Canyon Road Inn B&B: woodsy retreat near Turtle Lake

Third in a series about the wide range of bed and breakfast lodging in Wisconsin. The state contains 300-plus licensed B&Bs, including this one.

How appropriate that we’re following the Sunset Trail as a sunny day nears its end, and the path leads us to a bench that overlooks quiet Skinaway Lake. Newlyweds already have glided away in the property’s canoe, but we decide to ignore the paddleboat that remains.

It is good enough to simply watch the sun sink while debating whether the bird we see is a loon. We had already watched deer stroll near our window and spotted frogs along the marshy shore. What we don’t see is a plethora of cottages and condos; much of the lake’s shoreline is undeveloped.

Canyon Road Inn Bed and Breakfast is 14 acres of woodsy solitude, just as innkeepers Turner Reaney and Patti Gilkey intend. The rural retreat is on the outskirts of Turtle Lake, population 1,050 and at the western border of Barron County.

Six roomy suites, each with a gas fireplace and cozy easy chairs, are comfortable and private escapes from the outside world. If silence and contemplation aren’t the goal, within reach is a library of DVDs, games, books, puzzles and music. Add pop and popcorn, which the hosts provide, or bring your own beverages.

“People want comfort,” Turner says. “We try to portray simple elegance here.” He acknowledges their location is “the lost part of Wisconsin,” the northwest Northwoods that tends to be better known by Gophers than Badgers.

The innkeepers are relatively new, having bought and updated this B&B in 2009. They met at the Arizona Biltmore, where Patti (a Fond du Lac native) was an accountant and Turner led golf course development and management. His degree, from Penn State, is in turfgrass management – which helps explain how walking trails in wooded areas can look so tidy and healthy.

Patti aims to provide “the best amenities” – satiny sheets, soft robes, coffeemakers, just-baked cookies – “so people can take two or three days and feel like they’re renewed.” Five of six suites face the lake; each is at least 350 square feet. One has a railroad theme, to honor the work of Patti’s father.

Being near friendly people in small towns is what this type of getaway is about. Add a resident bald eagle that loops and swoops the property at certain times of year, swans a swimming, other birds, fawns and foxes.

Canyon Road Inn, 575 W. Town Line Rd., Turtle Lake, is an adults-only property that is wheelchair accessible, via a sidewalk ramp and chair lift., 888-251-5542.

Five reasons to visit the Turtle Lake area:

Louie’s Finer Meats, Cumberland, has earned hundreds of state to international awards, especially for its sausages. You’ll likely taste the breakfast links at Canyon Road Inn. Go to the family-owned butcher shop, in business since 1970, to sample other products.

Wood-fired pizzas are served on weekends, through Oct. 14, at Chateau St. Croix Winery and Vineyard, St. Croix Falls. The winemakers lived in Germany for several years, and their winery resembles a French chateau. On the estate are occasional specialty dinners; the next is a Sept. 28 Vine and Dine German Beer Dinner.

Golfing at the 18-hole Turtleback course, near Rice Lake, can be arranged through a two-night stay at the B&B. Some of the mounds resemble turtle shells, which is how the course (established in 1927) got its name.

Relatively near the B&B is the 98-mile Gandy Dancer State Trail, a walking and bicycling route that crosses into Minnesota. Snowmobiles use the trail in winter, as do cross country skiers and snowshoers (but the Gandy Dancer is not groomed).

The trail leads to Interstate State Park and the St. Croix River. Most of the park is in Minnesota, but this also is Wisconsin’s oldest state park. Expect cliffs, forests, shoreline and panoramic bi-state views.

The Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast Association in October releases its eighth cookbook, which contains recipes from its members. These contributions from the Canyon Road Inn’s Patti Gilkey acknowledges her years of living in Arizona.


1 link chorizo or 1/4 pound spicy pork sausage
6 eggs
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon (heaping) diced chili peppers
tortilla chips, crushed
shredded cheddar cheese, as desired
chopped tomatoes, to garnish
chopped black olives, to garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease two individual-serving “au gratin” style dishes. Brown and drain sausage. Whisk eggs, add onion and chili powders, scramble until firm but moist. Fold in sour cream and chili peppers.

Layer both serving dishes this way: tortilla chips (enough to cover bottom), cheddar cheese, sausage, egg mixture, additional cheddar cheese. Bake for 20 minutes. Garnish with tomatoes and black olives. Serves two.


2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon orange zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon tequila
1/2 cup lemon-lime, Fresca or Mountain Dew soda

Preheat oven 375 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, orange zest and salt.

In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating well. Fold in sour cream.

Combine lime juice, tequila and soda. Alternately add this and dry ingredients to creamed mixture. Spoon into mini muffin pans, filling about 2/3 full.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until center springs back when lightly touched. Cool 5 minutes, then remove from pans. Dust with powdered sugar.

A new section of the cookbook is devoted to “special requests” – vegan, raw, gluten-free and other dietary requests that B&B operators address when making breakfast. To order, stay tuned to or call 715-539-9222.