Spring into fun Wisconsin activities
The days are getting longer and the sun is getting stronger, which means spring is just around the corner. There's still time to enjoy winter activities in our great outdoors, since we know that Old Man Winter is not going to give up easily! A sure sign of spring is maple syrup season, which will begin soon across the state. There are fun St. Patrick's Day events, garden shows, wine sampling and plenty to do through Easter.
Enjoy the unique and best of Wisconsin and the hospitality of the Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast Organization innkeepers. Whether you are still enjoying winter or looking ahead to spring, you are always welcome at a Real Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast inn.
A sweet seasonal event: Chocolate March
Enjoy chocolate during a special event at Pleasant Lake B&B near Osceola.
March is when cabin fever strikes hard. Along with a weekend getaway at a Real Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast, another cure is chocolate! Pleasant Lake B&B has a special Chocolate March on Sunday, March 3. A special ticket will get you admission to the inn along with four other area B&Bs for sampling of chocolate delicacies and desserts. Stay the night when you purchase a single ticket and you will get the second ticket free. Purchase tickets in advance for $26.
The sweet season of maple syrup
Wisconsin is the fourth largest producer of maple syrup in the nation and every March 15 through April 15 is designated as official maple month. Wisconsin's syrup producers look forward to rebounding from one of the worst seasons ever in 2012 because of the unusually warm spring. Daytime highs above freezing and below freezing temperatures at night are the ideal conditions for sap flow.
Why not visit one of the state's maple producers and pick up some of the precious liquid gold syrup? Guests who stay at White Shutters B&B in Lomira can stop by Palmer Behm's maple syrup operation (920-269-4688). Guests staying at the Gilbert Huson House in Plymouth will want to stop by Drewery Farms (firstname.lastname@example.org). Glenna Farms in Amery near Pleasant Lake B&B in Osceola is having a Maplefest Open House Saturday, March 23 and Sunday, March 24. On this weekend the farm offers free maple tours and samples of pancakes.
Guests who stay at Brambleberry B&B may assist the innkeepers in collecting sap from their taps and watch it being boiled down into syrup. Brambleberry B&B is a member of the Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producers. The inn serves breakfasts that feature its own maple syrup. To find a Wisconsin maple producer near you, visit wismaple.org, where you can also find vendors that sell maple sap collecting supplies.
Maple sap is collected in special bags, like these at Brambleberry B&B near La Crosse.
Enjoy Irish fun, festivities and music
Everyone's Irish when it comes to celebrating St. Patrick's Day. There are several Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast Organization member inns near some fun Irish events this March. The community of New London has Wisconsin's largest St. Patricks Day parade Saturday, March 16 at 1 p.m., including bagpipe bands, marching bands, clowns, floats and much more. The parade is followed by the New Dublin Irish Fest with bands, beverages and booths. Stay at nearby Franklin Inn on Durkee in Appleton, which has numerous specials and packages for your convenience.
That same weekend is the Shamrocks & Shenanigans Irish Music Show in Plymouth and the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in Fond du Lac. Stay at the historic Victorian Gilbert Huson House in Plymouth or White Shutters B&B near Lomira, for a quiet country getaway.
Enjoy St. Patrick's Day in New London and stay at Franklin Inn on Durkee in Appleton on March 16.
Think spring with a Wisconsin woodland show
Soon the signs of spring will be popping up through the snow as delicate flowers will remind us that there is new life after the harsh winter. The Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison has a show called Wisconsin Woodlands from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily March 9-24. Enjoy an array of spring flowers like hyacinths, tulips and daffodils. A $2 admission benefits the gardens. Stay at nearby Cameo Rose Victorian Country Inn near Belleville, where the innkeepers can point you in the direction of 101 other things to do in the Madison area.
Enjoy the Wisconsin Woodlands show in Madison and stay at Cameo Rose.
There are also two upcoming events in Wisconsin that celebrate the state's growing winery businesses. On March 16 in Jefferson is the Winter Wine Fest Craft Show at the Jefferson Fair Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event features 14 Wisconsin wineries and 55 craft booths. Admission is a $10 wristband. Stay at nearby Jesse Stone House in Watertown, which has an impressive history from its days as the home of a prominent Watertown citizen.
On April 5 is the Portage County Taste of Wine & Cheese event at the Stevens Point Municipal Airport from 7 to 10 p.m. Tickets for the fundraising event for the Boys and Girls Club are $60 in advance and $65 at the door. Sample 100 different wines and beers from around the world and cuisine prepared by the area's best chefs and caterers. Stay at nearby Dreams of Yesteryear in Stevens Point, a beautiful Victorian with every amenity to make your stay comfortable.
Attend Wisconsin wine events and stay at Jesse Stone House (left) and Dreams of Yesteryear.
Enjoy a Wisconsin winter tradition
While we set our hopes on spring, true Wisconsinites get out and enjoy winter. There's still time to attend Bayfield's annual Winter Festival, which is March 1 through 3 with special events like a polar bear plunge, skiing, sleigh rides and much more. While in Bayfield check out an unusual winter drive on the Lake Superior ice road. Weather permitting, Wisconsin County Highway H is extended across the frozen ice to Madeline Island. Stay at nearby Second Wind Country Inn near Ashland, a perfect place to cure your cabin fever with real cabin decor!
Stay at Second Wind Country Inn near Ashland and experience the Lake Superior ice road.
April is Earth Month
Wisconsin is where Earth Day originated. Three of our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast Organization member inns have been certified as Travel Green businesses by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism: Brambleberry B&B, Franklin Inn on Durkee and Dreams of Yesteryear. All offer eco-friendly lodging in beautiful, comfortable surroundings.
Spring recipes: Maple on snow and carrot cake
(Contributed by Brambleberry B&B)
Maple on snow
Enjoy this late-winter treat by using authentic Wisconsin maple syrup. It is often served at maple open houses with sour pickles and plain cake donuts to compensate for the sweetness of the candy. It's a great treat to make for your family or grandchildren.
Ingredients: 1 quart pure Wisconsin maple syrup, 1 cup of butter and access to a tub of clean snow (you also can substitute well-crushed ice). You can also do this outside.
Heat the syrup and butter in a large pot over medium heat. Make sure the mixture does not boil over the top of the kettle. Do not leave unattended. Measure heat with a candy thermometer and when it reaches 234 degrees, remove from heat. Pour a spoonful of syrup on the snow. If it sits on the top of the snow like taffy, it is ready. Pour in ribbons over the snow. The candy will be ready to eat after it firms. You can roll it on a fork to eat or cut into strips like taffy.
If you leave cookies out for Santa, you may want to consider leaving out a piece of this yummy carrot cake for the Easter Bunny. He is sure to appreciate it!
3 cups peeled and grated carrots
2 cups of sugar
1 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
2 tps. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/4 cups of flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts
Directions: In a large mixing bowl, combine the carrots, sugar, oil and eggs. Beat until mixed. Add baking powder, soda, salt, flour, cinnamon and vanilla. Continue to beat until well-mixed. Add walnuts. Stir. Pour into prepared 9 x 13-inch cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour until cake tests done in center. Cool before frosting.
Frosting recipe: 8 oz. softened cream cheese, 1/2 cup soft butter and 3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar. Mix well. Spread over cake. Store cake in refrigerator.
Visit the recipes page on our website for more great cooking ideas from Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast Organization members.
Enjoy spring in Wisconsin. Get out and stay with one of our members today. Winter specials are ending soon. Remember, the only way to get the true bed and breakfast experience is to stay at a Real Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast!