This Wisconsin Dells resort and bar opened in March 2003 and closed in 2016. While it was offically called the 'Rainbow Valley Resort', with the bar being dubbed 'Captain Dix' and the restraurant 'Artist Glen Restaurant', everyone called the entire complex simply 'Captain Dix'. (Even their web site was registered with the domain name "captaindexresort.com).
For several years, it was a popular place for the more adventerous gay man from Madison, Milwaukee and around the state. Attractions included nude sunbathing (in a designated area), but also rumors aplenty of 'sex in the woods' type scenes-- although this was not officially sanctioned. For those not spending the day at the resort/ campground, day-passes were available to use the pool and sunbathing areas, and the bar and restaurant welcomed the general public.
The resort was the subject of the 'Roger Reviews' column (By Roger Krawieeld) in 'OutBound' magazine volume 2- issue 5 (May 2003) (see below). Titled 'Captain Dix Resort', it reads:
Finally someone from our community has the balls to open up a vacation property just for us in Wisconsin. Those balls belong to Gary and Dennis who are partners in both business and their personal lives. They are the proud owners of Captain Dix Resort in the Wisconsin Dells. I spent a March weekend getaway at their resort.
The resort is off HWY 13 a little over one mile north of the Dells. The resort is nestled in a small valley of mature trees on 24 acres of land. Hidden away from all of the tourist attractions, it is the perfect location for a vacation playground. This is not a hotel. The resort is a complex of bqildings like the older resorts up north with several stand-alone cabins. If you are afraid of bugs, a little dirt, or wild animals lurking in the woods, this is not the place for you. In fact, I did see a couple of bears at the bar Friday night.
This is not a cookie cutter resort where each cabin is the same. Each unit has it's own unique character. Sizes and prices vary so there will be rooms to meet everyone's needs. You can rent a room for 1 to 6 people or more depending on how well you get along with your friends.
The cabins are located on both sides of the valley. Running through the bottom of the valley is Cruz Creek which dries up during the summer. At the center of the complex is the Main Lodge which contains the restaurant, Weasel Head's bar, a small dance floor, and soon a wooden deck for outdoor drinking. Dennis is the captain behind the bar, making sure all of the guests get plenty of fluids and Gary is the master of the kitchen.
I had the opportunity to sample some of Gary's creations. Friday evening I had all you can eat Nile perch fish fry with cheesy au gratin potatoes for $9.95. The fish was very flavorful. Saturday I had a Swiss mushroom burger prepared on an open flame. Saturday evening I had the prime rib special which comes in petite, queen, or king size. Sunday brunch is held from 10:00 to 2:00. Gary has done an outstanding job on the menu. There is something for everyone.
The resort has been around for over one hundred years. The previous owners did not maintain the property. Gary and Dennis purchased the property over 2 years ago and have made extensive renovations. All of the cabins will get a fresh coat of paint and new carpeting before the season is in full swing.
The property also has an outdoor in-ground pool, tennis court, volley ball court, game room, and picnic grove. There are also old campsites that have not been used in years that need to be redone before they can be rented. There are also plans for allowing campers on the property. Plans are being designed for an outdoor stage for bands and shows. There will also be a sheltered clothing optional sunbathing area surrounded by sunflowers.
The owners hope their resort will be a place for adults to socialize and get to know each other. They will offer day memberships so individuals can spend a day at the resort and use the common areas like the pool or sunbathing area. Everything you need can be found right at the resort.
These guys have really taken a chance for us. Help show your support by planning your own getaway now and booking a room. The Fourth of July weekend is almost booked up. Or if you live in Madison a dinner outing would be well worth the drive.
Their website is still under construction but you can still get basic information off of it. Or you can call toll free 1-866-553-xxxx. They are also looking for summer help. Make sure you say "Hi" to Gary and Dennis. Let them know Roger sent you.
A mention in 'TripAdvisor' from 'TrentinChicago' in 2007 read:
The Dells is home to Rainbow Valley Resort www.rainbowvalleyresort.net (formerly Captain Dix Resort) one of the few gay resorts in the Midwest. The resort is a few miles north of the Dells but has the only gay bar and restaurant in the Dells area (you don't have to be a resort guest to eat or drink).
The staff of the resort and bar are very friendly and the food in the small restaurant is great. While mainly gay I have seen a local straight couples and families eating in the restaurant connected to the bar (never with young children, I don't think it would be appropriate). I find the restaurant and the bar to offer a nice break from the establishments in the Dells packed with screaming children (of course not yours :).
The bar has several theme nights such as movies, 80's or theme parties which are always fun but again not appropriate for children (you have to be 21 to be in the bar).
I have been to the Dells numerous times with my partner and other gay friends we have never had any issues, the majority of the other people visiting the Dells are tourist from Chicago or Minneapolis and the locals seem to have a "live and let live attitude." I wouldn't run around the water park screaming that you are gay, afterall this is Wisconsin not Key West :) but I don't think that you should have any issues.
Like so many such ventures however, the lack of steady business by the LGBT community eventually caused the owners to convert the property to be open to the general public- and the 'Captain Dix' moniker died with the LGBT community's loss of this wonderful facility. It continued to operate into the 2020's as Rainbow Valley Resort.
More information about this business is welcomed from anyone who can contribute it.
Credits: web site concept, contents, design and arrangement by Don Schwamb.
Last updated: April-2021
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