Romance, FLW-style: Seth Peterson Cottage

When USA Today called recently, asking me to describe the most romantic experience or setting you could find in Wisconsin, I didn’t want to pick something predictable or overused. So I chose the very private Seth Peterson Cottage, on a bluff that overlooks Mirror Lake, near Baraboo.

The 1958 cottage was one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s last commissioned projects, and it is the perfect match for nature lovers. Bring cross-country skis to explore Mirror Lake State Park. In summer, cottage rental includes use of a canoe.

The cottage setting is isolated, the structure’s many windows bring the outside in, and the design is flexible.

A couple on a romantic holiday won’t feel swallowed up by this place, yet the open layout is capable of accommodating up to 40 friends for cocktails and appetizers. So spend a chunk of the day with a party, to show off the place. Then shoo everybody away to absorb the ambiance and reverence for the natural world that remains.

There’s just one problem, maybe two. Last time we looked, only two openings were left between now and mid November. The rent per night is $225-275, depending upon the time of year, and the minimum stay typically is two nights.

But if you’re a Wright fan and the reason for celebrating is special, it’ll be worth planning far ahead for an overnight. For more: www.sethpeterson.org, 800-822-7768. The Seth Peterson Cottage is near U.S. 12 and Fern Dell Road, southwest of I-90/94.

Want to just take a peek? That is possible during $2 guided tours at the monthly cottage open house (1-4 p.m. Feb. 11, March 11, April 8, May 13, June 10, July 7 and Aug. 12). Head over from 1-4 p.m. June 3, for the state park’s open house, and admission is free.

A short drive away is the International Crane Foundation, a jewel of a conservancy that provides refuge to each of the world’s 15 species of cranes. It is open April 15 to Oct. 31. For more: www.savingcranes.org, 608-356-9562. The ICF is at E11376 Shady Lane Road, Baraboo.

If getting back to nature isn’t your idea of an aphrodisiac, have no fear. Bedandbreakfast.com includes the White Lace Inn, Sturgeon Bay, on its short list of “best undiscovered inns for romance.”

Need convincing? “Climb into a canopied plantation or ornate Victorian bed luxuriously dressed in soft linens, fat pillows and down comforters,” suggest the editors of this online and national B&B directory. “Then watch the fire in the fireplace weave its relaxing magic.

“Pour a glass of champagne and step into a bubbling whirlpool bath for two as you listen to your favorite CD on the stereo. Be sure to try the sinfully good cookies, too.”

For more: www.whitelaceinn.com, 877-948-5223. The White Lace Inn is at 16 N. Fifth Ave., Sturgeon Bay.

Carla Minsky, on behalf of the Wisconsin B&B Association, points couples to www.yestobliss.com, which provides details about 200 inns in the state.

Options include Manitowoc’s WestPort B&B “Enhance the Romance” special that includes a suite with fireplace, queen featherbed and spa bath; champagne or sparkling juice, chocolate truffles and roses; two in-room massages; dinner for two at a nearby restaurant; and a four-course candlelight breakfast.

The cost is $350. For more: www.thewestport.com, 888-686-0465. The WestPort B&B is at 635 N. Eighth St., Manitowoc.

A dozen red roses, champagne, truffles and a wine/chocolate buffet before dinner for two at Fratello’s brewery/restaurant are a part of the Valentine’s Day Package offered Feb. 14 and 17 at The Brayton Bed & Breakfast, Oshkosh. Add chocolate-dipped berries before bedtime, then a full breakfast and tickets to the Paine Art Center the next day. Prices start at $289 for one night, $364 for two.

For more: www.braytonbb.net, 920-267-0300. The Brayton Bed & Breakfast is an 1867 Italianate home at 143 Church Ave., Oshkosh.