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Category Archives: Uncategorized

Covering a duvet by yourself?

December 22, 2014 by braytonbb

casa_suite_008jpgHow to cover a duvet by yourself in under 2 minutes? Not possible you say? I said the same thing. I am sure anyone who has ever tried putting a duvet cover on knows this is a royal pain in the butt. I am also sure that we have asked husbands and children to help pull, climb in, shake and whatever else can be down to get those corners to line up and not be lumpy.  You may have seen this little trick recently on Pinterest or Facebook or both. Whoever came up with this, is a genius! I  noticed where I pulled it from (makinglemonadeblog.com) makes mention that she linked up with others others so obviously this isn’t new, but it is to me.

When I first came across this, I marked it to come back to it and try it out. She made it look really simple. Too simple in fact that I thought for sure I would have some issues. I read the directions which seemed a bit confusing around step four. I then watched the video and got a confused around the same step, but still thought I am going to try this. So, today I did. She uses a full size duvet, but I actually used a king size duvet and cover on my king bed and it went just as smoothly until step four which I had to read twice, but figured it out pretty quickly. I am sharing this with you all since I will never go back to the old way of struggling to put a duvet back on my bed. For those of you who already knew this, you should be ashamed of yourselves for keeping this secret. :)  I am posting this link to my Pinterest page where you can find the details, otherwise, read below.

Step one: Lay the duvet cover Inside out on the bed with the opening of the cover at the bottom of the bed.

Step two: Lay the comforter(duvet) over the duvet cover, smoothing everything out so it lays perfectly over the cover.

Step three: Starting from closed side (top of the bed), roll the duvet and cover together towards the bottom (like a jelly roll). Start with one side, then go to the other until you can grab the  middle and roll towards the bottom.

Step four: Once rolled (you should be at the bottom of the bed), reach inside of the duvet cover at one corner  and grab the entire end of the duvet and pull through. Repeat on the other side and then the middle.

Step five: Unroll, shake it out, smooth it out, thats it!

 

Coffee Bar

December 15, 2014 by braytonbb

coffee bar2Our new coffee bar is a guest inspiration. Every once in a while a guests will say “Hey, have you ever considered this”, or “you know what you should have”? Sometimes, we have the same ideas, but financially or having the space is sometimes a challenge. Other times though, we think to ourselves, yeh, your right, that would be a good idea. This coffee bar is exactly that.

I am going to call this guest, now friend out. Robin Wagner, thank you! I know its been a few years since you made this suggestion, but it wasn’t an easy fix. We wanted it to be just perfect. You said to us a few years ago that it would be nice to grab coffee in your robe, without having to go into the dining room, when others were having breakfast. You just wanted to grab and go without feeling that you were interrupting something. That is never the case, however, we do want our guests to feel right at home. So, we began thinking, designing and trying to find the the right spot that  made it look like it fit, like it was always there. Our four seasons porch where we keep all of our Oshkosh information, and cozy fireplace was or first choice, but I didn’t want to lose what we offered in that room. We then thought about the alcove by the front door. Perfect spot, but it didn’t seem central enough.

Older homes, don’t come with a lot of closets, so we didn’t want to give up one of the few we had, but we felt that putting in the living room, which is also a common area would be the most beneficial. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough room to stick in a refrigerator, but we did add a sink with filtered water, a space for wine glasses, coffee mugs, water glasses and our new Keurig which is getting a lot of use. We still offer coffee and tea in our dining room, but the Keurig  comes in handy for late night drinks or for those that want just one cup.

We hope you will stop in and check out our new Coffee Bar.

Don’t forget those gift certificates

December 1, 2014 by braytonbb

gift cert1

Many of you probably have your Christmas shopping done or maybe you have at least started. I would normally be one of these two, but this year I have been pushing myself to get the turkey on the table, the decorations up and now thinking about what to buy for everyone. May I suggest gift certificates. I know they can be a bit informal but they really are the perfect gift. I know I will be purchasing several this year. Please think small business if you can. Those box stores are nice but you want to talk about impersonal, that about takes the cake.

Speaking of gift certificates, we sell any denomination of gift certificate you would like, including ones that are packaged up in a nice little bundle that includes anything from flowers, to candy to dinner at a local restaurant. We can even take care of mailing them out for you if you wish. Just give us call, or buy online, let us know how you would like us to handle it and we will take care of the rest. No lines to stand in and it already comes wrapped.

Being Thankful

November 24, 2014 by braytonbb

Give Thanks... (#7287)

As I start preparing for Thanksgiving this year, since we always host the family, I get a little teary eyed knowing that I have a lot to be thankful for. I know I should tell my family and friends more often than I do, but I always assume they know. Whether they do or not, I know I need to voice it more often.

My daughter is a junior this year in high school. She has always known that she has wanted to to be a large animal vet. Other than wanting to go to UCLA, which we had to break it to her, that financially that was not going to happen, River Falls WI, has been her dream. Small school, small town and hands on learning is what she has dreamed about. Already taking some college prep courses in high school and doing an externship over the summer has made her even more sure. We travel this week up to UW River Falls to tour the school, just to make sure that what she has in mind is what it is all about. We have talked to her about doing her generals close to home to save some money and then transferring but that has never been her idea of the right thing to do. I get it! I was once there too. I just wanted to move away and make my own life and dreams happen. That is until she met Mr. wonderful a few weeks ago and now staying closer to home for those generals doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.  Funny how that happens, huh?

Anyway, I have been asked if I am ready. Ready for her to leave, or ready for her to stay? Well, I have to say because she is my only and we are very close, I would miss her like crazy. However, I know that she is ready. So I guess that makes it just a little bit easier knowing that she may choose to be four hours away. Am I ready if she stays? Yes, if I know she is staying for the right reasons and that its the best thing for her. I saw a quote the other day and it said that we should give our children two things. One is roots and the other is wings. I don’t think it could have been said any better.

With that being said, I am thankful for the support of my family, the love of my husband, the closeness of my friends, the guests that choose to spend time at our inn since there are so many great places to stay and the inspiration that my daughter gives me daily to be a better person and a Mom. I hope that you all find your thanks this week, throughout the holiday season and as you live your lives.

Welcome to Oshkosh

October 21, 2014 by braytonbb

We just want to be the first, though I doubt we are, to say welcome to Oshkosh. We are so excited to know that  Ski’s Meat Market and Grocery store  will be opening up tomorrow at 10:00 AM in downtown Oshkosh. It almost feels like Christmas. I can hardly wait! I hope to be one of the first paying customers on Wednesday.  We could not be more overjoyed to have a full service grocery store in downtown Oshkosh where we cannot only find the basics like milk, eggs and butter, but finally being able to buy fresh Manderfields bakery, a vast organic section to compliment NDC and one of kind items that we can’t find anywhere else locally. I have a feeling I will be visiting often and sending many people down the street. We have been waiting for something like this for quite some time and we couldn’t be happier knowing the crew behind such an endeavor. We know you will be very successful! 

Fun with our EAA guests

August 25, 2014 by braytonbb

This picture was a memorable evening out with some of our EAA guests. Yes, it should have been posted a month ago, but we have been pretty busy around here. Thank you so very much for that by the way! We love it!

We usually have the same guests every year, for the exception of one room that sometimes rotates out with new guests. That being said, we have become great friends with these guests, that unfortunately, we only see once a year. They are usually so busy working that they have little time to play, but this year, some of them made the exception. We introduced them to the best cheese curds in town and yummy burgers.

Don’t ask me what is going on with Scott. He always has to be the unique one in the photo.

petes 2014

 

Airbnb question and answer

May 28, 2014 by braytonbb

braytonBnbCertificateOfExcellence2014 There has been a lot of discussion lately about Airbnb and some in connection with EAA housing. It seems to be a controversial subject and one I hate to be in the middle of. Unfortunately, being an owner of a bed and breakfast,it is a question I have been asked about a lot lately. This is not a local issue though and has little to do with EAA.  Many licensed facilities, and local government agencies around the country are dealing with this subject.  Whether you knew about Airbnb before or it is a new term to you, there are some things that you maybe didn’t know.  I can tell you that it is not about the competition. I would even love to see another licensed Bed and Breakfast in Oshkosh.  EAA housing is a one time annual event, which in my opinion, should not be policed since it is under the 10 day lodging law. It is the homeowner that accepts payment for renting out their sofa, room or even home for a fee throughout the year continuously, that does not hold the permit or license, that is the concern.

Airbnb, for those that are not familiar, is a room or someones home to stay, one to several nights for an amount of money that is determined by the home owner.  A percentage of that fee is then returned to Airbnb.  They may even call themselves a BnB. You may get a bed, but you may also get a sofa or air mattress. Yes, you do know ahead of time since there is a description, pictures and reviews. Sometimes you may even get breakfast. Donuts, cereal, who knows, somebody may make you breakfast even. They have NOT been inspected for cleanliness or safety and they do NOT pay taxes to run as business.

Airbnb clearly states on their site the legal and regulatory issues that one should look into before deciding to be a “host”. This means registering, getting a permit or obtaining a license before being able to accept guests. They go on to say that each local government varies in how they enforce these laws but that they should be reviewed before listing on their site.  Many times, this is like the fine print that few of us may not always read.

You see, bed and breakfasts are just like hotels, restaurants and many other businesses. We have to be licensed, inspected and insured. We also have to pay room, sales and income tax. The majority of the city taxes that are collected, go back into the city for tourism dollars. It has helped make our convention center what it is today and helps bring tourism to Oshkosh, where in turn, money is spent in our restaurants, retail and entertainment sectors.

We have inspections each year to make sure that the fire detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers are working along with making sure that we do not have insects, rodents or that our coolers and refrigerators are clean and cold enough. Our linens are also checked to make sure we are storing them correctly along with outlets and lighting working correctly. These are just a few of the items that we rigorously go through, not only  yearly, but on a daily basis to make sure that we, as a business, are not only running legally but also comfortably for those that visit us each and every day. Some people may argue with what is wrong with trying to earn an extra buck or two by renting out a spare room. If you take a look at some of the Airbnb listings, you will notice from some of the reviews that some of these “hosts” are doing quite well with there unlicensed and non tax paying businesses. The Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast Association(WBBA) is the only quality-certified organization of its kind in the state, which is why we try so hard to let people know the differences between a licensed bed and breakfast and a non-licensed, not tax paying air bnb. There is room for everyone, including Airbnb hosts in Oshkosh that abide by the same rules as other business owners. We have a great city that many want to travel to and stay in. There was a great article on a website today that not only talked about Airbnb, but other such businesses that I thought was an excellent read that made several valid points.

With that being said we just learned that we won the Certificate of Excellence Award from TripAdvisor. This award is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews. Winners are selected from all over the world, with only the top 10 percent receiving this award.  We needed to maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travelers.  Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months. We are so honored to receive this award and want to say thank you for everyone who has stayed with us this last year and for those that posted reviews. Without guests like yourselves, we would not have been able to achieve this.

Happy Mothers Day

May 5, 2014 by braytonbb

Mom's 50th b-day

My Mom- Debbie

First off, I just want to say Happy Mothers Day to my Mom and all the other Moms out there this weekend. As much as I enjoy what I do for a living, I usually miss out on weekend activities with our friends and have to cut short holiday gatherings with family due to having guests at the inn. This Mothers Day day is no exception. My Mom lives on the other side of the state, and though it is only a 2 1/2 hour drive, I will have to find another time to visit. She runs a greenhouse, so I know she will be plenty busy herself.  Since I am a Mom myself though, I am very lucky to be able to spend the day with my daughter. Traditionally, we like to get flowers in the ground on Mothers Day but the last few years we have learned that we usually get one more freeze and we are outside covering up and hoping that we can save our new garden, so we may put it off for one week.

If you are lucky enough to be able to spend the day with your Mom and want to do something special, may we recommend having a girls weekend away at a bed and breakfast :) where a comfy bed and delicious home made breakfast is always included plus home made desserts and a wine and cheese social both Friday and Saturday night.  If that is not possible, brunch is always lovely, as Oshkosh has many brunch choices to choose from this Mothers Day, including the Roxy which is located downtown among many great retail stores. Oshkosh Community Players also presents, Barefoot in the Park at the Grand Opera House May 8-10.

Whatever you decide to do this weekend, tell your Mom that you love her. It will be the best gift you can give her.

Celebrity sighting

April 21, 2014 by braytonbb

I am not really someone who gets crazy over seeing or being around a celebrity. I mean, they are not any different than you or I. However, that does not mean that I don’t enjoy getting the opportunity to spend some time and get to know someone that I might have never had the chance to meet. I have said this before and I will say it again. The best part of my job is getting to meet so many wonderful people. Honestly, a lot of the time I don’t even know that someone is a celebrity until we start a conversation and realize that we have  more in common that either of us knew. The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is very generous at sending people are way. A couple of weeks ago, I had the honor of meeting Ms. Kara Laricks . I loved her style from the moment she walked in our door and her energy filled the inn and lifted my spirits. We sat for for nearly two hours during breakfast, just her and I talking freely and exchanging thoughts. I walked away feeling very lucky to have met her and inspired by her story of taking chances.  I hope one day, she may be back in Oshkosh again.  

Can you guess what this is?

January 23, 2014 by braytonbb

Can you guess what this gadget is? This week, no recipe, but a gadget that helps me in the kitchen. I will give you a few hints.

grapefruit cutter

1. It is used a lot at breakfast at our inn.

2. You can buy one of these yourself very inexpensively.

3. This tool makes eating this breakfast item much easier

4. This tool makes preparing this breakfast item much easier.

5. People that did not know this tool existed always ask me how I am able to prepare this one item so perfectly. Then they find out how and are amazed at this little gadget. I think Williams and Sonoma should send me a thank you card for the sale of this item.

To find the answer, you will have to go back to this previous post in our Blog.  If you don’t get it by looking at the picture, email  me. It will be fun to see how many will know.

The Busy Trap

December 16, 2013 by braytonbb

A friend of mine posted this this other day on Facebook and it really resonated with me, a lot! The Busy Trap. That is exactly what it is. We are all soooo busy and we feel like we are trapped. In reality, most of of us do it to ourselves. I know I do. I felt like this article was important to share since the author said so many things that rang true with me and so many of my friends. This time of year, I think it is also a great reminder how important it is to slow down, enjoy the season, and give something back to ourselves; time.

As you read this article, we are not all authors or bed and breakfast owners or stay at home Mom’s, or whatever it is that you do that makes you so important, but I think we will all understand that it is okay to say no once in awhile or to heck with it. In fact, soon after I read this, I picked up a book and enjoyed an hour to myself this afternoon. It was really nice.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/opinionator/2012/06/30/the-busy-trap/

 

Brayton B&B gets an intern

June 18, 2013 by braytonbb

For the last couple of years I have been talking about getting an intern. Fox Valley Tech, here in Oshkosh, has a hospitality and tourism program.  I thought it would be great to be able to give back to someone by providing experience and possibly a career path. I wasn’t seeing the big picture though until a past guest and I got talking about social media. I know many of my other innkeeper friends will agree that we all spend a great deal of time promoting our businesses through Facebook, Twitter, blogging, etc. It seems endless  and at times mind boggling trying to shuffle running an inn by physically doing all the tasks at the inn and then behind the scenes as well with things such as this. So for the time being, instead of training someone to do everything at the inn, I decided to get an intern to do some of my blogging to start off with.

If you don’t know this about me, I like to do everything myself. I have a hard time giving up control. Ask my family and friends. So, having someone blog for me is a huge step of trying to let go and manage my time a little better. This process though will be baby steps. I will still be blogging every week myself with recipes, since sometimes I don’t even know what I am going to post until the day of. I will also still blog about personal events, and things that happen at the inn( I think), until I can give up more maybe down the line.

So, I would like introduce you to Kyle. No, you can’t see him, but you will be able to get a sense of who he is from his blog entries. Kyle attends UWO, works a full time job and now interns for me. Kyle is interested in marketing, so he hopes to gain experience from blogging, analyzing  my Facebook page and working with Google. My hopes is that he can take away some experience by using me as his learning device and I can gain a little more freedom from my computer. Thanks Kyle!

More Amazing Guests!

June 11, 2013 by braytonbb

We all have met someone in our lives that makes an impact someway or another. Lucky for me, It happens a lot! Running a B&B gives me that luxury, since I get to meet so many different people from all over the world. They arrive as our guests, but leave as our friends.  This past weekend, I had the privilege in meeting 4 sisters. There is actually 5 girls and 3 brothers to this family. I am hoping one day, I will be able to meet the entire clan. I can only imagine that they are all just as wonderful as Ann, Margaret, Sue and Terrie.

When they first arrived, Ann asked me if I could tell they were sisters. I had to be honest, I really couldn’t.  They didn’t look like each other but I could tell that they all had their own unique personalities.

Ann, made the reservation. Though she wasn’t the eldest, she was the mother of the group. You could tell she was the glue. She held everyone together. Then there was Margaret from California. She was the funny one! She made everyone laugh, A LOT, including me. I have no doubts that if she lived in Oshkosh, we would probably be friends. Next was Sue. From the little bit that I could tell, she was the strong one.  My husband is always goofing around and she was able to dish out whatever he could give. It was a fun show just listening to the two. Finally, Terrie. She was quiet one. She absorbed everything that was going on around her; She listened contently and spoke wisely. She had a wonderful energy about her.

More importantly though than the unique personalities of these women, was the way they were around each other. They truly loved each other  and thrived when they were together. The bond that they hold is truly inspiring. It made me long for my sister who moved out to Napa Valley this past Autumn. So much so, that I called soon after they had departed.

I hated to see them leave. I wish they could have stayed much longer, but I know they have family that adores them. Thank you for choosing to stay with us while in the area. You four are an inspiration to someone that holds family near and dear.

caruso4

Lets go shopping!

April 29, 2013 by braytonbb

Downtown Oshkosh has so much to offer when it comes to shops and retailers and we are within walking distance to all there is to offer. Not only will you find some unique stores and finds, but  great deals are going on this May as well.

Looking to spruce up your clothing wardrobe? Downtown Oshkosh has many great 2nd hand clothing store options. Atomic Katz is a fantastic store where you will find vintage clothing from the 20′s to the 80′s along with mid century modern furniture. Chic to Chic carries mall  and name brand items 1/2 to 1/3 of the original price.  Frugal Fashion and Klassy Kids are both great stores for men, women and kids.

How about taking home something truly unique. One of our favorite stores is Soiree which offers a few antiques, salvaged curb goodies, and retro funk.  This unique store  brings an eclectic shopping mix to downtown. Crescent Moon offers specializes in antique salvaged or reclaimed material provided for reuse in building restoration, new home construction and decorative arts from vintage flooring, doors or moldings and so much more.   Satori Imports has been in business for 44 years and offers everything from clothing, incense, jewelry to health and body products. A truly unique shopping experience.

How about a good book or music selection? Apple Blossom Books is an adorable shop that is independently owned and family oriented that offers fun special events, a general selection of new and used books and special orders. Just a fun place to shop. Exclusive Company is “Americas oldest full line record store”. Starting out from the trunk of his car to now owning 7 locations in Wisconsin, this store is must to visit.

All this shopping is probably making you hungry, right? Downtown has got that covered too. Gardinas wine bar and cafe offers an interesting and varied wine list, craft beer list, and a great selection of craft bourbons, single malt scotches and rare dessert wines available by the glass, along with pizza, paninis and sandwiches along with specials each and every day. Cranky Pats Pizza, makes a fantastic thin crust pizza piled high with mushrooms(if that is your flavor) along with pasta and a full bar. Caramel Crisp is another historic place to stop into. In business since 1933 they still use the same original recipe for the caramel corn but now offering a full lunch menu, ice cream and the best cookies ever.

Participating downtown stores are offering gift cards.  May 11 (Mothers Day Weekend), Destination Downtown will be happening where the ultimate ladies day is celebrated.  Start the day off on May 11 where you can enjoy lunch, a style show, & tons of prizes and a silent auction. In the afternoon there will be great sales and discounts at local downtown businesses.

Of course, downtown has so much more to offer, but that is just a sampling of the shops you will find just a few steps out our front door.

Hey, look we were mentioned!

April 22, 2013 by braytonbb

brayton_family-4Every once in a while, our name appears in an article, not necessarily promoting us specifically, but what may be around us or things to do in the area.  The first article is from Travel Wisconsin and as you can see Oshkosh made the list of things to do, see, and places to eat. The second article is a feature story for the Circus World Museum in  Baraboo. Though Baraboo is roughly a 2 hour drive from Oshkosh, it is an easy enough day trip for those who are looking for something different to experience. I hope you enjoy both articles as much as I did.

 

“Wisconsin’s Event City,” Oshkosh is home to over 1,000 events and festivals, including the famous EAA AirVenture and the Country USA music festival. The city on the western shore of Lake Winnebago also has more than its share of year-round fun. Here are our top picks for an Oshkosh weekend getaway, any time of year.

Where to brunch

Pilora’s Café dishes up the café essentials – friendly service and wholesome food – with a dash of originality. From jazz music in the background to some unusual menu items (like cornbread pancakes with Door County cherries and the Moroccan ham sandwich) Pilora’s makes a point of offering something different. They also brew Alterra coffee, so you can fuel up on a proper cup of joe before heading out for your Oshkosh adventures. 

Where to explore

The EAA’s AirVenture fly-in every August isn’t your only chance to experience Oshkosh’s world-renowned Experimental Aircraft Association. The EAA AirVenture Museum, open year-round, features over 200 historic airplanes, plus movie theaters, galleries, flight simulators, and two “hands-on” interactive galleries for all ages.

Where to shop

You’ll find a lot of unique shops on (and just off) Main Street. A few to get you started:

If big-name stores are more your style, The Outlet Shoppes at Oshkosh, across from the EAA, is home to 55 of the best. We recommend adding a whole day to your Oshkosh itinerary if you want to hit the outlets!

Where to get your culture on

The Grand Opera House, built in 1883, is the oldest operating theater in Wisconsin. It puts on a fun variety of entertainment, from the Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra to musicals, rock ’n’ roll shows, and karaoke nights. The Paine Art Center and Gardens is a 1920’s estate with an amazing art collection and display gardens. Their Family Discovery Gallery offers hands-on art experiences for children. Admission: $9 adult/$5 youth. 

Where to go for dinner

Gardina’s Wine Bar & Café has a great menu of American/Mediterranean starters, cheese plates, salads and sandwiches, with nightly entrée specials. But it’s their pizza that steals the show. Bring an appetite and brace yourself for some tough decisions: there’s an impressive selection of wines, craft beers, and – bonus – individual-sized cheesecakes. Jam to live music Friday and Saturday nights. 

Where to stay

The Brayton Bed & Breakfast is just a short walk from Main Street. Warning: if you stay in this beautiful, friendly B&B, you might not want to leave…especially on the weekends, when you can enjoy an afternoon wine and cheese social in the living room, and homemade desserts later in the evening. Rates: $129.00-$299.00 nightly.

Learn more about all the fun Oshkosh has to offer here.

Liven Up Your Vacation: Visit the Circus World Museum

If you have enjoyed luxuriating yourself in your suite at Brayton B&B, drinking fine wine, eating local cheeses, and visiting the occasional museum, take a vacation from your vacation. Plan a day of highly charged entertainment at the Circus World Museum. The Circus World Museum is a two hour drive from Oshkosh; far enough away to be a significant day-trip, but close enough that you can still make it back to your suite for an evening drink. A premiere Wisconsin attraction, the Circus World Museum is a historical site that attracts thousands of visitors a year, and is loved by both children and adults.

History

What sets the Circus World Museum apart from your average circus is its remarkable history. The circus, originally named ‘The Ringling Bros. Circus’, was founded in 1884 by the five Ringling brothers. The Ringling Bros. Circus ran for thirty-five years, and in that time expanded to an empire consisting of the three largest circuses in America. In 1959, after the circus industry had gone into decline and The Ringling Bros. Circus had long been closed, its gates once again opened. This time it was named the Circus World Museum, a museum with a mission to preserve the circus industry, so it could be understood and loved by future generations.

Sights

The Circus World Museum is home to several of the original buildings used by The Ringling Bros. Circus; these buildings are the largest groups of original circus buildings in North America. Located on the north bank of the Baraboo River, they date from 1897 and 1918, and the area they comprise is now a National Historic Landmark. As well as these historic buildings, artefacts from the old circus are displayed in the many exhibits on offer across the site. Here you can see everything from the cage wagons in which lions were kept, to original poster art advertising circus shows.

Performances

Of course it would be unheard of to go to a circus and not see a show. With the spirit of the original Ringling circus, there are a variety of shows on offer to suit a multitude of interests and tastes. Gymnastics, acrobatics, elephant shows, clown shows, and contortionist shows, are just a few of the performances on offer for visitors. Just make sure to look at the performance schedule on arrival so you won’t risk missing your favorite.

Eating and Drinking

If your trip to the Circus World Museum falls during the summer season, then their deluxe onsite restaurant, Cookhouse Grill, is open for business. If not, or if you would prefer to eat away from the circus, why not venture into Baraboo? Baraboo is a bustling city with a diverse range of eateries. Here you can sample the best burgers American cuisine has to offer, as well as some top-notch Mexican and Italian food.

Getting There

Driving is certainly the easiest, and most cost-effective, way of getting to the Circus World Museum, and will give you the chance to experience some of the beautiful scenery of Wisconsin between Oshkosh and Baraboo. It is important, however, that you consider safety before hitting the road. Whether you plan to rent a car or bring your own with you to Oshkosh, you must ensure that you are covered against breakdown in the Wisconsin area. Purchasing breakdown cover is simple, as it can be bought quickly and easily online, and there are many cheap deals to be found. While it is unlikely you will need to use it, breakdown cover is priceless for the piece of mind it will give you during your trip. Once you’ve got your breakdown cover in the bag, and have set a date for your trip to the Circus World Museum, simply jot down the directions below and you are ready to go.

Directions:

1.    Head northwest on Church Ave towards Central St(0.4 mi)

2.    Turn left onto Wisconsin St (0.5 mi)

3.    Continue onto Ohio St(0.9 mi)

4.    Turn right onto W South Park Ave(2.0 mi)

5.    Turn left to merge onto U.S. 41 S toward Milwaukee (2.4 mi)

6.    Take exit 113 for WI-26/County Rd N toward Waupun (0.4 mi)

7.    Turn right onto WI-26 S/WI-26 Trunk S/Co Rd N. Continue to follow WI-26 S/WI-26 Trunk S (21.5 mi)

8.    Take the Wisconsin 26 S/U.S. 151 S ramp to Waupun/Madison (0.4 mi)

9.    Merge onto US-151 S (1.0 mi)

10.  Take exit 147 to merge onto US-151 BUS S/WI-26 S/WI-26 Trunk S/Fond Du Lac St toward Waupun. Continue to follow US-151 BUS S/Fond Du Lac St.(1.6 mi)

11.  Turn right onto EMain St.(1.0 mi)

12.  Turn left onto WI-68 W/Fox Lake Rd. Continue to follow WI-68 W (9.5 mi)

13.  Continue onto State Hwy 33 W/W State St. Continue to follow State Hwy 33 W (44.8 mi)

14.  Turn left onto Washington Ave(0.6 mi)

15.  Turn right onto Water St. Destination will be on the left.

Ice Shoves on Lake Winnebago

April 15, 2013 by braytonbb

I was telling a friend of mine that just moved to Oshkosh a few months ago about the ice shoves that we witnessed on Lake Winnebago and she didn’t have any idea what I was talking about. I showed her some of these pictures that I took and she was amazed. I told her to head to Menominee Park  and take a drive. Over by the Waters it is pretty extravagant!

If you still don’t know what I am referring to, it is worth it to keep reading and take a drive to see the beauty and mess these things can create, especially if you are living on the lake.  This usually happens every year when the temperatures start warming and the east winds pick up and actually move the ice across the lake to the Western (Oshkosh) shores. It usually doesn’t take much  more than 10-20 minutes for the ice to come piling up on the lake, docks and on shore. As the ice breaks up, you can actually hear it moving, breaking and crunching together.  Sometimes it is large chunks the size of a car and sometimes if you get small pieces that collect together. With the ice storm that hit here last week, it left a beautiful display of ice hanging from everything from, trees, houses and down power lines with a mess of branches and  limbs scattered across the city as well.

As you can see from some of these pictures, some backyards have gotten smaller, docks have been taken out, and ice making its way onto the street.

ice shove lake eeeerie ice shove lake ice shove watersice shove pana ice shove trees

 

 

Family history this holiday season

December 31, 2012 by braytonbb

If  you have ever been to our place or been to our website, you will know that we are not like your typical bed and breakfast. You won’t find lacy pillowcases, flowered wallpaper or that 80′s country motif and we are completely doily free, and proud of it. Now, we know that there is a place for that. We have stayed in many lovely B&B’s that do a great job with these themes.  We hope that you can appreciate the architecture that our Creme City Brick Italianate home offers. We have brought in a lot of dark, warm colors to compliment the high ceilings and tall windows and doors.

Now we appreciate history just like you do. We love to tell people that our home is almost 150 years old and that it has gone from a residential home, to a boarding house, to group home to now our home and bed and breakfast. “Full Circle” is how I feel and what I tell most people. That is why we do have a few antiques in the home. Maybe a handful at the very most. In fact the ones I am the most proud of, are a piece of my own family history.

rocking chairWhen I was pregnant with my daughter I had a baby shower just like many. The best gift of the day came from my Grandmother who gave me her Fathers rocking chair. I never had a chance to meet him, but this rocking chair was always in my Grandparents house and I had never known the history.  She had cleaned it up and tweaked it to be squeak free. On the bottom of the chair seat she had written me a letter describing how her Father had sat in this chair every day on the porch smoking his pipe. It brought tears to my eyes that she was giving me something so precious, that meant so much to her and something that I could rock my baby in. Now my baby is teenager, so  it sits on the front porch at our other property where I can enjoy it just like my Great Grandfather.

 

floor lampNot long after we opened, my Mom gave me a floor lamp that was my Great Grandmothers. I was lucky enough to know her. In fact she passed away just a few weeks after my my daughter was born who is now 15. Its pretty cool that my daughter got to meet her Great Great Grandmother. She may not remember, but I do have a picture of the 5 generations. This lamp fits perfect in the B&B. It has a wonderfully warm glow that shines through the delicate beaded rice paper shade. I am so careful not to touch it too often, since it is in such fragile condition, but I love to show it off.

 

 

table lampMy family is very generous. Not just around the Holidays, but all the time. A couple of Christmas’s ago, I was unwrapping one last present. To my surprise, my Grandfather gave me a table lamp from my Great Grandmother. It is a very simple Tiffany design but something I adore. It is one of my favorite gifts that sits by the front door and illuminates the desserts I put out each evening.

 

 

 

rug2When I was a teenager, I was allowed to walk through the home of my Great Grandparents that they no longer resided in or had resided in for many years, but still kept full of clothes, dishes and furniture. I was asked at that time if there was anything I was interested in. At 16, at least for me, many things were beautiful, but I really did not have a use for anything. I spotted an area rug that I thought that maybe someday I could use, somewhere. I left and that was it. It was never brought up again. The home stayed empty until this last summer when they decided they would finally have an auction. There was this area rug. Water had been on it from a leaky ceiling and the years of mustiness had gotten to it, but it still looked incredible to  me. I put a bid on this rug along with one other one and they ended up being mine.  These rugs were steam cleaned twice but still had a long way to go to bring them back to their luster. My wonderful husband hosed them down and hung them on the clothes line over the summer where they were sun dried and cleaned again.  We rolled them up and stored them until we were ready. A week ago, I convinced my husband to help me bring one of the rugs inside the inn and replace it with a newer one that we had. He wasn’t so sure, but once it was among the other furniture and colors of the inn, it felt like it should have been here the whole time. I still have  not found a place for the other rug, but I know I will.

I felt like this was the ideal time to share a little piece of our homes history along with a little piece of mine as well. I am very fortunate to have a such a wonderful family who allows me to share  the history of my family with the history of this wonderful place we call home. Happy New Year and thank you to  my Great Grandparents, Grandparents and parents and to all of you who we have had the pleasure of seeing and meeting this year.

Nicole, Scott and Chase

 

Proudly displaying local artist

December 17, 2012 by braytonbb

Scott and I were out one weekday evening enjoying a couple of glasses of wine at one of  our favorite establishments in town. Gardinas. We love that we can just walk a couple blocks and check out downtown Oshkosh and enjoy so many wonderful treats. I am pleased to say that so many local places display great artwork by so many of the wonderful local artists that we have in our city.

Immediately my eye went to this amazing painting on the wall inside Gardinas.  I knew exactly where I would put it.  I just had to have it! Sometimes I can look for a long time for something that I want, not really ever knowing what it may be, but knowing that when I find it, I will just know.  That was the same in this case.

The following day I got in touch with the artist, Leif Larson, whom I had never met before. He was so kind to hold this piece for me until I was ready for it.  A few days ago, I called him up and said I was ready, at least for the most part. He was so gracious to deliver the piece for us.

I am so proud to be able to show this piece at the B&B for the sake of displaying a local artists piece of work, but also showing off the beautiful Algoma Club building, which is only a few blocks away from us.

If you are ever looking for a piece of local art, abstract, or figure painting, I highly recommend the work of Leif Larson.

Congratulations UWO Titans!

November 27, 2012 by braytonbb

Our own UWO Titans are off to Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon for the NCAA playoff game on Saturday, December 1st.   Both teams are unbeaten! UWO has a 12-0 record after winning this last Saturday to Bethel University in Minnesota. The Titans have won 14 consecutive games for the longest active winning streak in NCAA football.

Linfield College is going to be a challenge but  one that the Titans will no doubt do well with.  UW-Oshkosh is appearing in postseason play for the first time in school history, while Linfield College is competing in the playoffs for the 24th time, including its ninth in the NCAA Division III Championship.

Both teams rank among the NCAA Division III statistical leaders in several categories. UW-Oshkosh ranks ninth in the country in total offense (501.2 yards), 11th in scoring (40 points) and turnover margin (+16), 12th in scoring defense (14.2), 14th in rushing offense (263.4) and 17th in rushing defense (89.7).

Saturday’s game will be the first between UW-Oshkosh and Linfield College. The winner advances to play fourth-ranked University of St. Thomas (Minn.) or seventh-ranked Hobart College (N.Y.) in a semifinal of the 32-team tournament on Dec. 8. The national championship game (Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl) is scheduled for Dec. 14 in Salem, Va.

We would like to wish our hometown team the UWO Titans good luck in your upcoming game!

Buy Local

November 19, 2012 by braytonbb

As the weather has gotten colder, we have brought out the sweaters and have probably started planning for that  Thanksgiving dinner we are about to prepare or enjoy elsewhere. The day after Thanksgiving means the start of holiday shopping.

Your local retailers and service professionals play an important role in Oshkosh’s economic development. You are investing in your city’s growth and vitality.  There are so many unique retail stores in our back yard from consignment shops to boutiques to non chain type restaurants to your neighbor who specializes in electric and plumbing needs.  Another way to help Oshkosh businesses grow is to purchase Oshkosh Chamber gift certificates which are good at hundreds of different locations in the area. They can be purchased in several denominations at a variety of financial institutions. They make great gifts and the receiver can use them at many Oshkosh businesses.

Your downtown businesses will be open Saturday,  November 24 from 10:00-4:00 for Small Business Saturday.  This is the perfect opportunity to buy local!

Holiday Open House is also Saturday, December 1 from 6:00-9:00 through the downtown Oshkosh. Gallery Walk will be going on with food and refreshments at area businesses along with horse carriage rides

FYI – Did you know that for every $100.00 spent at a local small business, that $68.00 returns to the community? Just one more reason to shop small and support your local economy.

 

Celebration of Lights

November 12, 2012 by braytonbb

 

 

November 21-December 31, Oshkosh will feature the Celebration of Lights at Menominee Park for its 11th year  from 5:00-9:00. Each year it gets bigger, brighter and better as the entire park is lit up by over a half million holiday lights for more than a mile through the park on the shores of Lake Winnebago.  The park also features live reindeer and a 100 foot holiday tree. Don’t miss this Oshkosh holiday tradition.

 

Need advice

November 8, 2012 by braytonbb

The Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce puts on these great seminars that are free of charge. Its hard for me to get to them most of time since they are at 7:30 in the morning and I am usually making breakfast.  A few weeks ago, I noticed they were having a seminar on blogging being presented by Dealer Fire. Fortunately, I was able to attend this on. I have been blogging now for over year, but I knew that there was so much more than I needed to know. First, off let me say, the folks at Dealer Fire are really nice and really knowledgeable. I learned a lot, thanks!

One thing in particular that was mentioned though to me was to try and post Monday-Thursday between 12:00 and 3:00 on my social media sites (Facebook, twitter, etc.) The logic to this is that  a lot people do not look at their social media sites right away in the morning or later afternoon and never on Fridays. I had not really thought about this, but it seemed to make sense. The problem I was thinking about was that I always posted what was happening in Oshkosh every Monday morning and my food blog every Friday morning. Apparently two big no no’s. This week I decided to post my food blog Thursday around lunch time and  not mention that I was doing it differently.  Now, it hasn’t been that long, but  too many people have not seen the recipe this week. By the way, it is scrumptious and perfect for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

So, my question goes out to you. What you think? Stick with the Friday morning recipe or do you think I am better off switching it up to lets say, Thursday afternoon? When do you log on?

Meet our friends that have been coming the longest!

September 24, 2012 by braytonbb

Phil and Robin-butternut

 

 

I want to introduce you to two AMAZING people. Robin and Phil started coming to see us in 2007, soon after we first opened. We donated a gift certificate to our Oshkosh Convention and Visitors Bureau where in turn, these two won a stay with us, along with dinner, a salon package, tons of coupons and trickets and I am sure a lot more things that I am forgetting to mention. Since 2007, we have seen Robin and Phil more than a dozen times.  Sometimes participating in our murder mysterys and sometimes being introduced  to their family and friends.  Not only have they brought others to stay with us, including children, Mom, Sister and Brother in law and several friends but we have visited them as well. These two people are our guests, but they have also become our friends. We chat often over Facebook and try to stay up to date with everything going on in their lives. I count my blessings often that we have found such dear friends through a chance meeting that would have never existed if I didn’t do what I do. This is for two positive people that always seem to find sunshine around every corner.

Best Engagement thus far at the inn!

September 5, 2012 by braytonbb

Josh and AlyssaI would like to introduce you to Josh and Alyssa. Josh called me up a few weeks ago wanting to plan something big for his girlfriend Alyssa, who he was planning on asking to marry him. I got right into engagement planner mode asked a lot of questions. Josh brought out all the stops. He wanted a couples massage at Mode Salon, bouquet of flowers in the room when they arrived, chocolates, wine and dinner at Beckets were all reserved along with a pontoon boat ride Captained by my very own Captain Scotty. Then he asks me if I knew of anyone to do a caricature drawing. I didn’t but I made some calls. I didn’t have much luck though in finding anyone to do the job in 4 days, but once again, Josh came through and found someone from the University. We planned for Captain Scotty to drop this lovely couple off at Menomonee park where he would just happen to come across an artist who would ask if they would like there picture to be drawn. Hmmm. Clever, huh? In the picture Josh would be down on one knee proposing. When Alyssa saw the picture, Josh would do the same. Ahhh, how romantic!

Stop! It didn’t quite work out that way. If only the movies played out in real life. The morning Josh and Alyssa were to arrive, Alyssa was so sick that Josh had to cancel everything. I was just as disappointed and let down as Josh. Well, maybe not quite the same. Josh had been so nervous and anxious and I know he really wanted this to go off without a hitch.

No problem, I said, lets do it next weekend. Nice, this poor boy had to wait another whole week, but we were going to make this work. Everything was rescheduled to the best of our ability. When meeting Alyssa for the first time, I was already so excited for her. I played dumb though and always asked lots of questions, but she kept saying that Josh was keeping her in suspense. She really didn’t know what he had planned for the weekend. The third morning they were here, they went out on the boat as planned with a picnic basket that I packed for them. Captain Scotty had it hidden in the boat and after a few hours asked Josh and Alyssa if they wanted to stop at the park for a picnic. TaDah. Lunch already packed! The two had lunch, then appeared the artist, then their portrait and then finally the question was asked? Did she say yes? Of course she did with tears in her eyes all the way back to the inn after calling all loved ones.
What a wonderful couple. We both are so excited for you both and hope that we can celebrate with you in your future plans.

What makes a B&B guest different than a hotel guest?

August 20, 2012 by braytonbb

I get asked all sorts of questions about the guests that have stayed with us over the years. One popular one is “Aren’t you afraid, since don’t know the people that are walking through your door”? Heck no! I never thought about it that way before. If I did, I don’t think I would be the right person for this job. Besides, our guests don’t know us either, so its a two way street. Another question is, “tell us about all the crazy people and stories that have come through the B&B. I feel like I usually disappoint people with my answer. I really don’t have any. Everyone is so nice! Seriously! The difference between a B&B guest and a hotel guest is that everyone is usually here for the same reason; to meet new people, socialize, gain a new experience, and love of older homes. Yes, we do get business travelers, but they choose us to relax from their long day, rather going back to a stale, predictable hotel. Mostly though we get honeymooners, anniversary couples, family reunions, friends traveling together and so on. They look forward to their stay and we do whatever we can to  make their stay unforgettable. So what really makes the bed and breakfast guest different than the hotel guest. Their contagious happiness.

That being said, these ladies that stayed with us this past week, were the epitome of happiness and it rubbed off on me everyday that they were here. They travel together every year. Sometimes the 5 of them, sometimes up to 12 of them. Usually in the  Midwest, but they have gone as far as Washington DC. All friends with each a unique personality. They wandered out smiling each morning in search of coffee. Some were up  way before I was and some like to sleep in until right before breakfast at 8:00. Their stories of their adventures on past trips and history as friends were a joy to listen to at the breakfast table  and in the afternoon when they would get back from their journey around town. I think they may have even added to their stories for their next trip. I hope they made some wonderful memories in Oshkosh and at the inn. I know I will think of them often and smile when I do.

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