Life O'Riley Farm & Guesthouses
Table Of Contents
Life O' Riley Farm is located in the Driftless Region of Southwest Wisconsin on 160 acres approximately 6 miles south of Boscobel.
A dairy farm into the 70's, it is now cropped for corn, oats and hay. We work seasonally, following the rythyms of nature, to produce much of our own food, including vegetables, fruits, honey, eggs, broiler chickens, pigs and beef. Beginning with maple syrup in early spring, we continue through to cidering and home butchering in the fall. Winter finds us making soap, rendering and making sausage, among other things.
We enjoy working and learning how to provide as many of our needs as possible in a sustainable fashion, which led us to add solar panels for energy and a summer kitchen for outdoor projects and gatherings.
Along the way we made improvements on an old schoolhouse and rebuilt a granary for guests. Visitors are welcome to wander around the farm, which includes an overlook with fire-pit and great views, a path to an old quarry for fossil hunting, or to pick produce in season for meals from our gardens (for a small fee.) Depending on when you come, we may be engaged in butchering, canning, harvesting, or most likely, weeding.
Since our arrival over 20 years ago the neighborhood has become part of a large and growing Amish community. Just 2 miles down the road is a wholesale produce auction barn. Sale days start in late March and peak in July and August (3 days/week) tapering off in October. There is an area for purchasing smaller quantities, but for those looking for large lots for preserving, this is a very good place to find locally grown, freshly picked, in-season vegetables.
Many guests also enjoy exploring the surrounding natural areas, parks and small towns. We can help you find antique/junk shops, galleries, award winning cheese, or direct you to several wineries nearby. Boscobel has canoe rentals for the Wisconsin and Kickapoo rivers and there are 2 caves with tours for hot summer days, as well as a community pool and movie theatre. Dinners can be as fancy as the Silent Woman in Fennimore, the Boscobel Hotel (birthplace of the Gideon Bible,) or as down home as our local cafes and a nearby brewpub.
Of course, there is also the option of doing your own cooking, grills are available, or just relaxing, doing not much of anything. We have have high speed internet available, but each of our buildings also contain an ecelectic collection of books, games and other amusements.
The schoolhouse is great for families, groups of friends or sportspeople. The granary, smaller and more private, is perfect for someone seeking a quiet retreat/getaway, for couples, or families with very young children.
Breakfast consists of items we leave in your kitchen, including: eggs, bread/s, granola, pancake mix, milk, cream, butter, jelly, coffee, tea. Guests prepare their own breakfasts at their leisure.
We have hosted small family reunions, book clubs, artists, writers, people looking to relocate to a rural setting, those interested in gardening and food production, as well as those coming to the area for work or pleasure. We are also open to long term rental of the granary. Please inquire if interested.
Whatever the reason, we are delighted to be able to share this beautiful corner of the state with our guests. Email us at email@example.com if you have more questions about a stay at the farm.
Jean and Mike
- House on the Rock (45 min.)
- Wyalusing State Park (40 min.)
- Effigy Mounds Park (45 min.)
- Villa Louis Historical Home
- Kickapoo and Eagle Caves
- Fennimore Doll & Toy Museum
- Class A trout streams (10 min.)
"This is a great place to relax and be at peace." J. Ryan
Travelers are always looking for memorable and relaxing experiences. Let’s discover more through the words of our innkeepers. Many thanks to Jean and Mike Murphy for sharing their own secrets with BBOnline.com! Why do most travelers stay at your inn?
Most of our guests are coming to get away from their daily lives and stay in a quiet, beautiful, rural setting. We also have many young families stay who want their children to experience a taste of life on a farm. Others come to find a space to work. Artists, photographers and writers have found this a good place to be inspired and nourished. Our sustainable lifestyle is of interest to many as well, some of whom are interested in learning homesteading skills.
What are you best known for? What makes your inn unique? What do you love most about your inn?
I think our commitment to sustainability, including our production of eggs, meat, fruit and vegetables, on-farm renewable solar energy, home baking, butchering, soap-making, honey, canning, maple syrup and cider processing are of interest and also maybe unique. The best part for us is sharing the joys and skills of a more sustainable way of life with like-minded guests.
If someone has never been to your city, what is the #1 reason to come visit?
The beauty of the Drift less Area, untouched by the last glacier.
What’s the best compliment you have ever received about the inn?
People often remark on our hospitality.
What’s the best kept secret about the area?
That even though we are only a few hours from rather large cities, once you are here you feel very far away.
If a traveler is staying at your inn for 4 nights, what should he/she do in the area?
Unwind first. Read, cook, sleep (we have a wide selection of books in our buildings.) Explore the small town life, and then follow your interests, be they fishing (some of the best fly-fishing in the mid-west), canoeing (Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers as well as the Kickapoo), hiking here on the farm or at one of three parks, 2 state and one national, at the confluence of the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers, birding, visiting prairie remnants, bicycling, horseback riding, a Russian Orthodox icon factory, junk and antique store shopping, local cafes, the local Amish produce auction and furniture shop nearby, excellent cheese stores, wineries and more.
Is there anything within walking distance of your inn?
We have an old quarry on the farm that contains fossils from when this area was a vast inland sea. In spring it is a frog incubator, a delight for kids. There is also an overlook/picnic area with a fire pit cool evenings and then, just walking the farm and road are great scenery.
What is your favorite restaurant/food in the area?
We fully support people who like to cook! Many guests are excited to cook from our gardens and the local produce auction and farmstands; our kitchens come fully stocked with cooking utensils and some basic supplies and this year we have added a summer kitchen with an outdoor cooking area. Otherwise, local cafes and restaurants, including the iconic Friday night fish fry, are representative of the rural scene and local color.
Any good area guides/websites that travelers could reference?
Search the Driftless Area of Wisconsin and also the Great River Road.
How many rooms does your inn have?
We have two buildings, a schoolhouse and granary on the farm for rentals. The schoolhouse can sleep 4 or more, it has an open loft with two beds and living area with two futon sofa/sleepers. The granary has one bedroom and a sofa sleeper.
Do you accept pets?
Because we live on a farm with our own pets, free ranging poultry, and hogs and steers in pastures, we cannot accommodate our guests’ pets. If people need to travel with their pets, there is a local veterinary clinic that has limited boarding facilities.
How to Find Us
To find us from Milwaukee or Madison:
- From Madison, take Hwy. 151/18 toward Dodgeville.
- Take the Hwy. 18 exit at Dodgeville.
- Follow Hwy. 18 west to Fennimore.
- At the stop sign, turn right onto Hwy 61 and continue north to the intersection of Hwy T.
- Turn right on T and travel approx. 3 miles to Riley Rd.
- Turn left onto Riley Rd. and continue to the first mailbox on your right, around 1/4 mile.
- Take Hwy 61 south from the Twin Cities to LaCrosse, stay on 14/61 until Readstown.
- Continue south on 61 to Boscobel.
- Turn left onto MS/Mary Street, go 6 blocks, turn right onto Chestnut.
- Keep left, go about 5 miles, when you pass a gravel pit on your left, our farm is the next drive on the left.
GPS and MapQuest have us located WRONG. For GPS use, please enter these coordinates:
N 43 04’ 32” W 090 38’ 43”