Accommodations at the Waupaca B&B, a roomy Victorian-style house built in 1908, are more about comfort and affordability than excess and luxury. Room rates stay well under $100, which includes a continental breakfast with bakery made just down the stairs.
This may not sound so unusual, but the Green Fountain also is home to the Back Door Bakery and Secret Garden Café. That means innkeeper Cindy Oerter and chef Michael Doud are likely not cooking up a little something for just you, but overnight guests certainly benefit from their culinary experiments and mix of hearty-gourmet fare.
That might mean meats marinated overnight, crab-stuffed shrimp or blackened salmon with blueberry-ginger compote on the side.
“Delicious food in a beautiful environment” is what Cindy aims to provide. “More special care in the preparation” of food is what Michael promises, since he limits a night’s menu to three or four entrée choices and cooks for no more than 50 people indoors at a time.
He considers his work an art form, with the “plate as a palette” instead of merely a dish to hold food until it is eaten.
Tables of two, four and more are set up, as needed, in the dining room and beyond. Reservations are advised for dinner service, 5-10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Soups, salads and sandwiches are served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays.
The showstopper is bakery, especially cheesecakes, and Cindy says one of her secrets is adding beer, to lighten the texture. Expect layered cakes to be delightfully dense and not as sweet as they look.
Three of four guest rooms contain queen-sized beds; in the fourth are two twin beds. On the grounds is a two-bedroom cottage, nice for chatty girlfriends or a family traveling with children.
Overnight rates at Green Fountain Inn Bed and Breakfast, 604 S. Main St., Waupaca, are $79 to $120. greenfountaininn.com, 715-258-5171
The Waupaca area is best known for its chain of lakes and waterfront cottage rentals during summer, but inland are other distinctive B&Bs that stay open all year. Within 20 miles of the Green Fountain are:
Artha Sustainable Living Center, 9784 Hwy. K, Amherst. Being good to the Earth is top priority at this 90-acre property, whose three bedrooms ($69 to $99 per night) can be booked separately or all together at a discount. An open floor plan merges kitchen and lounging areas. Add massage time, a yoga class, hiking/skiing or lessons about renewable energy, meditation or herbal bath products. arthaonline.com, 715-824-3463
Willow Pond, E5490 North Shore Rd., Weyauwega. Stay in a 1901 farmhouse, each room eclectic and homey with its antique décor. Add the warmth of a stone fireplace in the kitchen, where breakfast is served. Accommodations on these 12 acres include the Rose Suite, whose two bedrooms include a queen bed, crib and three twin beds in addition to a lounging-kitchen area. At $195, it’s the priciest of six choices that begin at $80 per night. willowpondevents.com, 920-867-2493
Crystal River Inn, E1369 Rural Rd., Waupaca. The 1853 farmstead on 11 acres anchors the unincorporated village of Rural, a historic Yankee district because this and 14 other well-maintained houses were built by Yankees of British ancestry. The inn is a logical match for people in search of tranquility and picturesque scenery. Walk the outdoor labyrinth or follow the pretty river as it twists through town. Lodging options range from $79 rooms with a shared bathroom to the two-bedroom Little House on the Prairie for $249 (which has a kitchen and fireplaces). crystalriver-inn.com, 715-258-5333
Apple Tree Lane, E3192 Apple Tree Lane, Waupaca. The 1880s farmhouse with gingerbread trim used to be home to one of the area’s biggest apple orchards, and a century-old tree still produces big Wolf River reds. An overnight stay ($110 to $175 per night) in one of the five rooms/suites includes an afternoon reception of treats and wine, in addition to breakfast. appletreelanebb.com, 715-258-3107
Lindsay House, 539 Depot St., Manawa. Friendly innkeepers (who are Air Force veterans) share common spaces, such as the living room, with guests at this 1892 Victorian house. It is near 165 miles of snowmobile trails and the Little Wolf River Trail for walking or bicycling. The rate for each of four guest rooms is $99 per night. lindsayhouse.com, 920-596-3643
Cleghorn B&B, N2080 Cleghorn Rd., Waupaca. Greeters include Emma, a Yorkshire terrier, and the wooded setting is a mix of modern and craft furnishings. Expect Amish-made beds, quilts and wall hangings in most of the four guest bedrooms ($89 to $135 per night). Next to the B&B is a shop that sells antiques, Amish crafts, German cuckoo clocks and Christmas décor all year. cleghornbandb.com, 715-258-5235
Still holiday shopping? The Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast Association sells gift cards for any dollar amount, and they can be applied toward an overnight stay at one of the group’s 140 member properties. wbba.org, 715-539-9222