The small town of Richland Center, Wisconsin is almost paradise for those looking for a comfortable respite from their fast-paced lifestyles — and Candlewood Cabins are its most secluded gems. After weathering an ice storm back at home that almost cancelled our getaway plans, we packed up the rental car, pulled up the address before signal faded, and hit the road toward Richland. We were ready to nestle in — and explore the tall barns, vast dairy land, and rural pathways of Frank Lloyd Wright’s birthplace.
Author: Christina Hussey | Photography: Christina Husseyhuckberry.com
We arrived to Candlewood the day after an ice storm, and our little red mustang barely made it up to the Log Cabin. We were relieved to be met by our hosts, Norbert and Susan Calnin, who welcome all of their guests personally. In our cabin, the wood burning stove was already roaring, providing a warm welcome. We unpacked and settled in for our first night in lower Wisconsin.
The seclusion of the cabin was perfect - tending our own fire for warmth, cooking our meals, and taking advantage of naps in the loft being some of our top priorities. Outside of the slow-living cabin life, we ventured outdoors where we had access to hike the trail to the top of the ridge. During snowier weather, utilizing snowshoes is the only way to the top and sledding is an appropriate way down. Up here, one might be lucky enough to sneak a peek of a visiting Bald Eagle.
On our second day, we decided to drive the 5-mile trip to the town center to pick up supplies. We stopped in at The Ocooch Bookstore & Libations where we were told we could buy beer brewed with local hops. Daniel, the owner, graciously answered questions and spent over an hour telling us stories and anecdotes about Richland Center and the surrounding areas.
We learned things like how millions of years ago glaciers helped form the Green Bay Lobe, and how the rivers and streams were formed that flow through the Ocooch Mountains. He talked about the mammoths that once roamed the lands here…who would’ve guessed? After picking up a book for our daughter back home and tasting a few beers with Daniel, we grabbed our six pack and were on our way. If you come stay at Candlewood, we highly suggest venturing into town and visiting this bookstore at some point. You may learn some surprising things and make new friends as well.
Since we had to pick up our Wisconsin staples (beers, brats and cheese curds), our next stop was Richland Meat Locker. Fair warning: it bears a strong resemblance to the unglamorous meat locker Rocky Balboa trained in.
After picking up our sausages we made our way over to The Cheese Cellar where we got our fresh curds, still warm from the morning batch. Apparently, real cheese curds squeak when you chew them. You certainly can’t make a trip to the dairy land without them.
Our final day at Candlewood was spent experiencing the cold of a “real winter”, stoking the fire in our cozy cabin, eating the last of our fresh food from town, and genuinely resting with each other in a way that we hadn’t had a chance to do back home. We left Wisconsin understanding a deeper “connectivity." One where you choose to connect to the earth, your surroundings and most importantly each other. It’s hard to truly get off the grid these days but when it happens you find yourself undoubtedly refreshed and fulfilled.