here too. The U.S. Open is coming to Wisconsin next year and that’s after the state hosted the PGA last year. We’re so glad spring is here and we have a hunch we’re not alone.
Wisconsin is one of the top bicycling destinations in the U.S. and we’re not making that up. Just ask the League of American Bicyclists – they are the ones doing the rankings. Old railroad beds converted to bike trails, including the famous Elroy-Sparta trail, have helped put Wisconsin on the national bike map in a big way.
If you’d like to map out an extended weekend itinerary that allows you to bike during the day and pull in to B&Bs at dusk, consider one of your stops at Fountain Chateau B&B in Hustler. The beautiful Omaha Bike Trail (originally the Omaha Railroad), connects right next door, where you can bike all the way to the Elroy-Sparta Trail and the 400 State Park Trail.
The Grapevine Log Cabins is almost within earshot of the Elroy-Sparta bike trail, a short 1 ½ miles, where it meets the La Crosse River Trail, and Justin Trails Resort tells their guests to make sure they don’t miss the trail’s 875′ tunnel – it’s awesome.
Folks who visit Pleasant View B&B can access the Old Abe Bike Trail less than 1/2 mile away, one of 12 paved bike trails in Wisconsin, Another rail trail, Old Abe follows the Chippewa River from Chippewa Falls to Cornell, connecting Lake Wissota and Brunet Island state parks. A future addition will connect the trail with the Chippewa and Red Cedar state trails, creating a network of more than 70 miles of connected trails in the Chippewa Valley.
Innkeepers who bike themselves include Heidi and Tom at the Buckingham Inn in Madison, so you’d be in great company at their B&B. The inn provides free passes for Madison’s city bike-share program for a quick ride to restaurants, the Capitol, and other Madison area attractions.
We couldn’t talk bicycling without mentioning the Pedal’rs Inn B&B in Wales, a bicycling inspired inn, where you can pick up the scenic Glacial Drumlin State Trail.
Located just a short drive north of Milwaukee, is Hidden Serenity B&B in West Bend and the Eisenbahn, a “rails to trails” project, where you get the beauty of biking in the Kettle Moraine without the steep hills. Many B&Bs offer relaxing massages at their inns, so inquire, just in case you need to pamper yourself after your day’s ride.
We don’t want to leave out the golfers, so here’s a fun fact: There are three Hurdzan Fry-designed courses in Wisconsin and they’re all public courses: Erin Hills, near Hartford, site of the 2017 U.S. Open, is just 6 miles from the Westphal Mansion Inn B&B, a restored 1913 mansion.
Get in a few rounds before the pros descend next year; Wild Rock, the quarry course in Wisconsin Dells, chiseled around and through a former quarry, is for the golfer who embraces a challenge. After a day on the course relax in this cottage nestled near the edge of the woods at Bowman’s Oak Hill B&B; or Troy Burne, in Hudson, just 30 minutes from St. Paul and only 15 minutes from the premier Queen Anne Victorian Phipps Inn. For more B&B options near these courses, just search by city on our website.
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. 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 for 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!
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 for 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, Edward 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.
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 lighthouses 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, our 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 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.
There’s a long-standing myth the B&B industry can’t seem to shake and it’s that all inns are Victorian with antiques and doilies everywhere. It’s just not so. Styles of architecture among B&Bs in Wisconsin run from historic mansions to lakeside cabins to ultra-contemporary new builds. Let’s focus on that last category for a moment. There are B&B owners who have created their inns literally from the ground up, favoring a modern style. Great examples of that include the Artesian House B&B built on a 25-acre wooded plot in Bayfield. The guest rooms feature a creative mix of contemporary and eclectic. The Inn at Wawanissee Point in Baraboo is a luxurious villa-style B&B with incredible views to the Lake Wisconsin valley. Moondance B&B in Fond du Lac is furnished in a decidedly artistic style with a master suite that also includes a large fully-equipped kitchen, dining room and living room.
If you like modern, don’t rule out a B&B.
Seems every farmers’ market in Wisconsin has a personality all its own. Which makes a Saturday morning stroll through tents filled with juicy fruit, fresh-from-the-field veggies, luscious baked goods, honey, even eye-popping bouquets of flowers a nice addition to your B&B itinerary. Bet you’ll even find some garden art or homemade crafts. You may be surprised to learn that the largest true farmers’ market in the country is in Madison, Wisconsin. If you have your B&B getaway on the calendar for this fall, you may want to cross-reference the nearest farmers’ markets by logging on to SavorWisconsin.com.
Sunny days, cool nights – September is delivering perfect conditions for fall color, starting in the northwoods and marching south. As you plan your Wisconsin B&B getaway, you might want to log on to TravelWisconsin.com for up-to-the-minute fall color reports; you can even request the report be delivered to your e-mail. The Department of Tourism has dozens of spotters around the state, so it’s a great little tool. On your drive, maybe set aside time for a little detour to enjoy a Wisconsin Rustic Road. Lest you think “rustic roads” is a clever title for unimproved roads, think again. These roads, with their terrific natural features, offer hikers, bikers, and motorists a less-traveled escape into some of the finest scenery the Midwest has to offer. There are more than 500 designated miles of Rustic Roads in 54 counties of the state, many with B&Bs close-by.
And now, a word from our innkeepers on the five most common myths in the B&B world. They want you to know:
A) You will not have to share a bathroom. Added bonus – many inns have spa-quality bathrooms.
B) A B&B does not have to be historic to be licensed by us. There are contemporary properties as equally B&B-worthy as historic mansions.
C) You do not have to eat breakfast with strangers. Interact as much or as little as you like – simply communicate your preference when you make your reservation.
D) There is no curfew. Some inns have separate guest entrances, so stay out as late as you like.
E) Innkeeping is not a hobby; it is a career and a passion.
Remember, our innkeepers like to be asked questions, so no need to be in the dark or under a cloud of misperception when it comes to your B&B getaway.