We’re all about a good family vacation, but once in a while it’s important to plan the kind of trip that doesn’t hinge on the question: “Will there be a pool?” If you’re past due for an adults-only escape, there’s no better time to press pause on it all and sneak away for a weekend trip for two. Here’s some ideas to get you started!
Kick off your trip by checking in at the newly renovated downtown hotel, The Oxbow. Justin Vernon of Bon Iver is a collaborator at this hip boutique hotel – choose between a room in the main house or one in "The Flats," a classic mid-century motor lodge built in 1961. All of the rooms at The Oxbow feature a locally stocked minibar, Wisconsin artisan snack tray, and a record player: all of the makings for your own private happy hour.
Hit up Eau Claire's extensive trail system- and nearby parks, breweries and local shops- when you claim the bikes that come free with your room at The Oxbow. There's even a tandem bike, and those in the know can request it on a first-come, first-serve basis.
For dinner head to The Informalist, just a short walk from The Oxbow. Executive Chef Amy Huo's responsibly sourced, innovative menu includes small dishes like duck fat dill pickle poutine and beets and whey, and larger plates such as a fisherman's stew with pan-seared walleye and halibut, potatoes, carrots, lemony sorrel, and nettle chive pesto. The cocktail list isn't too shabby, either.
For a unique experience, choose a room at the Hotel Ruby Marie, Madison's historic railroad hotel. Built in 1873, it’s located just blocks from the Capitol Square and offers views of Lake Monona. A room at the Ruby Marie includes complimentary breakfast and a free happy hour drink at Up North, the quaint, Northwoodsy bar located on the first level of the building.
A walk up State Street to visit to the stunning Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, or MMoCA, as it is known to locals, is a great way to spend part of the day. This museum features inspired exhibitions, free admission, and easy access to Fresco, their rooftop lounge, for a cocktail and views of Madison's downtown.
Transport yourself to Paris for the evening when you dine at La Kitchenette, a cozy French cafe located in the heart of Madison's near east side on Williamson ("Willy") Street. Tuck into a bottle of red wine, rich French onion soup and a chocolate crepe for dessert.
For your weekend getaway to Lake Geneva, a stay at the TC Smith Historic Inn, built in 1865, is a must. Rooms feature fireplaces and whirlpool tubs, and a complimentary breakfast is included with your stay (which, upon request, can be delivered to you in bed.)
Take a stroll along part of the 21-mile Geneva Lakeshore Path that allows hikers to take in views of the clear blue waters of Geneva Lake and the beautifully landscaped yards of the homes and historic estates that line it. The path is divided into sections with a few public access points, making it easy to hop on just in time for sunset.
The most Instagram-worthy restaurant in Lake Geneva just happens to be a pizza place. But with Oakfire’s lakeside views, modern industrial interiors and fresh wood-fired pizzas, it's easy to see why.