"What do you want for your birthday?" I asked Papa over and over in the months leading up to his turn-of-the-decade celebration.
Finally I got an answer - "I want to sit somewhere quiet and read a book."
Arrangements were made for our daughter and a friend to come to the farm for a visit and they graciously agreed to do morning farm chores so that we could stay each night at a local B&B.
I didn't even have to think twice about where I wanted to stay.
It was a warm summer day the day I walked into the laundromat in a small town down the road (our town is so small it does not even have a laundromat!).
To my great surprise the door was opened even before I arrived with my arms full of laundry. A pleasant grandmotherly woman greeted me warmly and ushered me inside.
After loading my machines, I sat down near her. She seemed eager to talk.
For the next 45 minutes she told me about her life growing up on a farm, about all the chickens she raised and the eggs she sold, about her wonderful daughter who runs the B&B just out of town, Amil's Inn B&B.
I knew of the inn, I had driven past it on countless occasions on my trips back and forth to the Big Farm during the summer of 2011.
I had admired it's many, large gardens and ached to sit on the front porch with the quilts hanging over the rails.
She told me I would soon meet her daughter who was coming to pick her and their laundry up, and not too long after I was introduced to the innkeeper, Anita.
It was like meeting an old friend I had known forever.
Anita immediately invited me over to take a tour of the inn, and I jumped at the chance.
The inn was delightful, the rooms decorated in a country-style I wished I had the talents to emulate.
We parted as new friends and promised to keep in touch.
Since that time we have had tea parties at my farm under the pear tree, laughing as the young chickens raced back and forth from the rose bush to us to beg for treats.
I have toured their gorgeous gardens, eaten their scrumptious veggies and sat on their front porch with the quilts.
We have celebrated my birthday and New Year's Eve together. I have put my folks up for a stay here.
And now we would celebrate Papa's birthday.
We were put in the room, In The Beginning. a lovely room with windows facing south and west, with lots of natural light, my favorite!
Despite our familiarity with the innkeepers, we were still given the grand welcome tour and were settled in in no time.
It was truly one of the most relaxed we have felt in a very long time, as keeping up with the pace of things on a farm is typically anything but relaxing.
For two nights we slept like babies on Comphy Sheets, the most luxurious sheets I have ever had the pleasure of sleeping on, and dined like kings at breakfast (all homemade, often with local ingredients!).
After a leisurely breakfast, we would meander home (only 10 minutes away) and find all the morning chores done, with plenty of time to hang out with our daughter and friend.
On one of the days we picked up the kids and went over to O'Gara's Christmas Tree Farm and picked out our Christmas tree, then spent the afternoon and evening trimming it.
The entire weekend was just lovely, all of it.
So I will say, if you ever find yourself needing lodging between La Crosse and Madison and are looking for a restful night's stay, wonderful food, and great company, I recommend you stop for a night (or three) at Amil's Inn B&B.
You'll be happy you did. Tell Anita that Gypsy Farmgirl sent you!