Spooky, Spacey, Scenic and Silly - Wisconsin-style Overnights with a Twist

By Jerry Huffman

Retlaw Plaza HotelFond du Lac

Wisconsin has a surprising number of hotels, motels, and inns that boast of being haunted. 

One of the coolest must be the Retlaw Plaza Hotel in downtown Fond du Lac. Folks at the Retlaw embrace the spookiness and have most of it narrowed down to room 717.

Originally opened in the 1920’s the Retlaw has also been used as a psychiatric hospital and nursing home in the past. Among the “spirits” that are reportedly part of the hotel include the original owner, Walter Schroeder, who may have been murdered there, a ballerina who jumped from a seventh floor window, and a red-haired woman wearing a white bathrobe who disappears into walls.

Pod Up NorthArbor Vitae

Take heart, Star Trek fans, as you have a great Wisconsin overnight option. The Up North Pod sits on the edge of Lake Sumac. You literally pull up the steps of your private “Futro Pod” and take off.

Owner, Drew Poggemann, a Star Trek Next Generation fan bought the pod five years ago and has had space fans as far away as Munich, Germany beam down.

Along with the stunning Vilas County scenery, Poggemann promises a supply of science fiction DVD’s.

Kids welcome.

The Walker HouseMineral Point

Wisconsin’s oldest inn is open for business, again, in Mineral Point.

Opened in 1836 the inn was started by William Walker, a local miner who settled here from England. There are nine lodging rooms, a restaurant, a pub, and an ice cream shop in the 16,000 square foot building.

New owners, Dan and Kathy Vallaincourt, reopened the rooms last fall and the restaurant, pub, and ice cream shop followed this spring. The goal is to restore the Walker House so it reflects its original Cornish design from the 1830‘s.

A point of pride for the new owners – the Walker House is one of the oldest buildings in the US still functioning as an original business.

The Glass House (Candlewood Cabins)Richland Center

Made with reclaimed glass walls and a recycled tin roof, the Glass House cabin is meant for people who don’t throw stones.

The unique cabin was the brainchild of owners Susan and Norbert Calnin who wanted to build an overflow space for extra guests. “We took the glass from another project and once we saw the metal roof,” said Susan, “we knew we had a winner.”

Featured in the New York Times and Midwest Living, windows at the Glass House are still intact after four years. “In spite of the best efforts of one crazy robin trying to fly through the cabin,” said Susan.

Extra charge for linens and towels. Pet friendly. No kids under 10.

Don Q InnDodgeville

The Don Q Inn in Dodgeville is hard to miss. It’s the hotel with a Boeing C97 in the front yard.

The Iowa County hotel’s niche is fantasy suites but think 70‘s chic. The most popular choice is the “Up Up and Away” hot air balloon suite where a full-sized bed is in the gondola.

Other favorites are Tranquility Base with the bed in a space capsule and the Northern Lights featuring a full-size igloo with a seven-foot water bed.

The plane was featured in a car commercial starring Farrah Fawcett. Look closely at the fuselage--it’s autographed by the 70’s heartthrob.

Adults only in the suites. Standard family rooms available.

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