panoramic exterior view of property with lights on at night

The Story of Wild Rice Retreat
Starting With A Seed

Realizing the desire for holistic experiences immersed in nature was more than just our own dream, we began to plan a haven where those seeking creative renewal could escape to, where intentionally crafted retreats incorporated each of pillars—movement, expression and movement. While deeply rooted in the enigmatic legacy of the famous Wild Rice Restaurant, our all-encompassing retreat is an original concept that’s only beginning.

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wr about history lifeasrestaurant

Life As A
Restaurant

Dreamed of by Mary Hulings Rice and designed by acclaimed architect David Salmela, the Wild Rice restaurant was a James Beard-nominated north star for many years, crafting cuisine that would draw in crowds from hours away. Known as the “Queen of Bayfield,” Mary’s stewardship provided a valuable space for both phenomenal dining and culinary inspiration. Though she has sadly left us, her whimsical artwork continues to remind us to relax, breathe and enjoy everything in our life.

A modern-day evolution

Heidi Zimmer

Heidi Zimmer has spent most of her professional life at the intersection of arts and real estate, as well as exploring personal practices in yoga and wellness. She was drawn initially to the architecture and the amazing food and the “wild” of Mary Rice and found a deeper connection with the healing power of the woods, water and energetic land. In 2017, she developed a vision — a fresh, progressive foundation for total wellbeing. In 2018, she and her husband Martin Ebelhardt purchased the property and began working in earnest on the plans to respectfully and purposefully expand the development into what it is today.

Expanding a Legacy

With the partnership and support of Katherine Rice Hayes, Heidi assembled a team committed to sustainability, respectful and thoughtful development practices and quality design standards. Salmela Architects leading design, created Scandanavian-modern lodging units that reflect the natural environment. Annalisa Bermel co-led the pre-development phase along with Heidi and created a cohesive design intent for the smallest of details. Using locally sourced materials, large scale windows, and eco-friendly elegant finishes, the team expanded the vision to create the PeacePod, Sanctuary, Sauna Haus and a completed plan for Wild Rice Retreat. In March 2020, construction began in earnest and was completed in March 2021. Wild Rice Retreat as it is known today, opened it’s doors in May 2021.

General view of a some cabins in the middle of the wood at night