Since moving to Milwaukee, I’ve grown accustomed to the ambient sounds of the city. There’s a buzz that follows wherever you go: roars of traffic, dings of machinery, the general sounds of busy people tending to their lives.
Last weekend, Chad and I went to Sheboygan, Wisconsin—about 45-minutes away from home—and the noise seemed to stop.
Lake Orchard Farm Retreat, our home for the night, replaced the rush of city life with a peaceful calm. It was a welcome and unexpected change, and we left feeling happy, centered, and recalibrated.
Lake Orchard Farm Retreat
Located about 20 minutes north from Sheboygan (nicknamed the Malibu of the Midwest, truly!), Lake Orchard Farm Retreat is a homestead situated right on the banks of Lake Michigan.
It’s a picturesque parcel of land with all the fixins’ for a country getaway: there’s a red barn, acres of green grass, a small apple orchard, an aquaponics greenhouse, a guesthouse, a store, a gaggle of chickens, a firepit, and even a private golf course for guest use. There’s land across the highway, too, with more trails available to explore.
In addition to a bed and breakfast, Lake Orchard Farm is also available to use as a wedding venue. And it’s obvious why: in addition to plenty of practical space and facilities for wedding parties to use and a barn for gathering, there’s also an altar overlooking the impeccable views of Lake Michigan in all her glory. It’s stunning.
After spending some time in Sheboygan—namely walking the gorgeous pier to the Sheboygan Breakwater Lighthouse and grabbing lunch at Pacifico Mexican Bar and Grill—Chad and I made our way to Lake Orchard Retreat, admiring the country homesteads along the way.
Upon arrival, the owner and host Mary gave us a great tour of the space, sharing an abridged version of the farm’s history. Lake Orchard Farm is family-owned, in the sixth generation of the Wunsch family; it was previously a dairy farm before Mary and her husband Nate took over in 2009, rebranding and switching gears to welcome guests. There are still traces of its agricultural past, with micro-greens grown on-site and 25 chickens (though at one time there were 10,000!).
We stayed in the “Helene” room, named for the first-generation owner Helene Wunsch. She and her husband, Theodore, bought the land in 1848 after immigrating from Germany.
Our room, beyond being a wonderful tribute to the family’s original matriarch, was also incredibly cozy and nice. We opted to spend as much time in here as possible, admiring the coastal views from our porch doors, with a clear shot to the lake. We also took advantage of the giant soaking jacuzzi, which was fantastic! It went well with some booze from a local convenience store and HGTV on the TV screen. It was an absolute blast.
When we weren’t relaxing in our suite, Chad and I were either playing pool (rather badly) at the billiards table in the shared common space, or walking around the grounds. There’s a seemingly endless collection of games, books, movies, and historic artifacts (including photo albums!) to peruse.
In the morning, breakfast was delivered to our room by chef and co-owner Nate. It was a delicious full spread and everything was devoured, but a special highlight was the fresh apple cider, made from grounds’ orchard. It was divine, and a very special touch.
While I love living in a city, Chad and I found ourselves feeling recharged at a return to our rural roots. Swap out the mountains for a lake, and we’re suddenly back to our most comfortable selves.
There’s something to be said about the quiet of nature—the gentle breeze, chirping of birds and bugs, rustle of grass—and the restoration of a full night’s sleep in true darkness. It’s romantic, it’s rejuvenating, it’s a blissful retreat.
It was a return to home, in a way. In the best way.
Lake Orchard Retreat was a beautiful destination and a getaway worth seeking out. I know we will again.