A Celiac Friendly Breakfast Recipe in Honor of Celiac Awareness Month

We hear more and more how gluten can be detrimental to our health, so many folks have either cut back or eliminated the amount of gluten they consume on a daily basis.  But did you know that folks with Celiac Disease need to completely eliminate gluten from their diet?  For those who suffer from Celiac Disease removing gluten from their diet is essential, but, for those who don't have the disease, be careful, breads and pasta provide plenty of vitamins, minerals and fiber we require to maintain a well-balanced diet. May is Celiac Awareness month, and in honor of that, we have an easy Celiac Friendly recipe that is so delicious all your friends and family will enjoy it. [caption id="attachment_1840" align="aligncenter" width="300"]WI Cheese Oven Omelet WI Cheese Oven Omelet[/caption]

  8 eggs                                                            ¼ cup sliced or chopped mushrooms ½ cup sour cream                                     1¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese 6-8 pre-cooked sausage links                 2 Tablespoons chopped onion [caption id="attachment_1842" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Mushrooms, onions and sausage links A sample of the fresh ingredients used for the Wisconsin Cheese Oven Omelet[/caption] Preheat oven to 325°F.  Spray a 9” square baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Sprinkle the mushrooms and onion in the bottom of the dish.   Beat eggs, sour cream, milk and one cup of cheese.  Pour into baking dish.  Top with remaining cheese.  Bake for 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes away clean.   Variations and tips:

  • Substitute chopped ham for the sausage and Swiss cheese for the cheddar cheese
  • Have some folks who don’t like mushrooms? Instead of adding the mushrooms to the omelet, sauteé them in butter and serve on the side to those who enjoy them.
  • This recipe is a wonderful basic baked omelet recipe, it’s fun to experiment with any combination of fresh veggies and breakfast meats you enjoy.
  • This is an easy recipe to cut in half, just bake in a glass bread pan for two servings.

  Serves 4-8 As you can see, it's not difficult to cook a Celiac Friendly recipe.  Yet, the Innkeepers of the Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association know it can be difficult for folks with dietary restrictions such as Celiac Disease to dine out.  There is always the worry of how the food is really prepared, fearing a flare-up if even a small morsel of gluten is ingested, making travel more of a hassle than what it may be worth.  We want to assure you many of our  innkeepers are experienced in preparing Gluten Free breakfast dishes and it is our goal to provide you with a unique experience.  This recipe is a wonderful example of how we can accommodate people with dietary restrictions without setting them apart from the rest of the group.  If you are thinking about spending time at one of the WBBA member inns, don't hesitate to call the innkeeper and have a conversation about your dietary issues and to be sure the innkeeper is able to meet your dietary requirements.  WBBA innkeepers are in the business because they love hospitality and they love taking care of their guests.  As a reminder, all WBBA members are licensed, inspected and insured.  So rest assured, you will get a good night's sleep when you stay at a WBBA B&B, feeling refreshed and rejuvenated the next morning.  Are you ready to Seek the Unique? We hope to see you soon!WBBA Seek the Unique  

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

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.        

B&B Getaway Giveaway continues: Week 6

While reading about B&Bs is fun, winning a complimentary stay is better: enter our Facebook contest http://a.pgtb.me/qVSz88 20 minutes North of Milwaukee in downtown historic Cedarburg is the Stagecoach Inn, a restored 1853 stagecoach hotel. Today’s guests enjoy whirlpool tubs, wifi, cable TV and more. Their pub, chocolate shop, and daily wine social make it almost unnecessary to leave the inn, but do take a stroll to local shops, restaurants, winery, and the Cedar Creek Settlement. Travel west to Reedsburg’s Parkview B&B for crisp line-dried linens, a sumptuous breakfast … it’s true: the only thing they overlook is the park!  Innkeepers Tom, an avid gardener & Donna, a former Home-Ec teacher team to create masterful breakfasts and snacks like Orange Craisin Pistachio Biscott. [caption id="attachment_1441" align="aligncenter" width="250"]Stagecoach Inn in Cedarburg Stagecoach Inn in Cedarburg[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1442" align="aligncenter" width="220"]Beerntsens' Candies Beerntsens' Candies[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_1443" align="aligncenter" width="220"]During the evenings, the Pub is a pleasant gathering place where guests can enjoy wine from the Cedar Creek Winery and other house specialty drinks. During the evenings, the Pub is a pleasant gathering place where guests can enjoy wine from the Cedar Creek Winery and other house specialty drinks.[/caption]

Some B&B Myths Die Hard

A recent post by writer Andrew Knowlton, (aka “The Foodist”) at Bon Appétit magazine had us shaking our heads and tsk-tsking. Try as we might in the B&B industry to dispel myths, some food writers simply haven’t  gotten the message. So, first read his post here, then continue with our blog. It’s all so not true! Here in Wisconsin, nearly 100% of B&Bs have private baths and not just any baths but spa-like baths – the White Lace Inn – Sturgeon Bay  and  Canyon Road Inn - Turtle Lake are perfect examples. You don’t have to eat with other guests, although many travelers like the experience. Just choose an inn that provides in-room breakfast like the Otter Creek Inn of Eau Claire, where you’ll customize your own breakfast (and dining time) from their menu.   Or, choose the communal table set-up at Pickwick Inn of East Troy. Curfew, shmerfew….there is no such thing. Same goes for rigid check-in times. Who needs a mini-bar when most innkeepers provide free beverages (unless of course you prefer to pay for water). Many offer complimentary libations and snacks in the evening too. Who wouldn’t love the Wisconsin wine and cheese tasting at Cold Spring Inn, Hubertus…from their own vineyard! To borrow from the line in that Oldsmobile TV spot, this is not your grandmother’s B&B. [caption id="attachment_1174" align="alignright" width="210"]Breakfast at the Otter Creek Inn is as individual as you are: choose your entree, sides, and beverages and schedule delivery to your guest room door so that you may enjoy breakfast-in-bed or at the private table in your guestroom. Breakfast at the Otter Creek Inn is as individual as you are: choose your entree, sides, and beverages and schedule delivery to your guest room door so that you may enjoy breakfast-in-bed or at the private table in your guestroom.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_450" align="alignleft" width="192"]Largest Shower, View of Lake, Canyon Road Inn, Turtle Lake, Wisconsin B&B Canyon Road Inn – Turtle Lake just may have one of the largest showers of all B&B’s in Wisconsin, at 8’ long . . .and with a view of the lake, too.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1173" align="aligncenter" width="144"]Perfectly paired wine & cheese awaits guest enjoyment at Cold Spring Inn's complimentary welcome gathering. Perfectly paired wine & cheese awaits guest enjoyment at Cold Spring Inn's complimentary welcome gathering.[/caption]      

Green is the Color of the Year, Even for Wisconsin B&Bs

  [caption id="attachment_1163" align="alignright" width="300"]English Manor B&B, Sheboygan is located within approx 5 miles to four championship golf courses - Whistling Straits' Irish and Straits Courses and Blackwolf Run's River and Meadow Valley Course. English Manor B&B, Sheboygan is located within approx 5 miles to four championship golf courses - Whistling Straits' Irish and Straits Courses and Blackwolf Run's River and Meadow Valley Course.[/caption]

Emerald green is the Pantone color of the year. Which makes us think green grass.  Which makes us think golf. If you're looking for perfectly manicured greens to be an integral part of your next Wisconsin B&B getaway, then use this handy map to plot out which course you'd like to tackle and then cross reference the nearest B&B. English Manor B&B in Sheboygan, Cobblestone B&B in Birchwoord, and Hollyberry Inn in Hayward have a nice golf package offers, so perhaps tee it up there for starters. Hollyberry Inn sent in this jewel of a golf package:

 

Receive twenty percent off green fees when you stay at Hollyberry Inn B & B. Come play the "4-Star" rated, prestigious and affordable Hayward Golf Club. This "#1 Most played Golf Course in Northern Wisconsin" offers a challenging yet friendly,  beautifully manicured, immaculately groomed course. HGC is just blocks from Hollyberry Inn, where you will enjoy a warm, inviting, comfortable stay, including a scrumptious homemade breakfast before you hit the links. Holly will be happy to schedule your tee times and any other golfing arrangements. Plan ahead to ensure best tee times. (Certain days and times may not be available.) 715-934-4004

 

Check Into Something Better

Here at the Wisconsin B&B Association, we find it mildly amusing that some hotels are offering “B&B Packages.” What’s that adage about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery? Well, we’re not falling for the flattery. Truth is, the breakfast you get at a B&B is homemade, often featuring local ingredients, and served to you. You needn't flip your own pancakes or try to figure out the toaster settings … or worse.  What if B&Bs offered a “Hotel Package”? ‘See why B&Bs are the Better Way to Stay … there, we got that off our chest!  

Biking Season is Nearly Here, Really, We Promise

  [caption id="attachment_1142" align="alignright" width="208"] Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail tunnel, photo courtesy of Franklin Victorian B&B, Sparta.[/caption] Most of the snow has melted, there is that unmistakable smell of spring in the air, and the birds are chirping like they’re trying out for the musical chorus of a Broadway show.  All that’s left is for the temperature to cooperate, and it will, any day now, we just know it. Rather than fixating on the mercury (remember, a watched pot never boils), take the time to tune up the Trek and make a reservation at an inn near your favorite bike trail in Wisconsin. Here’s a map to help you plan your inaugural 2013 biking getaway. [caption id="attachment_1145" align="alignleft" width="350"] Photo courtesy of Franklin Victorian B&B, Sparta[/caption]

See Which B&Bs Garnered “Best of the Midwest”

The editors of Midwest Living have just released their annual “Best of the Midwest” issue and we offer hearty congratulations to these highly deserving member B&Bs: Where to eat in Bayfield: Rittenhouse Inn. The editors called it one of their all-time favorites with wraparound porch and luxe rooms. Where to stay in Door County: Door County Lighthouse Inn, Eagle Harbor Inn and White Gull Inn all made the list! Top kid-friendly stops in Wisconsin: Rainbow Ridge Farms B&Bin La Crosse, thanks to what the editors call a “go-ahead-and-get-dirty-attitude.” [caption id="attachment_1137" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Rainbow Ridge Farms B&B in Onalaska is very kid-friendly!! In every sense of the term![/caption]

Fodor’s Names 10 Best Small Towns in America

  [caption id="attachment_1130" align="alignright" width="300"] Juniper Inn, Fish Creek.[/caption] This week Fodor’s unveiled its list of 10 Best Small Towns in America, saying “in a time when ‘authentic’ is a travel buzzword, these hamlets are attracting visitors with an often unexpected and surprisingly sophisticated array of independent and locally-minded offerings.” Door County was one of the 10, with a mention of Juniper Inn B&B in Fish Creek. Fodor’s lauds the peninsula for its beaches, boutique shops, working artist studios and, of course, fish boils and locally grown cherries.  We’ll add B&Bs to that list too!  

Travel Like an Insider, Check into a Wisconsin B&B

[caption id="attachment_1119" align="alignright" width="300"] Find great insider tips to get the most out of your stay in Sturgeon Bay at the beautiful historic Reynolds House B&B. Heather Hull is a great hostess - which is actually a pretty common thing at a WBBA member inn - and she will give you valuable advice on local finds.[/caption] If you think the typical innkeeper is the hovering type, guess again. They’re there to greet you and get you checked in, serve you a wonderful homemade breakfast, and offer advice on the insider finds in the community. That last service may be the best of all, because Wisconsin B&B owners, unlike paid concierges, give you the real scoop on the best shopping boutiques, farm-to-table restaurants, and local attractions you won’t find anywhere else. Think of it as checking into something better.

Scrapbooking Retreats at Wisconsin B&Bs

Scrapbooking is nice as a solitary pursuit, but wouldn’t you rather cut and paste surrounded by a crew of your favorite fellow scrapbookers? If yes, then consider making it an away occasion. Miller’s Daughter B&B in Green Lake hosts scrapbooking weekends fall through winter, with an area designated specifically just for that.  At the Franklin Street Inn in Appleton, innkeeper July Halma, a former art teacher, says her B&B is a “Crop Til You Drop” retreat location. And at Lake Orchard Farm B&Bin Sheboygan, three-night scrapbooking retreats are held in their well-lit clubhouse area, with use of fully equipped kitchen included in the package. [caption id="attachment_1110" align="alignright" width="300"] Clubhouse is full for a scrapbooking retreat at Lake Orchard Farm B&B, Sheboygan.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1109" align="alignleft" width="270"] A group at Miller's Daughter B&B, Green Lake enjoying a scrapping marathon.[/caption]

We've got the cure for cabin fever!

The first step to curing the 2013 strain of cabin fever is to leave your house. The second step is to head to a Wisconsin B&B Association member inn and, lo and behold, we've got real cabin B&Bs to choose from.  In Wisconsin, inns come in all shapes and sizes, which makes finding a unique place to stay a happy endeavor. You have your Victorian mansions, contemporary urban inns, working farms, and cabins. Yes, there are 18 member B&Bs whose architecture is true cabin, from the rough hewn logs to the big front porch to the roaring fire in the fireplace, like Grapevine Log Cabins B&B in Sparta and Tauschek's B&B Log Home in Plymouth.  There are also inns that have cabins, with Justin Trails B&B Resort in Sparta a fine example of that. And inns with the cousin to the cabin - the cottage - like Thorp House Inn & Cottages in Fish Creek. [caption id="attachment_1101" align="alignleft" width="300"] Stay at a quiant cottage at Thorp House Inn & Cottages in Fish Creek.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1100" align="alignright" width="270"] Relax on the porch at Tauschek's B&B Log Home in Plymouth.[/caption]

Birds Chirping

There’s nothing quite as sweet as the sound of birds chirping. It’s that harbinger of spring that melts even the grumpiest soul. [caption id="attachment_1096" align="alignright" width="300"] Great bird watching opportunities await at the Horicon Marsh. Stay at the nearby Honeybee Inn B&B, Horicon.[/caption] Did you know that right from our web site you can access nearly 300 birding sites around the state plus nearby inns? Take a gander and get that spring getaway on the calendar.

Monday is National Napping Day

While most of us love the benefits of “springing ahead,” like more daylight as we’re heading out of work at the end of a long day and the promise of warm weather, losing that one hour of sleep is a bummer. With quirky “national” days all the rage, thought you’d like to know that Monday is National Napping Day, to coincide with the return of daylight savings time on Sunday. And, you likely know where this is going, we’re suggesting that some of the best napping to be had is at Wisconsin B&B Association member inns. Innkeepers like Jean Moore and William Mallory at The Lauerman House Inn in Marinette go all out with the beds and bedding, creating a spa resort feel to their guestrooms. All beds are fitted with Egyptian cotton sheets and goose down duvets, with two suites having a two-person jacuzzi tub to top it all off.   Be lulled to sleep by the sound of waves when you stay at the Water's Edge, as the inn is located smack dab on the shores of Lake Michigan. So we give you permission to nap on Monday and any time you’re visiting one of our member inns. [caption id="attachment_1082" align="alignleft" width="270"] The Lauerman House Inn, Marinette, offers personalized service and elegant accommodations in each of their seven guest rooms. All beds are fitted with Egyptian cotton sheets and goose down duvets. We have two suites each with a two person jacuzzi tub, one with a private wood burning fireplace, and both with an amazing view of the Menominee River.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1083" align="alignright" width="300"] Wake in the morning to a serene sunrise off the lake and the smell of coffee, then end the day by drifting off to sleep listening to the sound of Lake Michigan waves gently crashing on at the Water's Edge's private natural pebble beach.[/caption]

Wisconsin B&B Getaways For Last-Minute Types

Usually leaving things to the last minute is a recipe for, well, you know the saying.  But not always, as evidenced in this list of Wisconsin B&Bs who offer last-minute getaway packages.  And by last-minute, we mean you can even call the day you want to stay. We also like the category of specials called “off season,” knowing the discounts and good values listed here might be just the permission one needs to break up this long winter with a welcome change of pace. Time to pack your overnight bag.   [caption id="attachment_1078" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Sturgeon Bay's Scofield House invites you to enjoy the quiet season in Door County ... hmm, immediate seating anyone? Their 2 night stay, Friday & Saturday, in any whirlpool room comes with an additional discount thru April 30.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1074" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Want to be on the "A-list"? Receive weekly unpublished last minute specials at Bayfield's Old Rittenhouse Inn, available exclusively to email subscribers (sign up at rittenhouseinn.com). Then, you could be in this spacious third floor King suite, once the home's ballroom, featuring the original tongue and groove wood interior, a seating area with a double-sided fireplace, and a massive window seat with sweeping views of Bayfield, Lake Superior, and the Apostle Islands.[/caption]

Dog Days and B&B Nights

Even if you don’t own a dog it’s difficult to resist tuning in to the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show if only for the announcement of Best in Show. Oh, the drama, the divas, the dog handlers…and what’s with those doggie treats! At any rate, if you are a pet person, you’ll be happy to know there are 13 inns in Wisconsin that would be very pleased to host you and your canine companion.  So, if you’re the type of person who would never dream of leaving home without your prized purebred or mutt with the magnetic personality, the Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association has you covered. [caption id="attachment_1054" align="alignleft" width="200"] Miss Maggie D. of the Dobranoc Inn of Fond du Lac has graciously hosted many guest pups and gently tutored them on B&B etiquette.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1056" align="alignright" width="300"] You'll never walk alone on the Grapevine Log Cabins' trails in Sparta. The walking trail starts behind the cabins and meanders up and down hills through the woods. It is about one mile long, mowed and maintained all summer. Ruby, their dog will be glad to accompany you on your walk. She is always ready to go with you and sometimes she just gets back and someone else is going to take a walk and away she goes again.[/caption]                       [caption id="attachment_1055" align="alignleft" width="223"] Balou, the friendly boxer at Jay Lee Inn, Elkhart Lake spends most of the time in the family's private quarters when he's not welcoming guests - either 2 or 4 legged.[/caption]  

Wisconsin Farmers Markets Continue All Winter Long

We've often touted how Wisconsin B&B Association member inns do such a great job of sourcing locally for their breakfast menus.  Bet you didn't know they carry on with that commitment long after the first snow flies.  Indoor winter farmers’ markets offer a bounty of goodies for B&B owners and home chefs alike.  The Milwaukee County Winter Farmers’ Market at State Fair Park runs through mid-April, with area vendors coming together to offer shoppers a nice selection of root vegetables, artisan cheeses, honey, maple syrup, jam, meats, eggs and pastries.  Extend the warmth by spending the night at a B&B in the region.  The Oconomowoc Winter Farmers’ Market welcomes visitors with Alterra coffee, lots of baked goods, popcorn, pickled goods, winter greens and more.  Pair that with a stay at Inn at Pine Terrace – they have quite the following for their pecan stuffed French toast. The famous Dane County Farmers’ Market moves indoors to the Madison Senior Center, where the selection is diverse and delicious,  just like the B&Bs in the Madison area.  Here’s to good eating all year long. [caption id="attachment_1040" align="alignright" width="257"] Inn at Pine Terrace, Oconomowoc.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1038" align="alignleft" width="270"] Oconomowoc Winter Farmers' Market[/caption]

Calling All Hardy Explorers

Here in Wisconsin, we never let winter get in the way of a good outdoor event.   Stay at a Wisconsin B&B and you’ll always know you have a warm, cozy bed and warm, homemade breakfast to come back to.  So here are our picks for some terrific outdoor fests for each weekend in February, with links to B&Bs in the area, starting with the 24th annual Hot Air Affair in Hudson, February 1-3.  The weekend includes hot air balloon launches, a parade and geocaching.  The Snowflake Ski Jump Tournament will be held in Westby, February 1-2.  There’s the Sturgeon Stampede in Fond du Lac, February 8-10, with skating, broomball, ice bowling, and ice sailing.  The centerpiece of the Manawa Snodeo in Manawa, February 15-16, is the vintage snowmobile and motorcycle racing under the lights.  Rounding out the short month is the American Birkebeiner Cross-Country Ski Event in Hayward, February 21-23.  Also, feel free to take a gander at Travel Wisconsin's Snow Conditions Report and click on your favorite activity to see what the conditions are like. Feeling hardy?  We hope so. [caption id="attachment_1034" align="alignleft" width="216"] Ski Jump Tournament courtesy of the Westby House Inn, Westby.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1030" align="alignright" width="240"] Guest gears up for an afternoon of snowshoeing at Justin Trails B&B Resort, Sparta.[/caption]                 [caption id="attachment_1026" align="aligncenter" width="182"] Hudson Hot Air Affair[/caption]

Weddings at Highclere Castle…or a Wisconsin B&B

Fans of the incredible PBS series “Downton Abbey” most certainly spent last Sunday evening glued to their TV sets for the season premiere.  At last, the wedding of Matthew and Mary!  And a wedding for Edith on the way.  Did you know you can actually book a wedding at Highclere Castle where the series is filmed?  Well, if that’s not in the (bridge) cards for you, then you’ll be pleased to know that many elegant Wisconsin B&Bs also host weddings.   Or perhaps an elopement is more your style, in the spirit of Lady’s Sybil’s runaway marriage to the chauffeur.  It’s all so thrilling, isn’t it! [caption id="attachment_1008" align="aligncenter" width="300"] More than a walk down the aisle, here comes this Bride down on a garden path, fragrant with flowers. Experienced wedding planners at the Oscar H. Hanson House in Cambridge do the work, so you can treasure every moment.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1009" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Weddings at Willow Pond B&B & Events in Weyauwega promise to be nature-inspired. Gardens and water features are the stage for wedding vows, while tents or the festive converted barn shelter the celebration.[/caption]  

What’s Between Green Bay and Door County?

There’s an area of Wisconsin that goes by Kewaunee County that is oft overlooked because it lies in the shadows of Green Bay and Door County.  Yet, it’s a sweet sliver of the state with some great insider finds, as chronicled in this wonderful travel piece from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  Especially nice to see two of our member inns – Joannes B&B in De Pere and The Red Forest B&B in Two Rivers – recommended under Where to Stay. [caption id="attachment_948" align="alignleft" width="300"] One of three luxurious guest rooms at Joannes B&B, De Pere.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_952" align="alignright" width="270"] A small sampling of the scrumptious breakfasts that await you at the Red Forest B&B, Two Rivers.[/caption]  

Door County in the Winter is Wonderful

Just because it’s winter doesn't mean you should close the door on a Door County getaway.  Quite the contrary!  The tranquility, easy pace, serene scenery, good food, artful finds and, of course, the largest concentration of B&Bs in the state should tempt you this time of year.  Here’s a wonderful story from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the best winter attributes of Door County, with some well-earned accolades for White Gull Inn and Thorp House Inn and Cottages. [caption id="" align="alignright" width="270"] Thorp House Inn and Cottages are just what you had in mind... cozy and private... nestled in the pines... in the heart of the village. Most rooms fireplaces and some have whirlpools. Both the Inn and Cottages are open year-round.[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_939" align="alignleft" width="300"] For 32 years, the White Gull Inn has provided warm, friendly hospitality - which represents the best of what Door County has been and what they hope it continues to be.[/caption]

Christmas Curb Appeal at Wisconsin B&Bs

Why is it that most of us neglect to take advantage of those last mild days of autumn to hang Christmas decorations outside?  No, we wait until the mercury registers freezing, flurries fill the air, and the north winds whip to finally get to this task.  If you’re in need of some fresh Christmas curb appeal ideas, here are a few from some of Wisconsin’s most stylish B&Bs.   Westby House Inn - Westby, keeps it elegant and simple by stringing thousands of white lights matched by fresh balsm garland and warm lights glowing in each window.  And there's nothing like a fresh snowfall at dusk at the Westphal Mansion - Hartford, with warm lights glowing inside, to remind us of the beauty of the season.   [caption id="attachment_923" align="alignleft" width="300"] Come right inn, shake the chill off! The Westby House Inn, just 20 miles south east of LaCrosse, surrounds you with Victorian architecture complimented by contemporary comforts. With 15 years of B&B innkeeping experience, Mike & Marie know how to treat their guests![/caption]

B&Bs for Vets

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. [caption id="attachment_848" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Lindsay House B&B, Manawa.[/caption]

Irish Oats with Fruit & Cranberry Syrup...perfect for Fall!

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 [caption id="attachment_842" align="alignright" width="300"] Cozy sitting room at the Stewart Inn, Wausau[/caption] 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 Fruit Topping 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.

Fall Getaway in Wisconsin Must Include…

We all have our favorites when it comes to the quintessential fall getaway in Wisconsin, so this is by no means a definitive itinerary, but it comes close in our book.  Did we mention you’ll probably need at least a week to get everything in? [caption id="attachment_821" align="alignright" width="300"] Underwater view of a cranberry bog, courtesy of          Amil's Inn B&B, Wilton.[/caption] Tour a cranberry bog.  Make reservations to tour Glacial Lake Cranberries in Wisconsin Rapids.  This historic and sustainable cranberry marsh has been in continuous operation since 1873. Make reservations to stay at one of two nearby inns in Steven’s Point – Dreams of Yesteryear or A Victorian Swan on Water. Also, this weekend September 28-30 is the 40th annual Warrens Cranberry Festival  in Warrens, WI, the largest of its kind in the world.  Before you go check what's available at these area B&Bs...rooms are going fast!
Attend an Oktoberfest event. We have to go with La Crosse on this one,  with their Oktoberfest running September 28-October 6.  Relax at Four Gables B&B or Wilson Schoolhouse Inn after the merry-making. Take in a view from above.  At Rib Mountain State Park in Wausau, take a ride to the top of Granite Peak and back via ski chairlift.  The rides are available September 29-30, October 6-7 and October 13-14. Then stay in a National Register Arts & Crafts masterpiece, the Stewart Inn. Head to a farmers’ market.  No matter what B&B you’re visiting, there’s bound to be a farmers’ market close by.  Just ask the innkeeper. Tailgate. Tailgating before a Badger game? There are a half-dozen different Madison B&Bs to choose from to serve as home base.  Just be sure to pack plenty of red and white.  Tailgating before a Packer game? There are numerous inns within 50 miles, with half-dozen of them within a 25 mile radius of  Green Bay and Lambeau Field for your game-day pleasure. Experience opera.  The Florentine Opera Company in Milwaukee kicks off its season at the end of October with a performance of Bizet’s “Carmen.” Experience fall drama by staying at Cold Spring Inn in nearby Hubertus. Located on 80 acres with a river valley running through it, Cold Spring Inn also has a new boutique vineyard and wine tasting.  Bravo! Eat a caramel apple. In Cedarburg, the caramel apples at Amy’s Candy Kitchen are the best (that’s not just us saying it either, it’s according to the Wall Street Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Wisconsin State Fair).  The two B&Bs in town are historic gems – they are the Stagecoach Inn B&B and Washington House Inn.

Wisconsin B&B Inns Cherish the Apple

[caption id="attachment_816" align="alignright" width="300"] Apple orchard at Apple Tree Lane B&B, Waupaca.[/caption] Wisconsin’s roller coaster of a spring and summer in the weather department wasn’t exactly kind to the state’s apple crop.  All the more reason to relish every juicy bite of the ruby pomme with recipes like this one for Apple Lavender Scones from the innkeepers at Pinehurst Inn in Bayfield. By the way, this recipe and many others are included in our eighth edition cookbook which will be available for purchase mid-November.  Gift-giving idea anyone! Pinehurst Apple Lavender Scones "This recipe pulls together a mix of items from our own gardens and fruit from our local Bayfield orchards. We adapted this recipe from a basic scone recipe given to us by a friend."  -Pinehurst Innkeepers Nancy & Steve Sandstrom 2 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour ¼ cup organic sugar 1 Tbsp baking powder ¼ tsp cinnamon ¼ tsp salt 2 tsp chopped lavender leaves 1/3 cup cold butter 1 cup buttermilk 1 tsp lemon juice 2 tsp lemon zest 1½ cups peeled cubed apples, or Bosc pears Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and lavender in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender cut the cold butter (divided into 6-7 pieces) until the consistency is coarse and crumbly. Add the buttermilk, lemon juice, lemon zest, and cubed apples and stir with a fork until just moistened. If the mixture is too dry, you can add a drop or two of additional buttermilk. Knead the dough 5-6 times on a floured surface. Roll out to ¾-inch thickness and cut into preferred shapes. We use a greased scone pan to create consistent sizes. You can also drop the batter onto a greased cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops of the scones with egg white and sprinkle with a mixture of sugar and cinnamon. Bake 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown. Yield: 1 dozen.

Ride a Rustic Road

If you’re a bicyclist or motorcyclist and have not heard of Wisconsin’s Rustic Road system, then get in the know right now so you can experience these roads-less-traveled during the autumn season.  The Wisconsin Department of Transportation calls its Rustic Road system “a positive step backward,” which we love.   To qualify a road must have outstanding natural features and vistas along its borders, be lightly traveled, and not be scheduled for major improvements.  Maximum speed limit is 45 mph.  You can order a free copy of the Rustic Roads travel guide online. To pique your interest in seeing peek colors from top to bottom of the state, we offer these recommendations:  Catch the earliest colors by heading to Brown County in northeast Wisconsin where there are three Rustic Roads – 8, 40 and 46.  Spend the night at Sabamba Alpaca Ranch in De Pere, a remodeled 1890 farmhouse where children are welcome. Pick up some of their cozy alpaca clothing while you’re there.  In central Wisconsin, there’s Ellison’s Gray Lion Inn in Princeton, which is in Green Lake County and home to Rustic Roads 27, 81, 90 and 94.  Insider tip: The famous Princeton Flea Market runs through mid-October. Then in far southwest Wisconsin, there’s Wisconsin House, built in 1846 as a stagecoach stop and located in Hazel Green in Grant County, where Rustic Roads 70 and 99 are your designated paths. [caption id="attachment_812" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Ellison's Gray Lion Inn, Princeton (left); Sabamba Alpaca Ranch, De Pere (center); Wisconsin House, Hazel Green (right).[/caption]

Tennis Terms Applied to Wisconsin B&Bs part 2

Winner: An unreturnable shot. B&B version: Cameo Rose Victorian Country Inn - Belleville just won the prestigious 2012 Certificate of Excellence award from TripAdvisor. [caption id="attachment_789" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Cameo Rose Victorian Country Inn, Belleville[/caption] Mini-break: Server loses a point in a tie-break. B&B version: Escaping midweek and taking advantage of the great promotional packages at Door County Inns like: Inn at Cedar Crossing & Sawyer House B&B both of Sturgeon Bay, and Trollhaugen Lodge - Ephraim. [caption id="attachment_786" align="alignright" width="570"] Inn at Cedar Crossing (left), Sawyer House B&B (center) both of Sturgeon Bay; Trollhaugen Lodge B&B, Ephraim (right)[/caption] Anticipation: Receiver anticipates where the next ball will land. B&B version: Anticipation is half the fun of your B&B getaway.  Plan all the things you want to do by perusing the appropriately titled Things to Do section of our site. Nice return: Receiver hits a strong return. B&B version: If you love a particular B&B, by all means do return.  At the Albany House B&B - Albany, an impressive 65% of their visitors are return guests. [caption id="attachment_782" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Albany House, Albany[/caption] Nice touch: Usually refers to a deft drop shot. B&B version: SevenOaks - Lake Geneva, offers its guests heated floors and heated towel bars to warm your soft, fluffy towels which we think is an especially nice touch. [caption id="attachment_790" align="aligncenter" width="524"] SevenOaks, Lake Geneva[/caption]  

Second serve: Second chance to get serve in. B&B version: In addition to breakfast, the Westphal Mansion Inn B&B - Hartford offers an evening wine and cheese reception for their guests.

[caption id="attachment_781" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Westphal Mansion Inn B&B, Hartford. Their complimentary "Wine & Cheese Social Hour" is available daily from 4:00-5:00pm.[/caption]

Tennis Terms Applied to Wisconsin B&Bs

The U.S. Tennis Open has just wrapped for another year, which inspired this week’s blog post - the Wisconsin B&B version of common tennis terms. Love: Score is zero.  B&B version: Love is always in the air at romantic inns like Lazy Cloud B&B in Lake Geneva. [caption id="attachment_772" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Lazy Cloud B&B, Lake Geneva.[/caption] Tie-break: Determines who wins the set.  B&B version: If the tie-break on deciding which B&B you’ll visit is based on extras, consider amenity-laden properties like Dobranoc Inn B&B in Fond du Lac. [caption id="attachment_773" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Dobranoc Inn, Fond du Lac[/caption] Ace: Serve that receiver can’t touch. B&B version: Ace the holiday gift list with a gift certificate from the Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association – it’s good at over 150 inns. Advantage: Game point. B&B version: The advantage of staying at a B&B is often the bed, like the super comfy featherbeds at Ferg Haus Inn of Ferg's Bavarian Village in Manawa, and the breakfast, like the full gourmet a.m. meal at Inn On Maplein Sister Bay. [caption id="attachment_775" align="alignright" width="150"] Ferg Haus Inn, Manawa.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_774" align="alignleft" width="198"] Inn on Maple, Sister Bay.[/caption]               Overrule: Chair umpire overrules a call made by a line judge as to whether the ball was in or out. B&B version: Overrule your spouse’s inclination to stay home and instead opt for a staycation at an inn near you, with this handy search-by-city function at your fingertips.

Superlatives to Guide B&B Travelers to Wisconsin part 2

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. [caption id="attachment_764" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Inn at Lonesome Hollow, Soldiers Grove[/caption] 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. [caption id="attachment_763" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Victorian Dreams B&B, Lodi[/caption] Eeriest Inn:  Purported to have had ghost sightings is the Brumder Mansion B&B - Milwaukee. [caption id="attachment_762" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Brumder Mansion B&B, Milwaukee[/caption] 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. [caption id="attachment_759" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Joannes B&B, De Pere[/caption] Sportiest Inn: As in offering lots of outdoor sports options to guest. And this category goes to Justin Trails B&B Resort - Sparta. [caption id="attachment_761" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Justin Trails B&B Resort, Sparta[/caption] 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." [caption id="attachment_760" align="aligncenter" width="300"] River View Room at White Rose Inns, Wisconsin Dells[/caption]

Superlatives to Guide B&B Travelers to Wisconsin

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.

[caption id="attachment_745" align="aligncenter" width="211"] Wisconsin House Stagecoach Inn, Hazel Green[/caption] 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

[caption id="attachment_748" align="aligncenter" width="240"] O'Neill Manor, Neillsville.[/caption] Largest Inn: Washington House Inn - Cedarburg with 34 rooms. [caption id="attachment_750" align="aligncenter" width="211"] Washington House Inn, Cedarburg.[/caption] Tallest Inn: Strawberry Lace Inn - Sparta with four floors. [caption id="attachment_751" align="aligncenter" width="240"] Strawberry Lace Inn, Sparta[/caption] 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. [caption id="attachment_752" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Inn at Wawanissee Point, Baraboo[/caption] 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. [caption id="attachment_753" align="aligncenter" width="246"] Innkeepers Steve and Nancy Sandstrom at Pinehurst Inn, Bayfield.[/caption] ...Stay tuned for part 2 of the "est" list released this Friday!

Fun Facts to Know and Tell about B&Bs

[caption id="attachment_705" align="aligncenter" width="150" caption="Guests are pampered with luxurious in-room amenities such as wi-fi, fireplace, whirlpool, premuim bath products, and television at the Honeybee Inn, Horicon. Innkeeper Barb Ruka says: "Guests will peruse our extensive & up-to-date movie library, get cozy in their room for hours, catching up on the latest films that they can't fit into their busy lives at home." A relaxing end to a day of touring or cruising the Horicon Marsh, within walking distance of the inn."][/caption] We’re a member of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII for short) and each year they release a research report that provides a snapshot of what’s what in B&B travel.  Thought you might be interested in a few tidbits: The average age of the oldest part of a B&B building is 111; 35% of inns have achieved an “historical designation” by a local, state or national historic preservation organization; 72% of B&Bs are run by couples; and most inns provide internet, television, luxury bed/linens, premium branded toiletries, robes, fireplaces, magazines and jetted tubs in the guest rooms.  Here’s more from Jay Karen, PAII president and CEO, “One interesting statistic we noticed from the study is that there was a slight decrease in the offering of common-area services and amenities, and a slight increase in offering in-room services and amenities. It seems more guests are asking to enjoy services privately in their rooms, and innkeepers are happy to oblige. That’s the nice thing about B&Bs – as a guest, you can make the experience as social or as private as you like.”  Well said!

Wisconsin Hosts U.W. Women’s Open, B&Bs Host Golf Fans

The U.S. Women’s Open is back at Blackwolf Run Golf Course in Kohler July 2-8. According to the course web site, Blackwolf Run is regarded as one of Pete Dye’s crowning achievements.  It’s played host to the Andersen Consulting World Golf Championships in 1995, 1996 and 1997 as well as the historic 1998 U.S. Women’s Open, with the U.S. Women’s Open returning for the second time.  There’s a nice variety of Wisconsin B&Bs near Kohler, if you want to stay and play the course yourself.  Just click on the Eastern Waters & Door County region on our map. For something farther northwest, Canyon Road Inn in Turtle Lake is now offering a golf package.  And check out our Golf Map to see courses in the state and nearby B&Bs.  We’d help you with your swing too if we could! [caption id="attachment_693" align="aligncenter" width="150" caption="Golfers and non-golfers can stroll these greens at Canyon Road Inn, Turtle Lake. Innkeepers Patti and Turner assure you "we do all the work - you just enjoy"!"][/caption]

Marathoners Make a Beeline to Wisconsin B&Bs

Here’s a trend that’s coming on strong – amateur athletes choosing Wisconsin B&Bs when traveling for 5Ks, half-marathons, marathons, sprint triathlons, adventure races, well, you get the gist.  Makes sense when you consider B&Bs are in a rather unique position to customize just about anything a “weekend warrior” would need to be in peak condition for the competition.  In Door County, the Door County Lighthouse Inn offers to-go nourishment for the athlete and coffee cake for the athlete’s support team.  At the Hamilton House B&B in Whitewater, innkeeper Kathleen Fleming says the runners who participate in the Ice Age 50 and Kettle 100 may schedule a massage with the inn’s massage therapist, but most take ice baths in the inn’s huge tubs after the race!  If you’re heading to Oshkosh for the August 5 Olympic and Sprint Triathlon, the Brayton B&B has upscale bath amenities and beds to provide great comfort after the race.   [caption id="attachment_683" align="aligncenter" width="150" caption="Could there possibly be a better way to unwind after a race? (we'll include the rat race too!) Innkeeper Kathleen at the Hamilton House B&B in Whitewater says it's your choice of whirlpool therapy - steaming soothing bubbles or tingling ice for sore muscles."][/caption]

No Nitpicking, It’s Strawberry Picking

We’re not nitpicking by a day or two as to the readiness of the strawberry crop.  Usually the berries are ripe come mid-June.  Thanks to the unusually warm spring in Wisconsin, they’re already ripe.  The picking season is short too – just three weeks.  So if you like to pick your own, here’s a handy map of where to stop and stoop, courtesy of the Wisconsin Berry Growers Association.   The Strawberry Festival in Cedarburg is June 23-24, a good reason all by itself to visit this pretty little burg.  You can also expect some incredible strawberry treats from innkeepers this time of year, like the Cranberry/Strawberry Topped Cheesecake from Altemus Corners B&B in Stoughton.  The innkeeper there tells us her guests sleep great after this evening dessert – better than a glass of warm milk we suspect! Cranberry/Strawberry Topped Cheesecake Makes 1 Pie

“This cheesecake is served regularly at the Altemus Corners B&B.  The lemon taste is always fresh in summer or winter with berry topping and it’s always wonderful to have a dairy treat for the guests.  The sleep really great after an 8 p.m. dessert like this one!”  --Innkeepers, Altemus Corners B&B

1 (8 ounce) bag animal crackers, finely crushed ½ cup butter 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided 2 eggs 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract, divided 1 ½ cups sour cream Whipped cream  TOPPING ¾ cup fresh cranberries ¾ cup water 2 teaspoons corn starch ¼ cup sugar ¾ cup fresh sliced strawberries 
Preheat over to 325°F. Melt the butter in a glass pie plate.  Add the cookie crumbs, mix, and press into the bottom of the plate and up the sides.  In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and ½ cup sugar.  Add the eggs one at a time.  Stir in the lemon and 1 teaspoon vanilla; mix to combine.  Pour the cream cheese mixture into the pie plate and bake 20 minutes, or until set. In a medium bowl, mix together the sour cream, 3 tablespoons sugar and ½ teaspoon vanilla.  Remove the cheesecake from the oven and top with the sour cream mixture.  Return to oven for an additional 10 minutes.  Cool and refrigerate.  Serve with whipped cream and berry topping.  For the topping:  Boil the cranberries in the water for about 5 minutes.  The cranberries will pop.  Mix the cornstarch in a bit of cold water to make a thick slurry.  Remove the cranberries from heat and add the slurry and sugar.  Allow the mixture to cool 10 minutes before adding sliced strawberries.  [caption id="attachment_672" align="aligncenter" width="150" caption="Picture yourself breakfasting in the morning or fire-fly gazing in the evening on the gazebo-porch at Altemus Corners in Stoughton. Innkeeper Marge promises the Cranberry/Strawberry Topped Cheesecake is served year-round."][/caption]

Madison Continues to Rack Up Bike-Friendly Honors

Madison was just rated the fifth most bikeable city in the United States by Bike Score, a quantitative measurement of locations based on availability of bike lanes and infrastructure, hilliness, amenities and percent of people who bike to work.  Check out the heat map that shows areas best for biking in green and those areas not so accommodating in orange and red.  It would be fitting to stay at a Travel Green Wisconsin certified B&B when in Madison if you’re there to bike, don’t you agree?  There’s a nice trio to choose from: Annie’s B&B, Speckled Hen Inn, and Token Creek Eco-Inn.   [caption id="attachment_648" align="aligncenter" width="150" caption="Look what's waiting for you after exploring Madison's bike trails at Token Creek Eco Inn just outside of Madison."][/caption]

Musings on Fishing, Food and Father’s Day

Fishing season is officially underway in Wisconsin, which is music to anglers’ ears.  If you’d like to give the sport a try, take advantage of the free statewide fishing weekend June 2-3.   Then, if you’re hooked, purchase a fishing license online.   Just for fun, we did a search for B&Bs that serve a full breakfast (translate that to hearty, homemade and satisfying) and tout their proximity to fishing.  More than 100 inns matched the search criteria.  Which led us to think – what if you slipped those search results inside one of our Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association gift certificates and presented to Dad for Father’s Day.  As far as Father’s Day gifts go, seems like the catch of the day to us! [caption id="attachment_633" align="aligncenter" width="150" caption="At the Mecan River House B&B in Coloma, a river does run through it! Trout fisherman can walk right down to the Mecan River, a #1 trout fishing stream that runs length of the property, with many DNR newly created holes for trout to gather. At the end of the day, relax with complimentary beverages / wine."][/caption]

Wisconsin B&Bs Call for a Vote – Doilies or No Doilies

  We’ve been on a mission lately to dispel misconceptions about B&B travel, and that includes the myth that all inns are old or old-fashioned.  To that end, we bring you “Doily Decision 2012.”  Cast your vote – pro-doily (perfectly apropos for those who favor sophisticated, historically significant inns) or no-doily (contemporary styling all the way, and there are lots of inns like this too) - at our facebook page .  The polling closes May 29, with the final tally to be announced June 1.  By voting, your name will also be entered in a drawing for a gift basket filled with items that faithfully represent today’s B&B experience, with myth-busting treasures like spa robe, high-end pillow,  artist-created coffee mugs, iPod, and a $150 gift certificate good for a getaway to the member B&B of your choice!   [caption id="attachment_587" align="aligncenter" width="163" caption="Admire or Retire?"][/caption]                          [caption id="attachment_588" align="aligncenter" width="207" caption="Trash or Treasure?"][/caption]

Early Maple Syrup Season in Wisconsin

While many of our guests were reaping the benefits of the record-breaking warm temperatures in March, like being able to play golf earlier than usual or hop on the bike for a round-trip exercise boost, the maple syrup producers were hard at work, tapping the trees weeks earlier than usual. Thought you’d like to know that Wisconsin ranks No. 4 in maple syrup production, just behind Vermont, New York and Maine. Will maple syrup yields be down because of this wild weather? There’s a good chance of that. But do not fret, our innkeepers are on top of this, and will make sure pancakes and waffles get their share of maple-y goodness. Plus, there’s always the fruit topping alternative once the orchards and farms start producing here, which could be earlier than you think! Here’s a recipe from Brayton B&B in Oshkosh for Crème Brulee French Toast with Streusel Topping, served with strawberry jam, no maple syrup required.  Crème Brulee French Toast with Streusel Topping Plan ahead as this dish needs to refrigerate overnight; Makes 4 Servings  1 stick butter 1 cup brown sugar 2 teaspoons corn syrup 1 loaf cinnamon bread 5 large eggs 1 ½ cups half & half 1 teaspoon vanilla extract CRUMB TOPPING ¼ cup brown sugar ½ stick butter ½ teaspoon cinnamon ¼ cup chopped pecans In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup to a boil. Stir frequently. Pour the mixture into an 8x8 inch baking dish. Layer the bread over the glaze, 2-4 slices high, making them fit the pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, half & half, and vanilla until combined. Pour over the bread, cover, and chill overnight. The following morning: Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes. In a small bowl, mix together the crumb topping; sprinkle over the baked French toast. Bake an additional 10 minutes. Serve with strawberry jam.
 
 
[caption id="attachment_533" align="aligncenter" width="201" caption="Locally sourced, freshly made, hearty, gourmet, lively conversation, savor-in-your-room ... that's what makes breakfast at a B&B a better way to start your day."]Wisconsin B&Bs, local food, maple syrup, in-room breakfast, better way to stay[/caption]

March Weather Madness in Wisconsin

Forget snow.  Record high temperatures for the third week of March – we’re talking high 70s to low 80s! - have been set all over the state, from Wausau to Green Bay to Stevens Point to Oshkosh.  According to meteorologists, we can thank the jet stream for the mild readings.  How wonderfully odd to see people out biking, hiking and even golfing.  A great number of the state’s golf courses opened early, so if you’re itching to tee up a combo golf/B&B getaway, you’re in luck.  Many of our more rural member inns have excellent hiking trails on their own acreage or state and county park trails nearby. Dare we predict that summer is just around the corner?     [caption id="attachment_524" align="aligncenter" width="199" caption="Cameo Rose Victorian Inn, located in Belleville (less than 10 miles south of the heart of Madison) has four miles of private and beautiful hiking trails. Cameo Rose is a mile from the Badger State Bike Trail, six miles from the Military Ridge Bike Trail and 12 miles from the Sugar River Bike Trail. Daily and annual bike trail passes can conveniently be purchased from the innkeepers."]Cameo Rose walking trail, private and serene walking trail, nearby to bike trails[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_525" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The Red Forest B&B in Two Rivers is your home base while biking the Rawley Point Trail or the Mariner's Trail. The Rawley Point Trail, six miles of hard packed limestone trail, connects Two Rivers and Point Beach State Park, winding through pine and hemlock forests, dunes and fields. The Mariner's Trail is six miles of paved lakeshore trail joining Manitowoc and Two Rivers, with lake views and flower gardens along the way."]Red Forest B&B, Two Rivers, biking, Mariner's Trail, Rawley Point Trail[/caption]

Culture Vultures Always Welcome at Wisconsin B&Bs

In this year’s travel trends forecast from TripAdvisor.com, one of the top trips being planned by respondents for 2012 is a cultural trip, meaning a getaway built around a visit to a museum or historic site.  They even gave this category of travelers a catchy name – “culture vultures.”  This is a trend that Wisconsin B&Bs can really get behind.  After all, 26 of our member inns are National Historic Register properties, so a visit to one of them is already a cultural trip in and of itself.    If you’re interested in Wisconsin Historic Sites, there are 10 of them, from the Madeline Island Museum in the northernmost tip of the state to the First Capitol in Belmont in the southwest corner of Wisconsin.  The Wisconsin Historical Museum   is located on the Capitol Square in Madison and it’s full of wonderful information about the state’s rich history. We recommend the exhibit “Wisconsin innovations: From the Iconic to the Unexpected” which runs through August. [caption id="attachment_459" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Strawberry Lace Inn in Sparta is an opulent Italianate Victorian built in 1875 by a Major in the Civil War. Innkeepers Elsie and Jack searched the entire country for the home to complement their antiques."][/caption] [caption id="attachment_461" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Four Gables B&B in LaCrosse is a 1906 Queen Anne home built by the Munstocks made their money, at the time, from strawberries. It remained in the Munstock family until 1981 when the present innkeepers, Jerry & Nancy, saw the potential for a B&B."][/caption] [caption id="attachment_460" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The Rochester Inn in Sheboygan Falls, the first general store and post office in the county, was built in 1848 - the same year Wisconsin became a state - and is the 2nd oldest building in Sheboygan County."][/caption]

Travel Trends - Big Showers, More Freebies, B&Bs

Travel + Leisure magazine listed big showers, little tubs as one of the hot travel trends a few years back.  Wisconsin B&Bs that did this trend proud include Stewart Inn - Wausau with its huge double steam showers. Innkeeper Paul Welter notes “ Many of our guests are skiers, and they appreciate the soothing effects of steam on muscles and sinuses.  You can enjoy aromatherapy along with your steam bath by placing essential oils in a small receptacle in the steam outlet.”  Going beyond a room with a view,  Canyon Road Inn’s 8’ long shower with multiple body sprays has a great view of the lake.  You’ll indeed get the royal treatment in the Queen Bee Victorian room’s  4’ x 6’ shower at the Honeybee Inn – Horicon with a total of 9 heads & sprays. This year, Budget Travel predicts travelers will demand more amenities, like free bottled water and Wi-Fi.  Ha, the vast majority of Wisconsin B&Bs have been doing that all along!  In fact, Inn at Wawanissee Point – WI Dells, and Arbor Inn – Prescott take it one step further and provide free wine and cheese tastings in the evening... Cold Spring Inn-Hubertus does this too, using the wines produced from their own vineyard.  And here’s one travel trend for 2012 we especially like – TripAdvisor.compredicts more travelers will choose B&Bs this year than last. [caption id="attachment_451" align="aligncenter" width="200" caption="Soothing double steam showers at the Stewart Inn – Wausau have therapeutic results similar to hot water but use only a small fraction of the energy and water – a more eco-friendly way to relax."]Eco-friendly, therapeutic, double steam shower[/caption] [caption id="attachment_450" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Canyon Road Inn – Turtle Lake just may have one of the largest showers of all B&B’s in Wisconsin, at 8’ long . . .and with a view of the lake, too."]Largest Shower, View of Lake, Canyon Road Inn, Turtle Lake, Wisconsin B&B[/caption]

Birds are Awfully Chirpy for February

Did we really see some trees budding?  We know we’re not imagining the birds chirping like crazy.  February in Wisconsin is not what it used to be!  Perhaps it’s not too early to start thinking about a Wisconsin B&B getaway that includes a little bird-watching.  We catalogued 300 – yes, 300! birding areas around the state, cross-referencing nearby B&Bs.  So get ready for some hiking, as it may come sooner than you think. [caption id="attachment_428" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="No matter the season, spotting a Cardinal is always a delight. Thanks to the Speckled Hen Inn, Madison, for the photo."]Cardinal, Speckled Hen Inn, Madison[/caption]

Newly Built B&Bs Do Exist in Wisconsin

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.   Then there are inns whose historic exterior belies their modern interiors.  Examples include Lauerman House Inn - Marinette, Tritsch House - Alma, and Wilson Schoolhouse Inn - LaCrosse.  If you like modern, don’t rule out a B&B.   [caption id="attachment_381" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The Lauerman House in Marinette is a circa 1910 Colonial Revival mansion. The 7 spacious rooms are unabashedly contemporary - and the dining is gourmet."]contemporary B&B decor, historic bed and breakfast, modern, gourmet dining[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_382" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Try your hand at a game of pool on the 8-foot Olhaussen pool table at the Tritsch HouseB&B in Alma. You'll find a nice mix of period rooms with beautiful woodwork paired with modern amenities."]pool table, B&B pool table, contemporary B&B amenities[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_383" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Go back to school ... and this time, relax in Scandinavian-modern furnishings in an historic schoolhouse that welcomes small groups. The Wilson Schoolhouse Inn, LaCrosse, pairs contemporary comforts - even a full kitchen - with the historic schoolhouse architecture."]contemporary B&B in historic school, Scandinavian-modern comfort, Wilson Schoolhouse Inn, LaCrosse[/caption]    

Love the In-Laws, But…

Are you heading out this holiday season to visit family and friends in Wisconsin?  If you feel like too much togetherness is just, well, too much, here’s an alternative: Stay at a Wisconsin B&B.  Just call ahead to see what December openings are available.  Lots of Wisconsin B&Bs really go all out for the holidays...an added bonus if you love designer decorations and Christmas-y breakfast items, and who doesn't!

No Curfews at Wisconsin B&Bs

Curfews at B&Bs, fact or fiction?  Fiction!  You can stay out as late as you like and, to prove this point, there are inns that wholeheartedly encourage late-night star gazing.  Like Sunnyfield Farm B&B in Camp Douglas, located on 160 acres of farmland.  And Cooksville Farmhouse Inn, 20 miles from Madison's city lights with a wonderful view of the night sky, especially in the winter.  In the community of Rio, the Mill House Inn, set on 40 country acres, offers prime viewing for shooting stars. And there’s Lindsay House B&B in Manawa, where travelers can take in a beautiful starry view away from the haze of city lights. Owner Judy Trull often jokes with her guests that they need not feel like teenagers who have to rush home before Mom locks the door.  So stargaze as late as you like!
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