Bunking at a chain hotel may have its advantages, but to truly experience the personality and charm of a small town, it pays to stay local. Sometimes you want to stay in a one-of-a-kind place for a total experience—and these four unique B&Bs throughout the state offer ambiance, history and unique perks for a great gataway.
Situated in Oconomowoc in the heart of Lake Country, this gorgeous 1879 Victorian mansion boasts original charm (carved woodwork, era-specific wallpaper and flooring) plus modern conveniences (like a saltwater pool and private baths). It’s also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
A quick stroll from the inn will afford you views of both Lac La Belle and Fowler Lake. Also within walking distance is downtown Oconomowoc with plenty of things to do—have a drink with a view on Lakerz rooftop or simply enjoy the quaint downtown with a generous selection of restaurants, like the Crafty Cow, Golosi Gelato Café and Fiesta Cancun. In the morning, enjoy a coffee or breakfast at Roots Coffeebar & Café, and at night watch a play put on by The Box Theatre Company.
One of the state’s most well-known B&Bs, the Old Rittenhouse Inn is a luxe getaway near the very tip of northern Wisconsin. The property has 20 well-appointed rooms split between two Victorian homes and a small private cottage. Many rooms have stunning views of Lake Superior and Madeline Island, and couples will like add-on packages like wine tastings, mystery dinners, golf jaunts and kayaking adventures.
Outside the Inn, Bayfield must-stops include the whimsical flamingo-pink Maggie’s for eats (the décor is not to be missed) the Bayfield Maritime Museum and a stroll along the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore for unbeatable views. The Madeline Island Ferry is a special treat that operates from spring until late winter—so the scenic vistas on the water and on the island can be enjoyed almost year-round.
Any B&B that has “brewery” in its name is a good sign, no? And Brewery Creek in the historic mining village of Mineral Point offers modern touches in a welcoming atmosphere—all set in an 1854 stone warehouse building.
The Inn above The Brewpub Restaurant has five cozy rooms with exposed stone walls, indulgent whirlpool tubs, fireplaces and private baths. Guests are treated to breakfast, and lunch or dinner are easily found downstairs in the brewpub. Two quaint guest cottages also operated by the Inn are available for rent nearby, too.
Downtown Mineral Point is chock-full of artist studios, shops and cute restaurants, like the Red Rooster Café and Gray Dog Deli. Visit historic sites like Pendarvis, a Wisconsin Historical Society site; the Mineral Point Railroad Museum, a pre-Civil War train depot; and Orchard Lawn, an Italianate mansion that’s a community landmark. September’s Cornish Festival and October’s Fall Art Tours are other big draws to the area.
It’s fitting that many B&Bs are period-perfect—and Cedarburg’s Stagecoach Inn, a meticulously restored 1853 stone stagecoach hotel, is no exception. Find nine rooms furnished with antiques, all with private baths. Guests receive a continental breakfast, and happy hours and nightcaps are best enjoyed at the five20 Social Stop.
Located within the downtown historical district, there’s plenty to do, like shopping at The Paperie & Co. and The Pink Llama Gallery. Or, visit the Cedar Creek Settlement with 25 shops and sip local wines at Cedar Creek Winery. The new Fermentorium is a microbrewery with craft beers and 2,500-squre-foot tasting room. And fall is fun with two of the town’s trademark free fests: The Wine & Harvest Fest in September and Oktoberfest in October.
Ready to explore your next small town? Experience it like a local with our guide to these 7 Great Small Towns!