Today the road has brought me to Sheboygan Falls, WI.
At long last, it was vacation time! But what a change in plans. Originally, I had been gearing up for a trip to England which would have begun next week, but that plan had to be put on the back burner. So if I couldn’t be in England, I decided I would experience a bit of New England in the Midwest with a visit to Rochester Inn owned and operated by Ray and Kelly York.
I was struck by an incredible sense of déjà vu as Green Bay, WI had been the last place I visited before normalcy got upended in March. And the route to Sheboygan Falls is identical except for the last 45 minutes.
The trip started off rather well. I had a clear stretch of road. I enjoyed a meal at my favorite hole in the wall, Iowa’s Best Burger Café, in Kellogg, IA and arrived at the same Hampton Inn in Cedar Rapids that I had stayed at when I visited Green Bay.
Again, I had a very restful night, though I was somewhat disappointed by the breakfast. During the week, they still serve a hot meal, but during the weekends, they serve a to go bag. Mine had a banana, a honey bun, and a bottle of water. One would think that the hot meal would be served during the weekend and the to go bag during the week, but my best friend thought they were catering to business travelers during the week which was an angle I had not considered and could very well be correct.
Saturday was gray, murky, and rainy. But it was still an enjoyable drive. I ended up arriving in Sheboygan Falls earlier than planned and was hungry so I stopped at a McDonald’s to eat a sandwich and small fries while I read another mystery in a Sherlock Holmes pastiche I had been reading. Then I drove around the town for a bit before arriving at Rochester Inn.
Rochester Inn is located in the Cole Historic District and had been built by local businessman and pioneer, Charles Cole, in 1848. The building had been built in the Greek Revival style and was originally a trading post and general store with the Cole family living on the second floor and the third floor being used as a meeting place for the Midwest’s first temperance society. It is also believed that the building may have served as the town’s post office as Cole had been the postmaster.
The building had been several other businesses before falling into disrepair. In 1986, it was restored to its original grandeur and became a bed and breakfast.
The inn is reminiscent of a New England inn at the turn of the century and if you want seclusion and social distancing, this is the B & B for you.
Possessing only 6 suites, Rochester Inn is the first inn I’ve visited that has no common area outside of the entry hall which I suspect is normally used for checking in and out. The inn is currently utilizing a socially distant self check-in process and I found an envelope containing a welcome letter and inn keys waiting for me when I arrived. I made my way up the back stairs and reached my room, the William Brian Donlevy suite.
Rochester Inn is famed for its two floor suites and I was hoping this would be the one I would be given. Without question, this is the most luxurious suite in which I’ve stayed to date. The first floor features deep blue carpeting adorned with symbols that reminded me of my old Webelos badge along with a leather couch, an elegant coffee table, and two armless easy chairs. On a table by the door, I found a plate of cookies containing caramel or butterscotch chips (perhaps both) which I munched on while walking upstairs where I found a four poster queen-sized bed, writing desk, vanity area, and bathroom containing a very deep two person jacuzzi tub. Flat screen TVs are located both upstairs and downstairs with the upstairs one having a DVD player and a DVD library is available in the main hall.
After getting settled, I relaxed for a bit before heading out for a little walk in the historic downtown area and the nearby neighborhoods.
Sheboygan Falls strikes me as a very well to do town due to the quality of homes I saw on my amblings. It also contains a large number of parks and I spent a bit of time at Sheboygan Falls View Park looking at the town’s namesake falls.
Dinnertime had arrived and I made the brief journey to Duke of Devon in nearby Sheboygan. Duke of Devon is an English gastropub that practices pretty good social distancing. I sipped on a ginger ale while enjoying a cottage pie which is a beef stew with tomatoes, marmite, and a mashed potato topping and it was quite tasty and filling.
After dinner, I returned to Rochester Inn where I spent the evening relaxing before retiring for the night.
I rose quite early the next morning and watched a little TV while I waited for my breakfast to be delivered.
As I stated earlier, there are no common areas in this inn which means no communal dining room. Breakfast is delivered within a thirty minute window that you mark on a card and hang up on your door. For those who must leave early, a continental breakfast can be left for you if you need to eat on the go.
At about 8:45, a tray was delivered to my room. It looked splendid and the food tasted even better.
The meal consisted of a glass of orange juice with fruit and a cinnamon croissant that was so good that I literally leaned back on the couch and tapped my toes along with a casserole dish of herb infused eggs with ham and cheese. There was also a small serving of apple cinnamon jam. Now I’ve never been a jam fan, but this was so good that I spread it on my croissant to increase the cinnamon goodness.
After breakfast, I drew a bath and decided to try the herbal bath salts. It smelled like a field of flowers and I don’t know if it helped me to relax, but the perfect temperature of the water certainly did along with the massaging power of the jets.
After the bath, I started visiting the local parks beginning with Falls Park. I enjoyed gazing at the eight foot high waterfall while watching the red and gold leaves of the trees in the park. I spoke to my best friend for about an hour before the charge on my phone wore out. Then I headed to Settlers Park where I saw a pond full of mallards swimming and honking away.
After a morning of exploring, I returned to the inn where I found a new plate of white chocolate chip cookies waiting for me which I enjoyed while doing a little writing and Facebooking.
About a quarter of six, I decided to walk into town and have an early dinner. My choice was Fat Cow Pub & Eatery.
Very few people were in there which made distancing even easier and I decided for some local fare with the Cheese Curd Stuffed Cheeseburger.
This was a fantastic choice. It was served on a garlic aioli bun with lettuce, pickles, onions, bacon, and a bit of BBQ sauce. Juicy, filling, and just plain delicious. Feeling contented I returned to Rochester Inn where I organized some photos, watched The Blind Side, and hit the hay.
The next morning found me enjoying another leisurely soak before I got back to writing this article. A knock at my door at 8:50am brought a tray that consisted of fruit, OJ, little smokies, and Pecan Encrusted Cinnamon French Toast with authentic Wisconsin maple syrup.
And with another satisfying meal tucked away, I was ready to relax for roughly an hour before heading for home.
But if you find yourself near the Sheboygan Falls region, do yourself a favor and spend a night or two at Rochester Inn. You’ll enjoy some timeless elegance with some splendid meals and you can enjoy a bit of simplicity with the town’s numerous parks.
Until the next time. . .happy travels.