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Amil's Inn is a Premier Wilton, Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast in the Kickapoo Valley

Amil's Inn Bed & Breakfast in Wilton Wisconsin, is nestled in the Kickapoo Valley minutes
from the Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail, Wildcat State Park and the Kickapoo Valley Reserve.

Posts Tagged ‘Amil’s Inn Bed and Breakfast’

6th Annual Rails to Trails Marathon

November 28th, 2013 by David Reeck


Our marathon and half marathon guests--Roy, Randi, Charlene, Chrissy, and Rebecca

Our marathon and half marathon guests–Roy, Randi, Charlene, Chrissy, and Rebecca

As I look out my window and observe the lawn turning white, I can’t help let my mind wonder back several weeks to the 6th Annual Rails to Trails Marathon.

The 6th Annual Rails to Trails Marathon took place on Sunday, November 3, 2013. The day was a beautiful fall day, perfect for the miles that the runners would put on that day.  The Rails to Trails Marathon is not only a Boston Qualifier marathon but also a half marathon, 5K and 1 mile fun run.  The course takes runners and walkers on tour of the Elroy-Sparta State Bike Trail, a former railroad that’s been converted into a 32 mile recreational trail that winds through the small towns and countryside areas of southwestern Wisconsin between the towns of Elroy and Sparta.

The 6th Annual Rails to Trails Marathon had 227 marathon finishers of which 143 were male and 84 were female, 319 half marathon finishers of which 103 were male and 216 were female and 106 5K finishers of which 48 were male and 58 were female. (Results taken from

Amil’s Inn Bed and Breakfast was honored to have as guests 2 of the marathon finishers—Roy who qualified for the Boston Marathon and Charlene as well as 3 half marathon finishers—Randi, Chrissy and Rebecca.  Also your Outkeeper/Innkeeper Dave and our son Paul completed the half marathon.  It was such a joy to have Roy, Charlene, Randi, Chrissy, and Rebecca  return to Amil’s Inn after the race to shower and have some ‘serious’ runners talk.

For those running enthusiasts that enjoy running on a converted railroad bed, another marathon and half marathon to consider is the Elroy Apple Dumpling Races held the 1st Saturday after Labor Day each year in the city of Elroy, Wisconsin.  The marathon is a Boston Qualifier as well. (

To keep abreast of dates and information for the 2014 races, here are the websites to follow:;; or contact us at Amil’s Inn Bed and Breakfast.

Icicles found at Amil’s Inn Bed and Breakfast

October 30th, 2013 by David Reeck

Icicles on our water fountain.  Time to put away for winter.

Icicles on our water fountain. Time to put away for winter.

We have been very busy trying to cover up all our beautiful flowers in the cool of the night.  This past evening the temperature dropped into the low 20’s.  As you can see our water fountain will have to be put away for the winter months.

The vegetable gardens have been tilled and the final harvest has been made of most of the garden vegetables.  The Lord has been so good to us again this year.  We have a trailer full of butternut and spaghetti squash.  We share with our guests, neighbors and the elderly that are in need.  The only thing that is still left in the garden to feast on before the holidays is carrots and brussels sprouts.

Oh…. I still have lemon balm to dry for winter tea.  This is a plant that produces so much.  It was given to me from an Amish friend (just 3 roots).  Ha! Ha!  We have to laugh because it is a plant that wants to take over the entire garden.  In the spring, we will till circles around it and only allow a 3 foot size area for this plant.  Lemon Balm is used not only for teas but also garnishing.

Well, I better sign off for now and get a nice simmering slow crock pot ready with chicken and dumplings so we can finish the fall clean up before Jack Frost comes and breaks our water hoses!

For those health enthusiasts, come and join us this weekend as the Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail closes the tunnel doors for the winter months after the Rails to Trails Marathon which  will takes place Sunday, November 3, 2013.  The Rails to Trails Marathon consists of a full, Boston qualifier, marathon, half-marathon, 5K and 1 mile run. Visit for more information.

Cranberries Make Special Friendships

September 30th, 2013 by David Reeck

Cranberry vines supplied by Wetherby Cranberry Company for table and room decorations.

Cranberry vines supplied by Wetherby Cranberry Company for table and room decorations.

Amil’s Inn Bed and Breakfast has been blessed over the years with many friendships.  Many of these friendships began around Wisconsin’s state fruit the cranberry.  As the 41st Warrens Cranberry Festival becomes past history, we are reminded of one of those special friendships with Nodji and Jim Van Wychen of the Wetherby Cranberry Company of  Warrens, Wisconsin.

They not only supply the fresh cranberries that Anita uses in her scones, muffins and many other special treats that are made fresh from scratch for our guests but they also supply some extra special cranberry touches such as vines that are used for table and room decorations.  We are so grateful for their friendship.

For those who would like to learn more about cranberries, the cranberry industry and be able to purchase some fresh cranberries, the Wetherby Cranberry Company of  Warrens, Wisconsin host a Public Harvest Day the first Saturday in October each year from 9:00-11:00 AM.  This year the date is Saturday, October 5, 2013.  The Public Harvest Day is free to all who attend and no reservations are needed.   For more information and directions to the marsh or to order fresh cranberries if you are unable to attend the Public Harvest day visit

Also it is never too early to start planning for the 42nd Annual Warrens Cranberry Festival which is scheduled for September 26- 28, 2014.  Visit for more information.

Fall Garden Produce Is Ready At Amil’s Inn Bed and Breakfast

August 30th, 2013 by David Reeck

Our first harvest of red Norland potatoes being washed by our son Paul.

Our first harvest of red Norland potatoes being washed by our son Paul.

After, what seemed a spring that would not allow us to get our garden planted, we have finally started to harvest vegetables from our garden at Amil’s Inn Bed and Breakfast.  One of our earliest vegetables harvested is our red Norland potatoes which are used in many of our farmhouse breakfast entrees. We are also harvesting other produce out of the garden such as basil, parsley, tomatoes, zucchini, green beans and cucumbers and have been canning and freezing as much of the fresh produce that we can find time for.

Breakfast is so wonderful this time of the year at Amil’s Inn Bed and Breakfast.  This morning we served our guests Raspberry Stuffed French Toast, Crispy Bacon and Roasted Parmesan Red Potatoes over a bed of sautéed Zucchini and Onions as well as Blueberry Muffins and Watermelon Balls along with Cran-raspberry Juice and Coffee.

Just a few weeks our son Paul helped dig and wash the Norland red potatoes.  We still have our Russet potatoes to harvest. We love these potatoes since they store very well for winter and can be used in so many recipes.  One of our favorites for those cooler fall and winter days is Crock Pot Cheesy Potato Soup.  We would like to share it with you.  Enjoy!

Crock Pot Cheesy Potato Soup

     5 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

     1 white onion, chopped

     4 cups 2% milk

     2 cans Campbell’s cheddar cheese soup

     1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese

     1 stick salted butter

     1 cup sour cream

     Salt and pepper, to taste

 In a large Crock pot add potatoes, white onion, milk, cheddar cheese soup and 1 stick of butter (sliced), mix well and cover.  Cook on low for 5-6 hours (until potatoes are fork tender).  Stir in sour cream and shredded cheddar, recover and let cook an additional 20 minutes.  Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with green onions, bacon bits and a dollop of sour cream, if you desire.

Bike the 4 Trails of Western Wisconsin

July 31st, 2013 by David Reeck

Biking enthusiasts, Paul and Rachel, deciding which biking trail to take!

Biking enthusiasts, Paul and Rachel, deciding which biking trail to take!

After a much cooler and wetter spring than normal, the weather has turned to be great biking weather.  For biking enthusiasts, Western Wisconsin has 101 miles of connected biking magnificence!  The 101 miles consists of the Great River State Trail, La Crosse River State Trail, Elroy-Sparta State Trail, and the “400 State Trail.

The Great River State Trail is a 24 mile trail between Marshland and Onalaska, Wisconsin.  This trail takes you through prairies and backwaters of the upper Mississippi River valley and will take you along 18 different waterways, cross over the Black River on a 287 foot former railroad trestle, follow along Lake Onalaska on the abandoned Chicago-Northwestern railroad line.

The La Crosse River State Trail is a 22 mile trail between Onalaska and Sparta, Wisconsin.  The trail lies in the La Crosse River valley and parallels an active rail line to the north of the trail. The trail was developed on the abandoned Chicago-Northwestern railroad line.  You will pass over crystal clear trout streams and pass picturesque farms as you pass through the communities of La Crosse, West Salem, Bangor, Rockland and Sparta.

The Elroy-Sparta State Trail is a 32 mile trail between Sparta and Elroy, Wisconsin.  It is the first ‘Rails-to-Trails’ bicycle trail in the United States and is one of the most popular trails in the country due to its 3 rock tunnels.  The tunnel between Sparta and Norwalk is ¾ of a mile long.  The tunnels between Norwalk and Wilton and Wilton and Kendall are ¼ mile long each.  The trail passes through the communities of Norwalk, Wilton, Kendall, and Elroy.  Along the way you will observe wetland, prairies, farms and unglaciated areas since this is located in the northern Driftless Area of  Wisconsin.  It also follows an abandoned Chicago-Northwestern railroad line.

The “400” State Trail is a 22 mile trail between the cities of Elroy and Reedsburg, Wisconsin.  The trail name was derived from the Chicago-Northwestern passenger train that traveled the 400 miles between Chicago and Minneapolis/St. Paul in 400 minutes.  The trail crisscrosses the Baraboo River and one will be able to observe wetlands, wildlife, sandstone bluffs, rolling cropland and pasture.

For more information on the 4 trails that make up the 101 miles of connected trails visit and

Amil’s Inn Bed and Breakfast is located in the heart of the Elroy-Sparta State Trail and would be honored to have you as our guest as you enjoy the 4 trails of western Wisconsin.

Canoe and Kayak the Kickapoo River

June 29th, 2013 by David Reeck

Our canoeing and kayaking guests, (left to right) Cindy, Douglas, Tish, Dave, Gene, Richard, Sue, and Pat.

Our canoeing and kayaking guests, (left to right) Cindy, Douglas, Tish, Dave, Gene, Richard, Sue, and Pat.

The time has never been better to canoe and kayak the beautiful Kickapoo River of southwestern Wisconsin which has been a favorite of canoeists for many years.

Many of our guests have never experienced the Kickapoo River and are always excited to find out about the canoeing and kayaking that is only minutes away from Amil’s Inn Bed and Breakfast.  This past weekend we were blessed with return guests for canoeing and kayaking who brought friends of theirs who had not been on the Kickapoo before.

The Kickapoo River is the Wisconsin River’s longest tributary.  The Kickapoo River meanders for about 130 miles from Wilton to Wauzeka, where it empties into the Wisconsin River.  “As the crow flies”, this distance is about 60 miles.  The word “Kickapoo” is from the Native American Algonquian language meaning “he who goes here, then there” which very accurately describes the Kickapoo River, which flows in all directions of the compass for portions of its length.

The Kickapoo River’s shallow, gently flowing is tame enough for the beginner canoeist but scenic enough for the advanced peddler.  The upper stretch of the River between Ontario and LaFarge is the most beautiful and the most accessible for the public to enjoy.  The river will take you through the Wildcat Mountain State Park and the Kickapoo Valley Reserve.

Along the way you will see many forms of wildlife.  There are over 100 species of breeding birds that call the upper Kickapoo home.  You will also encounter muskrats, beaver, white-tailed deer, raccoons, woodchucks, mink and otters.  The best wildlife viewing opportunities are early morning and on weekdays when canoe and kayak traffic is the lightest. For plant lovers you will also encounter over 300 species of plants that provide a constant display of color from early spring through late fall.

For those who don’t have their own canoes or kayak’s, Ontario has several canoe rental businesses.  Visit and check out the “Area” tab to find a complete listing with contact information.

Special Thank You to the Wisconsin DNR and Kickapoo Valley Reserve websites for information used for this blog.  Please visit and for more information on canoeing and the Kickapoo River.

Rhubarb Desserts from Amil’s Inn

May 30th, 2013 by David Reeck

We are blessed at Amil’s Inn Bed and Breakfast to have a luscious rhubarb patch that provides rhubarb for many of our favorite desserts.  We would like to share a couple of our favorite recipes with you.

 Rhubarb Custard Dessert

     1-18.25 ounce box white cake mix, without pudding

     4 cups rhubarb, chopped

Bumper crop of rhubarb at Amil's Inn Bed and Breakfast!

Bumper crop of rhubarb at Amil’s Inn Bed and Breakfast!

     1 cup sugar

     1 cup whipping cream

     1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

Empty the cake mix in a glass cake pan and then pour the chopped rhubarb over dry cake mix.  Sprinkle the sugar and then pour the cream over the rhubarb.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.

This recipe is so easy to assemble and fast to make.  You will want to make this recipe several hours before you serve to allow the cake to set before you cut.  This recipe came from my friend Tracy Baird in Sparta, WI.


   Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

     1 ½ cup diced rhubarb

      ½ cup water

      ½ cup honey

      ½ cup sugar

      1-3 ounce package strawberry Jello

      1 generous cup vanilla ice cream

      Pre-baked pie shell for 9 inch pie

 Cook rhubarb in water until tender; sweeten with honey and sugar; Cool;  Puree in blender. Prepare Jello as directed on package and chill until almost set.  Remove from refrigerator and  add pureed rhubarb and vanilla ice cream.  Beat thoroughly.  Place mixture in pre-baked pie shell and refrigerate until firm.  Makes one 9 inch pie.

      Optional:  Slice a few fresh strawberries on top.  Also, strawberry ice cream can be used instead of vanilla ice cream.

        Thank you to The Beverly Lewis Amish Heritage Cookbook.  Copyright 2004

 We at Amil’s Inn Bed and Breakfast hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do.

Come and Experience the Elroy-Sparta Trail

April 28th, 2013 by David Reeck

The Wilton information Caboose welcomes you to the Elroy-Sparta Trail.

The Wilton information Caboose welcomes you to the Elroy-Sparta Trail.

Spring has finally settled in with a few days of 70 degree weather and it’s time to get those bikes ready to experience the more than 50 rails-to-trails throughout the State of Wisconsin.

Amil’s Inn Bed and Breakfast is located in the heart of the Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail which was the first rails-to-trails bike trail in the nation which opened to the public in 1967.  The Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail is exceptionally beautiful and has three tunnels.  Since you will have to walk your bike through the tunnels a flashlight, bike lights and a light rain jacket is recommended.  The longest tunnel is approximately ¾ of a mile long located between the towns of Sparta and Norwalk and will more than likely take 15 minutes or longer to walk through.  In the middle of the tunnel you will find a small waterfall spring.

A Wisconsin State Trail Pass is required for bicyclists age 16 and older.  The daily pass fee is $4.00.  An annual pass is also available for $20.00 which covers all the rails-to-trails in the State of Wisconsin for the whole summer.  Trail passes are available at Amil’s Inn Bed and Breakfast and other businesses in the area.

May 1 is the official opening of the Elroy-Sparta Trail for the 2013 biking season.  The Sparta Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a day of celebration on May 1.  There will be a community ride from Norwalk to the Sparta Depot.  A shuttle will pick up riders at the Sparta Depot (111 Milwaukee Street) at 9:00 AM.  At 12:00 noon, a ribbon cutting will be followed by a Department of Tourism speaker, refreshments and biking information from the Wisconsin Bike Federation.

So get those bikes dusted off and oiled up and we hope to see you at Amil’s Inn Bed and Breakfast this summer!  Safe travels!

Ice Cave Near Amil’s Inn

March 31st, 2013 by David Reeck

Claire, Caitlan, Sondra, and Rachel enjoying the Ice Cave!

Claire, Caitlan, Sondra, and Rachel enjoying the Ice Cave!

Even though it is spring and we just saw our first robin in the driveway of Amil’s Inn Bed and Breakfast, the Ice Cave at Wildcat Mountain State Park, Ontario, Wisconsin still looks like winter.

The Ice Cave is actually an eroded sandstone formation that appears to be a cave when approaching.  However upon closer inspection you will find a shallow depression in the rock with a small spring running over the upper edge.  During the winter, this spring water freezes into a giant icicle.  Our daughter and 4 of her friends made a recent visit and as you can see, there still is much ice to enjoy.  Actually the the iceicle can last into May depending on the spring weather!

The Ice Cave is just off County Highway F, south of State Highway 33.  This is the entrance and parking area to the Ice Cave picnic area and trail.  The Ice Cave is approximately ¾ mile from the picnic area and you will be hiking along the banks of Billings Creek.

Wildcat Mountain State Park can be enjoyed all year long.  It has over 20 miles of hiking trails, 15 miles of horse riding loops with 24 campsites for equestrians nearby, over 25 family campsites, several picnic areas available with shelter, canoeing and kayaking on the Kickapoo River, fishing and limited hunting and trapping as well as snowshoe and cross-country skiing trails.  For more information visit their website:

Now would be a great time to plan your trip to Wildcat Mountain State Park.

Treasures on the Korner Near the Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail

February 28th, 2013 by David Reeck

Shirley Degenhardt of Treasures on the Korner in Norwalk, Wisconsin.

Shirley Degenhardt of Treasures on the Korner in Norwalk, Wisconsin.

“Treasures on the Korner is the name”, said Shirley Degenhardt, who opened her new business on the corner of Norwalk, Wisconsin’s Main Street in the summer of 2007.  Since that time she has filled two buildings with antiques- the old, the used, the elegant, the out-of-date with some new and up-to-date treasures as well.

The building which houses Treasures on the Korner dates back to 1903 and at one time was the home  of Otto Scheule’s Norwalk Hardware Store.  You will be able to wander through a high ceiling room supported by the five original round, brown pillars with the original hardwood floors. The original ceiling is pressed tin with an elaborate floral design.  The cupboards along the wall have been there 100 years.  You will notice small holes in the floor bored for rope which was stored in the basement and customers could view the size rope available and then pull the length needed and purchase.

Prior to Treasures on the Korner, the building was home to Degenhardt’s Tire, a wholesale, retail and on the farm service tire store operated and owned by Shirley’s husband, Reuben.

The treasures are obtained from auctions and items collected over the years as well as 12 dealers who supply inventory. A partial listing of items available are dish and tea sets, plates, tea cups, furniture, cookie jars, clear and colored glassware, old tools, old toys, pottery, crocks, and silverware.  Some of the new items are handcrafted wooden birdhouses, warm fleece and quilted quilts, coffee tables and end tables.

If driving through Norwalk look for a decorated chair on the corner.  If you see the small, cute antique chair, it is to tell you that Treasures on the Korner is open for your antiquing delight!

Now would be a great time to plan your summer get-away and enjoy the Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail, take in some antique hunting at Treasures on the Korner and enjoy a relaxing weekend at Amil’s Inn Bed and Breakfast. 

Special thanks to “Journal Entry from Ridgeville” by Lyda Lanier that supplied information for this blog

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