Wisconsin B&Bs Offer the Perfect Staycation

Oct 21, 2010


Interested in a fall getaway? Staying at a Wisconsin B&B is an ideal way to while away a weekend—without traveling far from home. The Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast Association website is one resource that makes planning a getaway easy by listing bed and breakfasts by region, amenities or available special packages.

Here’s a quick look at some of Madison’s own WBBA inns that will be featured at the Madison Food & Wine Show.

Hotel Ruby Marie

This historic building (shown) was once used as a railroad hotel and received its license in 1873. It's officially one of the oldest hotels in Madison. It's got simple, but intimate, Victorian comforts and a laid-back atmosphere that only a bed and breakfast can offer.

The Hotel Ruby Marie includes a variety of perks in the price of their rates, such as two complimentary drinks at the Up North Pub on the first floor of the hotel and breakfast vouchers for the “continental plus” breakfast downstairs in the Lakeview Bakery & Deli on weekday mornings.

On weekends the scrumptious full breakfast prepared at next door's Come Back In is a special treat for the hotel’s guests. Joshua Paffel, managing innkeeper, guarantees that guests will enjoy homemade dishes like blueberry pancakes, corned beef hash, and walleye and eggs. The Come Back's "Big Breakfast" is a three-course meal, replete with breads, griddle dishes, meats and eggs. Pan-fried potatoes always round out the mix.

Hotel Ruby Marie, 524 E. Wilson St. Madison. 327-7829. rubymarie@tds.com

The Parsonage

Craig Wrobel, owner of The Parsonage, describes his inn as a casual, “family and fun-oriented” place that's a big, cozy home open for friends to stay in. This explains why Craig and wife Cathy have so many returning guests and word-of-mouth recommendations.

The son of a navy chef, Craig’s idea of a perfect day is getting up at 5 a.m., cooking delicious meals for his visitors (which include special dietary needs upon request), going to work and then coming home to prepare for the next meal. The Wrobels get their ingredients locally: as CSA (community supported agriculture) members, they receive produce from The Blue Moon Community Farm in Stoughton as well as products from Milton's The North Leaf Winery and Patty’s Plants. Craig strongly believes in supporting small local businesses, especially in tough economic times, so that everyone can continue to have access to fresh, high-quality ingredients.

One of Craig’s go-to fall dishes to make is acorn squash from his own garden with cranberry sauce. And for breakfast his delicious stuffed blueberry French toast and glazed bacon are available year-round for guests to enjoy. He also develops his own recipes by using cookbooks and emails—a beverage he recently concocted is a sweet, yet tangy mix of cranberry wine from the North Leaf Winery and some fresh orange juice.

“The whole idea of a bed and breakfast is that each one is so individual. I love to have fun with mine and I enjoy every aspect of it.”

The Parsonage, 5508 Broadhead St., Madison. 838-7383. parsonage@chorus.net

Speckled Hen Inn

Pat Fischbeck aims to pamper her guests with a weekend of luxury and relaxation in an elegant country atmosphere. From the gorgeous décor to the delectable breakfast menu, her refined taste is evident in every detail of the inn. The sprawling fifty-acre estate that surrounds the inn has pastures for sheep, llamas, and chickens; an orchard; herb and veggie gardens; and even a tranquil Japanese garden.

Breakfast features fruits and veggies from the inn’s gardens and eggs from the hens. Scrambled eggs, omelets made with Wisconsin cheeses and savory favorites like bacon and sausage are always available for guests to enjoy. And though it's impossible for Fischbeck to choose to choose her favorite dish, she does love her buttermilk oatmeal pancakes, so they're almost always on the menu.

For produce that can’t be grown on the property, however, Pat turns to local vendors, such as Capaceks Orchard in DeForest, to provide her with fresh ingredients. She emphasizes using locally grown products in her cuisine to both guarantee quality and give her guests a delicious taste of what southern Wisconsin has to offer. The menu changes seasonally based upon which ingredients are available. During the fall months, Fischbeck serves goodies such as pumpkin muffins, caramel apple scones and sweet potatoes.

And if you stay there and like what you've eaten? Remember to check the inn's website—Fischbeck shares her recipes for you to try at home.

The Speckled Hen Inn, 5525 Portage Rd. 244-9368. innkeeper@speckledheninn.com

For more information on the WBBA, visit wbba.org.

Elizabeth Rooney is an editorial intern for Madison Magazine.

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