A Cedarburg Celebration

 

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Hi Friends!

Treasured gifts don’t always come in packages tied with ribbons and bows. Many of my most treasured gifts come filled with memories and tied with heartstrings! Each year, when it’s time to plan a birthday celebration, my wish is always the same… I just love to make special birthday memories by visiting an old-fashioned place filled with the magic of Christmas!

The twinkle of tiny, white lights, the scent of evergreen boughs, the sounds of Christmas music, and the jingle of bells always bring these cherished memories to life. Very often, softly falling snowflakes add to the magic.  Most years, my memories come from charming, small towns nearby, but milestone birthdays hold some special Christmas-y memories made in wonderful, far off places.

We just returned from one of our sweetest birthday celebrations, filled with the most wonderful memories! Historic Cedarburg, Wisconsin has always been one of my favorite Midwest destinations. For decades, dear friends and I have been coming to visit this charming, small town in the heartland of America. What a special gift it was this year to travel there with my husband, and to experience this special place, for the first time, through his eyes! It was such fun to share this piece of my heart with him! 

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Walking along Washington Avenue, I am always filled with admiration for the historic, wooden homes and stone buildings that hold so much history here in Cedarburg.

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Settled by Irish and German immigrants in 1845, along the banks of Cedar Creek, this small town has a very proud history. Over the years, the village grew as five mills were built along the creek. The need for workers attracted people from Milwaukee, just 20 miles south, and far beyond.

Cedar Creek Settlement

In 1864, the Hilgen & Wittenberg Woolen Mill played an important part in our nation’s history, by producing wool blankets for the Union soldiers during the Civil War. Today, Cedar Creek Settlement is a lively, bustling home to shops, restaurants, studios, and a celebrated winery set in the three-story, stone structure which originally housed the woolen mill and blacksmith shop.

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Today many of the historic buildings are home to quaint shops, art galleries, museums, churches, cafes, and inns that bring visitors from around the world to this quiet Wisconsin hamlet. One of my special joys has always been walking through these beautiful, old buildings.

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The people of Cedarburg are always so welcoming and friendly, engaging visitors in conversations, inquiring where visitors are from, and offering helpful suggestions about places to see.

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Each time I wander along Washington Avenue, architectural elements of the historic buildings catch my eye. 

I often pause to soak in all of the interesting details.

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Throughout the year, many festivals bring crowds of visitors to Cedarburg, Wisconsin.

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December is the perfect time to visit Cedarburg. All of the historic buildings are decked with tiny, white Christmas lights and evergreen garlands. As darkness falls during the popular ‘Festive Fridays,’ carolers dressed in Victorian clothing sing as they walk along the sidewalks. Horse drawn carriages carry visitors through town, bundled under blankets to chase away the cold.

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Many of the beautiful, old churches offer a peaceful place to pause and reflect.

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On this special visit, we enjoyed a stay in one of Cedarburg’s inns.

The romantic, historic Stagecoach Inn Bed & Breakfast was a delightful choice!

{Photo credit ~ The Stagecoach Inn B&B}

Built in 1853, this hotel was a stop for stagecoaches en route from Milwaukee to Green Bay. It was a full day’s travel for the stagecoach to make the 20-mile journey from Milwaukee to Cedarburg. In the early days, the hotel was used by male guests who slept in the unfurnished guest rooms. They would rent a sleeping bag for one penny per night (or 3 cents per week) and sleep on the floor of the hotel. The narrow, wooden staircase could not accommodate the large travel trunks. So, the trunks were hoisted up through the second story windows into the guest rooms.  The stagecoach drivers roomed in the basement in very primitive conditions. Two bunk-style spaces were constructed from rubble stone. Straw was used for the bedding and a pot-bellied stove warmed the dirt-floor basement, where the stagecoach drivers slept.  The drivers would stable their horse at a barn next door and enter the hotel through the outside basement door. Any couples traveling together on the stagecoach were invited to stay as guests in the comfortable homes in town.

{Photo credit ~ The Stagecoach Inn B&B}

The Greek Revival style stone building underwent more additions in the 1880s. It has served as a hotel or boarding house during its entire history. Slated for the wrecking ball in the 1980s, this historic building was saved and lovingly restored by owners, Brook and Liz Brown. 

{Photo credit ~ The Stagecoach Inn B&B}

They preserved the original materials throughout the building, added bathrooms, air conditioning, and other modern conveniences. The Browns lived and raised their family in the inn for many years. This year, they are celebrating 32 years as innkeepers at The Stagecoach Inn B &B.

{Photo credit ~ The Stagecoach Inn B&B}

Our stay at The Stagecoach Inn was wonderful. Our quiet, second story room overlooked Washington Avenue, decked with tiny, white Christmas lights. A lovely bottle of wine and chocolates, a thoughtful birthday gift from the innkeepers, greeted us as we entered our guest room. Antique furniture, including a pine wardrobe for our clothes, added so much charm. We closed the wooden shutters above the wide windowsills to enjoy a warm, cozy stay at the inn. I was in my ‘happy place’ surrounded by antique charm in this historic, little inn. 

I drifted off to sleep in the soft, comfortable bed, feeling blessed to be staying in one of the nine guest rooms in this wonderful, little place.  Old buildings have always held a very special place in my heart. During the night, thoughts about the history of the inn gently awakened me. As I lay awake, an unexplained feeling of excitement added to this special birthday adventure. I thought about how fortunate we were to be guests here, becoming part of the history of the inn. I wondered about the numerous people who had slept within these thick, stone walls over the past 162 years. I wondered if Abraham Lincoln ever visited the inn…

{Photo credit ~ The Stagecoach Inn B&B}

In the morning, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast in the first floor pub. Since we were the first guests to awaken, we had the pleasure of talking with innkeeper Brook Brown over breakfast. Oh, the fascinating stories he had to share!! He told us about their adventures in restoring the inn. A retired history teacher, he explained how the stagecoach passengers traveled through rural Wisconsin in the mid 1800s. We all shared stories of our travel adventures and favorite places in the world. Brook helped us with our plans for the day ahead, as we ventured off to explore some new destinations in Cedarburg.

Then it happened… and it still sends a chill of excitement through me even now!

Brook told us about some of the previous guests they had welcomed over the years ~ famous musicians, well-known actors and actresses, state Supreme Court justices, many visitors from Europe, and someone who has always inspired me…

Tasha Tudor's garden has been an inspiration for my perennial and herb gardens.

During her lifetime, Tasha Tudor illustrated nearly one hundred children’s books. She is near and dear to the hearts of many, and has always been one of my cottage garden inspirations!

Tasha Tudor!!!!

Yes, several years ago, Tasha Tudor, stayed at The Stagecoach Inn…

in our very same room! 

Tears of joy flowed the moment Brook told us about Tasha’s visit!

Perhaps the unexplained feelings of excitement and joy

that awoke me in the middle of the night

were Tasha’s inspiration for this wonderful new decade in my life!

I hope so!!

I can feel her inspiration, from the bottom of my heart!

Our stay at The Stagecoach Inn B&B was definitely one of the highlights of our Cedarburg adventure! Our story doesn’t end yet,  though. A warmer, sunny day on Friday led us to some other new discoveries. I can’t wait to share some of the hidden gems we found as we explored the quiet, little town of Cedarburg, Wisconsin! ☺ Next time…

Take joy!

♡Dawn

P.S.   What special Christmas-y places have you enjoyed visiting? I hope you will share them with us. (I’m making a list for future birthday memories ~ tied with heartstrings!)

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39 thoughts on “A Cedarburg Celebration

  1. Oh, thank you, Deb! We have been home for a few hours now… and the blessings of our Cedarburg celebration are still tugging on my heartstrings. We will treasure the memories for the rest of our lives! I think you would enjoy walking along Washington Avenue soaking in all of the history and charm, too, Deb! So happy you stopped to visit today. Sending big hugs Across The Pond! ♡

  2. What a delightful holiday gift you’ve given us all! I, too, adored Tasha. Thank you for reminding me of her. You follow in her footsteps!

  3. Heartfelt hugs, dear Anne! I couldn’t wait to share the story with you! Thank you for the wonderful ‘Happy Mail,’ my friend! I have enjoyed annual visits to Cedarburg for thirty years with dear friends. This special visit was truly unforgettable! We both enjoyed every moment. Sending warm thoughts from our hearts to yours, Anne! ♡

  4. Happy Birthday Dawn!! December birthdays are the BEST! 🙂
    Cedarburg is definitely a place I would love to visit. I still believe you never have to leave the USA to vacation. So many lovely places you could never visit them all in a lifetime! I shall put this one on my list!
    Hudson Ohio is another charming little town.
    Warm hugs from Ohio. I have my mother with me!
    Chris from West Texas

  5. Oh, thank you, dear Chris! Sending Happy Birthday wishes across the miles to Ohio, too! 🙂 I think you would really enjoy Cedarburg, Chris. It’s tucked into the countryside, just 20 miles north of Milwaukee. Thank you for telling me about Hudson, Ohio. ❤ I will add it to my wish list!! I have been thinking about you and your mom and the special Christmas village. I'm sure that you are making wonderful family memories to cherish for a lifetime! Safe travels, Chris! ♡

  6. What a special birthday celebration for you, Dawn!! I cannot believe that our Tasha stayed in your very room!!! And so close to us here in the Midwest! I wonder what year and for what reason she was here? I love Cedarburg, too. Those beautiful buildings look so lovely with those old fashioned evergreens and lights adorning the doorways! Will look for Part 2 to hear of your other adventures there! xo

  7. Many thanks, Marcia! Sending Happiest Birthday greetings across the miles to you! 🙂 It was such a wonderful birthday celebration ~ one that I will treasure forever! So happy that you stopped to visit today, Marcia! ♡

  8. Oh, thank you, Karen! When the innkeeper shared the exciting news that Tasha Tudor had stayed in our room years earlier, my first thought was… “I can’t wait to tell Karen!” In fact, I even shared the story of your BIG birthday adventure to Tasha’s home! I know that Tasha traveled often to lecture. So, perhaps, she was giving a lecture at an art museum or university in nearby Milwaukee, and chose this sweet, little town to feel ‘at home.’ It was a truly perfect birthday celebration!! We will always remember our Cedarburg celebration! More Cedarburg news to come… 🙂 Sending hugs, dear Karen! ♡

  9. Barb!! What a wonderful surprise to hear from you!! You must have wonderful memories of Cedarburg throughout the entire year. How lucky you were to live nearby! 🙂 I’m so delighted that you stopped to visit and say ‘Hi!’ today. Happy Hanukkah to you and your family, Barb! ♡

  10. Oh, still my heart, which is going pitter-patter at the revelation that you and Tasha shared the same room. The things that bring such joy to our hearts. What a wonderful trip, Dawn. I can’t wait to hear more. It’s been years since we’ve been in Cedarburg. I must insist on making it a night’s stopover one of these times we visit up north.
    Happy Birthday. My birthday was yesterday. Do we share the same birthday month, or are you November?
    I have so many wonderful Christmastide places I’ve visited. St. Charles and Geneva are wonderful and not too far, but, for this year and, actually today, as a birthday treat, we are going to the Tivoli in Downers Grove to see my most favorite movie of all, It’s a Wonderful Life. 🙂

  11. ♬♫♪ Happiest Birthday, dear kindred!!♪♫♬ Yay, we are both December girls!! Enjoy your birthday celebration, Penny! One year, we celebrated in Woodstock, while it was all decked out for Christmas. The movie theater there was showing ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ (my favorite Christmas movie) on my birthday! So many wonderful, small moments in life… if we just take the time to honor them! 🙂 We have celebrated several birthday memories in St. Charles and Geneva. It’s often a snowy day, and those wonderful Christmas-y towns are not too far to drive in the snow.

    Fingers crossed that you will be able to visit Cedarburg and stay overnight at The Stagecoach Inn B&B one day. I will be able to tell you Tasha’s room number! We found some other hidden gems in Cedarburg, too. This was the first time I have ever stayed overnight. It’s so wonderful to have more time to explore there! Watch for the next post…

    Enjoy your birthday celebration, Penny!! Sending birthday hugs, my friend! ♡

  12. Oh my goodness, Dawn, I am thrilled to hear you had such a wonderful birthday celebration! You described it all so beautifully! The Stagecoach Inn sounds divine and so romantic for you and your sweetie. The icing on the cake was the fact that Tasha Tudor stayed in your room!!!!! I just love her and I so want to visit her home in Vermont one day. She has always been inspiring to me. I had not heard of Cedarburg but your photos transported me to such a charming town. Some of my favorite people were born in December and it’s nice to know you are in that group! Happy Belated Birthday, dear one. ♥

  13. Heartfelt thanks, Martha Ellen! Your family and mine both share lots of special December birthdays! It was so amazing that the topic even came up, as we chatted amicably with the innkeeper. We lingered over our breakfast as he shared the most interesting stories. After mentioning so many famous guests at the inn, he asked if we had ever heard of Tasha Tudor. There was a little tear in my eye and it took my breath away. When he told us that she had stayed in our room… more happy tears!! It’s just so amazing, and we would never have known if we hadn’t taken the time for in depth conversation that morning! Some things are just meant to be! You have so many of America’s oldest buildings in your part of America! My birthday wish list definitely includes making Christmas memories at Colonial Williamsburg one day!! Have you ever visited there during the Christmas season? So happy that you stopped to visit today, Martha Ellen! Sending sunny hugs from the Midwest! ♡

  14. Tears came to my eyes as I was reading your sweet connection in the Inn to Tasha Tudor! I’m so happy you spent time with the owner to learn about a connection to a favorite of yours and mine! Oh yes, it was meant to be! I love the happy celebration you enjoyed for your birthday! We go to Colonial Williamsburg as often as we can! You would adore it there and especially at Christmas time! All of the homes are decorated with fresh fruit wreaths and all natural materials. They have Grand Illumination in December where the homes are all aglow with single candles in the windows to introduce the beginning of the Christmas season. In fact my header is featuring Williamsburg photos from a few years ago. We have many places in VA that are lovely around your birthday! You should plan a trip here sometime! ♥

  15. I would love, love, love to visit Colonial Williamsburg during the Christmas season!! Wouldn’t it be fun to go together some time?? I would love both the history… and the decorating ideas! 🙂 You live in such a special part of our country, Martha Ellen! There is so much to learn. What fun it would be to share an adventure! ♡

  16. Happy Birthday, Dawn! It sounds like you had a lovely time—and Cedarburg looks like such a charming town. I’ll add it to my list of places I’d love to visit 🙂 Good thing I’ve been writing them down, because I add to the list so often that I’d have forgotten them all by now. Have a great week! ❤ The weather is uncharacteristically warm here, but luckily all of the decorations and holiday markets and festive celebrations still make it feel like Christmastime. The holiday season is so wonderful, and I hope you enjoy it to the fullest.

  17. So sweet, Chris! ❤ Thank you! It's my very favorite time of year. So twinkly and magical! We had a big snow in November (11.2 inches) to turn our neighborhoods into an early Winter Wonderland. Now we are enjoying milder weather, too. I’m so glad that you are making a list (or a Pinterest board) of nice places to visit! Adventure awaits! Sending holiday hugs all the way to New York, Chris! ♡

  18. Dawn,
    What a wonderful and special way to celebrate a birthday. Cedarburg looks as though it not only provides charm, but history as well. Wow, that would be something. To stay in the same room as Tasha Tudor. I loved her work and the inspiration she instilled.
    Happy Birthday.
    xo,
    Karen

  19. Oh, thank you, Karen! Visiting Christmas-y towns has been my birthday tradition for many, many years. What an amazing, unexpected surprise to discover this special Tasha Tudor connection at the inn! So glad that you stopped to visit today, Karen. Sending warm hugs across the miles! ♡

  20. Heartfelt thanks, Brenda! Cedarburg is such a fun, small town to visit. The people are always so welcoming and happy to share their history. I’m looking forward to reading about your travels out west! Thank you for stopping to visit today, Brenda. Wishing you nice December days! ♡

  21. So happy that you stopped to visit today, Sabiscuit! As you can tell, I really love the doors and front porches in the little town of Cedarburg! Thank you for your kind words. I enjoyed my visit to your catalog and found so many interesting things to read! Have a happy weekend! ♡

  22. What a charming little town and such a lovely place to celebrate your birthday with your husband. May you have many more memorable days ahead of you.

  23. Hi Ericka! It was a very special celebration. My husband really enjoyed his first visit to Cedarburg, too!:) So happy you stopped to visit today. ♡

  24. Oh, thank you, Karen! It’s such a charming, friendly little town. Christmas is the perfect time to visit Cedarburg! Heartfelt thanks for your sweet wishes, Karen! Big hugs! ♡

  25. I agree with you about Christmas being a wonderful time to visit. I know I enjoyed just reading about Cedarburg as I’ve never been in that part of the country.

  26. Karen, as you traveled the back roads of New England, which places do you think are ‘must see’ towns at Christmastime? Which places were your very favorites? I’m making a list for future birthday celebrations! ♡

  27. Portsmouth, New Hampshire is really nice. The historic section known as Strawberry Banke has a Candlelight Stroll three weekends in December. Historic houses from four centuries are with decorated and candles light the walkways. There is live music, horse drawn carriage rides and even an outdoor iceskating rink. The town also has wonderful restaurants…I think you would enjoy the town.

  28. Oh, thank you, Karen! Many years ago, I visited Portsmouth and Strawberry Banke with friends, who live in Durham, NH. It was wonderful in the summer. I can only imagine how lovely it would be at Christmastime!! Thanks so much! ♡

  29. Thank you so much!! I knew you would enjoy Cedarburg! Next time, I will introduce you to some surprising hidden gems in Cedarburg. Big hugs! ♡

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