Towering trees protect the cabins of Candlewood, a rustic retreat nestled among the rolling hills of Richland County. Although the property is only about 30 miles from the tourist destinations of Spring Green (Taliesin, the House on the Rock, the American Players Theatre) it feels like it’s a world away.
For a while, Candlewood’s isolated location kept crowds at bay. “We got off to a slow start,” recalls owner Norbert Calnin, who purchased the property with his wife, Susan, in 1981. “There were no websites at the time, so we handed out brochures. But we kept at it because we loved interacting with the guests who came.” And those guests eventually started talking about the unusual cabins that the Calnins were renting out. After salvaging 16 sliding glass doors from a nearby property, Norbert put his background in construction to work, using them to create an almost entirely glass-walled bedroom in the middle of the woods. Then he added a wooden footbridge connecting the room to a small kitchenette and bathroom.
Other cabins soon followed, each with surprising architectural elements, like turrets and multi-story porches. Most are cozy and compact, perfect for romantic weekends. But one of the recent additions is a surprisingly spacious barn-inspired space that sleeps 12, with vaulted ceilings, a reading loft and a silo that the Calnins reimagined as a patio.
These days, Candlewood books its rentals out well in advance. “We open them up two years out, and they start booking right at midnight,” Norbert says.
Would-be visitors who’d like to stay at the resort sometime this year aren’t completely out of luck, though. Far-flung guests (the Calnins normally see many from outside the U.S.) have been canceling their trips lately, so dates occasionally become available. Just know that if you see an opening on the website, you’ll need to pounce.
Two Other Cozy Cabins Worth a Trip
DESTINATION KOHLER recently added two upscale cabins to its lodging portfolio. Both of the two-bedroom, two-bathroom spaces look like they’ve been ripped from the pages of a lifestyle magazine and come with envy-inducing views of Lake Michigan. They’ve also been outfitted with top-of-the-line Kohler fixtures, like walk-in showers and wood-burning fireplaces. Rates start at $845 and $1,009 a night this time of year.
CANOE BAY sprawls across 300 acres of hardwood forest north of Eau Claire. And its tiny, two-person cabins are a great choice for couples looking for a secluded weekend escape. Fireplaces, private decks and whirlpool tubs are major selling points. And the surrounding wilderness is of course a draw, too. You can expect to pay around $350-400 a night for one of the smaller cabins but check the company’s website for the latest rates.