McCormick House, 10634 Kansas Av., Hayward, Wis., 1-715-934-3339, www.mccormickhouseinn.com.
Co-owners Dean Cooper and Jeff Miller wanted to break the mold with their 1887 lumber baron mansion. Rather than make it a museum piece, the couple furnished the home as they envisioned the modern descendants of the family would want. The former London residents brought in spare, sophisticated European and Asian antiques along with broadband Internet access, iPod docking stations, flat-panel TVs, Frette linens and Penhaligon's toiletries from their hometown. Six rooms.
Rates: $135 to $195 per night. Off-season rates during the week start at $115.
Nobody's perfect: The house and its formal English garden reign supreme albeit in a commercial, not-so-regal neighborhood.
St. Croix River Inn, 305 River St., Osceola, Wis., 1-800-645-8820, www.stcroixriverinn.com.
A stone house overlooking the St. Croix River with rooms that are spacious and generally unfussy. The decor is traditional yet comfortable. Each room has a fireplace, spectacular views and large hydro-massage whirlpools. Breakfast is served in guests' rooms, although a complimentary wine and cheese reception is held Friday and Saturday evenings for all. Seven rooms.
Rates: $135 to $250 per night. Hibernation special: 50 percent off the second night if Sun.-Thur., or 25 percent off if it includes a Sat.
Nobody's perfect: Common areas with busy wallpaper and dated artificial flowers. A musty smell in the lower level.
Woodland Trails, 40361 Grace Lake Rd., Hinckley, Minn., 1-320-655-3901, www.woodlandtrails.net.
Built in 2003, this large country cottage plopped in the woods near Hinckley is what owners John and Sandra O'Reilly call modern rustic. "We're not great friends with Victorian innkeepers," John said. "We can't talk about antiques and restoration. We built a new place because we don't want the maintenance." Each of the five rooms is very large with an electric fireplace, sitting area, whirlpool tub, balcony and gorgeous views of the pond or forest/field. But the main attraction is the setting -- 4 miles of trails out the front door on 500 acres. Guest Kim Swanson of Rochester said, "We ate meals in the gazebo, took a golf cart on the trails, and then I went trap shooting for the first time."
Rates: $165 to $235 per night.
Nobody's perfect: Decor may be too countrified for some. The four rooms upstairs are in close proximity to each other, creating a feeling of less privacy, although some rooms have two doors for extra privacy.