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Wisconsin Northwoods Travel Guide - Mercer Edition

Hayden and I spent five nights at a cozy cabin to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary! There is something so romantic about a cabin stay. I love to escape to the Wisconsin Northwoods. No matter the season, there is something so magical about where the lakes meet the pines. Picture snowy lake views, walking the dogs along the lake, cuddling by the fireplace, and making cozy meals in a beautiful kitchen…that’s how we celebrated! It was amazing, and I could not think of a better place to simply slow down and enjoy each other's company. Here is our Wisconsin Northwoods travel guide based on our amazing stay in Mercer, Wisconsin! 

The content of this blog is based on our hosted stay in February 2024. 

Mercer is a picture perfect “Up North” town. It has a population of about 1,700 and approximately 105 lakes. They call themselves the Loon Capital of the World and even greet you with a 16 foot tall loon statue as you drive in. There are quite a few bars and restaurants, lots of UTV/snowmobile trails, and the nicest people! 

The Cottage - Birchwood Point

We stayed at a new rental from Mercer Cabin Collective. Tucked into a private spot on Wilson Lake lies Birchwood Point, an impressive, dog-friendly, lakefront cottage. With amazing lake views from all sides, the layout of this property makes you feel cozily tucked away. You enter through the screened porch that has a comfortable lounge area and picnic table. (In the warmer months, I would love to dine out here!) Once inside, you’ll find two bedrooms, a welcoming living room with a fireplace, the kitchen of my dreams, a full bath, laundry room, and charming details that will impress every guest. They have truly thought of everything in this cabin–The kitchen is fully stocked and there are lots of board games, cozy blankets, and beautiful views from the living spaces. 

Outside, a walk down to the lake brings you to the private dock (where you can keep your boat during your stay in the summer), a really nice fire pit to sit around to make s’mores and pudgy pies, plenty of room for the pups to play, and a private parking area. 

We loved this cottage and found it to be the nicest, most luxurious short term rental we’ve ever stayed in. We loved lounging in the living room with the fireplace warming us. We had a fire every single day we were there and made so many s’mores! What could be cozier than indoor s’mores in the middle of winter in Wisconsin?! I love to cook and came prepared to cook us a few nice meals during our five night stay. The kitchen was stunning. It really was the kitchen of my dreams, and as I cooked at the massive island, I got to enjoy the beautiful lake views. The kitchen was well stocked and had really nice supplies for us to use. I highly recommend a stay at Birchwood Point to anyone who wants to escape to the Northwoods! 

Where to eat and drink

We took our two dogs with us on this trip, and when we travel with them, we choose not to leave them alone in rentals (for their comfort and our peace of mind). Even though we had two pups with us, there was still plenty to do–even in the winter! 

Just 15 minutes from the cabin, you can find Home Slice Pizza. We called in our order of cheesy garlic bread, a meat lover's pizza, and chocolate chip cookies as we left the cabin, and it was ready for pick up by the time we arrived. Home Slice is also a taproom and has more than just pizza–next time we would love to try their hot subs! We got our order and continued 10 minutes down the road to Some Nerve Brewing Company in Manitowish Waters. This dog-friendly taproom serves up lots of tasty beers! I loved their citrus sour and that they even had a little couch for the pups to lay on. Hayden and I had so much fun as we ate our yummy thin crust pizza, sipped our beers, and played seven games of Sequence.

In downtown Mercer, we found another dog-friendly place to hangout, The Pines Restaurant. They have a large yard-like patio that they utilize year round. There was a fire going outside with lots of seating, and they even sold s’more kits! There’s a stage that I’m sure hosts plenty of live music in the summer (and apparently occasionally in the winter too!). They also have a large tiki bar that they turned into a tiki ice bar by placing a large heated tent over the bar. We were stoked to learn that the tiki ice bar is dog-friendly, so we sat under a heater with the pups and enjoyed a boozy hot cocoa. This was such a fun way to be cozy outside in the winter! I can’t wait to see the tiki bar alive in the summer! 

We also enjoyed a couple of take out meals during our trip. We picked up a bucket of fried chicken from Around The Corner Pub that was absolutely delicious! It was so crispy and a complete bargain for the portion. We also ordered from Muskies one afternoon. Muskies has all sorts of bar food on their menu, but we ordered some of their foot long hot dogs. I highly recommend the Wisconsin Dog, but if you’re feeling brave, you could stop by for the Muskies Challenge! If you can eat their four different foot long hot dogs, fries, and a pickle in 30 minutes your meal is free, you get a t-shirt, and your picture goes on the wall! Now, before you think you’re up for this challenge, please know that I could only finish half of my one hotdog…but I wish you the best of luck if you give it a go! 

If you are looking for a delicious breakfast to enjoy at the cottage, I highly recommend stopping by the local grocery store, Snow’s Family Market, for pastries. Their bakery has all sorts of fresh treats, and we were very impressed by the almond bear claw and the massive cinnamon roll! The market will also have everything else you need–we were able to get our firewood, fire starters, and the few groceries we forgot. 

What to do

We were definitely enjoying our cozy time sipping cocoa and wine, playing games, watching movies, and running around with the pups at the cabin, but we also found some time to go out to explore! While you’re in Downtown Mercer, stop by Wampum! This shop is full of souvenirs; I picked up a Mercer loon patch for my denim jacket and a little something for the pups and was really tempted by some cozy flannel pajamas. 

Mercer is in such a great location for day trips! We chose to drive 30 minutes north to the Upper Peninsula to explore a little bit of Ironwood, MI. If you’re looking for a stunning hike, you can jump on the North Country Trail to see some waterfalls and the shores of Lake Superior. We have only done this in the summer, but it’s beautiful. While in town, you should definitely shop at the Stormy Kromer factory. Their store is dog-friendly and full of all sorts of goodies–including doggy Kromers! Before you leave, head to downtown Ironwood to stop at Cold Iron Brewing. This massive dog-friendly taproom has lots of great beers, indoor yard games, cool merch, and the nicest staff. I loved their cranberry shandy and Hayden was impressed by the Drift North IPA. 

Another great day trip from the cottage could be Minocqua. Just 50 minutes south, you could stroll out and back on the Bearskin Trail, shop downtown (a stop at Minocqua Popcorn is a must!), and grab beer in Rocky Reef’s dog-friendly tap room. 

What else?

We are definitely planning to go back to Birchwood Point this summer or early fall. I think the cottage will hold all new beauty in the other seasons. On our next trip, I want to prioritize getting out on the lake and getting a meal at Little Bohemia Lodge. This iconic supper club has a fascinating history that I would love to experience. The lodge still has bullet holes in the windows from the shootout between the FBI and John Dillinger that unfolded over 80 years ago. A supper club and a history lesson? Sign me up! 


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