The Charmant Hotel's Vintage Lure
FALL IS THE PERFECT TIME for scenic rambles along the Mississippi River to take in the views—and a little luxury. Just two blocks from the water’s edge, in downtown La Crosse, the luxurious Charmant Hotel, trimmed with exposed brick and elegant European décor, stands as one of the few boutique hotels in Western Wisconsin’s Mississippi River Valley.
The hotel’s opulent foyer, café and restaurant are a tasteful throwback to the building’s history, and a recent architectural redesign maximizes the preserved original structure of this 1898 candy factory. Additional nods to its unique past are tastefully incorporated throughout—from a transparent ‘sweets bar’ embedded into the check-in counter, with a view of the gourmet chocolate samples for each guest, to the artistic re-creation of the factory’s old pulley system in the restaurant.
The main restaurant’s cuisine customizes traditional French dishes for Wisconsin palates, such as sautéed Swiss chard served with spaetzle simmered in crème fraiche. Entrées rotate with the seasonal availability of ingredients on Executive Chef Kevin Micheli’s “food forward” menu. There’s also a rooftop terrace, an ideal perch to savor wood-fired pizza and craft cocktails under the stars. Good reasons to extend a stay here by an evening—or two. thecharmanthotel.com.
Take a lovely drive through the Driftless Area to Kickapoo Coffee, in Viroqua, for a short tour of the award-winning facility to stock up on fave organic varietals. kickapoocoffee.com.
Step back in time to Pearl Street West, La Crosse’s old-school soda fountain and confectionary shop. pearlstreetwest.com. Or take in the gorgeous valley view from the huge veranda at Nordic Creamery over an ice cream cone. nordiccreamery.com.