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A Northwoods Get-away with Sauna, Great Fishing, and Firm Lakeshore

Bedrooms 3
Space 1,700 sq ft
Property type house
Minimum Stay 6 nights


About the property

3 Bedroom, 1 Bath, Sleeps 10, Secluded 3.6 Acres on a Quiet Lake, with Pontoon

A beautiful house with cedar and log siding, tongue & groove interior, 3 bedrooms plus a sleeping loft, indoor sauna, updated kitchen, 4 season porch, Trex deck, patio and wonderful lake views. The home is situated on 3.6 beautifully landscaped acres with 607' of lakeshore surrounded by woods. The indoor sauna has a new electric stove. A new gas fireplace/furnace warms the house on those cold, north country mornings. There is a boat house sitting on water's edge with life jackets, inflatables with pump, a floating trampoline, and other lake equipment. Moored at the dock is an 18' pontoon with all new furniture and deck and a 40 hp, 4-stroke Mercury outboard. On shore is a 14' fishing boat with a 15 hp Johnson outboard. And for eco-friendly trolling and lake touring there is an Old Town canoe, 2-person paddle boat that will carry 2 small passengers, and two 2-person inflatable kayaks. All boats are included in the rental at no extra charge. There is also a firepit with plenty of outdoor seating and firewood.

Big McCarthy Lake is a dark-water lake (see details below), approximately 1-1/2 miles long and 1/4 mile wide, approximately 40' deep along its entire length, and has virtually no weeds and a sandy bottom. Big McCarthy has great fishing for northern, bass, crappies and bluegill. There are walleye, but they are elusive. There is a boat trailer for the fishing boat if you want to try your luck with walleye on any of the larger, nearby lakes.

There is an ATV trail approximately 1/2 mile away, and many ATV options in every direction from the house.

Dark-water lakes: About half of northern Minnesota lakes are dark-water lakes. The dark water is caused by Tamarack pine trees in swampy lowlands up-river from the lake. The tannins in the Tamaracks and surrounding bogs make the water darker than other lakes. There is no harm associated with this staining, and there are some benefits. Since sunlight cannot penetrate to the lake bottom except in shallow water, there are few weeds, no algae blooms, and no swimmers' itch even in August. The tannins also give the fish a rich golden hue.

Unlike clear-water northern Minnesota lakes, dark-water lakes absorb sunlight and warm up in late spring and early summer. The lake is comfortable for swimming early in June. The average temperature outside in June in Nashwauk is 73 degrees for a high and 50 degrees for a low. The record high is 93 degrees and the record low is 31 degrees. The property is available from the middle of June through September.

Check-in for all rentals is 3:00pm and check-out is 11:00am.

More Details

Property Manager
Bruce & Joan Wambheim
Member since: 2017
Premier Partner

This VRBO partner has demonstrated and is committed to fast response times, the best rates, and a great guest experience.

Speaks: english
Response time:
Within an hour
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
August 19, 2018

About Bruce & Joan Wambheim

My wife and I are educators. I am an economics professor at a small liberal arts college in Minnesota, and my wife works with at-risk kids in junior high and high school.

Bruce & Joan Wambheim purchased this house in 2017

Why Bruce & Joan Wambheim chose Nashwauk

We looked for years for just the right lake home. This is it. It has plenty of space, a workshop in the garage, an indoor sauna, and solitude.

What makes this house unique

The sauna, the workshop, the views, the peace and quiet.


Nashwauk House Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • house
  • Guests provide their own meals
Floor Area:
  • 1700 sq ft
House Rules:
  • Check-in: 3:00 PM
  • /
  • Check-out: 11:00 AM
  • Max. occupancy: 10
  • Min. age of primary renter: 25
  • Children welcome
  • Parties/events not allowed
  • Pets considered ...
  • Non smoking only ...
  • Pets Considered: Up to 2 dogs will be allowed subject to prior approval. $100 pet fee per stay. Dog kennel with doggie door is attached to garage.
Location Type:
  • Lake View ...
  • Lakefront ...
  • Rural ...
  • Clothes Dryer
  • Fireplace ...
  • Garage ...
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating ...
  • Internet ...
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Room ...
  • Parking ...
  • Towels Provided
  • Washing Machine
  • Coffee Maker ...
  • Dishes & Utensils ...
  • Dishwasher ...
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Pantry Items ...
  • Refrigerator ...
  • Stove
  • Toaster
  • Child's Highchair
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 16 people
  • 1 Bathroom
  • Bathroom 1 - toilet , shower
  • Bathroom has toilet, sink, and vanity. The shower is located across the hall in the sauna.
  • 3 Bedrooms, Sleeps 10
  • Bedroom 1 - 1 queen
    Bedroom 3 is a loft with separate room - 2 queen , 1 bunk bed , This loft has sleeping for 6.
    Bedroom 2 - 1 double
  • Master bedroom has one queen bed and a view of the lake. The second bedroom has a full-size bed and is located on the back side of the house. The sleeping loft has a hip wall that overlooks the kitchen. The loft has a queen bed and a bunk bed. Through the loft is a bedroom without a door with a queen bed.
  • DVD Player ...
  • Games ...
  • Satellite / Cable ...
  • Stereo ...
  • Television ...
  • Boat ...
  • Deck / Patio ...
  • Kayak / Canoe ...
  • Lawn / Garden ...
  • Outdoor Grill ...
  • Water Sports Gear ...
  • Long-term Renters Welcome
  • wheelchair inaccessible
Pool / Spa:
  • Sauna ...
  • churches
  • library
  • restaurants
Leisure Activities:
  • antiquing
  • bird watching
  • boating
  • horseshoes
  • paddle boating
  • photography
  • shopping
  • walking
  • wildlife viewing
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • groceries
  • laundromat
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • fishing
  • fly fishing
  • freshwater fishing
  • golf
  • hiking
  • jet skiing
  • mountain biking
  • pier fishing
  • swimming
  • water skiing
  • water tubing


Wonderful! 4.9/5 -
(11 traveler reviews)

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A Northwoods Get-away with Sauna, Great Fishing, and Firm Lakeshore
average rating of 4.909091 based on 11 reviews

Great time

  • 5 of 5

Property was fantastic for us. Plenty of room for 9 and the boat and paddle board were awesome. Lake was absolutely free of other boaters, everything you need for a long week was their. Just bring some clothes and food and your set. Only downfall to us was the firepit, it was well below our norm and could use a nice little upgrade. Other then that, we have nothing bad to say about the place

  • Submitted: Aug 8, 2018
  • Stayed: July 2018
  • Source: HomeAway
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WOW - Fantastic family vacation!

  • 5 of 5

We had a great family vacation - 5 adults and 1 pre-teen- at Bruce and Joan's place in Nashwauk. The highlight was definitely the water - and having ready access to the pontoon boat was a great, great bonus. While the fishing wasn't that great (part time of year, part lack of talent), the water was great for swimming in - both walk in, off the dock, and off the pontoon. We were there in July so the water was warm. Plus, the boat house has a bunch of water toys - we used them all. I even paddled to the short end of the lake in the canoe.

The home is perfect, with the two bedrooms downstairs and several beds upstairs. The spiral stairs are tough to navigate so we had the younger adults stay upstairs. The newer addition leading to the deck is where we spent most of our time indoors - great, views, breezes, and made us feel right at home.

Having 2 refrigerators and a washer and dryer is a definite bonus, too, we used them all. And the grill on the deck, while huge, worked great for when we had our BBQ feast. TV, satellite, internet access is all a bit sketchy, but that's due to the northwoods location - we managed. And proximity to town and amenities was easy too.

As for negatives, as noted, the spiral staircase was a challenge, and we had to work out a daily schedule for the 1-bathroom. Having the shower in a separate room made that a little easier. And as for the sauna - an interesting item in a vacation rental, I can't comment as we didn't use it - we had 85 and sunny 7 days in a row right outside the door! And there's no real fire-pit for bon-fires - they've got one of those portable fire containers but we wished for more in that regard - maybe on the "to-do" list for future renovations?

Definitely worth the price (especially considering the boat and pontoon are included) and Bruce and Joan were very responsive to any questions we had. They provide a great "handbook" so you know what to expect and how to use things like the boat motors and the TV controls. And aside from perishables, pretty much anything you needed is either in the cabin, the garage, or the boat house (which has electricity and air pump for the water toys).

We will certainly keep this vacation spot on our short list for any future plans - we'd definitely come back. Thanks Bruce and Joan for sharing your lake home with us, we really did have a great vacation!

  • Submitted: Aug 3, 2018
  • Stayed: July 2018
  • Source: HomeAway
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Private Peaceful Amazing Cabin

  • 5 of 5

Our family had a fantastic week at Joan & Bruce's cabin. Joan and Bruce have thought of everything that one would need to make your vacation awesome. The cabin was great with plenty of room, very clean, really peaceful, and quiet. The pontoon was a huge hit for us and we were out on the water most of the week. The lake was beautiful with little boat traffic on the 4th of July week even. We enjoyed bringing the pontoon out in the middle of the lake with floaties and just swam and drifted along so relaxing. Can't beat grilling out for supper, having a few beverages, and a nice bonfire to end the day. Thanks Joan and Bruce for letting us stay at your fantastic cabin and we will have a lifetime of great memories. Lynn/Earl Carlson & Family....

  • Submitted: Jul 30, 2018
  • Stayed: June 2018
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Beautiful and relaxing

  • 5 of 5

My family and I had such a great time! The location is absolutely beautiful and we had a great time fishing and swimming in the lake. The house was stocked with everything we could have needed. We have already discussed going back next year!

  • Submitted: Jul 29, 2018
  • Stayed: July 2018
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Spencer, Iowa

Family friendly

  • 4 of 5

The cabin was wonderful and we had a great week there. The kids loved the pontoon, paddle boat, canoe and swim island. We caught some nice northern and bass plus some small bluegills. Most days, we were the only boat on the water. We had fun pulling the kids on the tube as well.

The house worked well for our family of five. There is room for more, but we enjoyed having the extra space. We did not even turn on the tv until the last night when it started to rain. They also have quite a few games there.

The kitchen is very well stocked and had absolutely everything we needed. There were even spices, sugar and flour there. The outdoor grill is really nice as is the outdoor seating area. We loved sitting by the fire and roasting marshmallows overlooking the lake. It was extremely peaceful. We saw deer in the morning and heard the wolves in the evening. There is plenty to do in the area as well.

We enjoyed riding our bikes on the Mesabi Trail near Nashwauk. It is a beautiful trail. While biking, we even saw a porcupine. We also had fun riding our UTV on the trails. We had to take the UTV by trailer to the Balsam area (about a 20 min drive), but it was worth it because the trails are great.

Overall, this is a great place for a family to come and relax. Would love to go back sometime.

  • Submitted: Jul 26, 2018
  • Stayed: July 2018
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Amazing Getaway Cabin

  • 5 of 5

This was year 2 for our annual family vacation. (7 adults, 1 baby) Let me just say, this cabin knocked it out of the ballpark!!!!! The minute we pulled up to the cabin, WOW! Huge lawn, excellent dock, big roomy cabin, COMFORTABLE BEDS IN EVERY ROOM, every necessity you could think of was provided (towels, spices, shampoo, games, etc). Just check the drawers or closets and you would find what you forgot, but needed.

There was a problem with the pontoon boat being fixed, but Bruce kept in touch with us daily. Anyone who has ever owned a boat knows the trials you can have. Bruce did an awesome job of getting it to us before our vacation was over......even offered us a longer stay to cover the misfortune. HUGE CUSTOMER SERVICE POINTS FOR THIS!!!!!!!!!

The lake was fabulous and as promised, NO swimmers itch!!!

We will DEFINITELY consider making Bruce and Joan's cabin our annual vacation spot. Thank you for sharing your beautiful cabin with us!

  • Submitted: Aug 14, 2017
  • Stayed: August 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
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Nearest Airport
25 Miles
Hibbing or Grand Rapids, MN
Nearest Barpub
8 Miles
Nashwauk, MN
Nearest Golf
20 Miles
18-Hole - 20 miles; 9-Hole - 12 miles
Nearest Restaurant
8 Miles
Nashwauk, MN
Car: necessary

Nashwauk has the most complete hardware store of any small town and a grocery store with a great produce department and a great meat counter.

Grand Rapids, MN, is about 35 minutes away and is home to: Judy Garland Museum, Forest History Center, Children's Discovery Museum, Itasca County Historical Society, and the Myles Reif Performing Arts Center.

Hibbing, MN, is about 25 minutes away and is home to: Greyhound Bus Museum, Hull Rust Mahoning Mine View, Hibbing Historical Society, Iron Man Statue, Minnesota Discovery Center, and Bob Dylan's House.


Rates & Availability

Taxes and fees are additional

Additional information about rental rates

Cleaning Fee $100
Pet Fee $100
Refundable Damage Deposit $300

Check-in for all rentals is not before 3:00 pm and check-out is by 10:00 am. This is in order to give our cleaning and groundskeeping crews time to refresh the property.

Rates are subject to change until rental is confirmed.

Manager's Cancellation Policy

  • 50% refund if canceled at least 14 days before arrival date.
  • 100% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date.
  • Service Fee fully refunded on cancellations that qualify for 100% refund.

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