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Stout's Island Lodge

2799 27th St.
Birchwood  Wisconsin  54817
United States
(715) 354-3646
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Midwest Living Review

History buffs looking for a lakeside retreat love this carefully preserved Adirondack-style getaway.

Built nearly 100 years ago by a Chicago lumber baron looking for a summertime retreat, Stout's Island Lodge lovingly preserves a throwback New York Adirondack atmosphere on an island in Wisconsin's Rice Lake. Most of the guests hail from Minnesota's Twin Cities, and it's easy to see why. A 2 1/2-hour drive east lands you at an old dock, waiting for a passenger ferry to transport you to a place that feels much as it must have when the Stout family began coming here in 1903. Forty-three lodge rooms and nine cabins cling to that history, but nothing here is frayed. Wide-planked hardwood floors gleam. Soft bed linens and quilts usher restful nights. White Adirondack chairs sprinkled across the island provide panoramic water views. Hydrangea bushes blossom alongside the many windows, and the scent of hickory hangs in the foyer, past the front porch with "The Island of Happy Dreams" embedded in the concrete. Visitors won't find TVs, phones or air-conditioning in the restored cabins. You also won't find a front desk or even an on-site shop selling sundries. This retreat is all about canoeing, fishing, swimming, relaxing and curling up with a good book (canoes and life jackets available for free).The experience doesn't come cheap. Lodge rooms start at $159. Our cabin rents for $309/night and comes with a stunning sleeping porch, but the included Continental breakfast is mediocre at best. The dining room, which changed chefs in 2010, offers some lovely seasonal flavors and beautiful, contemporary presentations—and some cold-on-arrivals—with some reasonable prices and some not (entrees run $18 to $30). Still, it's probably the closest thing to fine dining within 50 miles. Overall, couples looking for a secluded place to relax, unplug, and admire the water and woods would love a weekend here.

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