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Winter Outdoor activities in Chippewa Falls

Thanksgiving has come and gone, the cold weather continues to descend upon us, and most of us are anxiously awaiting the Christmas holiday.  We all know the winter months in the north woods can be brutally cold some years.  It seems the older I get, the longer the winter seasons last, as I don’t particularly enjoy spending a whole lot of time outdoors when it is cold.  I do, however, realize the benefits of getting outdoors and getting some exercise, despite the cold weather.  I do always feel better after spending some time in the fresh air.  Whether it’s just a 15 minute walk in my neighborhood or grabbing the snowshoes and going for a walk on the Chippewa River or through Lake Wissota State Park, I never feel as if I have wasted my time when I return to the warm, cozy bed and breakfast.

So, if you feel the need to take a little break this winter and want to get away for a few days, we hope you’ll consider Chippewa Falls.  Winter in the Chippewa Valley is breathtakingly beautiful, with the snow covered rolling hills, the vast white expanse of frozen Lake Wissota, and the serenity of the meandering Chippewa River.  There are plenty of outdoor activities for you partake in some adventure and help keep those winter doldrums at bay.

Ice Fishing

Ice fishing with Roger

My husband prefers to go ice-fishing. I have often stated he loved fishing long before he ever met me.  I’ll admit, I don’t understand the allure of sitting in an ice shack waiting for a fish to bite your lure.  But, he has all the gear for it and really enjoys his time on the ice. As far as ice fishing goes, the main portion of Lake Wissota doesn’t get much activity, only when there has been plenty of sub-zero temperatures and we have several feet of ice on the lake do we see ice fisherman out there.  This is due to the fact there is no open public access to the main lake during the winter months.  The majority of ice fishing takes place on Little Lake Wissota and Moon bay.  Chippewa County has several access points on both Little Lake Wissota and Moon Bay at no charge. Lake Wissota State Park also has access to Moon Bay.  There are also plenty of smaller lakes in the area that offer great fishing.

 

 

Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing

The Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire areas have lots of opportunities for snowshoeing.  Lake Wissota State Park has approximately 10 miles of open snowshoe trails and 8 miles of cross-country ski trails.  On January 19, 2019 be sure to come out to Lake Wissota State Park to ski, hike or snowshoe on beautiful candlelit trails. Campfires will be provided, but please bring your own provisions for hot dogs or s’more’s. Hot chocolate and hot cider will be available.

Snowshoeing is a great way to get outdoors and enjoy everything Mother Nature has to offer

The Chippewa Morraine State Recreation Area doesn’t groom their trails, but they are open for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.  They have 3 self guided trails that start at the Interpretive Center and take you past a variety of glacial features.  Tower Ridge in Eau Claire may seem challenging at first, but don’t let the mounds of snow keep you from exercising; Tower Ridge is a great place to enjoy the snow and workout, offering cross-country and snowshoe trails. There are hilly and flat groomed trails for all levels. There are about 3 kilometers of lighted trails and a warming shelter that allows for night outings, a nice precursor to a warm fire. If you don’t own a pair of snowshoes and would like to try out the sport before you make the investment, Lake Wissota State Park & Spring Street Sports in Chippewa Falls both rent snow shoes.

Snowmobiling

Well let’s face it, the snowmobilers are certainly at the mercy of Mother Nature when it comes to enjoying their sport, especially here in the north woods. In the past 4 winters that Roger & I have owned Inn on Lake Wissota we have had snowmobilers stay with us only one weekend.  There just hasn’t been enough snow over that time period for the trails to be open.

Snomobiler

But, when the trails are open, Chippewa County offers snowmobile enthusiasts over 500 miles of snowmobile trails to ride on. The variety of landscapes that the trails cover is what makes them so fun and exciting. While riding our trails check out the glacial formations, rolling hills, and the beautiful wooded forests. This trail system travels through Chippewa County and connects with many other county trails with the opportunity to travel by snowmobile statewide. The Chippewa Valley Snowmobile Organization maintain and groom the trail system and keep the trails in excellent riding condition during the snowmobile season.

 

No matter what kind of winter sports you enjoy – or if even if you prefer to just curl up by the fireplace with a good book, we hope to greet you soon as one of our guests.

 

7 Reasons to Visit Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire in December

Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire have plenty of things going on during the month of December to help you get into the holiday spirit and create some memories.Whether you like spending time outdoors in the fresh air or listening to some seasonal music or watching a play, we’ve got just the activity to inspire your yuletide cheer.

Entrance to Irvine Park Christmas Village

1. Irvine Park Christmas Village

11/22/2018 – 01/01/2019

The Chippewa Falls Christmas Village, in beautiful Irvine Park, is an impressive display of life size Christmas scenes reminiscent of the Victorian era and local historical replicas. It is set up during the holiday season along with a dazzling display of over 60,000 lights.

2. 30th Annual Bridge to Wonderland Parade

12/1/2018 6:00 pm, downtown Chippewa Falls

Join us for the Annual Bridge to Wonderland Parade and enjoy over 50 illuminated musical floats, walking units, and animal entries as they light up the winter skies. This year’s theme is A Candy Christmas.

Bridge to Wonderland Parade

Don’t miss this beautiful winter parade and beloved Chippewa Falls tradition! Afterward, join us along with the Chippewa Falls Public Library down at Riverfront Park for campfires and s’mores, free hot chocolate, and visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

 3. Christkindlmarkt at Lazy Monk Brewing

12/1/2018 – 12/8/2018 12:00-4:00 pm

Lazy Monk Brewing is excited to bring to the Chippewa Valley a true German Christkindlmarkt!  The first two Saturdays of December, check out this outdoor shopping market for your holiday gift giving! Vendors will include local potters, chocolate maker, handcrafted wooden gifts, handcrafted soaps, bakers and other locally made products for your buying pleasure. Delight your senses with the feel of a true European Holiday.

4. Winter After Hours

Thursdays at Pinehurst Park in Eau Claire 11/22/2018 – 02/28/2019 6:00 – 8:00 pm

It’s about that time of year again to get out and have some outdoor winter fun.

Winter After Hours at Pinehurst Park in Eau Claire

Winter After Hours at Pinehurst Park have started and will continue every Thursday night throughout January and February. Activities include sledding, ice skating, snowshoeing, winter KUBB, and snow sculptures along with cross-country ski and fat-bike trails. Ice Skate and snowshoe rentals are available. If you’re feeling chilly, hang out by the fire pit, or sit in the warming house. Help yourself to the free hot chocolate and enjoy some great music!

 

5. Hold the Lutefisk! It’s Beginning to Smell a lot like Christmas…

The Looney Lutherans

at the Heyde Center for the Arts 12/15 – 12/16 2018

When you want an old-fashioned Christmas, you know who to turn to — the musical, merry, menopausal members of the Looney Lutherans! These warm and witty women have created a brand new show of family-friendly comedy skits and songs to help audiences enjoy the spirit of the season, and maybe even create a new holiday tradition to boot.

Looney Lutherans

The idea for the “Looney Lutherans” was cooked up in 2006 when the founding members were appearing in the cast of the hit musical CHURCH BASEMENT LADIES at the Plymouth Playhouse in Plymouth, MN. The company has since expanded to include four additional “Loonies”, but all of these talented women have been performing for years as professional actresses, writers, singers, and improvisers. Dinner by Sweet Clarisse Catering will feature your favorite Lutheran potlucks all rolled into one! A delightful selection of entrées, Wisconsin-inspired sides and desserts. Don’t forget to leave room for the jello mold.

 

6. Annual Ugly Sweater Fun Run at Lazy Monk Brewing

in Eau Claire 12/22/2018 10:00 am

Come join us in your ugliest Christmas sweater for a fun 5k run. Good people, good fun, good cookies & prize drawings.

Eau Claire Annual Ugly Sweater Fun Run

7. Arch Allies at Loopy’s

12/22/2018 Chippewa Falls Doors open at 6:30. Show is from 8:30pm – 12:15am.

PRE-NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY AT LOOPY’S! The surrounding area has been such great fans, we can’t wait to come back.
We’re doing the whole night up just like New Year’s, with a count down, party favors and champagne to toast with at midnight!

December is one of my favorite times of the year.  We would love to greet you as one of our guests during this beautiful holiday season.

A Low-Key New Year’s Eve at a Bed & Breakfast

A time to slow down the pace of life.

The holidays are wonderful and exciting, an opportunity to spend time with family and friends, which can be stressful and challenging.  While I cherish these times with my family and wouldn’t trade them for the world, by the time New Year’s Eve rolls around I am ready to step back from all of the hullabaloo the holiday season has provided.  I’ve never been one to enjoy an evening with 100 or more people counting down the minutes until the new year arrives.    Up here in the north woods it can also be brutally cold on December 31st, so getting all gussied up and heading out for the evening does not appeal to me either.  I prefer a quiet evening with my hubby, a few friends and some good food.

Do you prefer a quiet New Year’s Eve?

So what kinds of opportunities are there for folks like me to have a relatively quiet New Year’s Eve and aren’t really interested in hosting a get together for friends and family?   I’d like to suggest a stay at a Bed & Breakfast. This gives you the opportunity to create the kind of experience you are looking for without all of the hassle.  Staying at a B&B ensures a smaller crowd since, in Wisconsin anyway, there are eight or fewer guest rooms at the B&B.  Most likely there will be no more than 16 guests at the celebration.

Are you yearning for a quiet evening for two, just you and your honey?  No problem, if the innkeepers are planning some sort of gala to ring in the new year it doesn’t mean you are required to participate.  For those heading out for dinner, some advanced planning is suggested.  Reservations are pretty much a requirement for New Year’s Eve.  If you need help with figuring out where to go, a call to your innkeeper can provide some insights.

Celebrate at the Inn

At Inn on Lake Wissota we offer a complimentary Champagne reception for guests from 5:00 – 7:00 pm.  This allows them time to check in and get settled then enjoy time in the Atrium sampling some goodies, enjoying some champagne, and getting to know other guests and the innkeepers.  Guests are free to spend as much time with us as they like, either the entire 2 or more hours, or just a few minutes, then head out for a dinner for two.  Depending on the group of guests we have and what they like to do, we are happy to linger in the Atrium and play some charades or other games.  The point is to relax and have fun.  We allow our guests to set the pace.

Some like it lively

Some of those joining us in Chippewa Falls are hoping for a more lively event.  The Chippewa Valley offers plenty of choices to ring in the New Year.  For those who like to put on their dancing shoes the Heyde Center for the Arts is hosting Prelude to an Eve: Troppo Big Band Jazz Orchestra.  The Snout Saloon will have live music from Dead Ringers and music Bingo, and  Eau Claire will be turning downtown into the ultimate New Year’s Eve Celebration during the third annual Light Up Eau Claire. This event brings excitement, energy, music and lights to the streets of downtown Eau Claire.

New Year’s Eve Champagne Hors d’Oeuvres reception at Inn on Lake Wissota

As for me, you will find me at the Inn, looking forward to getting to know my guests and making new friends just in time for the new year.  As always, I will prepare a fabulous gourmet breakfast on New Year’s Day so there’s no need for you to worry about heading out into the cold to nourish yourself in the morning.

Of course, the beauty of B&B’s is they are unique, no two of them the same.  So be sure to find out what the innkeepers plan to do for their New Year’s Celebration before making your reservation so you are confident you will get the experience you are hoping to get.

We hope to greet you soon as one of our guests, if not this year then in the next.

A Winter Walk through Irvine Park

Winter Scene of Duncan Creek

Duncan Creek in Irvine Park

 

This January has brought a wide variety of temperatures and not a lot of snow in the Chippewa Valley.  We took an opportunity one Sunday afternoon that offered somewhat balmy temperatures (for January, that is) to take a winter walk through Irvine Park in downtown Chippewa Falls.  A chance to get outdoors and spend time with friends could not be passed up on this particular day.  The weather had warmed to near freezing after several days of sub-zero temps, so we were all anxious to get out and about.  As transplants to the area just a few years ago, Roger & I still have plenty of exploring to do in the Chippewa Valley in order for us to get to know the area.  We were somewhat surprised when our friends suggested a winter walk in the park.  We have visited Irvine Park during the holiday season as it is lit up with over 100,000 lights and Christmas scenes displayed throughout the park.  It has turned out to be an annual holiday tradition for our family, as it is for many families in the Chippewa Valley.  Yet, we had never considered truly exploring the park after the Christmas Village closes for the season.

On such a beautiful January afternoon we were not surprised to find the park filled with plenty of other visitors.  Families with young children who were having all kinds of fun sledding, or just running around expending pent up energy!  Young couples enjoying some quality time for just the two of them, and, of course, us older folks just happy enough to have something different to do and get some exercise in the process.

 

Naturally formed ice sculpture

Naturally formed ice sculpture in Beer Cave at Irvine Park

Even though the park was busy, there was plenty of parking available.  We parked on Bear Den Road then headed out for our winter walk.  I was pleased to find the roads within the park had been plowed, which made walking easy.  Our first stop was the Beer Cave.  This is actually a registered Wisconsin Historical Marker.  It was originally put to use by the Schmitmayer Brewing Company.  The cave was a great place to keep the beer cold, even in the summer.  There is a shaft towards the back of the cave that goes to the street above, this is where the beer was lowered into the cave.  On this cold January afternoon there was a beautiful naturally formed ice sculpture from the water dripping onto the cave floor.

 

Further exploration brought us to a bridge which spans Duncan Creek.  What a beautiful sight this was.  The beauty and wonder that mother nature has to offer in the winter is nothing less than spectacular.

Bridge over Duncan Creek

Bridge over Duncan Creek at Irvine Park

It took my breath away for the serenity of it.  The quiet sounds of the rushing water, the stark contrasts of the white snow and ice against the blackness of the water.  What is it about water that is so mesmerizing?  If find myself instantly relaxing any time I am near a body of water.

 

Once we crossed the creek we found ourselves at the Bison exhibit.  Irvine Park is extremely fortunate to have a couple of white bison, and we were even more fortunate to see one of them that afternoon.  They certainly are impressive animals.  Their thick fur coats have them well prepared for the winter cold.  Then down the road further we found the bear den followed by the cougar den.  In the aviary we saw a variety of owls.  While the welcome center wasn’t open, we did marvel at the new center which opened the summer of 2016.  The park will be adding features to the welcome center this year.  We walked past the duck pond and on to wolf drive.  Here we saw some stunning frozen waterfalls on the sides of the limestone walls in the park.

Once we had our fill of fresh air and exercise we headed to the Leinie Lodge, which is just across the street from Irvine Park.  Leinie’s is a great place to get out of the cold and sip a few seasonal samplers by their huge fireplace and spend time with friends.

Leinie’s Lodge Fireplace

After a 2-mile walk in the park and a few beers, we were getting hungry.  There’s a new place in Chippewa Falls called the Blue Marble Pub.  In July of 2017 Heather Marble opened the Prohibition-themed pub which specializes in wood fired pizzas.  Their grinders, which are subs baked in the wood fired oven, are also popular among the patrons.  A short walk from Leinie’s Lodge, stop in for a bite to eat or grab a glass of beer or wine.

wood fired pizza

Pizza made in the wood-fired pizza oven at the Blue Marble in downtown Chippewa Falls.

So, all in all, it was a great afternoon and evening spent in downtown Chippewa Falls, even if it was January.  Sometimes the hardest part about getting out and about on a winter weekend is getting out of your chair and putting on your coat and gloves.  I’m so glad we seized the opportunity for a winter walk, and I hope you will do the same soon.  Don’t forget, there’s always something to do in the Chippewa Valley and Inn on Lake Wissota is happy to host you while you’re here.  We hope to greet you as one of our guests sometime soon!

Country Fest A Northern Wisconsin Summer Tradition

For 30 years Country Fest has been featuring the best artists in country and bluegrass music and is now a Northern Wisconsin Summer Tradition

Country Fest is an annual three-day music festival featuring the best country and bluegrass singers of today.

Founded 30 years ago in stunning Central Wisconsin, Country Fest in Cadott, WI is the ultimate summer destination for the best outdoor Country Music Festival experience. They bring fans back year after year and has become a northern Wisconsin summer tradition.   Continue reading

Wisconsin Cheese Oven Omelet – A Recipe Celiac’s Can enjoy

May is celiac awareness month in the U.S.  The Celiac Disease Foundation estimates that 1 in 100 people are affected by the disease worldwide.  While it can be challenging to deal with the symptoms of Celiac’s, it isn’t impossible.  Here is a recipe enjoyed my many guests at Pleasant View Bed & Breakfast, a recipe Celiac’s can enjoy, too!

Wisconsin Cheese Oven Omelet - A Recipe Celiac's Can enjoy

WI Cheese Oven Omelet served at Pleasant View Bed & Breakfast

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A Cinco de Mayo Breakfast Celebration – Fiesta Frittata

 

 

Let’s face it, Americans love to eat Mexican food, which is probably one of the reasons why we love to participate in the Mexican celebration of Cinco de Mayo.  The U.S. has adopted this date to celebrate American-Mexican culture. Their cuisine, music and art has had an influence on American culture for hundreds of years. So, here is a way to get your day started with a Cinco de Mayo Breakfast Celebration – Fiesta Frittata.

Fiesta Frittata

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Blues in the Northwoods – More Than Just Great Music

The Northwoods Blues Festival is coming to Chippewa Falls, and there is much more to it than just a great lineup of Blues Artists.  What better place could there be for Blues in the Northwoods?  The organizers of the festival have managed to get Taher Chef Christopher Murray.  With a philosophy of providing his clients with fresh, nutritious and delicious meals everyday, he will be providing festival goers with some fantastic cuisine.

Northwoods Blues Festival 2015

Northwoods Blues Festival 2015

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The Red Chair Travels meets Pleasant View Bed & Breakfast

In case you haven’t heard, the Red Chair Travels has made it to Wisconsin and stayed at Pleasant View Bed & Breakfast for several days.  So, what is The Red Chair Travels, you ask?

The Red Chair Travels

The Red Chair Travels showcases the view of Lake Wissota from the backyard at Pleasant View Bed & Breakfast

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Top 5 Reasons to Attend the 7th Annual Chippewa Falls SpringFest

The last weekend in April seems a ways away from the point in time I am publishing this blog, but it sure is nice to dream about warmer temperatures and spending time outdoors with friends, enjoying good food, music, and in general, camaraderie.  While the Chippewa Falls SpringFest offers a chance for the locals to get out and about and reconnect, it’s also a wonderful opportunity for those not familiar with the Chippewa Valley to come check it out and see everything it has to offer.  So, here are 5 excellent reasons to make the trip to Chippewa Falls the last weekend in April.

SpringFest 2017 Logo

SpringFest 2017

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