Midwest Living Review
The Speckled Hen Inn sits in a bit of an odd place, as B&Bs go. Just north of Madison and next to busy I-90/94, it's midway up a curvy hill, and the surrounding dense foliage makes it a bit hard to find. But it's worth the hunt. Opened in 2000 by Patricia Fischbeck and her husband, Bob, the Speckled Hen is a spacious, modern home on 50 acres just outside the Madison city limits. There are five bedrooms in the inn, two on the entrance level (which is actually the lower level, as the house is built into a slope) and three upstairs. The Fischbecks live in a smaller home next door. The entrance faces a barn fronted by a large pasture, where llamas and sheep peacefully graze. A small gazebo tucks into lush gardens and a burbling brook between the inn and the Fischbecks' home. Guest rooms ($135-$225) are all unique. The Rising Sun room, for example, has an Asian theme; the Heywood Hardy suite sports a masculine, traditional look. The more contemporary Madison Lakes room has its own entrance, and pets are allowed. Every room has a private bath, although the Rising Sun's bathroom lies across a hallway. All guests are given access to the upper-level dining areas, plus the lower-level's gathering room, a spacious place featuring a bar and mini kitchen, where there are complimentary soft drinks, water, coffee, tea, pretzels, rice cakes and popcorn. Breakfast is a three-course meal served at whatever hour you select. Bob, gussied up in a chef's coat and towering white hat, is the main cook. Many of the entree ingredients come from the farm, and almost everything is homemade. When the weather's nice, you can elect to dine alone in the gazebo for an extra charge. The only drawback to the place is that pesky interstate, which cars and trucks growl along day and night. But if you're in the right frame of mind, you can block it out.