May 23, 2011

Small-town Summer Getaway

Three charming bed & breakfasts for a relaxing getaway this summer

Brambleberry Bed and Breakfast in Black River Country, WI

Photo: Brambleberry Bed & Breakfast

These three bed & breakfasts are among Wisconsin’s most unique. Enjoy views of the lush green Mississippi River valley. Step out your door and saunter down a woodland path. Or, walk down the street to the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the United States. These bed & breakfasts are real charmers. You won’t want to go home.

A Big River B&B

Photo: Lumber Baron Inn Bed & Breakfast

Overlooking the Mississippi River in Onalaska is the Lumber Baron Inn Bed & Breakfast. From its bluff-top perch, the Lumber Baron Inn looks bright and cheery. But the white exterior just barely hints at the visual splendor within.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Lumber Baron Inn dates to 1888. The inn takes its name from the original owner of the house, who ran the first sawmill in Onalaska. The woodwork you see is all original, as are the light fixtures and the stained glass.

Onalaska offers a number of things to do. Just down the hill from the Lumber Baron Inn, the Great River State Trail runs along the Mississippi River for 24 miles. Hwy 35, which runs past the inn is a designated National Scenic Byway called the Wisconsin Great River Road. And, Onalaska is also home to the largest retail district in a nine-county region. There’s a lot to do.

A Honey of a B&B

Photo: Honeybee Inn Bed & Breakfast

Located in the town of Horicon, the Honeybee Inn Bed and Breakfast is a combination of cozy hospitality and vintage luxury. Set on a quiet side street, the cream city brick and yellow siding really give the inn a honey-colored hue.

Inside, you’ll find beautiful woodwork and stained glass. You’ll also find deluxe whirlpools, body jet showers, fireplaces, WIFI, and luxury linens. A night at the Honeybee certainly isn’t roughing it.

The biggest local attraction in Horicon is the Horicon Marsh. Just a few blocks away, where Hwy 33 crosses the Rock River, you’ll find Horicon Marsh Boat Tours. They offer sightseeing, birding and sunset cruises of the Horicon Marsh. In the summer, the marsh is alive with birds and animals. It’s quite a sight to behold.

A Great Green B&B

Black River Country is in a class all its own. The B&B’s eco-friendly practices can be seen in everything from the food they serve to their on-site organic gardens. Just step out the door of the B&B and head down a tranquil path for a walk in the woods or to watch a flock of sheep grazing in a green field.

But the ecological soundness of the operation doesn’t detract from creature comforts. Most of Brambleberry’s rooms feature double whirlpools and canopy beds. And this B&B is the only one in Wisconsin that serves dinner, summer through fall.

Nearby attractions include the trails of the Black River State Forest and Jackson County Forest and some interesting area antique shops. The Tenba Ridge Winery, located nearby, offers a variety of sensational wines and stunning views.

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