Eau Claire is well known for its scenic beauty, exhibited in dozens of local parks that feature the winding Chippewa and Eau Claire Rivers, serene lake views, and bluffs that look stunning when autumn colors appear. The city also boasts a folksy music scene, unique historic architecture and a variety of art galleries in the downtown quarters. While these attractions are touted by locals and tourists alike, few know of the many bed and breakfasts offered in the area, and end up staying in drab motels or hotel chains. You can’t really get the full experience of a stay in Eau Claire until you’ve spent time at one of its lovely bed and breakfasts. There you will find clean and comfortable rooms, more personal service and homey touches that will make your visit one to remember. There are many wonderful bed and breakfasts in Eau Claire, but here are a few of the best.
1. Atrium Bed and Breakfast
The first thing I noticed when I stopped by the Atrium for a visit was the eight stained glass windows. Beauty is also found in the surrounding scenery, with superb landscaping that includes a trillium, fern gardens and huge oak and maple trees. The bed and breakfast is located on 15 acres of property and has a wheelchair accessible walking path. The path winds around a small forest, several gardens and ends at a small beach which is a prime location for quiet picnics. If the weather is poor, you can get your nature fix in the conservatory, which includes a fountain, a fig tree, a palm tree and Bougainvillea vines that climbs from the floor to the windows, 20 feet above. Amenities include those often found in hotels, such as wireless internet, desks, private bathrooms, whirlpools, telephones, televisions and hair dryers. A home cooked breakfast, including fruit, sausage, French toast, muffins and several kinds of juice is available for $8. Corporate rate (one person per room on Sunday through Thursday) is only $70 per night, making this an ideal location for anyone away on business. The Atrium rooms, which are intended for two guests, range in prices from $78 per night during the week to $129-189 on weekends and holidays, which, while a bit pricier, may include a whirlpool, king sized bed, stained glass window, view of Otter Creek and breakfast area, depending on which room you reserve.
2. Otter Creek Inn
This bed and breakfast, like the Atrium, is located on Otter Creek, and unlike the Atrium, offers a view of the creek in every guest room, not just the expensive ones. It is one of the longest existing bed and breakfasts in the state of Wisconsin, having opened in 1987. It was voted as one of the 15 best bed and breakfasts in the United States in 2003. The inn is best suited to romantic getaways, with each room being designed with the romantic couple in mind. These rooms boast large, comfortable beds, scenic views, private baths, whirlpools and fireplaces. All are located in a three story English Tudor. The guest rooms, common areas and the rest of the interior are decorated with Victorian furniture and artwork. The heated pool is open from Memorial Day until Labor Day, and is the perfect place to take a dip, or relax in the adjacent gazebo or chaise lounge. Rates range from $110-170 per night on weeknights and from $130-210 on weekends and include a full menu-style breakfast.
3. Fanny Hill
Both a dinner theater and a bed and breakfast, Fanny Hill offers plenty of bang for the buck by providing excellent amenities and entertainment. It is located on top of a bluff overlooking Eau Claire. The outside scenery includes not only the breathtaking bluff top view, but also flower gardens, Victorian statues and a fountain. The dinner theater boasts a full menu, including linguini with sautéed vegetables, marinated pork loin, grilled salmon, house cut steak, walleye, and stuffed mushroom caps. The theater has hosted a variety of plays, with such favorites as Chapter Two, Lend Me a Tenor, Rudy’s Holidaze Reunion, and County Fair. The show and dinner cost $40 per person, with group, student and child discounts available. There are also packages that include the dinner and show, as well as a stay in the bed and breakfast, champagne, dessert, a wine and cheese reception, and full breakfast. These packages range from $300 to $400 per couple. Rooms include cozy features such as four poster beds, fireplaces, whirlpools, antique furnishings and scenic views of the Chippewa River. The breakfast menu features a range of menu selections, from omelets to Belgian waffles. All meals are served with rolls, strudels, muffins, home fried potatoes, sausage, coffee and juice.
Whether staying for a romantic getaway or overnight business trip, consider one of Eau Claire’s many fine bed and breakfasts!