Justin Trails: A Weekend Getaway in Wisconsin

Growing up and living in Minnesota most of life, can you believe that I never explored our neighboring state of Wisconsin? To be honest, when I was younger, I never had much interest. But once I got back to Minnesota after living out in California for five years, I found a new interest in exploring my home state and the surrounding area.

I’m so happy that I did because I’m finding Wisconsin to be a beautiful place to explore. Per my usual process, I started researching a few places that were recommended to check out.

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Can you guess which place kept popping up over and over again? Yes, that’s right: Justin Trails Bed and Breakfast Resort in Sparta, Wisconsin. But before we jumpy into Justin Trails, let’s introduce you to Sparta first.

Things To Do in Sparta, Wisconsin

The little town of Sparta is nestled in the Driftless Region of Wisconsin, about 30 minutes east of La Crosse. It’s known as the Cycling Capital of America, so as you can imagine, there are a lot of biking trails in the area. A popular one, the Elroy-Sparta Trail is a 32.5-mile route that takes you into five small towns and through three long stone tunnels. So if you’re looking for a day trip adventure, that’s a great way to see the area.

Ben Bikin is the monument and mascot to their cycling moniker – A 32-foot-tall sculpture of a cyclist atop an old Victorian high wheel bicycle. How fun is that?

If you’re interested in heading out on the biking trail, stop at Speed’s Bike Shop in Sparta to get your rental for the day (unless you decide to bring your own).

The other thing I loved about Sparta was the creek that runs right through the center of town. We saw people kayaking on it, which would be another great way to see the area.

Because of said creek, they also have a few covered bridges scattered throughout town, which I thought made for a lovely tough. You don’t see a lot of those bridges anymore.

But my favorite thing about Sparta? That would be Justin Trails Resort.

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Justin Trails Bed And Breakfast Resort

Justin Trails sits on 200 acres of secluded property just 5 miles outside the town of Sparta. The farmland has been owned by Don and Donna Justin since 1970. But after some gloomy news for farmers in the 1980’s, they looked for other ways to utilize their land, which is how the bed and breakfast got started.

As you turn into the resort, on a little dirt road, the first thing you’ll notice is the big red barn with Justin Trails on it.

Once you get past the barn, you’ll see all of the other lodging options. That’s what I loved about Justin Trails: You have different options based on the experience you’re looking for. You could stay in a farmhouse suite, a garden cottage, log cabins, a mini house, or a few rustic campsites.

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Book your Justin Trails room today.

You’ll get to say hello to Rusty and Dusty, the resident llamas. And there are so many other things you can do right on the property, such as:

  • Walk the trails: You’ll go through woodlands, hills, and meadows. You have 8-miles of private trails with various paths to choose from. Ask for a trail map from the lodge. There’s also a self-guided scavenger hunt if you want to try that.
  • Disc golf: Yes, that’s right, the property also has an 18-basket disc golf course that guests can utilize during their stay.
  • Cross-country ski: If you’re staying in the winter, you can also use the trail system for cross-country skiing.
  • Book a wedding: If you’re looking for a rustic barn wedding in Wisconsin, make sure to check out the upstairs of the Justin Trails barn. They even have an area downstairs with a fireplace for wedding guests to enjoy.

I stayed in the Little House On The Prairie. It’s rustic and yet it was cozy/comfortable and had everything that I needed.

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My favorite part was the bathtub up in the loft. I had never seen before. I loved taking a soak up there with a book and glass of wine before bed. The birds would even fly up to the small window that looked out into the pasture to say hello.

The cabin comes with a TV that connects to a DVD player (DVDs are in the lodge), a mini-fridge, a microwave, a fireplace, and a coffeemaker.

There are books and a few games on the shelf above the fireplace.

And, of course, a bathroom with a shower and toilet.

WiFi is pretty minimal in this cabin. But in the other lodging options (suites in the farmhouse) you get Satellite TV and the WiFi signal is just fine. So depending on what you’re looking for, you have options.

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If you’re looking for an updated and bigger log cabin, I’d recommend checking out the Paul Bunyan Log Cabin. The suites in the farmhouse are great, too. My mom stayed in the Queen Suite.

We loved to sit out on the rocking chairs from cabin’s deck, enjoy a glass of wine, and watch the sun go down. All while getting photobombed by the llamas! πŸ™‚

A complimentary breakfast is served in the lodge each morning, where you’ll get to meet the other quests (if you haven’t already).

Another great spot is the seating area in the front of the property that’s nestled under a 125-year old Maple tree. It’s a peaceful spot to read a book and take in a quiet moment with coffee in the morning.

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If you’re looking for a few lunch and/or dinner options, here are a few recommendations:

  • The Cotter Pin was recommended a few times as a place to check out. It has wine, craft beer, and a gift shop. If you’re going for dinner, get there a little early as the locals come in, too, so it gets pretty packed.
  • Cork + Barrel is a cute wine, bourbon, and craft beer joint right on the main street of Sparta. So you can walk around downtown a bit, too.
  • In need of some coffee? Head over to Franklin Coffee House to get your morning fix.
  • Head to La Crosse for more upscale options like the restaurant at The Charmant Hotel, Lovechild, and the Waterfront Restaurant.

And a few other things I’d highly recommend while you’re exploring Wisconsin’s Driftless Region:

  • Drive through Amish Country: It’s just south of Sparta, so as you’re driving down, make sure to take the back roads. It’s a really pretty drive and you’ll get to see a horse-drawn buggy or two.
  • Check to Amish Shops: Speaking of the Amish country, you’ll want to stop at The Village Shops At Down A Country Road. My goodness, is this an adorable little setup of goods that you can check out. They even have an ice cream shop.

And that brings me to the end of my Sparta and Justin Trails Bed and Breakfast weekend guide. Would I go back? Absolutely! And I think that’s what is always telling if you loved a place or not – You’d spend time going back. In fact, my parents are planning a booking a room after seeing my photos. So there’s that, too!

Let’s go places,

Sarah

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What’s your favorite city in Wisconsin? Share your recommendations with us in the comment section below.

I have collaborated with Justin Trails Resort for this post, but all opinions are mine.

All photos on this blog are mine. Feel free to share but please credit me with a link back to the blog. Much appreciated and thank you for your support!

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