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Home Away From Home

Settle in at a cozy bed-and-breakfast or rustic inn during your wedding festivities and make it your own personal haven. Whether it’s a romantic night for two or an activity-packed weekend with the whole clan, you have plenty of options. Here are six.
By: 
Sherri Hildebrandt

WALSH HOUSE (RED WING)
Gather with your nearest and dearest at the Walsh House, which overlooks the 18th green on the Red Wing Golf Course. With four bedrooms, four baths, a full kitchen and dining area, along with three fireplaces and a spacious front porch, the restored Victorian mansion is just right for a night-before dinner, day-of preparations or opening gifts at a day-after brunch. It makes for a quaint setting for a small wedding (30 people or fewer), but most couples hold the ceremony and reception in the Skyroom, the newly renovated event space atop the golf course clubhouse. While Walsh House doesn’t offer meals, guests are welcome to prepare their own or use a list of preferred vendors who can provide for any occasion.



HOPE GLEN FARM TREEHOUSE (COTTAGE GROVE)
Spend the night in an enchanted treehouse! Experience the magic in Hope Glen Farm’s treehouse suite, a four-story private getaway nestled in the mighty branches of a 150-year-old burr oak. The treehouse (a.k.a. “the lofty lodge”) is actually built around the tree to withstand any weather. The 1,200-square-foot retreat includes a full kitchen, four outdoor decks on four levels, two fireplaces, a jacuzzi — and a secret room to discover. At night, climb to the top of the 30-foot tower for stargazing (telescope provided), or go up during the day to take in the fantastic view. One of the two suites — the treehouse or the farm’s rustic-elegant Corn Crib Cottage — is included with a full day wedding rental. Both are also available for individual rental through Airbnb.



ROUND BARN FARM (RED WING)
The rare opportunity to marry in such a unique venue in the Mississippi River Valley is a big draw, but the charming bed-and-breakfast in the lovingly restored brick farmhouse is in a class by itself. The 1914 barn and the reception pavilion are available for weddings from May to October, but you can make your getaway to the B&B yearround. “With over 8,000 square feet, our B&B offers plenty of room for family and friends,” says Kirk Stensrud, who owns and operates the venue with his wife, Wendy. Your day on the farm begins with a three-course breakfast; afterward,you can stroll down one of the paths winding through the 35 acres of spectacular woodlands, bluffs and fields. The bridal party can use the get-ready room on the third floor near the honeymoon suite for makeup and hair appointments. Each of the five suites has a private bath, featherbed, fireplace or gas stove, and two-person jacuzzi.



MERRYWEATHER INN (DULUTH)
Innkeeper/owner Beth Koralia is a woman of many talents, from pastry chef to private jet pilot. She’s also an expert planner who can customize your wedding weekend from start to finish, whether it’s an intimate stay for the two lovebirds or activities for all ages and interests in the Duluth area. With six guest suites (including the separate carriage house), there’s plenty of room for a gracious gathering in the delightful 1904 mansion, built for mining and railroad baron William Olcott. The Blue Room is a popular choice because of its ample size and morning light, a plus for primping before the big event. The inn can also host weddings of up to 35 people (a leafy outdoor site is a favorite). And because Beth, a Duluth native, knows all the best vendors or can provide many services herself, you’ll have time to spend with your guests while she handles the details. Need a photographer? She knows several. Want dairy-free cupcakes? Beth can make them. Bonus: She makes your breakfast herself — or sometimes her dad will!


GATHERED OAKS (ALEXANDRIA)
Bring the whole clan to Gathered Oaks for a country weekend. Innkeepers Andrew and Tessa Larson manage the central Minnesota venue, which features a welcoming farmhouse loaded with Scandinavian charm and historic detail and the stylish restored barn-turned-event center. The farmhouse is perfect for a rehearsal dinner, ceremony preparations, a gift-opening brunch or simply as a comfy gathering place for the wedding weekend. The farmhouse can accommodate 24 guests in eight private rooms, each with a bath, an attic suite with five beds (great for a family) and a gracious honeymoon suite. The property also features eight hotel-style rooms in renovated grain bins. Each room features a private bath, separate entrance, plenty of windows, a queen bed and a television; one room also includes a kitchenette and seating area. Andrew’s mom, Anne, handles the property’s accommodations for nonwedding bookings. While meals aren’t provided, the innkeepers have plenty of recommendations for everything from florists to caterers, as well as places to visit and activities to enjoy in the area.



SACRED CLAY COUNTRY INN (LANESBORO)
Situated on 103 acres of rolling hills in southern Minnesota’s bluff country, Sacred Clay Country Inn will make your celebration of love even more memorable. Weddings are a weekend-long affair here (a two-night minimum stay is required), with full use of the custom-built inn’s nine luxurious guest rooms for you and yours (plus dozens more available for guests at Lanesboro’s many other charming accommodations). Innkeeper Fred Kiel serves a generous breakfast, and he and his team are happy to host up to 40 dinner guests in the Gathering Room — though in warmer weather, it’s lovely to dine al fresco on the expansive veranda, where guests can enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. You can also opt for a more formal five-course gourmet dinner for a smaller group. Guests who want a more casual vibe — perhaps an outdoor groom’s dinner — can use picnic tables by the fire pit. (Supply your own food and beverages.) Opportunities abound for activities, whether it’s golf at a nearby course, hiking or biking on one of the numerous trails in the area, kayaking or canoeing on the Root River or trying out your fly-fishing skills on the property’s trout stream. Because the barn isn’t climate controlled, weddings are most comfortable from late April through mid-October, but they can host weddings of up to 30 people any time of the year in the inn. 



ALL VENUES ARE AVAILABLE YEAR-ROUND FOR LODGING; SEVERAL ARE AVAILABLE THROUGH AIRBNB. 

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