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4 Reasons to host a Role-playing Game Retreat at a B&B

Cartoon of men sitting around a table playing a game under a spotlight

Role Playing Game

 

Last month we had the pleasure of hosting a group of folks from around the upper mid-west. They descended upon Inn on Lake Wissota for a weekend dedicated to Role-playing Games.  The event was initiated by our son who has been into RPG’s for almost 2 decades now.  He uses the pen name PK Sullivan when he is writing RPG blogs, designing games and contributing to RPG books. PK thought  why not host a Role-playing Game Retreat at a B&B?  They decided to rent out the entire place for a weekend.  What fun for 12 players to participate in a weekend of  role-playing games.

1. Plenty of room for several groups of 4

These folks were coming from 3 different states, so it was fun to watch them arrive.  Some had never met in person, which is a kick to think about.  The group of 12 broke into 3 groups of four and found separate areas in the B&B to play their particular RPG.  The dining room offers a large table, plenty of room for them to spread out with their game stuff with plenty of room for snacks and beverages.  Another group gathered in our common area, at a high top table near the fireplace.  The last group gathered in the Northwoods room, which is a suite that has a large sitting area with a couch and an overstuffed chair.  We put another chair in their so they could all sit comfortably around the coffee table.  Throughout the weekend they switched up groups, games and GM’s, which added to the experience.

2. The Bed & Breakfast is free of distractions

Once each one of those guests walked through the front door of the bed and breakfast they were able to leave behind their cares and concerns from their day-to-day lives.  There are no TV’s or computers in any of our common areas (unless a guest brings one from home).  The Northwoods room has a tv, but it is tucked away in an entertainment center that has doors.  Since they were the only guests staying at the B&B there were no disturbances from other guests coming and going during their games.  With 5 guestrooms there were plenty of restrooms available when they took a break.  We have a small fridge for complimentary bottled water and sodas, they brought their own adult beverages and snacks.

3. No meal prep or cleaning required

The onerous duty of planning meals, grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was left up to me, the innkeeper.  Of course, we took into consideration any food allergies and dietary restrictions or diets the group had. The most difficult decisions they needed to make was what clothes to pack, which of their favorite snacks to bring, and what adult beverages they wanted stow in their cooler. Each morning we served breakfast in the dining room at 9:00 to the entire group. I was also able to get the kitchen & dining room cleaned up as quickly as possible so they could get back to the games.  Friday night they took a break to have pizzas delivered, then got right back to their RPG’s.  Saturday night they went to a local supper club so they could get out and about a bit and have a change of scenery.

4.  Offseason rates make it affordable for the entire group

The winter months up here in the Northwoods of Wisconsin can be rather quiet, so when I have an opportunity to book out the entire place for 2 nights, I will certainly give a good deal to the group.  The housekeeper doesn’t mind either, she gets Saturday off!  This seemed like the perfect win-win situation for everyone.  They got an inexpensive weekend away playing games and I was able to have a full house!  For those who are interested in hosting a Role Playing Game in their own home, RoleplayingTips.com has more good information for you to build on.

We sure enjoyed having these folks stay with us.  While I have been aware of Role Playing Games for many years, I was able to gain a better understanding of how they are actually played.  We would welcome PK’s group back anytime.  Maybe sometime when the weather is nicer and games can be played outside on the deck or in the yard near the lake.  If you have a group of friends you like to RPG with, give us a call when you’re ready to host your own retreat here at Inn on Lake Wissota.

 

 

 

 

 

3 Reasons why You Should Attend SpringFest 2019

After a long, cold winter with record breaking snowfalls, it is only fitting Chippewa Falls once again starts the celebration of Spring and everything that goes with it, i.e., warmer weather, tulips blooming, lilacs on the verge of bursting forth their beautiful lavendar color and iconic fragrance.  The Chippewa Falls Rotary Foundation will be hosting the 9th Annual SpringFest April 26-28, 2019.  This year’s list of activities is one you won’t want to miss, there is plenty of fun for everyone.  Here are the top 3 reasons why you should attend SpringFest 2019.

1. Honoring those who serve our community

SpringFest 2019 will kick-off on Friday afternoon at 3:45 pm with a Flag Pole service to honor those who have served our nation, our state and our community.  Not only veterans and current military service members, but firefighters, police officers, emt’s, all just need to present a current ID card to receive free admission on Friday.  Kids will be able to enjoy Cassidy’s Critters and Petting Zoo along with free inflatables.

2. Family Friendly

There will be plenty of things for the kids to do on both Saturday and Sunday.  There will be a free balloon artist and facepainting; Cassidy’s Critters Petting Zoo will be there as well.  On Saturday afternoon you won’t want to miss the Hillbilly Silly Science Spectacular.  The show combines clean family humor with educational material.  Kids will learn about basic science concepts and developing a hypothesis for what will happen with each experiment. Inflatable World is place for all the kids to have fun.

Sunday is Youth & Family Day, admission to the event is free.  Yes, I typed that correctly, FREE.  Sunday’s events will be geared towards the kids, and those, too will be free of charge. In addition to the facepainting, Cassidy’s Critters, inflatables and baloon artists you will find free pony rides. Doug Wozniak, the One Man Polka Band will be returning and have us all dancing a jig in the streets of the Northern WI State Fairgrounds. You won’t want to miss the Chi-Hi Wire Choir, always a big hit, it’s so much fun to see these talented kids turn out some music and dance you would least expect with instruments typically used in the orchestra.  Another must see is EXA Athletics from Eau Claire, they will be demonstrating cheerleading, gymnastics, tumbling and ninja.  Now what kid wouldn’t love that?

3. Music, Music, and more Music

As the old saying goes, last, but certainly not least, SpringFest 2019 has music to fit anyone’s genre.  On Friday afternoon starting at 4:00 folks will be able to enjoy Rockin Ivy. a Chippewa Valley local favorite that always draws a crowd.  Wrapping up Friday evening is Contradiction; since 2002, Contradiction has remained one of the most fun and diverse rock and roll bands in Wisconsin. Mix in some kickin country, and you’ll be dancing and fist pumping all night.  Fronted by a very powerful singer that can nail vocals from bands such as Metallica and Godsmack, to Seether and Jason Aldean or Luke Bryan, you will want to stay all night just to see what he does next.  Collectively, Contradiction covers decades of party music, and has the extensive song list to prove it.

Saturday will be jam packed with some perennial favorites, including Sage Leary who grew up in nearby Holcombe, WI and is now attending UWEC.  Sage has a passion for writing music, and that passion flows through to his listeners.  Later in the afternoon the Sue Orfield Band will perform beginning at 4:00 pm. Nothing else needs to be said, the Sue Orfield Band has been performing in the Chippewa Valley for years and is loved by many.  Year after year, Boogie and the Yo-Yo’z draws a crowd larger than the tent can hold at the NWSF grounds.  This year the Rotary Foundation has invested in a larger tent and more places to purchase your favorite beverage which cuts down on the amount of time you are spending in line and maximizes the time you are boogieing with the yo-yo’z!

If these three reasons aren’t enough to draw you to Chippewa Falls at the end of April, then maybe I can compel you to come for one more reason, all proceeds from the event stay in Chippewa Falls, primarily benefiting the Chippewa Falls Area Mentor Program.  With a focus on kids, the Chippewa Falls Rotary Club chose the Chippewa Area Mentor Program as it’s signature benefactor from SpringFest because it offers a structured, school-based mentoring program, serving students in grades K-12 in the public and Catholic schools in the Chippewa area. The program operates September thru May, during regular school hours, and serves over 200 mentor-mentee matches annually.

We hope to see you at the end of April at the Northern WI State Fairgrounds for the 9th Annual Chippewa Falls SpringFest!

 

 

 

3 Reasons Why a Night at a B&B is the Perfect Valentine’s Gift for Your Guy

Happy Valentine's Day_canstockphoto521583

Happy Valentine’s Day

Are you having a difficult time choosing that perfect Valentine’s gift for your guy?  I’m here to tell you a night at a B&B is the perfect Valetine’s Gift for your guy.  Choosing a gift for the love of your life can be challenging sometimes.  If you’re like me you feel you want to get him something extra special to show how much he means to you and you appreciate all he does for you.  Somehow that stuffed animal just doesn’t send that message. And, I don’t know about your guy, but mine would not appreciate having flowers delivered to his office, that’s not how he rolls.  I would most certainly be in the dog house for that maneuver!  So why a night at a B&B?  Let me give you three reasons:

  1. A quiet place for you to spend some quality time together.  One of the first things you notice about a B&B is the quietness. Many B&B’s don’t accept young children, so you don’t have to worry about the hockey or basketball team running up and down the hall, slamming the doors as they come and go, which is what we are likely to find at a hotel during the month of February here in the Northwoods.  Your guy will love having you all to himself, with no interruptions.
  2. A new adventure.  If you’ve never stayed at a Bed & Breakfast before, this will be the perfect time to explore one.  If you’ve already enjoyed staying at B&B, try to find a new one so you can have a different experience than what you’ve had in the past. Each Bed & Breakfast is unique, no two are created equally, just like their owners!  If you have a B&B the both of you absolutely love going to, then by all means, make that reservation.  I’m sure the innkeeper will be pleased as punch to have you as a repeat guest.  Creating memories just the two of you to share will make this Valentine’s gift one your guy will never forget.
  3. Breakfast in bed.  Who doesn’t enjoy having a lazy morning, lingering in bed a little too long, enjoying each other’s company?  Many B&B’s offer room service so you can have breakfast in your jammies just the two of you.  Again, your guy will feel pampered (in a guy sort of way) and be able to spend quality time with you.  Isn’t that what we all crave, just some intimate moments with the love of our life?

So why not mix things up a little bit this year for Valentine’s Day?  You can take the initiative to make the reservations and surprise your guy with one of the best Valentine’s gifts he’s ever received!

As usual, we hope to greet you soon as one of our guests here at Inn on Lake Wissota!  Happy Valentine’s Day!

5 reasons to hold your team building event in Chippewa Falls

Chippewa Falls, geographically speaking, is very blessed to sit on the banks of the Chippewa River.  The river has lent itself to a rich and varied history for the city.  The city was built amidst the logging industry followed by shoe factories, a woolen mill company, banking, supercomputing, and we can’t forget to mention a world renowned brewery!  All of these business required team work and helped create a vibrant community that has stood the test of time.  Natural resources abound as well.  All of these elements come together to help you develop a team building event your group will never forget.  A team building retreat in Chippewa Falls will help your teammates connect, develop new ways to communicate which helps foster creativity and productivity.

Team building activities

Consider taking a tour

Tours can offer interesting insights to a community, how it was built, the businesses and industries that contributed to it’s growth.  The Chippewa Falls Museum of Industry and Technology tells the stories the story of important, unique, and groundbreaking innovations in industry and technology that were developed in the Chippewa Valley.

The Cook-Rutledge Museum is a truly unique 1887 restored and furnished lumber baron’s home. It is one of the finest remaining examples of High Victorian Italianate architecture in Wisconsin. Visitors to the stately, red brick home will be awed by 19th century extravagance.

The Leinenkugel’s Brewery has been brewing beer in Chippewa Falls for more than 150 years.  A tour of the brewery offers visitors a chance to sample their beer, tour the brewery and shop at the Lodge.  We recommend taking the Family Tour.  The tour is delivered by one of the Leinenkugel family members! Leinie’s fans can join Dick, John, or Matt Leinenkugel as they guide them around the brewery, sip fantastic beer, partake in cheese pairings, and take home a gift.

Outdoor activities

Hiking and walking opportunities abound in Chippewa Falls.  The Lake Wissota State Park has more than 18 miles of hiking trails.  There are two, self-guided, scenic, nature trails.  Downtown Chippewa Falls has experienced some wonderful revitalization over the past several years, but is still maintains it’s historical vibe.  The Chippewa Falls Walking Tour gives visitors a chance to take a self-guided tour of downtown Chippewa Falls and learn about our history and see beautiful, historic homes and buildings.  The Old Abe State trail is located just 1/2 mile from Inn on Lake Wissota, a 19.5-mile abandoned railroad grade connecting two State Parks, from Chippewa Falls to Cornell, Wisconsin. The trail is flat and easy going.

Community Service

A small community service project can give your team an chance to connect on another level unavailable in the workplace.  When working towards a common altruistic cause co-workers are able to get to know one another outside the workplace.  This fosters a different kind of bond than that in the office.  Community service projects offer a win-win situation for both the employees and the organization benefiting from the volunteer work.  Employees feel good for contributing to a needy organization and the non-profit is able to continue serving it’s mission.  There are plenty of non-profits in Chippewa Falls who would be grateful for whatever time you are able to give.  From packing weekend backpack meals for school kids or serving a meal at Ruby’s pantry, just to mention a couple, there’s a volunteer project in the Chippewa Falls community to fit your team building event.

Lodging at a B&B

An overnight stay at a Bed & Breakfast can extend the team building experience for your group.  Usually there is a common area large enough for a small team of 4-10 members to gather, creating a relaxed atmosphere for further bonding and communication.  The team leader has another opportunity to build on developing company objectives and goals.  Encouraging employees to give their input on how to work towards those company objectives helps increase motivation and productivity in the workplace.

A team building event booked during our off-season (November through Mid-May) gives your team an opportunity for an earlier check-in and later check-out, as most B&B’s in Wisconsin are not as busy this time of year.  The personalized service you’ll receive and beautiful breakfast will help facilitate that special experience you’re trying to provide to your team mates to show them how important they are to the team and you appreciate all they do.

We hope to greet you and your team members soon at Inn on Lake Wissota.

 

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!

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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7 Ways to Enjoy the Chippewa Valley this Spring

For those of us who live in the upper Midwest spring can be an elusive season.  It is the time of year we start to feel cooped up and long to spend time outdoors without having to wear hats and gloves.  There are days we look out the window to a beautiful sunny day, only to step outside and discover it is all an illusion.  Even though the sun may be out, the temperatures are not spring-like at all and the wind gusts remind us of the wind chills we experienced in January and February.  It seems every year at the beginning of April I come to the same conclusion, for hearty Midwesterners, spring is more a state of mind than a season we can count on to spend time comfortably outdoors.  We are between seasons, there is no snow for skiing, snowmobiling or snowshoeing.  Fisherman need to wait another month or so before they are able to fish for anything other than pan fish, and baseball season is just beginning.  For the extra-hearty die-hard Milwaukee Brewer fans, their home opener is April 4th with projected high temps in the mid-30’s.  Call me a wimp, but that isn’t my idea of fun.  Don’t get me wrong, I love baseball, but if I am going to a game, especially at an outdoor stadium, I much prefer temps in the 70’s.  I guess that just speaks to the hardiness of most upper Midwesterners.  I have no doubt the Brewers will have plenty of support on April 4th, despite the cool temperatures and my absence.  So what does all of this have to do with having fun in the Chippewa Valley this spring?  Well, dress accordingly, because we have plenty of things going on indoors and outdoors!! Continue reading

It’s Official – Wisconsin has the best Cheese!

 
 
 
Well, I am proud to say a Wisconsin Cheese has won the World Championship Cheese Contest held in Madison, WI earlier this month.  We offer up hearty Congratulations to Emmi Roth USA for it’s winning entry of  Roth® Grand Cru® Surchoix cheese.   Even though the contest is held in Wisconsin, America’s Dairyland, the judges are a well rounded panel of cheese experts from around the world.  In fact, the last time any cheese from the U.S. won the Grand Prize was in 1988.  I don’t claim to be a cheese expert or connoisseur, but, I do appreciate a variety of cheeses.  In fact, I would go so far to say that many of us Wisconsinites have a tendency to complain when we travel to other states and find the selection of cheeses to be lacking.  I believe this is a reflection of how fortunate we are to live in a place where excellent cheese makers abound. Continue reading

March Inn to Spring Cleaning Madness – Tips for cleaning your bedroom

With the arrival of March come the thoughts of spring weather.  Those of us in Wisconsin, especially here in the northern half of the state, begin to daydream of warmer temperatures, the tulips and

daffodils peeking up through the ground, the ice melting off of the area lakes, robins looking for worms in our lawn.  Most of us up here realize it will be another 40 to 50 days before that really happens, but we can dream of it anyway.  So, what are we left with?  Well, the other day we were fortunate enough to have some unusually warm weather, it got above 50 degrees and, since I have lots of windows with southern exposure, I was able to open them up and get some much appreciated fresh air into the B&B.  This led to thoughts of deep cleaning the house.  I try to do this once every 3 or 4 months to make sure our guests are very comfortable while visiting Pleasant View Bed & Breakfast.  With  5 guest rooms, this task can be somewhat daunting.  So, what I have found to be helpful for me is to break down the chores into specific tasks.  Then, the challenge is to stay focused and not get side-tracked by all the other things you notice along the way.  I will share with you how I break down my chore list, feel free to adapt to what ever works for you. Continue reading

Fantastic Recipe for Creme’ Brulee French Toast

As I was doing my research for a fantastic Valentine’s breakfast that my guests would never forget (that is always the goal, whether or not I accomplish that is another story), I found a recipe for Creme’ Brulee French Toast.  When you go to a Bed & Breakfast you would expect to see French Toast on the menu.  I constantly challenge myself to provide my guests with a breakfast they would not cook for themselves or something different than what they would order when they go to their favorite restaurant for breakfast.  So, if I am going to make French toast, it had better be something pretty spectacular.  I found this recipe on AllRecipes.com I thought would be good.  My, oh, my, let me tell you, good is an understatement!  You know I always say a clean plate is the best compliment an innkeeper could ever ask for, and I had clean plates across the board.  I like this recipe because you prep the night before and then pop it in the oven the next morning.  I served with pork sausage links we buy from the butcher in Chippewa Falls, along with a locally made maple syrup to drizzle over the French toast, and, because it was Valentine’s weekend, chocolate covered strawberries.

Gather the following ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter                      1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream
1 cup packed brown sugar                  1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tbs corn syrup                                1 teaspoon brandy-based orange liqueur
6 1-inch thick slices French bread        1/4 tsp salt
5 eggs

Melt butter in a small saucepan, mix in brown sugar and corn syrup, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Pour into a 9×13 inch baking dish.

The recipe says to remove the bread crust, I did not do this and found the presentation to be just as beautiful as posted on the allrecipes.com website.  Also, I did not use Grand Marnier® as recommended in the recipe.  I went to the local liquor store and purchased an airline sized bottle of a brandy-based orange liqueur. While Grand Marnier® is delicious, and I am sure substitutes are just that, substitutes, there are plenty of things going on in this recipe, so I felt the real deal was not missed. Since the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon, I did not see much reason to invest in a large bottle of liqueur.  There are purists who feel there is no substitute for Grand Marnier®, so if you don’t want to make a sizeable investment in the large bottle, look for the airplane size bottle of Grand Marnier®.

Remove crusts from bread, and arrange in the baking dish in a single layer. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, vanilla extract, orange brandy, and salt. Pour over the bread. Cover, and chill at least 8 hours, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Remove the dish from the refrigerator, and bring to room temperature.

Bake uncovered 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, until puffed and lightly browned.

I know your friends and family will enjoy this recipe as much as we did at Pleasant View Bed & Breakfast.  You could save it for a special occasion, such as a birthday or holiday celebration.  Or, sometimes just getting the entire family together at the same time to the breakfast table is reason enough to celebrate.  I am willing to bet if they know you are serving Creme’ Brulee French Toast, they will be seated anxiously waiting for you to serve breakfast.  And who knows, you may start a new family tradition.

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