The three Bs: biking, bed and breakfast

Wisconsin is one of the nation's bike-friendliest states. It was a pioneer in the rails-to-trails concept, starting with the famous Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail, a 32-mile trail along a former railroad line that travels through three tunnels (one is pictured above, photo courtesy of the DNR) and is part of more than 100 miles in trails that extend throughout western Wisconsin. Wisconsin has more than 1,000 miles of bicycling trails, including many trails in the state parks. 

Biking is an economic engine for Wisconsin, generating an estimated $1.5 million in annual economic activity. The League of American Bicyclists ranks Wisconsin No. 2 in the nation and No. 1 in the Midwest for bicycling.

The combination of biking with bed and breakfasts is a perfect fit. There's no better place to enjoy the beauty of Wisconsin's trails and roads and settle in for the night than in a comfortable bed and breakfast operated by innkeepers who know the area. You're sure to receive tips and suggestions about things to do and great places to eat. That's the hospitality that the Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast Organization is known for. 

The Department of Natural Resources is a great resource to start planning your biking trip. Many Real Wisconsin Bed and Breakfasts member inns offer biking nearby.

It's hard to be much closer to biking than Cameo Rose near Belleview. The inn is just one-half mile from the Badger State Trail which links with the Military Ridge Trail and the Capital City Bike Trail.

Stay at Cameo Rose Country Victorian Country Inn (left) to ride the Badger State Trail or Dreams of Yesteryear B&B in Stevens Point for the Green Circle Trail.

Dreams of Yesteryear in Stevens Point is near the Green Circle Trail, a 30-mile network circling the city. The inn is just a couple of blocks away from the trail and is only 10 miles away from mountain biking in Standing Rocks Park.

Stay at Franklin Street Inn on Durkee in Appleton (left) or Pleasant Lake B&B in Osceola for easy access to the trails.


Franklin Street Inn on Durkee in Appleton is located near the CE Trail Fox Cities Trestle/Friendship Trail Wiouwash Trail. Pleasant Lake Bed and Breakfast in Osceola is located near the Gandy Dancer and Seven Lakes Bike Trails.

Stay at Gilbert Huson House (left) or White Shutters B&B and enjoy Wisconsin biking in nearby Kettle Moraine Forest.


Gilbert Huson House in Plymouth is near the mountain bike trails in the Kettle Moraine State Forest and is near the Old Plank Road Trail. White Shutters in Lomira is near the Wild Goose State Trail and is also near the Kettle Moraine State Forest.

But Wisconsin also offers plenty of highway biking as well, including the 382 miles of paved roads in the Trempealeau County Bicycle Loop, called the best biking in the Midwest by the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Many guests stay at Brambleberry Bed and Breakfast and bike the roads that average only three cars per hour. Brambleberry is also a short drive to three state trails, including Elroy-Sparta and the Great River Trail.

The Bike Club of Trempealeau County has several touring races throughout the year. Stay at nearby Brambleberry Bed and Breakfast and enjoy the miles of quiet country roads. Photos courtesy of the bike club.


Wisconsin has many mountain biking trails as well, which are specially constructed to meet the trail standards of the International Mountain Bicycling Association. The Wisconsin State Park system has about 50 miles of these trails. Other trails in the state have been built by cycling clubs. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has an excellent website for you to locate bike trails in any Wisconsin county. 

Experience unique harvest dinners

Eating fresh, local food is a treat any time of the year, especially in the summer when the gardens are producing. Brambleberry Bed and Breakfast is the only Wisconsin B&B that offers special Harvest Dinners to its guests on Saturdays through early October. Between 80 to 100 percent of this farm-to-fork dinner is grown onsite in Brambleberry's organic kitchen gardens. 

Brambleberry is one of Wisconsin's most celebrated farm bed and breakfasts, having been featured in Midwest Living, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Daily Herald and numerous other publications. The inn works hard to promote agri-tourism.

Guests can literally be in touch with their food source. Natural homegrown pork and grass-fed lamb from Brambleberry farms as well as locally-sourced beef and chicken are served. Brambleberry is able to offer these unique meals because it has a restaurant license. The multi-course dinner ends with a tasting of Brambleberry's own wines that will be sold in its new winery opening later this year.

Guests at Brambleberry B&B can experience special harvest dinners through early October. 

Other upcoming events

August and early September are overflowing with fun festivals and events that make Wisconsin a special place. Here are some highlights of events happening near Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast Organization member inns:

The 33rd annual Wheels 'n Wings celebration in Osceola is Saturday, Sept. 7. The celebration includes an air show, radio-controlled model planes and more than 1,000 classic cars. It's in the middle of a three-day Community Fair and Parade in Osceola Sept. 6-9 that includes a grand parade. Book your stay at Pleasant Lake Bed and Breakfast and make it a fun-filled weekend. 

One of the more unusual family events is Cookie Daze which is Aug. 3 in Ripon. The festival includes children's activities, entertainment and the cookie bake and taste competition. There's also the cookie drops, which you have to see to believe. Stay at nearby Gilbert Huson House in Plymouth or White Shutters in Lomira.

The cookie drop is the highlight of Cookie Daze Aug. 3 in Ripon. Wis. Dept. of Tourism photo. 

A large Civil War Encampment will take place Aug. 24-25 in Stevens Point at Pfiffner Pioneer Park. There will be North and South reenactors, marching and drilling exhibitions and cannon firings. Stay at Dreams of Yesteryear B&B and enjoy the weekend.

It will be all things Swiss at the 75th anniversary of the Wilhelm Tell Festival Aug. 30-Sept. 1 in New Glarus. This tourist favorite includes yodeling contests, a parade, art, and of course the Wilhelm Tell pageant. If you can't wait to celebrate the Swiss heritage, New Glarus will also hold a one-day Volksfest Aug. 4, with Swiss music and dancing. Stay at nearby Cameo Rose Victorian Country Bed and Breakfast.

Actors reenact the Wilhelm Tell story during the annual festival in New Glarus over Labor Day weekend. Photo courtesy of Wilhelm Tell Festival. 

The Mile of Music event is Aug. 8-11 at various locations in Appleton. There are headline stage artists to free outdoor concerts, with music of all varieties. See www.mileofmusic.com for more information and book your room now at Franklin Inn on Durkee in Appleton.

Twice a year the Ho-Chunk Nation holds a Pow-Wow at its grounds near Black River Falls. It is a celebration of thanks and is a time to gather, observe colorful drum dancing and enjoy a variety of crafts and vendors. The next pow-wow is Labor Day weekend, Aug. 31-Sept. 2. Stay at nearby Brambleberry Bed and Breakfast.

The Ho-Chunk Pow-Wow features colorful drum dancing.  

Featured B&B: Jesse Stone House

Step back in time and enjoy the Jesse Stone House, a Victorian-era bed and breakfast that was once the home of one of Watertown’s most prominent citizens.

Jesse Stone was born in Lincolnshire, England, in 1836 before moving to Watertown as a young man. He was a partner in Woodard & Stone Bakery and Confectionery and served as a state legislator and later lieutenant governor from 1899 until his death in 1902.

Designed by Joseph L. Kern, The Jesse Stone House is an elaborate Second Empire styled residence built in 1876. Upon its completion, The Stone House became a gathering place for many years for Watertown society and visiting notables.

 The high ceilings, three fireplaces, library, servants' quarters, summer kitchen, open staircase, six stained glass windows and gas-electric chandeliers reflect an era of gracious, leisurely living. The spacious grounds are still surrounded by the original iron picket fence, adding much to its charm. Complete with mansard roof, bay windows, ornamented porch and brick exterior, the main house, coach house and grounds are all maintained to the highest preservation standards by innkeepers Pat and Charles Damaske.

Stay in Jesse’s Room, furnished in the dapper style to which Mr. Stone was accustomed. With its green carnation scroll wallpaper, to the hand-carved headboard, and well-appointed furnishings, visitors are sure to enjoy this elegant bedroom.

The high ceilings, chandelier, and stained glass window facing east add much to your restful experience. Jesse's room features a queen size bed and shares the second floor parlor with Sarah's room. The bathroom features a shower, floral wallpaper and stained glass window.

Or select Sarah's Room, with Victorian rose and floral wallpaper sets an elegant tone for this charming bedroom with garden view. Featuring a wash basin, as was the custom, guests can refresh themselves in their room during their stay. The queen bed features a handcrafted wood headboard in the ornamental style that was in vogue at the turn-of-the-century. Sarah's Room shares the second floor parlor with Jesse's Room.  The claw foot bathtub, shower and sink are all true to the style of the home's original fixtures.

At only $85 a night, these two rooms are some of Wisconsin's best B&B bargains.

Jesse Stone House in Watertown is an elegant and affordable Wisconsin bed and breakfast. 

 Stay at a Real Wis. B&B for a memorable experience 

There are many lodging options in Wisconsin. What differentiates Real Wisconsin bed and breakfasts from other lodgings is that you are staying within the private home of the owner/innkeeper, not in a cabin, hotel or a motel. And a delicious complimentary breakfast is always included in your stay. Because authentic Wisconsin bed and breakfasts have eight or fewer guest rooms, we are in a unique position of offering personalized hospitality in a warm and intimate setting.

Another factor that sets us apart is our warm hospitality that you won’t find with other lodging options. In fact, hospitality was cited as one of the key categories that guests look for when they are staying at a B&B, according to our 2012 guest survey. We’re the only bed and breakfast group in Wisconsin to routinely ask our guests what they look for in a superior B&B stay.

And just like our innkeepers, our homes are unique. They range in style from Victorian cottages, historic mansions, north woods log homes to secluded farmhouses and contemporary and eclectic homes.

Whether you want a B&B in a city close to its urban attractions or a peaceful rural or farm B&B to get away from it all, the Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast Organization innkeepers are ready to make your stay a special one.

 Recipe: Summer quinoa berry salad

 (Contributed by Franklin Inn on Durkee, innkeepers Judy and Ron Halma)


1 cup quinoa, cooked according to package instructions

1 1/2 cups fresh berries

1/2 of a cucumber, seeded and chopped

2 oz goat cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup sliced almonds
handful fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced


1 lemon, zested and juiced

2 tbsp raspberry jam

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt/pepper to taste


 Cook quinoa according to the instructions on the package. While the quinoa is cooking, whisk all the dressing ingredients. Once the quinoa is finished cooking. Let cool. Mix the berries, cucumber, almonds, basil and quinoa. Toss with the dressing and garnish with goat cheese.

  Visit the recipes page on our website for more great cooking ideas from Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast Organization members. 

   Enjoy summer in Wisconsin. Get out and stay with one of our members today. Check our specials page for great lodging deals. It's not too early to start booking your fall foliage getaways now. Remember, the only way to get the true bed and breakfast experience is to stay at a Real Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast!