Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Apple Season in Southwest Wisconsin Brings Fall Leaves

Folks are thinking apples already! Reservations are coming in every day with visiting the apple orchards on the list of 'things to do' when they get to the Westby House Inn.   With the mild summer and cool temps it is hard to believe apples and fall leaf color are just around the corner.
Orchards are plotted across many acres within the Driftless Area of Southwest Wisconsin and La Crescent Minnesota.Visiting these orchards gets a person in the mood for baking fresh pies, or canning applesauce to enjoy throughout the winter. I have personal experience growing up in both of those kitchen activities. It was fun once the many bushels of apples were peeled.

A leisure 35 minute drive from the Inn to Gays Mills Wisconsin will put you in the center of the largest and most concentrated apple orchard area in the Tri-States. The apple harvest starts with early apples in August, and continues through mid-October. Apple salesrooms are open every day and some until Christmas. The Annual Gays Mills Apple Festival is the last full weekend in September.  Enjoy the orchard experience from Highways 61 and 171 east of Gays Mills.

Another usual question we get asked  is "just when is the best time for fall color around here"?  I use to tell how soon it would be peak by a 75+ year old maple that stood so tall on property, but is no longer. Best guess would be any time in the first two weeks in October. You will see color, how much depends on the unpredictable wind and rain.

Think apples today as we may be thinking snow sooner than we care too!! The apple orchards and fall leaves await your exploring.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

God's Country is Right Here In Vernon County Wisconsin

Vernon County - Invigorates the Mind and Soul 

Unblemished and unencumbered. Unmistakeable and unforgettable. Truly Wisconsin's undiscovered country.  Every Westby House Inn guest that travels through this area speaks those words. 
Why you ask? It seems they discover the therapy of nature deep in the valleys and along the ridge tops of Vernon County all nestled in the Driftless Region of Southwest Wisconsin.  It is a region so peaceful and quiet, so breathtaking and beautiful, it is no wonder why it is a place to invigorate the mind and soul with nature.
Our celebrated Mississippi River, ever-winding Kickapoo River, rugged hills, scenic farmland, majestic forests, tranquil back roads and crystal clean air will give you an opportunity to be in the moment while developing a special connection to what so many call God's country.
Explore the Kickapoo Valley Reserve and Wildcat Mountain State Park for hikes, or travel down the Kickapoo River by way of a canoe, pedal parts of the Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail, or roll the windows down and visit the many villages and towns filled with shops, antique stores, dining spots and more.
The area is at your fingertips when you stay with us. Come explore by booking your stay with us now and get your mind and soul invigorated before summer passes you by.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Driftless Area Painted through River Sojourn

Here is a wonderful You Tube video of how a painter shares her experiences of the Driftless Area through paintings. Watch and then plan your trip with a stay at the Westby House Inn. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Spring Season Outdoor Adventure at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve near Westby

There is not a better way to get the winter blues out of the system then to think Spring!
Everyone is ready to enjoy some Spring like weather after this very long and cold winter Southwest Wisconsin and the country have experienced this year.
Our Rhododendron in full bloom!
So start exploring and planning the many fun and educational Springtime adventures you will find close to the Westby House Inn.

The Kickapoo Valley Reserve in La Farge should be your first stop. On Saturday, March 22, 2014  Jean Napp will have a presentation "Falling in Love with the Night Sky".  After a short indoor presentation, you can experience the amateur astronomer in you by stargazing outdoors. Jean, who is President of the Starsplitters of Wyalusing, will share the story of how she became a stargazer and tell you about the stars, constellations, clusters and nebula of the March sky. Time is 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm. $5.00 fee. Registration deadline: March 21st.  608-625-2960.

On April 26, 2014 at the Reserve will be a Spring Ephemerals Hike. The rich mesic woods of Wisconsin's Driftless Area provide on of the best places to experience the beauty of spring. Delicate spring ephemerals who only make a brief appearance while canopy above them  is still just budding out, and learn more about the natural communities that are home to these plants.
Conservation biologist, Darcy Kind will take you on this rich encounter with Mother Nature. Time: Saturday 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. $5.00 Fee and registration deadline is April 25th. 608.625.2960.
Here are a
few more ways to experience Spring at the Reserve:
Saturday, March 08, 2014

Creative Communities Art Demonstrations & Sale

 Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Call of the Frog

The Wisconsin DNR Frog and Toad Survey invites you to a presentation at the KVR Visitor Center to listen and learn the 12 Wisconsin frog calls. Participants will get an opportunity to “speak” like a frog and information as to how to become a Citizen Scientist for the WI Frog and Toad Survey. Children are encouraged to attend. This free program starts at 9 am.
More information ben.johnston@wisconsin.gov

 Wednesday, April 09, 2014

64 Wisconsin State Parks in 365 Days
Waterfalls, wildlife sightings, big waves, lighthouses, spectacular rock formations, tense moments, and unbelievable adventures were part of Jonathan Ringdahl's quest to visit all 64 of Wisconsin's state parks in one year. Jonathan will also show some of his contest-winning photography of some of the most beautiful places in Wisconsin. Presenter: Jonathan Ringdahl. Refreshments and socializing at 6:30 pm. Talk begins at 7:00 pm. Sponsored by the Kickapoo Valley Reforestation Fund and the Friends of the Kickapoo Valley Reserve. Programs are free and open to the public. No registration required.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Valentine Dinner at Westby House Inn Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast

Romantic Valentine Weekend at Westby House Inn  includes Dinner

Return to a simpler time... Come experience a delectable Valentine's dinner at the Westby House Inn.  We serve the finest meal specially prepared for the pleasure of your palate. Delicious cuisine, an elegant atmosphere, pleasant wait staff, and comfortable, relaxing surroundings will make your Valentine's dining an enjoyable and unforgettable experience. We will be serving Friday and Saturday, February 14 &15, 2014.
At the Westby House, we attend to the comfort and hospitality of our guests, and search out the highest quality ingredients. Simplicity, elegance, and freshness... for the pleasure of your palate. We seek to compliment these gracious surroundings with the food we serve.

Stay at the Inn too! Choose from well appointed rooms to romantic whirlpool rooms and fireplaces. Check room availability.  
Call Marie to reserve your Valentine's table for Friday or Saturday of Valentine's weekend.

Sample Menu of our Valentine's Dinner
Parmesan Chicken Spinach Cakes
Hearts of Romaine & Mixed Greens Salad

Char-grilled 6 oz. Filet Mignon, with Choice of:
Shrimp Scampi or Parmesan Encrusted Salmon
Herb Roasted Potatoes with Dill Cream
Fresh Sauteed Vegetable Du Jour

Chocolate Romance Crumb Cake and Fresh Strawberries

Special Heart Memento Gift for Each Lady

Price: $40.00 per person. excludes taxes and gratuities.

Cocktails, Wine List and Champagne are Available at Your Table
Meals served with Breads and Butter, and Coffee Service

Monday, December 30, 2013

Kickapoo Valley Reserve Winter Events

The Kickapoo Valley Reserve is a winter haven for the outdoor enthusiast!  Located near Wildcat Mountain and just 23 miles Northeast of the Westby House Inn, there is something for everyone, including Willow Basket Weaving for the crafty person..  Here is their list of events from December through February.

December 21, 2013 – February 1, 2014 – Snowshoe Hike Series
Attend a series of slow paced winter adventures that will include lots of outdoor discoveries. Participants will have the chance to try traditional and modern snow shoes. Kid- and adult-sized snowshoes will be available for use. Saturdays, December 21, 2013; January 4 & 18, February 1, 2014. Instructors: Ken and Michelle Workowski, snowshoe enthusiasts and owners of The Nature of Things. 1–4 pm. Fee: $5/Person/Hike; $4.50/KVR Friend/Hike; $2.50/kids 12-16/Hike. Registration deadline: December 14. To register call 608-625-2960 or email kickapoo.reserve@krm.state.wi.us. Kickapoo Valley Reserve, S3661 State Hwy 131, La Farge, WI 54639. 

January 11, 2014 – Winter Festival
The KVR Winter Festival is a wonderful family event that highlights fun winter activities.  Activities include skating, sledding, skiing, archery, snow sculpture, ice cave hikes, face painting, horse-drawn bobsled rides, snowshoe exhibit, Tristate Malamute Club Sled Dog Race and weight pull, mutt race, and much more.  La Farge Lions Club hosts an annual chili and bread contest for the public.  Kickapoo Quick Auction of goods and services produced in the Kickapoo Valley with proceeds benefitting the KVR Education Program.  To view the full schedule visit http://kvr.state.wi.us/winterfest. Kickapoo Valley Reserve, S3661 State Hwy 131, La Farge, WI 54639. 

January 19, 2014 – Cross-Country Ski Workshop
Learn proper classic and skate cross-country ski techniques, including basic stride-and-glide, fall recovery, proper pole positioning, turning techniques, and speed control. Workshop also welcomes experienced skiers who want to brush up on their skills. Open to all levels. Instructor: Dan Goltz. 1-4 pm. Fee: $15/Person; $13.50/KVR Friend; $7.50/Kids 12 and under (with adult) Registration deadline: January 11. To register call 608-625-2960 or email kickapoo.reserve@krm.state.wi.us. Kickapoo Valley Reserve, S3661 State Hwy 131, La Farge, WI 54639. 

January 25, 2014 – Dam Phunski
The Dam Phunski is a scenic classic and freestyle cross country ski course along the scenic Old Highway 131 Trail. Proceeds benefit the Kickapoo Valley Reserve Education Program. Courses include a 1k loop for youth, a 5k point-to-point for juniors and phunskiers of all ages, and a 10k point-to-point for adults. For more information or to register visit http://kvr.state.wi.us/phunski. Kickapoo Valley Reserve, S3661 State Hwy 131, La Farge, WI 54639.

February 8, 2014 – Ice Cave Hike
Visit several rarely visited ice caves and frozen waterfalls. Participants will learn some geology, biology, and history of the Kickapoo Reserve along the way. The hike is rated moderate to difficult. Dress for the weather and don’t forget your camera! Instructor: Chuck Hatfield, amateur geologist and ice cave enthusiast. 12:30-4 pm. Fee: $5/Person; $4.50/KVR Friend; $2.50/Kids 12-18. Registration deadline: February 1. To register call 608-625-2960 or email kickapoo.reserve@krm.state.wi.us.
Kickapoo Valley Reserve, S3661 State Hwy 131, La Farge, WI 54639. 

February 15, 2014 – Winter Willow Basket Weaving Workshop
Come join us for a day of weaving in willow. From locally harvested willow shoots, we will form and weave one of a couple varieties of baskets that have helped people to gather and store their precious food for thousands of years. Learn how to identify and harvest willow, how to create a balanced form, and keep the weaving tight. Bring a sack lunch and your favorite knife or pruners (a few pairs will be provided). Expect to spend a full day weaving and come away with a unique creation. Please pack a sack lunch. Instructors: Nicholas Gale and Kindred Wazee have been weaving willow baskets for over 10 years. Seeking versatility in willow craft as a functional wilderness skill, they have made willow baskets for many practical purposes. 9 am–4 pm. Fees: $50/person; $45/KVR Friend. Materials Fee: $10 payable to instructor. All materials provided. Registration deadline: January 31. To register call 608-625-2960 or email kickapoo.reserve@krm.state.wi.us.  
Kickapoo Valley Reserve, S3661 State Hwy 131, La Farge, WI 54639. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Greetings with Winter Events at Kickapoo Valley Reserve

Christmas is the time of year we reflect on the who,what and where.  Everyone has a Christmas story from years gone by like Ralphie in A Christmas Story.  Some of the things Ralphie reflected on when telling is story brought laughter to every face. Famous lines like "My little brother had not eaten voluntarily in over three years". "I want an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!"  Don't  forget, "Oh my god, I shot my eye out!" 
So what's your Christmas story? Is it family, the gift giving, volunteering at a charity event, awaiting Santa or sharing the true meaning of Christmas.  Whatever it is, celebrate the wonder of it all, the every joy of it, the fun of it all. Wishing all a wonderful Christmas worth telling!  Marie & Mike,                                                    A Christmas Story of 16 years of innkeeping at the Westby House Inn.

Check out these winter events at the  Kickapoo Valley Reserve during the winter.  

Cross-Country Skiing

The Kickapoo Valley Reserve maintains approximately ten miles of groomed cross-country ski trails, for both classic and skate skiing. The five miles of the Old Highway 131 Trail provide an excellent opportunity to experience the solitude and beauty of the Reserve.  Other groomed trails include the Dam Trail, Old Harris Road Trail and Star Valley Road.  Additional trails may be groomed as time permits. The more adventurous are welcomed to make their own tracks into the wild.  NOTE:  Skiers may not ski on the snowmobile trail.  Call the Reserve Visitor Center for a winter trail map and directions to ski trails, (608) 625-2960.Bridge 18 in a snowy landscape Ski Trails are also available at Wildcat Mountain State Park.


A segment of Wisconsin's self-funded snowmobile trail system winds its way through the Reserve.  A local snowmobile club grooms and maintains the trail from December 15 through March 31, snow cover permitting.  Enjoy the Reserve's scenic ridges and valleys by snowmobile, the only motorized vehicle allowed to operate on Reserve lands.  Snowmobile enthusiasts are required to stay on the designated snowmobile trail. Map of Winter Trails in KVR (pdf)


Snowshoe enthusiasts are welcome to explore the hidden wonders of the Reserve. There are not designated nor groomed snowshoe trails. NOTE: Please avoid walking on the snowmobile trail or on the cross-country ski tracks.  Enjoy the unbeatable scenery - visit the ice caves, and get the work-out of a lifetime!

For all winter sports enthusiasts, a reminder that the Reserve does not provide any water or toilet facilities except at the Visitor Center. Trails are not maintained during the winter months, with the exception of the snowmobile trail and cross country ski trails. The Reserve Visitor Center is open Monday through Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., for information and assistance. Visitors are asked to pay attention to changing weather conditions while enjoying the Reserve's wintry landscape.

All winter sports enthusiasts are required to purchase a trail use permit before venturing out. Snowmobile trail users are only required to purchase a $4/day vehicle parking permit or display of annual pass, if parking in the Reserve's signed 'parking permit required' areas. Snowmobiles simply passing through the Reserve are exempt from fees.