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Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012

Winter Weekend Getaways

Great Places to Go Without Going Far

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The trees have lost their leaves and the nights are getting longer. Without a doubt, winter is on the way. Before cabin fever has you climbing the walls, give yourself something to look forward to and plan a weekend getaway. The obvious choice of traveling to a warmer climate is enticing, but may require more money and time away from work than you can spare. Instead, spend your vacation dollars at local winter hideaways. Stay at a charming bed and breakfast or snuggle up by a toasty fire while embracing our Northern climate and the many activities winter-lovers in Wisconsin can enjoy.

 

Cedarburg

Less than half an hour away from Milwaukee, Cedarburg is loaded with historic charm. Stay at the elegant Washington House Inn or the cozy Stagecoach Inn and you will find several restaurants, quaint shops, artist studios and the Cedar Creek Winery all within walking distance. Visit on weekends throughout the holiday season to experience “A Cedarburg Christmas” for a range of activities, including horse-drawn sleigh rides, art fairs, and special concerts. After Christmas, enjoy Cedarburg’s 39th Annual Winter Festival (Feb. 16-17, 2013) featuring bed races on ice, a parade, ice sculpting and a chili contest. For more information and a complete list of events, visit www.cedarburg.org.

 

Kohler

Further north on I-43 is picturesque Kohler. Check in at The American Club Resort Hotel or the Inn on Woodlake and prepare to be pampered. Stay warm indoors and partake in the excellent spa services at the Kohler Water Spa. If you prefer outdoor winter activities, take advantage of the Club’s private recreational area, River Wildlife. This recreational area offers patrons of the hotels and club members a pristine landscape for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, bird hunting and trap shooting. For more information about available hotel packages, visit www.americanclubresort.com.

 

Madison

A visit to Wisconsin’s capital is fun any time of the year, but can be extra special when the snow falls. Plan a stay at the beautiful Arbor House, an eco-friendly bed and breakfast of the highest caliber. To keep the ecological theme going, leave the car behind and explore the UW-Madison Arboretum, home to over 10 miles of ski and snowshoeing trails, or take a walk and shop State Street’s many resale stores. One of the best cold weather events in town is the Madison Winter Festival on the Capitol Square (Feb. 16-17, 2013). The festival includes cross-country ski races, a snowboard and ski rail jam competition and a 5K run and walk. Activities for children include tubing, a snowshoe obstacle course and the chance to check out an “authentic” igloo at Rutabaga's Winter Playground. For more information, please visit www.arbor-house.com and www.winter-fest.com.

 

Wisconsin Dells

Everyone knows the Wisconsin Dells is a busy vacation spot all summer long, but what may be less known is just how popular of a place it has become during winter. At a pleasant 80 degrees, the water parks are an excellent balm to cold weather-weary spirits. Almost every resort and hotel in the Dells offers a winter package with themes ranging from relaxing and romantic to high-energy water parks and arcades. Check your favorite hotel’s website for special deals. Outdoor adventurers can ski the slopes at nearby Cascade Mountain (children 12 and under ski free with paid adult ticket). If quiet winter sports are more to your liking, Mirror Lake State Park is a beautiful location for cross-country skiing. For a festive experience, Christmas Mountain Village hosts a Winter Carnival on Feb. 2 that features fireworks, turkey bowling and dog sled races. More details can be found at www.dells.com.

 

Lake Geneva

In Lake Geneva, the place to be is the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa and Timber Ridge Lodge & Water Park. The Grand Geneva embodies style and simple elegance. Timber Ridge is more casual and great for families. Both share top-notch restaurants, spa treatments, water park access (Grand Geneva guests purchase day passes) and outdoor winter activities including skiing, sledding, ice skating and snowboarding. Winter package deals are available. Stay between Nov. 18 and Dec. 30 to experience “Christmas in the Country,” which includes a nighttime Christmas light display and countless merrymaking activities and events. Lake Geneva’s 18th Annual Winterfest and U.S. National Snow Sculpting Competition will be held Jan. 30 – Feb. 3, 2013. Visit www.grandgeneva.com and www.lakegenevawi.com for more information.

 

Susan Harpt Grimes is a freelance writer living and working in the Milwaukee area. She has been contributing to the Shepherd Express since 2010.