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Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

The Lakeside Bed & Breakfast in Florence – one of Wisconsin's many B&B establishments.
The Lakeside Bed & Breakfast in Florence – one of Wisconsin's many B&B establishments.

February 2003

Wisconsin Traveler
To B or not to B?

Find a place for a little R&R in a B&B.

Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association

Some days you wake up and feel like chowing through a stack of steaming griddlecakes, half-a-dozen cackleberries sunny-side up, a pound of hash browns sautéed in savory bacon, and a tankard of java (black) to wash it all down. Some mornings a simple croissant with crème fraîche, fresh passion fruit and a latte will do.

Some nights you'd be perfectly happy to set sail for the Land of Nod under a simple cotton quilt – but some nights you want a feather bed, silk sheets, chocolates and lavender wands on your pillow. (If you don't know what a lavender wand is, ask Martha Stewart. Soon.)

Choices for bedding and breakfasting abound in Wisconsin – especially when they are co-joined as B&Bs. A B&B (bed and breakfast) is a private home that rents rooms to individuals, couples and families. The morning meal is included in the tariff. And that is where the similarities in B&Bs end.

Want to live like a lumber baron for a night, surrounded by gilt and mirrors? Or would you prefer to rough it in a cabin like the baron's boys down at the logging camp? Make a grand entrance on the polished oak staircase of a grand four-storey Victorian gingerbread confection, or bunk with the corncobs in a renovated stone silo? Luxuriate in a private boudoir con Jacuzzi, or share the facilities with other guests (though not at the same time)?

Accommodations to suit any whim can be found at Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association.

You can search for B&Bs and historic inns by a specific city, or by region – a handy feature if you're planning a trip. Detailed descriptions accompany each listing, so you can find out at a glance which amenities each inn offers. For instance, some provide smoking rooms; others are strictly non-smoking enterprises. Some welcome children and pets, while others may gently insist that young Mortimer and his companion Zanzibar the Elephant remain at home. You'll see which natural attractions are nearby, including local, county and state parks and forests, and hiking, skiing and snowmobiling trails. Expect to learn a lot about the community you'll be staying in: the WBBA site features lists of local historical attractions and locally made products.

With every inn offering an experience unique to its physical structure and locale, you're bound to find at least one, or most likely several, B&Bs to meet your demands for a delightful stay. Fancy a B&B in a city location with a stunning scenic view? You'll find them in Madison, Hudson, Racine and Janesville. Retire to an island for the night? You can, in Minocqua and La Pointe. Select rustic farmhouses with fireplaces in each room, or modern farmhouses with Internet connections and DVD players. If access to a private beach is high on your list, there are eight B&Bs around the state where you can swim in secret.

It's like innkeepers Barbara Anderson and Wendy Hake of the Cedar Trail Guesthouse, a rambling farmhouse B&B near Menomonie, say: "Staying with us is just like staying with relatives Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association only without the relatives." Indeed. The prospect of enjoying Cousin Bingo's elderberry wine in the front parlor without Bingo there to top up the glass and fog up the windows is a joy not to be underestimated.

You can order a single complimentary paper copy of the WBBA's "Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast Directory" by calling the Wisconsin Department of Tourism at 1-800-432-TRIP (8747). Tuck it in the glove compartment for a handy reference when you're on the road.