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8 Hidden Gems for a Holiday Stay

Does the idea of shopping and wrapping and entertaining and traveling have you dreaming of a relaxing holiday getaway? This season, let Greater Madison make your holidays magical by planning a stay at one of eight great historic inns—each with its own “stay local” philosophy and festivities.

ARBOR HOUSE

Arbor House

This environmental inn, located in the Monroe Street neighborhood, is focused on tranquility. At the holidays, they honor their “green” way of life with a mammoth Christmas tree to sit beside while watching the snow falling softly outside.

Warm your soul: If your celebrations are synonymous with specialty toddies that can be sipped alongside a roaring fire, you’ll feel right at home at Arbor House.

 

BUCKINGHAM INN

Buckingham Inn

This 105-year-old, arts-and-crafts-style inn is located near many of UW-Madison’s finest historic homes. Guests consistently tell owners Tom and Heidi that their breakfasts are “off the charts”—and the holidays are no exception.

Dessert first: When you stay during December, you may be surprised (and delighted!) to find home-baked Christmas cookies served with breakfast.

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HOTEL RUBY MARIE

Hotel Ruby Marie

The city’s oldest operating hotel is happy to host during the holidays, and boasts 15 comfortable rooms located on the floors above Essen Haus and Lakeview Bakery & Deli at the edge of the trendy “Willy Street” neighborhood.

Trees, please: If the holidays aren’t the holidays unless you have a tree, you’ll love Hotel Ruby Marie, which features differently decorated trees on every floor.

 

LAKE RIPLEY LODGE

Lake Ripley Lodge in Cambridge is the last of the grand resorts on the shores of its small lake. You can peek through the pines at stunning Lake Ripley, which is even more magical with snow on the boughs and ice on the lake.

B&B bonus: Owner Jim Hoiby is a former history teacher, so guests love to linger while he shares anecdotes about the resort’s storied past.

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LIVINGSTON INN

Livingston Inn Winter solstice

Livingston Inn is a 160-year-old, Gothic revival mansion located on downtown Madison’s picturesque Gorham Street. The property features nine fireplaces: a great start to getting in a cozy and celebratory mood.

Solstice celebrations: It gets dark early in winter in Madison, so owners Dave and Peggy fill their inn with the warmth of candles and lights on December 21—and throughout the season!

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MANSION HILL INN

Mansion Hill Inn

This property was one of the first on Madison’s Mansion Hill and is ideally situated just three blocks from the Capitol Square. Their hospitality philosophy includes tiny touches that make every stay memorable, especially at the holidays.

Have a ball: One of the don’t-miss rooms at Mansion Hill is the classic parlor and its majestic bar—spaces that are perfectly suited for hosting holiday soirees.

 

OSCAR H. HANSON HOUSE

Oscar H Hanson House

This 1883 Victorian inn is known for the homemade strudel served during the winter at weekend breakfasts. One guest remarked that it was the closest to his grandmother’s that he had yet tasted (she was the pastry chef to the Archduke Ferdinand)!

Don’t-miss decor: Starting in early November, owners Duke and Mary Jane work with a local decorator to do a holiday makeover of their inn—inside and out!

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VICTORIAN DREAMS

Victorian Dreams

Victorian Dreams has not only one, but two 1897 Victorian homes with seven luxurious suites between them. Being located in Lodi puts the property conveniently close to Carr Valley Cheese and Wollersheim Winery, local delights that are fit for festive celebrations.

Dream theme: Both homes are decorated extensively with Victorian flair, but one tree always features miniature peacocks with long, white feature plumes.

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