My tires crunched over the snow as I made my way up the narrow driveway. As I stepped out of the car, I was immediately struck by the quaintness of it all. The place looked like something out of a fairytale – rustic log cabins, classic red barns, and great looming pines surrounded me. Secluded and remote, the sounds of city life were not even a faint whisper. Instead, a few birds chirped cheerfully on a telephone wire and a horse nickered nearby. I was greeted by a lovely girl named Amanda who works at the farm along with her partner Ethan, and she showed me into the main house. I had arrived at Palmquist Farm.
I immediately felt welcome as I was greeted by owners Jim and Helen, and they invited me to sit with them as they finished up their breakfast. Jim, Helen, Amanda, Ethan, and I all sat around the kitchen table, and Jim began telling me about the history of the farm. It’d be impossible to not become absorbed by his stories. He spoke with such joy and enthusiasm about Palmquist, his Finnish accent making it that much more authentic. I couldn’t possibly explain the rich history as well as Jim did, so if you’d like to know more about it, click here.
The farm prides itself on its Finnish hospitality, which is what drew me to it in the first place. A few weeks before my visit, I had been researching Wisconsin-based resorts and stumbled upon Palmquist Farm. After sifting through their website, I noticed that a real Finnish sauna was on the property and as a Finn myself, I was delighted. There’s truly nothing in the area like this place which is what makes it a remarkable Wisconsin gem.
THE SLEIGH RIDE
Jim invited me to tag along as he prepared for a group to go on a sleigh ride. We headed into the Lodge where he put on an urn of hot apple cider for his guests. Pretty soon, the draft horses were all harnessed up and the group loaded onto the sleigh.
He also showed me
THINGS TO DO AT THE FARM
The farm sits on a whopping 800 acres, which means there’s always something to do year-round. In the winter, you can try your hand at cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. You can take a spin around the ice skating pond, or just relax in the sauna. When summer rolls around, you can go hiking and biking. They offer wagon rides and cookouts, or you can kick up your feet on the porch and enjoy the scenery.
Or perhaps you have an event coming up. What better place to host a gathering than at a peaceful, Northwoods farm? Palmquist Farm can accommodate lodging for around 40-50 guests and can provide meals for up to 100 people.
At one point, I wandered into the big red barn and found a few friends. The horses peered cautiously around the door, eventually getting comfortable enough to come right to the gate. Over in a corner, a pair of barn cats eyed me suspiciously as my camera snapped away and Buster, the black lab, bounded around my legs, trying his best to grab hold of my camera strap.
Finally, I made my way over to the much-anticipated sauna house. Saunas were a staple throughout my childhood. My grandma had one in her basement and when the whole family piled into her little house for whatever family gathering was happening, the sauna was always heated. For the rest of the night, we would all take turns, one-by-one heading into the cedar-lined sauna, throwing water over the rocks. I guarantee you’ll never feel cleaner than after a true Finnish sauna.
The sauna house at Palmquist Farm was like nothing I had ever seen before. There’s a front room as soon as you enter, with a wood stove, a couch, and a couple armchairs. Heading down a tiny hallway, you get to the actual sauna. There are different benches at different levels which I never knew was the traditional Finnish style. Here are some more photos of it on their website.
A ONE-OF-A-KIND EXPERIENCE
Jim and Helen generously let me stay for lunch where I was able to speak with a few of the guests and enjoy Helen’s homemade meal. She made a delicious pot of steaming chili (my mouth waters just thinking about it) and a whole spread of sandwich fixings.
It’s so hard to find this kind of hospitality anymore. A place where you feel right at home and the hosts feel like family. Jim, Helen, Amanda, and Ethan were all so incredibly kind and accommodating and I can’t thank them enough for letting me visit.
Google Maps to Find Palmquist Farm