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Ladysmith, Wisconsin

Toad House

A fairytale art house in the middle of Wisconsin. 

Located in the little town of Ladysmith, Wisconsin (population approx. 3,000), Toad House is kind of in the middle of nowhere—which is exactly where you need a bakery/coffee shop/art gallery/community center.

First came Toad House Publishing, founded by Eileen and Tony Ziesler, which was named after a series of encounters the couple had with a toad they fed insects by hand. When the toad failed to show up for their regular meeting by the light of a vending machine, they wondered, “Where can he hide? Where can he be?” This phrase went on to inspire a children’s book, the first of many to come out of the publishing company. 

Later, the Zieslers restored one of Ladysmith’s original houses and founded an arts center there. They named it Toad House. Much like the publishing company, the house seeks to cultivate “the wonder of childhood and beauty in nature.”

Toad House offers events for “like-minded toads” such as felting classes, “Knit and Chat” meetings, and writing workshops. The bakery, always open, offers handmade European treats and beverages made from family recipes passed down through generations. Also of note are the Enchanted Woods behind the Toad House, where adventurers might happen upon some actual toads.

Know Before You Go

At the corner of Highways 8 and 27.