201 8th St Baraboo, WI
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Explore the Haunted Places in Wisconsin with Baraboo Tours

It’s that time of year when there’s a crispness in the air, pumpkins appear on front stoups, and Halloween is just around the corner, which is also the best season to explore all of the haunted places in Wisconsin. It also just so happens that Baraboo is well-known in the paranormal community—for otherworldly circus spirits, a bar with eerie sightings, and phantom elephants.

The best way to learn more about the haunted places in Wisconsin is with Baraboo Tours, which offers an informative and spine-chilling walking tour of the ghastly hot spots in downtown Baraboo. And for those who want to immerse themselves in the historic surroundings of Baraboo fully, then you’ll book a room at the Ringling House Bed and Breakfast—the former mansion turned Inn was the family home to the famed circus family in the early 1900s.

The mansion has been completely restored and maintained to keep the architectural details and old-time atmosphere as if the Ringling family could still be seen sitting around the dining table. In fact, the beautiful table where we serve our scratch-made morning meal was the original to Henry Ringling when he outfitted the house. Join us this fall at our historic B&B in Baraboo and come explore one of the most haunted places in Wisconsin. Book your next getaway today!

Haunted Places in Wisconsin

Explore the Exciting Haunted Places in Wisconsin

Grab your hat, scarf, and courage before you head out on these spooky tours in downtown Baraboo and beyond. Here are the best ways to explore the haunted places in Wisconsin in our charming circus town of Baraboo.

  • Baraboo Tours, Haunted Downtown Walk: Plan on this leisurely, one-hour walking tour of downtown Baraboo and hunt for the ghosts that put the “boo” in Baraboo. Not only will you hear fascinating stories of the famed phantom elephant ghosts and other circus-related fun, but you’ll learn a lot more about our charming small town in the Wisconsin Dells. If you can’t get enough of the haunted places in Wisconsin, grab a copy of the Paranormal Wisconsin Dells and Baraboo by Chad Lewis—a great vacation read!
  • AL. Ringling Mansion Tour: Prepared to be scared: this tour is not for the faint of heart! Guests have reported seeing apparitions, ghostly figures, and things from the corner of their eyes. You’ll walk through the famed AL. Ringling Mansion after dark with a guide and have the chance to connect with the resident spirits in real-time. Haunted tours are by appointment only at 8:00 pm. Call ahead to book your spooky tour (608) 448-7455.
  • Halloween Mystery Candlelight Hike at Mirror Lake: Head to this beautiful Wisconsin State Park for a self-guided hike through the dark woods on the trails lit by torchlight. There’s a party game where guests harness their detective skills to guess who the Mystery Guest will be at the amphitheater. Follow the four clue boxes along the path for cryptic riddles. After the quiet and unsettling hike, hit the campfire to warm up with hot chocolate and sweet treats.
  • Old Baraboo Inn: Belly up to the bar and order a beer at one of the most haunted places in Wisconsin. As they say, “stop in for spirits with the spirits.” The historic landmark was built in 1864 by German immigrants, and many intriguing and spooky events have occurred over the centuries.

Haunted Places in Wisconsin

The Historic Ringling House Bed and Breakfast

Our intimate six-room Inn is the perfect backdrop for those interested in paranormal explorations, novice ghosthunters, or history buffs. Each guest room and suite at the Ringling House offers a different glimpse into the life and experiences of the Ringling family and circus culture. In every room, you’ll find a beautifully appointed private bathroom with fluffy towels, a super comfortable king, queen, or double bed, complimentary wifi, and a mix of antique and recreations of historic decor. You may sense energy from the past with so many rich stories and love affairs in the Ringling family. But not to worry, all of our encounters have been friendly and playful!

Plan your next getaway exploring one of the most haunted places in Wisconsin, and head to Baraboo today!

10 Things to do in Baraboo Wisconsin in the New Year

There are so many things to do in Baraboo Wisconsin, all year round! Wintertime brings fresh snow and cold weather sports; Spring and Summer are ideal for hiking and biking at our beautiful state parks, and Autumn means bright fall colors and crisp afternoons in the sunshine. It’s truly an outdoor lover’s paradise here—most of the things to do in Baraboo Wisconsin involve nature, but always best finished with a tasty beer and a hearty meal.

As a guest at our Baraboo Bed and Breakfast, you’ll be in the ideal location to explore the outdoors at Devil’s Lake State Park, Mirror Lake State Park, and Parfrey’s Glen. Thankfully, we’re also nearby the historic downtown Baraboo area, where you’ll find breweries, restaurants, charming shops, and interesting museums and attractions. There are so many things to do in Baraboo Wisconsin, for an action-packed getaway!

Firstly, check out our upcoming availability in the new year, book your stay, and let the planning begin! Continue reading

10 Fun Things to Do Near our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast This Winter

Our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast is the perfect jumping-off point for a winter adventure! Winter is a wonderful time to spend in Wisconsin, and Baraboo is one of the most wonderful places in Wisconsin, if only for its colorful history connected to the hometown Ringling Brothers Circus. Though there’s a whole lot more to Baraboo! After all, it was named one of America’s top five small towns by Smithsonian magazine, in 2013.

And that means that the best place to stay while visiting Baraboo — and beyond! — is our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast, the Ringling House, in the heart of Baraboo. Charles Ringling, one of the five famed siblings, built this Georgian Revival structure as his personal home in 1901, and today, after many changes of hands and remodelings, it tastefully blends historical ambiance with modern amenities to meet the wants of needs of today’s guests. Plan your Wisconsin winter getaway, and start by booking your room today at our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast! Continue reading

8 Great Things to Do at Devil’s Lake State Park This Fall

At 9,217 acres, Devil’s Lake State Park is the most sizable state park in Wisconsin, and “sizable” also perfectly describes the range of things you can see and do in this stunningly scenic year-round recreation destination. You can enjoy lakeshore picnic areas, sandy beaches, bird watching, rock climbing, boating, hiking into backcountry solitude, and much more.

And there’s no better way to begin and end a day’s adventuring in Devil’s Lake State Park than at our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast in the beautiful nearby town of Baraboo. You’ll be rested and fresh for the rigors of the trails in one of our luxuriously appointed guest rooms, and we’ll send you off on the right foot with your choice of hearty and delicious breakfasts.

So plan your Devil’s Lake State Park adventure by reserving your room with us today! Continue reading

Updated Cleaning Procedures for COVID-19

We here at the Ringling House Bed & Breakfast are licensed, inspected and insured and use the utmost of safety and precautions and adhere to all the required guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our dedication to cleanliness and  hospitality is our commitment to you. Our guests are like family.  So if you must travel, our inn may be the right spot for you.  Here are some of the changes we are making in order to keep our guests safe during this challenging time.

Fewer People in a Bed & Breakfast

First of all, a Bed & Breakfast is small. we only have 6 rooms, and could have a maximum of 12 people in the house at a time.   Much less than the standard hotel, and therefore, much less chance of catching the contagion.

Check in changes

We are asking guests to wear masks upon check in and to social distance around the common area’s of the house.   We are also asking guest to wait at the back door until we open it for them, to give us time to check in one guest, before bringing in another.

Food Changes

Our breakfast is typically served family style in our dining room at Henry Ringling’s dining room table.    Now, per the Wisconsin mandate #72, we now will be delivering breakfast to peoples rooms, serving on the front porch or dining room, with a staggered start time, and distancing everyone more than  6 feet apart.

For wine and cheese happy hour on the weekend, we will be  serving on the front porch, weather permitting, having separate servings of wine and cheese and pouring you a glass of wine  to bring to your own table outside, or in another room in the house.

Baraboo also has many restaurants that have curbside pick up now or dining inside/outside with social distancing in mind,  outside of the breakfast that is served here at the Bed & Breakfast.   You can pick up your dinner, and eat it in a mansion!  How’s that for the new normal?

Sanitation Additions

We are not only cleaning the rooms, but going through and sanitizing any surface that would frequently be touched like remotes, keys, faucets, light switches, chair arms, etc, in between each guest change.  We also have disinfecting wipes placed around the house for people to use before/after touching something.

We have invested in some UVC sanitation lights.   This is an extra step to room cleaning that we  have started implementing.   UVC sanitation light is used in hospitals to sterilize operating rooms.  It efficiently kills up to 99% of bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms in our bedrooms, bathrooms, and common areas, including COVID-19.

We want to be sure that our guests are not only comfortable with our amenities, but with our sanitation methods when they are ready to travel again.  This will be the “New Normal” for us until the virus threat has significantly tapered off.

What’s to do?

The good thing about Baraboo are so many outdoor areas and parks to explore.  It’s easy to practice “social distancing” while enjoying the great outdoors.   Indoors, we also have many games you can borrow and play inside your room or another area in our elegant home.  Our rooms are all equipped with internet-enabled smart TV’s, and our music rooms are equipped with several musical options.    So, come experience the fun part of travel!

Coupled with our  naturally limited occupancy levels, enhanced sanitation procedures, modified breakfast options, and multiple entertainment selections, we hope you will consider the Ringling House Bed & Breakfast as a safe and comfortable lodging option!

 

The New Normal in the COVID-19 Lodging

Over the last week at the Ringling House Bed & Breakfast, we have gone from creating bookings and turning people away because we do not have any rooms available, to an empty house.   From one person running the Bed & Breakfast with some staff, to having my recently laid off partner at home helping.   So by empty, we mean we don’t have any guests in our guest rooms.

Therefore for us, there are no worries that we will catch the virus from traveling guests, but there is a lot of worry, that at some point we will not be able to pay our bills.    We also understand the fear of our guests that are calling to cancel their stay, either the event that they were coming for has been cancelled, that they no longer want to travel via public transport, and are self-quarantining,  afraid to leave their house – much less travel anywhere.  Their workplace may have closed, or have been laid off and have no income.   When calling to cancel a reservation, many of our customers have taken a refund in the form of a gift certificate, which helps us immensely.  Thank you to those that have chosen that option!

Needless to say, this pandemic has created a lot of fear.   Here at the Ringling House Bed & Breakfast we have decided that we need to change the way we do some things, some by choice, others by mandate.   We hope to get people coming back to Baraboo after this “quarantine” ends, because, people are people, and they are still going to be scared.   I guess we will characterize these changes  as the “New Normal”.

Fewer People in a Bed & Breakfast

First of all, a Bed & Breakfast is small. we only have 6 rooms, and could have a maximum of 12 people in the house at a time.   Much less than the standard hotel, and therefore, much less chance of catching the contagion.

Check in changes

We are asking guests to wear masks upon check in and around the common area’s of the house.   We are also asking guest to wait at the back door until we open it for them, to give us time to check in one guest, before bringing in another.

Food Changes

Our breakfast is typically served family style in our dining room at Henry Ringling’s dining room table.    Now, per the Wisconsin mandate #72, we now will be delivering breakfast to peoples rooms, serving on the front porch or dining room, with a staggered start time, and distancing everyone more than  6 feet apart.

In lieu of  the wine and cheese happy hour on the weekend, we will be bringing people a “mini bottle” of wine or champagne and/or a snack to their room.

Baraboo also has many restaurants that have curbside pick up now or dining inside/outside with social distancing in mind,  outside of the breakfast that is served here at the Bed & Breakfast.   You can pick up your dinner, and eat it in a mansion!  How’s that for the new normal?

Sanitation Additions

We are not only cleaning the rooms, but going through and sanitizing any surface that would frequently be touched like remotes, keys, faucets, light switches, chair arms, etc, in between each guest change.  We also have disinfecting wipes placed around the house for people to use before/after touching something.

We want to be sure that our guests are not only comfortable with our amenities, but with our sanitation methods when they are ready to travel again.  This will be the “New Normal” for us until the virus threat has significantly tapered off.

What’s to do?

The good thing about Baraboo are so many outdoor areas and parks to explore.  It’s easy to practice “social distancing” while enjoying the great outdoors.   Indoors, we also have many games you can borrow and play inside your room or another area in our elegant home.  Our rooms are all equipped with internet-enabled smart TV’s, and our music rooms is equipped with several musical options.    So, come experience the fun part of travel!

Coupled with our  naturally limited occupancy levels, enhanced sanitation procedures, modified breakfast options, and multiple entertainment selections, we hope you will consider the Ringling House Bed & Breakfast as a safe and comfortable lodging option!

Sincerely,

Julie Hearley & Stuart Koehler

Innkeepers, Ringling House Bed & Breakfast.

Murder Mystery Dinners

Have you ever participated in a murder mystery dinner?   There are several different kinds.   One has actors that play the parts, and audience members can help solve the mystery.  Mostly just a watching a show kind of Murder Mystery!

The type of Murder Mystery Dinners that we hold at the Ringling House Bed & Breakfast, are the kind where YOU get to play the part, dress up, and attempt to solve the murder while having an elegant diner and mingling around the Ringling House Bed & Breakfast.   Of course, you could be the MURDERED, or the MURDERER.   You just won’t know until you get here.   And wouldn’t you like to mingle about in the mansion, and try to solve the crime?  Click the link to one of these events and get your ticket now!

We have two of these murder mystery dinners coming up:
Jazz Age Jeopardy:  Saturday March 21, 2020  5pm
Casino Dead Money:    Saturday, April 25, 2020  5pm

Approximate Schedule of evening:

5:00pm arrival, pictures & cocktail hour
5:30pm Round 1 of Game is started
6:15pm dinner is served Round 2 Starts
**** Murder Happens ****
7:30pm vote & guess on suspects
8:00pm Round 3, confessions
8:30pm Awards & Prizes

Cost: $45.00 includes 1 free drink, dinner and a whole lot of fun with murder!

The “Carnival of Horrors” Haunted House Fundraiser

Halloween spirit alive at Ringling House Bed &Breakfast’s “Carnival of Horrors” haunted house.

What better way to scare up money for a great cause than to host a haunted house?
Stuart Koehler and Julie Hearley and a committee of volunteers are, for the second consecutive fall, creating a haunted house in a carriage house behind Ringling House Bed & Breakfast. Their goal isn’t to conjure Ringling family ghosts, but to raise money for improvements to the historic property.
Last year a nonprofit organization, Friends of the Charles and Henry Ringling Estate, was formed to preserve the buildings and grounds once owned by the brothers of circus fame. The one-acre estate includes the main house, which the couple operates as a six-room bed-and-breakfast; the carriage house; a cottage; and a barn. The 1901 Colonial Revival home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“We think – we hope – the community wants this property to stay intact,” Stuart said.
Julie said the nonprofit will remain in place even if the property changes hands someday. “This is designed to protect these buildings as long as they’re around,” she said.
The couple plans to transform the carriage house in an event venue. They foresee hosting theatrical performances and other events attracting groups of 100 to 200 people. “There aren’t a lot of places in Baraboo for those kinds of events,” Stuart said.
Money generated through the Carnival of Horrors haunted house will support that project. Setup work began last month, with the team adding to the maze of horrors it set up last year. Julie said the team needs volunteers to help set up the haunted house and operate it. A crew of 15 is needed to sell tickets, provide security and act as ghouls within the indoor-outdoor haunted house.
Also needed this year are sponsors. The Friends of the Charles and Henry Ringling Estate group is offering sponsorships ranging in cost from $40 to $1,000 in exchange for tickets and prominently displayed gravestones bearing donors’ names. Donors will be invited to a VIP event at Ringling House, featuring personalities from the “Bordello of Horror” television show. Rachel Frank will offer demonstrations of horror-themed makeup and fashion. To volunteer or secure a sponsorship, send email to ringlingfriends@gmail.com.
The VIP event isn’t the only new feature this year. The haunted house is adding matinees for kids, who figure not to get as frightened in the daylight. Carnival of Horrors will be open Fridays and Saturdays starting October 11 from 7-10 p.m. During the final week of October, it will be open Thursday through Sunday, featuring $5 matinees for kids that Friday and Sunday from 2-4 p.m. (Otherwise, the haunted house isn’t recommended for youths under 10). Admission will cost $15 at the door, but tickets can be had in advance for $10 at https://ringlinghousebnb.com/event/, at the Al. Ringling Theatre and at Con Amici Wine Bar,  starting Friday, September 27th.
Last year the haunted house attracted 700 people. This year’s goal is 1,000. Halloween fans came from across the state last year. “That’s a lot of people who probably wouldn’t have come to town otherwise,” Stuart said.
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