*This post is sponsored by the Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association and the Cameo Rose. Author received a complimentary stay at Cameo Rose and dinner at Paoli Schoolhouse Cafe in exchange for this review. All opinions are our own.
I have a confession to make. If we’ve been making small talk recently I have more than likely been asking you about your Thanksgiving plans and telling you mine. We’ve discussed our family plans, travel, and maybe touched on holiday shopping. But I will admit here that the event that has truly been on my mind is the upcoming release of the new episodes of Gilmore Girls debuting on November 25th!
I tuned in religiously when the show first aired. (I was pregnant with my first child in the show’s final year, and he just so happens to carry the name of one of the show’s leading young men!) I adored the show for the relationships and quick-paced banter between funny, smart, and successful female characters. I so wanted to be part of a circle like that. But the true magic was in the setting. A group of eclectic characters living their lives in the charming town of Stars Hollow and working at the exquisite Dragonfly Inn. What a dream!
While you can only live vicariously through Lorelai and crew to experience the Dragonfly Inn, you can experience the same splendor at the Cameo Rose Victorian Country Inn. Located just minutes from Madison, Cameo Rose is nestled among rolling hills and surrounded by 120 acres of beautiful woods and trails. As a member of the Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association (WBBA), Cameo Rose is licensed, inspected and insured, and they represent the best of the state’s B&B experience. Innkeepers Dawn and Gary Bahr are in their 25th season of running the Cameo Rose, and their dedication to the comfort of their guests is felt from the minute you walk in the door.
Dawn greeted my husband and I with warmth and an impressive knowledge of neighboring small towns and what each had to offer. The only thing better than being in Stars Hallow is being surrounded by several small towns, each with their own unique history and community. After hearing what the surrounding towns had to offer, Dawn showed us the amazing amenities offered at Cameo Rose.
The downstairs seating area invites you to relax and unwind while sipping a warm beverage. Set among china cups was a pot of hot cider which they serve during the cool months. On our stay we enjoyed an apple, raspberry and cranberry blend, seasoned with cinnamon and allspice. The extra special touches don’t stop there. Waiting in the bedchamber was an evening treat of homemade red velvet cupcakes with almond buttercream frosting and shaved Ghiradelli chocolate on top.
The six available rooms transport you to another time with Victorian-era decor. Rooms for two (or one-moms need time alone too!) offer a tranquil space, and the group suite would be amazing for a girl’s weekend away. Views of the forest or garden offer a serene touch, while whirlpool tubs, spa robes, and fireplaces encourage you to leave all of your cares behind. Modern conveniences still abound with free Wi-Fi and some rooms offering a flat-screen TV, DVD player, and an impressive list of movies.
While Cameo Rose may not be directly set in a small town, it is a quick 5-minute drive to the quaint town of Paoli. Nestled along the Sugar River, Paoli is our very own Wisconsin version of Stars Hollow! This is the perfect place to spend an afternoon strolling through town and visiting a bakery, gift shops, and galleries featuring work by artisans who have been commissioned by the Smithsonian.
While you may not stumble upon the likes of the infamous Luke’s Diner, you can treat yourself to an amazing experience at the Paoli Schoolhouse Cafe. With Dawn’s recommendation in mind, my husband and I were thrilled to try out this hidden gem. Living in Madison we are surrounded by many good restaurants, and our experience at Paoli Schoolhouse could rival any we have had at home.
Paoli Schoolhouse offers a lovely bar with plush chairs, weekend music, expertly mixed cocktails, and an impressive list of wine, beer, and champagne. The dining areas are equally stunning with beautiful decor, attentive staff, and a menu filled with elegant homemade dishes. All of this, plus its close proximity to Madison, makes Paoli Schoolhouse a new addition to our date-night restaurant list. Brunch and lunch are also served, perfect to savor after you have perused the attached shop featuring unique gifts, jewelry, and home accessories.
Speaking of amazing food-Cameo Rose serves a 5-star, 4-course breakfast. The menu varies with an egg dish one day-omelets with choice of ingredients, quiches, egg bakes or eggs Benedict- and “something else” the next—like a baked apple/peach puff pancake, a triple berry stuffed french toast or heavenly blueberry hotcakes. Vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and diabetic options are available. Even if you simply don’t like a certain food, Dawn is happy to accommodate! Coffee is brewed and waiting for guests an hour before breakfast and once seated you will never have to worry about your cup being empty as Dawn will ensure you have everything you need. An impressive array of tea is offered along with interesting fresh juice options such as their Cameo Rose blend of black cherry, cranberry and orange juice or a citrus blend of mango, pineapple and orange. Local and organic ingredients are used whenever possible, some from right outside in Dawn’s garden. Sookie would have definitely approved!
Our Breakfast Experience:
Course 1 – Poached Pear: Whole pear (cored and peeled) poached with fresh squeezed lemon juice. Served with a homemade black raspberry and Chambord sauce, topped with a light whipped cream and shaved Ghiradelli chocolate. Garnished with a fresh chocolate mint leaf.
Course 2 – Cream & Butter Scones: Made with an organic sun dried currant and white chocolate chips, iced with a light almond buttercream glaze. Served with butter and homemade black raspberry and apricot Amish jams.
Course 3 – Eggs Benedict: Toasted English muffin topped with a large slice of lean Black Forest Ham (or vine ripened tomato), poached egg cooked to your liking and topped with homemade Hollandaise sauce and fresh picked garden herbs.
Course 4 – Dessert Course: Lemon, orange and lime sherbet topped with a splash of Champagne and fresh picked lavender flower and leaf.
Being a work-from-home mom of three, I am pretty happy if someone can make me a piece of toast and wipe up the crumbs. It was exquisite to be able to indulge in such an amazing breakfast that I know Dawn had put her heart into.
The Bed and Breakfast Experience
Unlike a hotel, staying at a bed and breakfast presents you with an opportunity to get to know new people. During our visit there was another couple enjoying a stay, a couple older than us with adult children and several grandchildren. We met them in the morning and made the usual small talk over the early part of breakfast. Before we knew it we had spent over two hours discussing everything from parenting to social issues. I realized that I was having my very own Gilmore Girls experience! Dawn made sure our cups stayed filled and told us about her family and of other engaging conversations that have happened around her dining room table. She told us, “It’s like I always say, the nicest people on the world stay at the Cameo Rose.”
With their 25th anniversary approaching in 2017, Cameo Rose will be offering specials all year long. Feel free to call and speak to Dawn about the specials, or like them on Facebook page to stay updated on specials, area events, and recipes. Gift certificates are available and would make an outstanding holiday gift! Pro tip: Dawn knows that nobody needs a break more than busy moms, and she will be offering a holiday discount on gift certificates to readers!
We are thrilled to partner with the Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association to be giving away an overnight stay at one of THREE inns across the state of Wisconsin! The grand prize winner will get to select which inn they would prefer — Cameo Rose Inn, Pedal’rs Inn or Crystal River Inn.
Another winner will win a Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association cookbook and a third winner will walk away with a $100 WBBA gift card!
Hop over to Facebook to ENTER TO WIN!
(Don’t have Facebook? No worries! Leave us a comment and we’ll make sure to get you entered into the giveaway.)
**This giveaway is in conjunction with Milwaukee Moms Blog and Green Bay Area Moms Blog. The winners will be selected from the combined entries. Expires November 30, 2017. Based on availability. Not valid on holidays or special event weekends and other blackout dates may apply. Therefore, must mention at time of reservation. No cash value. Cannot be combined with other offers or specials. Credit card deposit may be required at time of reservation. Valid identification and credit card required at time of check-in.