Biking is the new Golf - You Heard it from Wisconsin B&Bs

[caption id="attachment_1675" align="alignright" width="300"]Parkview B&B in Reedsburg Parkview B&B in Reedsburg[/caption] 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. [caption id="attachment_1672" align="alignleft" width="300"]Grapevine Log Cabins in Sparta Grapevine Log Cabins in Sparta[/caption]     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. [caption id="attachment_1674" align="alignright" width="300"]Justin Trails Resort in Sparta Justin Trails Resort in Sparta[/caption]             [caption id="attachment_1679" align="alignleft" width="300"]Pleasant View B&B in Chippewa Falls Pleasant View B&B in Chippewa Falls[/caption] 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.   [caption id="attachment_1676" align="alignright" width="300"]Pedal'rs Inn B&B Pedal'rs Inn B&B[/caption]   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. [caption id="attachment_1678" align="alignnone" width="300"]Hidden Serenity B&B Hidden Serenity B&B[/caption] 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. [caption id="attachment_1669" align="alignright" width="250"]Bowman's Oak Hill B&B in Wis Dells Bowman's Oak Hill B&B in Wis Dells[/caption] 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.   [caption id="attachment_1677" align="alignnone" width="280"]Phipps Inn in Hudson Phipps Inn in Hudson[/caption]

A Tale of Two Inns

Have you noticed – on this website’s home page, “Featured Bed & Breakfasts” shows 2 ever-changing B&Bs. The 2 inns caught my eye - how different – how unique – each is! River’s Bend Inn (Mayville - near the Horicon Marsh) is a gracious English Country Manor. The equally gracious innkeeper, Jayne, has quite a history too – as a high fashion model in New York and as a regular date of John F. Kennedy. Jayne likely was told she should write a book, so she did, and it is a fun summer read:  The River’s Bend. The second featured inn, Thunder Valley Inn Resort, is one mile from WI Dells, yet a ‘world’ away – a Scandinavian world, that is! Pet friendly Wee Hus is a cozy cottage snuggled next to the Farm House. Most rooms in the Swedish House and Farm House have an extra bed or two for children … schedule a visit to the inn’s dairy farm or a hands-on bread baking session. [caption id="attachment_1492" align="alignright" width="251"]Thunder Valley Inn Resort ... dairy farm tours, Sunday Farmer's Market,  Threshing Farm Suppers - a meal and entertainment with all the Ole and Lena jokes you can eat! Thunder Valley Inn Resort ... dairy farm tours, Sunday Farmer's Market, Threshing Farm Suppers - a meal and entertainment with all the Ole and Lena jokes you can eat![/caption] [caption id="attachment_1491" align="alignleft" width="300"]River's Bend Inn, once a Victorian mansion with a wrap-around porch, now an English Country Manor. Guest rooms have a view of the river, thru typical English diamond-grid windows. River's Bend Inn, once a Victorian mansion with a wrap-around porch, now an English Country Manor. Guest rooms have a view of the river, thru typical English diamond-grid windows.[/caption]

B&B Getaway Giveaway week 8

B&B Getaway Giveaway week 8 This is it folks – the grand finale! Enter to win our facebook contest – if you haven’t already.  The last remaining 2-night stay packages are from these 2 inns. Bowman’s Oak Hill B&B in Wisconsin Dells: you may have thought ‘waterpark’ at the mention of WI Dells … instead, think  vintage “Air Stream Trailer” with a spacious deck and 2 soaking tubs. And, think romance.  Or, you may choose a stay in a garden cottage or traditional B&B guest rooms. Either way – you win! Westphal Mansion Inn & Boutique in Hartford…who says an English Tudor Mansion and flat screen TVs don’t mix – certainly not us! Breakfast is your choice – in the truly elegant dining room, on the porch, or delivered to your room. Can this get any better? How about visiting their Boutique, where it's welcome Spring décor and good-bye winter ( those items are on sale!), gifts, chocolates ... [caption id="attachment_1457" align="alignleft" width="243"]The vintage Air Stream "Argosy" has been meticulously restored and is surrounded by a large deck. Imagine star-gazing in the two outdoor side-by-side soaking tubs. Bowman's Oak Hill B&B is just 5 minutes from the bustle of Wisconsin Dells. The vintage Air Stream "Argosy" has been meticulously restored and is surrounded by a large deck. Imagine star-gazing in the two outdoor side-by-side soaking tubs. Bowman's Oak Hill B&B is just 5 minutes from the bustle of Wisconsin Dells.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1458" align="alignright" width="300"]If only walls could talk - Once a third floor ballroom, now a guest room with all the comforts of past and present, expertly blended by innkeepers Pam & Garrett at the Westphal Mansion Inn & Boutique, located in Harford. If only walls could talk - Once a third floor ballroom, now a guest room with all the comforts of past and present, expertly blended by innkeepers Pam & Garrett at the Westphal Mansion Inn & Boutique, located in Hartford.[/caption]        

B&B Getaway Giveaway Week 7

Here’s a quick quiz: what do trout fishing, the American Birkebeiner, and a 36-mile view have in common?  All are found at B&Bs – showing that when we say ‘seek the unique’, we mean it! The stunning view from the pub and virtually all of the Inn at Wawanissee Point is both relaxing and a stimulation to explore – and perhaps motivation to ‘work off’ the gourmet breakfast.  A world away in a 20 minute drive from WI Dells.  And referencing the Dells, innkeeper Agnes says ‘when you’ve had enough stimulation’, head just 40 miles north to the Mecan River House (Coloma) – with a #1 trout fishing stream running along the length of the property.  Unwind on the deck, or search out antiques and hand-crafted Amish items at the nearby shops.  Heading further north to the Hayward / Birchwood area, the Cobblestone B&B is a destination in any season.  Of course, the Birkebeiner  x-c  trails are the winter draw (and just a few hundred miles of snowmobile trails too), more trail systems offer fat biking, mountain biking, hiking…”run, bike, ski” is the northwoods mantra.  Enter our Facebook contest to win a 2 night stay at Cobblestone B&B, Inn at Wawanisee Point, or Mecan River House http://a.pgtb.me/qVSz88 [caption id="attachment_1451" align="aligncenter" width="286"]Breakfast at the Cobblestone B&B, Birchwood, WI Breakfast at the Cobblestone B&B, Birchwood, WI[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1452" align="aligncenter" width="300"]The Pub at the Inn at Wawanissee, Baraboo, WI The Pub at the Inn at Wawanissee, Baraboo, WI[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1453" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Mecan River House TROUT FISHERMAN: you can walk right down to the MECAN RIVER which is a #1 trout fishing stream!  The MECAN RIVER runs length of the property, with many DNR, newly created holes for trout to gather!   Mecan River House TROUT FISHERMAN: you can walk right down to the MECAN RIVER which is a #1 trout fishing stream! The MECAN RIVER runs length of the property, with many DNR, newly created holes for trout to gather![/caption]  

A Simple Inquiry about Hiking Trails Produced the Mother Lode

We sent out a quick little e-mail asking Wisconsin innkeepers to share their insider intel on great hiking trails that guests could access minutes from their inns. Whoa, were we in for a mother lode of hiking finds, so much so that we’ll need to post in a series of blogs! Here’s the first installment covering the Baraboo area. Recommendations from the Inn at Wawanissee Point in Baraboo: Just five minutes from the Inn at Wawanissee Point, a sophisticated estate inn built in 2004, is the state’s most visited park, Devil’s Lake State Park . The trails at Devil’s Lake wind through forests, prairies and steep rocky bluffs, with three miles of those trails crisscrossing the inn’s 42-acres. Plus, the Inn’s southern border adjoins Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area , the state’s first state natural area. This deep sandstone gorge, an anomaly amid the Baraboo quartzite cliffs, harbors rare and threatened species of breeding birds and flora. Tip: Hike into the Glen along the stream which takes you to a waterfall at the beginning of the gorge. For those seeking less-traveled paths and even greater solitude, there’s the 1,800-acre Riverland Conservancy’s Merrimac Preserve of forest, prairie, savanna, wetlands and streams. The Preserve, which the inn overlooks, is laced with trails, including four miles of the Ice Age Scenic Trail.  Also in Baraboo, with the bluffs in the background and a spring-fed lake a few steps from the inn, Pinehaven B&B offers guests quiet country vacation spot within 15 miles of all the great tourist attractions for Baraboo and Wisconsin Dells. [caption id="attachment_1238" align="aligncenter" width="300"]After a day of hiking, guests can relax and take in the panoramic vista from lounge at Inn at Wawanissee Point. After a day of hiking, guests can relax and take in the panoramic vista from lounge at Inn at Wawanissee Point.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1240" align="aligncenter" width="300"]and here's that view! and here's that view![/caption]   [caption id="attachment_1239" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Pinehaven B&B guests just step out onto the balcony for a woods and water view. Pinehaven B&B guests just step out onto the balcony for a woods and water view.[/caption]  

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]

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]

Top Family Vacation Destination in U.S. is in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Dells, famous for its plethora of waterparks and theme parks, was just ranked the #1 Family Vacation Destination in the U.S. in the 2010 TripAdvisor.com Readers' Choice poll. It also came in #3 in the world in the same category. Our B&B visitors are TripAdvisor researchers, to be sure, so thought you'd want to know. For family-friendly B&Bs in the area, check out White Rose Inns (also a favorite for weddings), Bowman’s Oak Hill Inn (winner of our 2009 Wisconsin B&B Association Cook-off) and Pinehaven B&B (in nearby Baraboo, home of Circus World Museum).
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