Monthly Archives: August 2014

Held’s Meat Market

At the Highway 41 and 144 interchange just north of Slinger sits Held’s Meat Market. Held’s is a 20 minute drive from Hidden Serenity Bed and Breakfast and if you decide to visit this establishment, you will certainly find something you absolutely must have!

Held’s Meat Market has been in business since 1885 and has fans that come from as far away as Springfield, Missouri who make a visit to Held’s part of their annual trips to this part of Southeastern Wisconsin.

As expected, a variety of meat is available. Many varieties of sausages and preserved meats (in the German Style) adorn the store as they dry to perfection. A local favorite is a double sausage known as a “Landjaeger”. A Landjaeger sausage is the perfect thing for a couple to share since there are actually two sausages connected together in a way that make it easy to store them. Not that there is ever much of a need to store landjaegers, they usually get eaten quickly!

Beef jerky, bacon, snack sticks, and more are available and when you see the slabs of beef jerky available you won’t believe your eyes! In addition Held’s has experimented with the seasoning of its beef jerky for decades and has some excellent varieties that cannot be found in other locations.

Held’s Meat Market has some of the highest ratings possible from customers who took the time to show their appreciation for the great products at Held’s. See the google ratings for Held’s Meat Market.

With the road construction project blocking the exit from Highway 41 to 144, Held’s can only be accessed from Highway 144. It is well worth the trip to Held’s just for the service alone, but the meat itself will always be the star of the show. See the Held’s website at: https://heldsmarket.com/

Widmer’s Cheese

When visiting Wisconsin, most people have heard of our cheese products. Not just the kind you can wear on your head, but the actual cheese itself. Located in the small village of Theresa, West of Hidden Serenity Bed and Breakfast is a unique cheese store and cellar where artisan cheeses have been produced for generations since John Widmer open the store in 1922.

Widmer’s Cheese cellars have an abundant variety of fresh Wisconsin cheeses including standards such as Brick, Cheddar, Colby, Baby Swiss, cheese curds, string cheese and other favorites. They also have some unique and even imported varieties of cheese, which will certainly please your palate. With 22 employees Widmer’s is able to produce a large quantity of cheese (360,000 pounds per year), but the operation is still small enough for that personal quality control that comes with any great product.

Tours of the Widmer’s facility are available as well and take place at 9:30 AM Monday through Friday by appointment only so you have the opportunity to view a real cheese making operation in action. A word of caution – cheese making facilities, while highly regulated do have a certain smell and some folks take some time to get used to it. However, the tour is an awesome opportunity to explore part of Wisconsin’s heritage. To book reservations please call them at 1-920-488-2503.

Widmer’s Cheese Cellars also have a variety of gift items including variety packs and baskets. Kienast Summer Sausage is also sold in the store, and is locally produced as well. Widmer’s has retail store hours during the week from 6:00AM-5:00PM and Saturday hours from 7:00AM-5:00PM. Sunday hours are from June-October only and run 10:00AM-4:00PM.

Take the opportunity to experience the fresh cheese curds or other great items by visiting Widmer’s cheese during your stay at Hidden Serenity Bed and Breakfast. The Widmer’s website is: http://www.widmerscheese.com/

The Amazing Sunrise Rotary Race

Among the fall activities in the West Bend, Wisconsin area surrounding Hidden Serenity Bed and Breakfast, are classic opportunities for fall color viewing, excellent fall fishing, hiking and biking. Occasionally a new opportunity arises. On Saturday September 27th, 2014 the Sunrise Rotary of West Bend will host a one-day event for 60 teams to participate in The Amazing Sunrise Rotary Race.

Patterned after the television show with the same name, Sunrise Rotary’s version of the Amazing Race will include challenges that are mental, physical and require creativity. This event has an entry fee of $250.00 per team and the race will take place in picturesque West Bend area locations. Participants compete for the grand prize of $2,000.00! Teams will participate in a “Shotgun Start” at 10:00AM. Participants must be 21 years of age or older.

If you are unsure about your ability to handle the physical portions of the race, there is also a Mini Amazing Race that takes place within the city of West Bend’s Regner Park. There is a prize of four Green Bay Packer tickets for the winner of the Mini Amazing Race. Additionally, it will be done in time to see the finish of the main race. Kids divisions are part of the Mini Amazing race as well. The entry fee for the mini race is $5.00.

To gain more information and to register for either event please visit the Sunrise Rotary website at: http://www.sunriserotaryrace.com/

Of course you will have an advantage over the other competitors because of the deluxe breakfast you will have after a great night sleep at Hidden Serenity, so book your advantage now!

Fall Hiking on the Ice Age Trail

As much as we all enjoy summer, hiking in the fall can bring comfortable conditions and the added beauty of fall colors in the trees as well as on the ground. Hidden Serenity is located near many nice hiking trails. In addition to the state park trails in the area, we are near the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, or locally known as the Ice Age Trail. The trail is divided into segments and the part that goes through the West Bend area is called the Washington/Ozaukee county chapter of the trail.

Hiking conditions on the trail are a bit more rustic than the trails in the state parks, which are maintained by employees of the state. The Ice Age trail is built and maintained largely by volunteers.

Some areas where a person can access the trail include:
-County Highway NN/Arthur Road, which is just west of highway 144 and north of Slinger, Wisconsin. There is parking and the area has been developed recently. The trail runs South of Arthur Road through an area known as the Polk Kames named after the township of Polk the geologic formations known as Kames.
-The West Bend segment of the trail can be accessed on the north side of Paradise Drive a mile West of 18th avenue. This segment runs North along the west shore of Lucas Lake (which used to be managed as a cranberry bog in the middle of the last century) and into Ridge Run Park.
-The Washington County Milwaukee River segment is accessed from County Highway H West of State Highway 45. This region can be explored both to the North and to the South and goes through beautiful rolling Kettle Moraine landscapes.

The Ice Age trail has a website that can help you become familiar with the trail prior to your hike at http://washingtonozaukee.iceagetrail.org/hike-the-chapter

Check out Hidden Serenity’s “Quest for the Best” package for a great deal on lodging and hiking the 32 miles from Hwy H north. This part of the trail is a must see when traveling in the area. Most will agree it is one of the most scenic segments on the whole trail! Our bed and breakfast is convenient and comfortable and you cannot go wrong eating one of our gourmet breakfasts before heading off onto the trail. Fall is an excellent time to visit the Kettle Moraine.

Custard and Ice Cream Shops You Do Not Want to Miss!

Within an half an hour drive of Hidden Serenity Bed and Breakfast, are four unique ice cream and custard experiences that you will never forget.

Just 5 minutes from Hidden Serenity, on Highway 144 is Toucan Custard. They are well-known for excellent food and desserts, with the old fashioned window service from days gone by. Toucan is a local, family owned establishment that offers burgers, Friday fish fry, delicious cheese fries and a whole lot more food. Now let’s talk custard – it speaks for itself! Soooo good. Do not pass this place up!

For those willing to drive north a bit, just west the Village of Eden on County Highway B sits Kelley Country Creamery. Kelley’s was featured last summer on Good Morning America as the “Best Ice Cream in the Country”. It was the “Best Ice Cream Shop in Wisconsin” according to USA Today in 2010. Here’s why: The Kelleys have a farm with a dairy herd that is bred for their excellent ice cream producing milk. The Kelleys then make their ice cream on site and sell it in the shop. Sometimes they will combine interesting flavors into their ice cream, such as bacon. Stop by to see if they really are the best in America! Their website is: http://kelleycountrycreamery.com/.

Next, in the City of Hartford, Scoop de Ville. Scoop de Ville features the old fashion ice cream parlor atmosphere. You will need to really focus on your ice cream because there is so much to see at Scoop de Ville you may absentmindedly eat your whole treat while viewing the decorations. It may be a good idea to look around first and then order! Scoop de Ville has a website: http://scoopdevilletreats.com/

Lastly, the always-busy Hamburger Haus located in the heart of the Kettle Moraine. You can find it in Dundee, at the foot end of Long Lake. We sometimes take the 17 minute drive north just to lick an ice cream cone from there. They serve great burgers, deep fried cheese curds (of course, this is Wisconsin!) and have Cedar Crest Ice Cream products. And we all know that is THE best ice cream!

So which place will be your favorite? That research may require return trips to Hidden Serenity to determine whether Toucan, Kelley’s, Scoop de Ville or Hamburger Haus is your true favorite! Head out of the city, enjoy some local flavor, find excellent lodging in the Kettle Moraine, just north of Milwaukee at Hidden Serenity Bed and Breakfast.

Urban Farm Stands in the City Offer lots of Fresh Produce

If you are short on time or do not wish to take a drive through the countryside but still want the farmstand experience, the city of West Bend has stands that are open on a more consistent basis and are staffed with friendly, helpful farm kids who are very knowledgeable about their products.

In the city of West Bend farm stands are found on West Washington Street and 15th Avenue. There are usually two stands on the south side of the street that compete with each other. Owned by Kok Farms and Alsum Farms, the two stands have their own loyal followings, but the competition keeps the prices low. We recently paid just $3.00 for a half dozen ears of sweet corn and it was some of the best we ever had.

On the southern end of West Bend the same two farm families have stands on opposite sides of South Main street, just south of Decorah Road. These stands offer the same produce as the stands on West Washington Street. (If you are lucky you may even get to see the bald man with a corn cob painted on his head at one of these stands. He is quite the corn salesman!)

At the more urban farm stands you still have to pay with cash, but won’t need exact change. There is usually a tip jar on the stand for the employees there. HINT: If you put your tip in the jar in sight of the worker, you will often be rewarded with an extra ear or corn in your bag.

Whether you opt for the rural farm stands in the country or the stands in the city, you will have a shopping experience that is second to none. Either one gives you a true Wisconsin experience and you walk away smiling with a bag of goodies! After you hike, bike, kayak, play tennis, relax, or whatever you wish to do during a quick getaway from the city, and while staying at Hidden Serenity Bed and Breakfast, stop at a stand, grab some fresh produce to take home for the week. Enjoy!

Unique Rural Farm Stands Dotted around Hidden Serenity

As August is upon Southeastern Wisconsin, the fruits of the land are starting to become available in the West Bend area. One of the wonderful things about this part of Wisconsin is that surrounding Hidden Serenity Bed and Breakfast is some of the richest farmland in the state.

The clean and abundant rains of this summer are producing a bumper crop of large, tasty vegetables at area farm stands. Typically you are able to buy whatever happens to be in season at the farm stands, but corn, beans, peas, kohlrabi, and radishes are common vegetables. Honeydew, peaches and Cantaloupe are the most common fruits. The quality and sweetness of a fresh cantaloupe melon can often be determined by the smell and when you get them at their best they are almost like eating candy that’s good for you! Later into fall, butternut, acorn and many other varieties of squash become abundant at the stands along with potatoes.

Searching for countryside farm stands is a tradition for many people in Southeastern Wisconsin. Driving through the country will result in the most unique stands and the freshest produce. Produce stands are frequently worked by the farmers or their children who are very knowledgeable of the produce you are buying. However, some of them are also self-service stands where you pay for your produce on the “honor system” using exact change (or round up a little) put into a box in exchange for your tasty treats. It is more of an easy-going experience than a typical shopping trip to the store as you can’t always plan where the next stand will be.

Farm stands are set up in rural areas surrounding West Bend for those who are willing to explore the beautiful countryside. Whether you opt for the hunt or decide to just relax at Hidden Serenity Bed and Breakfast you will be able to enjoy some of those tasty treats of nature right here at our romantic bed and breakfast. Fresh fruits and vegetables are a staple of our delicious breakfasts. Hot-out-of-the-oven zucchini bread, blueberry muffins or Chris’s famous omelets loaded with “yum” are common items at our table. This is the best time to enjoy the freshness of nature!