Destination Hotels: Meadow House

Extreme glamping at Wisconsin’s Candlewood Cabins

Where: Richland Center, Wisconsin; 608-647-5720,

Rate: $195 per night

We recommend: asking about a cancellation— it’s booked solid through 2019

They say people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. If you get the opportunity to kick back in digs this idyllic, why would you want to? The two-level Meadow House, one of three glass-walled structures to rent at Candlewood Cabins, evokes the feeling of wilderness camping without a hint of roughing it. Quite the opposite, in fact. Dramatic staggered stairs and a wraparound deck establish curb appeal from the get-go, and the stunning Prairie-style design blurs the line between indoors and out with unobstructed panoramic views of the wooded grounds through floor-to-ceiling windows on all four sides. Down a set of stairs constructed from reclaimed barn wood, modern creature comforts include an airy kitchenette and an oversized shower in the contemporary bathroom. A high-beamed ceiling and a Scandinavian wood stove lend a pied-à-terre feel to the main living area up top, where a tiny alcove frames a queen platform bed.

Owners Susan and Norbert Calnin acquired the 80-acre property in southwest Wisconsin’s Ocooch Mountains in 1981 simply intending to rent out the on-site cabin they had purchased from Norbert’s brother. “We really enjoyed creating that space, so when we began to see interest from more and more guests, it was a no-brainer to create another one,” Norbert says. “When we built our first glass house, we knew we were on to something special.”

Candlewood Cabins
Candlewood Cabins

Architecture buffs will likely draw a comparison to the famous glass box that Philip Johnson designed for himself in Connecticut in 1949. But unlike Meadow House, it’s not for rent. And this one is sexier. Candlewood combines the luxuriousness of sophisticated design (Dwell has taken notice), ultimate privacy, and natural majesty. “Private” is a funny way to think about a see-through house, but you need only worry about deer peeking in. So yes, take a date to this hideaway.

Though Meadow House and four other cabins (all with design cred) are currently booking 24 months in advance, cancellations do happen. If you get in, arrive at a respectable hour for the Calnins to greet you, and don’t count on cell phone coverage or cable TV, although there is Wi-Fi for those who twitch at the thought of being completely inaccessible. No illusions to shatter here—just straight-up serenity now.


What to do: Candlewood is located within an hour of five state parks.

Don’t forget: Binoculars. You won’t get a better opportunity for birdwatching and wildlife viewing.

Side trip: Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio, Taliesin, is 30 miles away.