Let’s play a word association game.
We say: Wisconsin.
You say: cheese.
We say: Northwoods.
You say: camping.
We say: a countryside hotel with gourmet dining, an award-winning wine list, and lake views.
You say: Lake Como, Italy.
Try again. Lake Chetek, Wisconsin, is home to Canoe Bay, the Midwest’s only Relais & Chateaux property. The Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired getaway sits on 280 acres with three private lakes and accommodations from guest rooms to cottages — and no detail left unattended.
Greet morning with a breakfast of coffee, fresh fruit, and insane homemade pastries (we’re still dreaming about warm blueberry strudel), all quietly dropped at your door.
Then spend the day as you please: on the water, exploring trails, reading a book (the lending library rivals B&N). They’ve done away with room phones (cell reception is brilliantly hard to come by), so outside distractions are kept to a minimum.
Wrap it up with a Chez Panisse-style dinner prepared by chef Scott Johnson, who trained under Thomas Keller and Charlie Trotter.
And it’s all a mere six hours from Chicago.
You say: far.
We say: well worth the trip.
Canoe Bay Inn (715-924-4594 or canoebay.com).