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Book Online or call HomeAway Booking Assistance 888-640-7927
Book Online or call HomeAway Booking Assistance 888-640-7927

Four Season Cottage is Small Enough to be Romantic and Large Enough for a Family

Bedrooms 3
Space 2,200 sq. ft.
Property type cottage
Minimum Stay 2 - 7 nights


About the property

Updated every year! Cottage, 3 Bedrooms, 2 Bath, (Sleeps 7 - 10)

Happened ONLY TWICE in the last four years! A Special Summer Opportunity: Just available. One week 18 - 25 August 2018. Only mid-summer availability in the next three years.

This beautiful 3 bedroom - 2 bath cottage is available year around. Our cottage was newly constructed in the spring of 2013. The cottage is exceeding well maintained. The interior is clean, uncluttered, and bright with natural light. New features are added to the interior and the property each year.

Overall winter 2017/2018 special!! Take your sweetheart on a weekend getaway. Weekends are $450 for a two day weekend or $560 for a three day weekend all fees included.

$450 for any two day period. $560 for a three day period. $900 for any 7 day period. All fees included.

Special winter rates are for non-holiday weekends/periods between October 15, 2017 and April 30 2018. Extra charge for more than six people and/or for pets.

This is a great value. Try it! You will like it.

Typical Repeat Visitors: extended family groups, hobby groups, craft groups, women's weekend away groups, small group reunions, wedding anniversaries, engagement proposal weekends, honeymoon cottage, snowmobiling groups, ice fishing groups, XC skiing groups, wedding groups, winter weekend getaways, waterskiing groups, wakeboard groups, wakesurfing groups, fishing opener groups, hunting groups, and more.

Dates in June - September 2018 will often be reserved 6 months to 1 year, or more, in advance. Reserve now to acquire a week in the early summer or early fall and later 2018. There are no dates available from mid-June until mid-September 2018. There no dates available in July or August 2019.

Celebrate and sing together. Grand piano is provided for your enjoyment.

Two tiled bathrooms and full separate laundry area

Exterior fire pit and interior gas fireplace.

Relaxing recreational location

Large commercial grade kitchen for family special meal prep and relaxed gourmet dining or just serving a family reunion crowd.

Nearby access to Paul Bunyan and Heartland trails for great bicycling, inline skating, X-C skiing, and snowmobiling.

Great bass fishing ( 1 lb to 5 lb) from dock. Good walleye and northern when trolling shallows and sand bars

Quiet, calm, and weed free lake good for canoeing, kayaking, water skiing and recreational boating. Ultra clear and clean spring fed lake with a sandy bottom

Loons live here. You should see/hear adults and offspring every day/night in spring, summer, and fall.

Semi-private dock with 3000 lb covered boat lift.

Supplied with Old Town canoe and Lund 15' fishing boat. Outboard motor not supplied but available for rent at limited commercial locations

Property has a fully recorded security system including (24 hr X 365 day) exterior video surveillance.


Not fully handicap accesible: Most of the house is on one level. One step up at entrance. One step down between most of the house and just a portion of the living area. 10 steps down to lake in front of house. The interior doors are generally 30 in. width. No ramps are provided. The lawn is gently sloped to the lake shore. Lake can be accessed from the lawn easily as well as the steps.

Docks: Guests have shared use of the dock, and access for use of one 3000 lb boat lift/canopy cover. Owner will access dock and lift and store owners boat on one of the two lifts (1 of 2)

Owner may occasionally not be present during a portion of guest stay. Guests do not have access to the owner's boat, the lift supporting owner's boat, the house basement, or the garage at any time. Owner retains access to the house basement, the garage, and one of two boat lifts on the dock at all times. Owner will store one boat on a lift (1 of the 2) at the dock. Guests will not use the owners boat or operate the owners lift at the dock. Owner may routinely access those areas. Owner will be considerate of time of day and guests needs if/when accessing the dock or the basement.

Exterior of house and all property have full recorded video surveillance at all times. Interior of house ground level and second floor upper level have extensive security sensors BUT DO NOT include ANY video cameras or audio receivers, except glass breakage sensors. The entire rest of the property also has extensive security sensors but in addition includes extensive recorded video surveillance. Any access to the garage or basement will immediately initiate automatic notification of owner and recorded video surveillance. The house ground level and upper level security alarms will be disabled when guests are present. The garage security alarms may not be disabled unless owners or owner's family are present. If an alarm occurs not immediately after occupying the house, it is likely the garage system. If officials arrive to investigate an alarm, direct them to the garage, unless the alarm occurs promptly upon initially attempting to access the house for the first time.

More Details

John Swailes
Member since: 2011
Premier Partner

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

Speaks: english, spanish
Response time:
Within a few hours
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
March 15, 2018

About John Swailes

Nuclear Engineer. Working in New Orleans presently. Reside in MD part time, and in MN part time.

Like to read, sail, swim, waterski, snow ski, hike, mountaineer, bicycle, canoe, XC ski, digital communications, and amateur radio

Own house in MN on lake, and condo in MD on Chesapeake Bay.

John Swailes purchased this cottage in 1992

Why John Swailes chose Backus

Lived on this lake every summer for 68 years. Family on this lake for 97 years. Love it summer or winter! Family owns house next door to the north and the lot between the two houses.

My grandfather bought the property next door to the north shortly after he returned from World War I about 1919 and then built the first house on this lake in 1921. The original rustic log cabin was replaced by the current next door house in 1946, right after World War II. My parents honeymooned at that home in 1947. I visited this lake for the first time in the summer of 1950 two weeks after I was born. I have been here numerous times in each year between then and now.

I bought the property next door, where my current home resides, in 1992. It was the fourth time that the property had been for sale since a small frame home had been built upon it in 1926 by an aging German bachelor who was also a master carpenter. The carpenter retired to this property in the 1940's. I knew this gentleman very well. I hunted and fished with him and my grandfather, on and around, the lake. He owned the property and lived there most of the time until his death in 1965. He left the property to his cousin. The cousin eventually sold the property and a sequence of owners enjoyed the lake and that same original house until 1992. I bought the property in 1992 and modestly improved and remodeled the original house several times. That sequence of efforts evolved over years into the net very substantial upgrade that is this current home.

My grandfather passed away in 1962. My grandmother passed in 1988. My mother passed in 1992. My father passed in 2011.

The property to the north remains today in the hands of my brothers. Between us three we have 9 children all of whom routinely visit and stay at our homes on Horseshoe Lake. My brothers and I have planned for and hope to pass these wonderful living spots along to our children. We are now well prepared to do so, when the time is right.

What makes this cottage unique

Small lake. Pristine spring fed water. Low boating traffic on the lake as compared to White Fish Chain, Gull Lake, Ten Mile Lake, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs Lake, etc. More suitable for families in many ways. More suitable for children venturing out on their own. Better wake boarding and water skiing due to low wave height and quiet boating conditions. Many bays on the lake. Always a calm spot for trick skiing and wakeboarding acrobatics.

Generally good fishing. Great bass fishing. Good walleye fishing.

Grand Piano for group music and singing

Modest library of classic novels and literature. Please leave the books when you depart!

Great place to have children fish, swim, boat, and participate in recreation with water toys of various size and complexity. The lake has light traffic for much of the year and therefore overall hazards are less than a busy lake. The lake bottom at the cottage location is sandy with a gentle slope, so there is less likelihood of immediate full immersion other than by falling or jumping off of the dock. Children, pets, and some adults require lifejackets and continuous supervision to ensure their safety.

House was all new in 2013. Roomy open 3 bedroom and two bath cottage. Full laundry. Full living area with connected kitchen and dining spaces. Beautiful bright sunroom sitting area overlooking the lake and beach immediately in front of the house. Spaces flow comfortably together so no one is left out but there are lots of nooks for quiet reading or work. Thoughtfully designed and highly functional house with top quality commercial grade gourmet kitchen. Natural sunlight throughout with plentiful glass for view out to the lake as well as surrounding woodlands. Bedrooms have full closets and dressers. Master bedroom and en-suite bathroom. Sleeping loft has areas for children or adult guests. Spent almost four years designing and preparing to build this new home.


Backus Cottage Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • cottage
  • Guests provide their own meals
Floor Area:
  • 2200 sq. ft.
House Rules:
  • Check-in: 3:00 PM
  • /
  • Check-out: 10:00 AM
  • Max. occupancy: 10 ...
  • Min. age of primary renter: 25
  • Children welcome ...
  • Parties/events not allowed
  • Pets considered ...
  • Non smoking only ...
  • Do not remove any book from the library to outside of the house. Leave all of owners books at the cottage upon your departure.
  • No campers, motorhomes, RV's,or travel trailers No campfires near the beach. No campfires or grilling near the house or the garage.
  • Must arrive after arrival time. Must depart before departure time. Changes only with prior owner permission. No exceptions!
Location Type:
  • Beach
  • Beach View ...
  • Beachfront ...
  • Lake ...
  • Lake View ...
  • Lakefront ...
  • Rural
  • Water View
  • Waterfront
  • Waterfront ...
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Romantic
  • Air Conditioning ...
  • Broadband Access ...
  • Ceiling Fans
  • Clothes Dryer ...
  • Filtered Water
  • Fireplace ...
  • Garage ...
  • Gas Fireplace ...
  • Gas Heating
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating ...
  • Internet ...
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Area
  • Living Room ...
  • Mobile Phone ...
  • Parking ...
  • Parking Off Street ...
  • Parking for RV/Boat/Trailer ...
  • Security System
  • Telephone ...
  • Toilet Paper
  • Towels Provided
  • Washing Machine ...
  • Water Tank
  • Wireless Internet ...
  • 4 Ring Stove
  • Blender
  • Coffee Grinder
  • Coffee Maker ...
  • Cooking Utensils ...
  • Dishes & Utensils ...
  • Dishwasher ...
  • Freezer ...
  • Gourmet Kitchen
  • Grill
  • Ice Maker
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave ...
  • Mini Refrigerator
  • Oven ...
  • Pantry Items ...
  • Refrigerator ...
  • Stove ...
  • Stove
  • Toaster ...
  • Child's Highchair
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Room
  • seating for 12 people
  • 2 Bathrooms
  • Guest Bathroom - toilet , shower , 3/4 - No tub. Granite and Tile. Enter from central hallway
    Master Bath - toilet , tub , shower , Ensuite. Wood, marble, and tile. XL tub and handspray
  • Master Bath with separate tub and shower. Guest bath is three quarter bath with shower only, and no tub. All granite and tile. Custom cabintry and fixtures. Heated floors. Please consider helping my staff, by removing any towels used in the bathrooms and any sheets and pillow cases from the beds used during your stay, just before you depart. Leave those used linens in the first floor laundry room. I do expect you to leave the house in same general state of cleanliness, as that in which you received it. However the remainder of all deeper and detailed cleaning and all linen washing will be done by my home help.
  • 3 Bedrooms, Sleeps 10
  • Master Bedroom - 1 queen , Walk-in closet and ensuite bath. Bath all marble and tile.
    Loft Sleeping Area - 3 twin/ single , Separable into two semi-private areas (2 twin & 1 twin)
    Sunroom/Kitchen - 1 sleep sofa /futon , Full sized sleep sofa. No privacy. Use for families only
    Guest Bedroom - 1 double , 1 twin/ single , Marble and tiled guest bath access from hallway.
  • NOTE! There are ten spots where a body may sleep in a total of 7 beds. This property may NOT be suitable for 8, 9, or 10 adults (or may NOT be suitable for 4 couples), requiring reasonable privacy. Please note the arrangement of beds and bedrooms to ensure that these accommodations are appropriate for your larger group. Queen size Bed (1) in Master Bedroom with private bath. Guest Bedroom has one double bed and one twin bed. Sleeping loft: has three twin beds in two room, and kitchen/sunroom has a full size sleep sofa: Please consider helping my staff, by removing any towels used in the bathrooms and any sheets and pillow cases from the beds used during your stay, just before you depart. Leave those used linens in the first floor laundry room. I do expect you to leave the house in same general state of cleanliness, as that in which you received it. However the remainder of all deeper and detailed cleaning and all linen washing will be done by my home help.
  • Books ...
  • CD Player
  • DVD Player ...
  • Games ...
  • Games for Kids
  • Music Library ...
  • Radio
  • Satellite / Cable ...
  • Stereo ...
  • Television ...
  • Toys ...
  • VCR
  • Video Library ...
  • Balcony ...
  • Barbecue
  • Beach Chairs
  • Boat ...
  • Boat Dock
  • Boat with Paddles
  • Canoe
  • Deck / Patio ...
  • Golf ...
  • Kayak / Canoe ...
  • Lawn / Garden ...
  • Outdoor Furniture
  • Outdoor Grill ...
  • Outdoor Grill Gas
  • Porch / Veranda ...
  • Screen Porch / Veranda
  • Ski & Snowboard ...
  • Terrace
  • Walkway to Water
  • Water Sports Gear ...
  • Yard
  • limited accessibility ...
  • suitable for elderly or infirm
  • autumn foliage
  • bay/sound
  • churches
  • cinemas
  • festivals
  • forests
  • library
  • museums
  • pond
  • restaurants
  • theme parks
  • water parks
Leisure Activities:
  • antiquing
  • bird watching
  • boating
  • gambling casinos
  • miniature golf
  • outlet shopping
  • photography
  • scenic drives
  • shopping
  • sight seeing
  • sledding
  • walking
  • wildlife viewing
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • fitness center
  • groceries
  • hospital
  • laundromat
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cross country skiing
  • cycling
  • fishing
  • fly fishing
  • freshwater fishing
  • golf
  • hiking
  • hunting
  • ice skating
  • jet skiing
  • kayaking
  • mountain biking
  • pier fishing
  • roller blading
  • scuba diving or snorkeling
  • skiing
  • snorkeling
  • snorkeling/diving
  • snowboarding
  • snowmobiling
  • sound/bay fishing
  • swimming
  • water skiing
  • water tubing
Due to bed arrangements, this property may not be suitable for 8, 9, or 10 adults requiring privacy. This property may not be suitable for 4 couples. All adults, and in particular parents, are responsible for inspecting this particular property upon arrival and discussing with owner (509-521-1171) any issue that they encounter, so that the adult guests present, and all parents, maintain and exercise their responsibility to safeguard the health and welfare of themselves, their children, and their pets. Owner with prior discussion might permit guest to bring a pet. If so, then the renter assumes all responsibility for the health and safety of pet as well as total responsibility for any damage caused by the pet Security system includes onsite exterior video surveillance of property. Renter will not access the basement or garage. Owner will have full access to, and make use of, both (from road side) at all times. Owner will store and access owners boat on dock and (1 of 2) lifts.


Exceptional! 5/5 -
(58 traveler reviews)

98% Complete
1% Complete
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Four Season Cottage is Small Enough to be Romantic and Large Enough for a Family
average rating of 4.9827585 based on 58 reviews

One of THE BEST!

  • 5 of 5

I regularly rent cabins for weekend getaways with the girls or friend gatherings. I have to say that this cabin is in the top three for me.

For starters, the kitchen is out of this world. The range is restaurant grade, gas. Separate, full freezer and fridge. It was fully stocked with all of your cooking needs. We had such fun cooking together in this exquisite kitchen. The view is pretty great too!

The master bathtub was heaven. Relaxing place to read a book with a glass of wine.

Beyond the kitchen and bathtub, this cabin has beautiful finishes, is clean, welcoming and a perfect place for three gals to cook, chat, play cards and solve the world’s problems.

We would love to stay again and again!

  • Submitted: Nov 1, 2017
  • Stayed: October 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thanks Katie. Glad to hear that your party enjoyed my spot
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  • 5 of 5

John's home is beautiful and the perfect getaway for a long weekend or week-long vacation away from the city at any time of the year. The property is gorgeous and extremely well-maintained, the kitchen - fabulous, the library - extensive with a huge variety of books to choose from - what a collection! The grand piano, fireplace and overall warm feeling of the entire home is unmatched.

We were also extremely appreciative of the fact that we could bring our two cocker spaniels, (our babies), Lucy and Ricky. We travel regularly with them and were so happy to find such a beautiful location/home that allowed pets - so many, many thanks for that, John!

We had the most relaxing and enjoyable time with our family and are already looking at going back again this fall and next winter. We've recommended this property to many friends and will continue to do so.

You absolutely can not go wrong booking this property and will be very happy you did! Thank you, John!

  • Submitted: Mar 15, 2018
  • Stayed: February 2018
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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  • 5 of 5

We have stayed at Johns home for a weekend the last few years with friends. Every year we walk into the home & forget how gorgeous & comfortable it is. Cannot say enough about this rental. Thank you so much.

  • Submitted: Mar 12, 2018
  • Stayed: March 2018
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Charming getaway

  • 5 of 5

My husband and I went to visit this cabin with our 8 month old son and another couple who have a 10 month old. We have done a winter getaway up north for the last 2 years. This was our first stay at this property and it was a wonderful weekend. Our host was flexible with us around check in times and was responsive. The property was beautiful and the amenities were top notch. We will be back!

  • Submitted: Feb 25, 2018
  • Stayed: February 2018
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Andrew, Family, and Friends, Glad you had a pleasant weekend and enjoyed our home. We will look forward to having you back in the future. John
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Absolutely Perfect In Every Way!

  • 5 of 5

Your home is welcoming, warm, amazingly beautiful, and had every amenity we could have imagined! We are so happy our original plans fell through and we found you at the very last minute! While we were at your home we decided this will be our new girls' weekend destination after a 17 year tradition elsewhere. We are in love, have booked next year, and can not wait to return! Thank you for making this wonderful home available. See you next year!

  • Submitted: Feb 11, 2018
  • Stayed: February 2018
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Picturesque lodging

  • 5 of 5

Our ice fishing group had a great time at the cottage and we really appreciated the winter rates.

The cottage is absolutely gorgeous and very welcoming, with wonderful craftsmanship and beautiful views. Instructions were provided for most of the more advanced tech-driven features (fireplace, TV), though we didn't dare touch the espresso machine.

John does a nice job setting expectations (on the VRBO page and the document he sends) for the sleeping arrangements. The alternating loft steps are steep, but not impossible to traverse. As long as folks read the materials and information provided, there shouldn't be any surprises.

The only real "challenge" was the house was so well stocked with kitchen items (in the numerous storage areas) that it sometimes took us a little time to find what we were looking for. It was a good problem to have.

  • Submitted: Feb 5, 2018
  • Stayed: January 2018
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: A fun, and yet still accurate, critique. Thank you. Hope you caught a mound of fish. You earned them. Last weekend was certainly a cold couple days in the middle of a REAL MN winter!
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Nearest Airport
50 Miles
Nearest Barpub
3 Miles
Nearest Golf
10 Miles
Pine River
Nearest Motorway
1 Miles
MN 87
Nearest Restaurant
2 Miles
Salty Dog
Nearest Ski
25 Miles
Ski Gull
Nearest Beach
10 Metres
At house
Nearest Point of Interest
The Swailes Cabin
Nearest Point of Interest
Paul Bunyan Trail
Nearest Point of Interest
Paul Bunyan Trail
Nearest Point of Interest
Walker Movie Theater
Nearest Point of Interest
Pine River Movie Theater
Nearest Point of Interest
Brainerd Movie Theater
Car: necessary

This beautiful cottage is available year around and was newly constructed in the spring of 2013. The cottage is exceeding well maintained. Interior is clean, uncluttered, and bright with natural light. New features added interior and exterior each year.

Supplied with Old Town Canoe and Lund 14' fishing boat. Outboard motor not supplied but available for rent at nearby commercial locations. Easier still, borrow or rent a motor and bring that one with you. 6 HP or less is preferred. Lake view accessible from dining room, kitchen, sunroom, and livingroom.. Piano for singing together. Fire ring in terraced area with table and chairs. Grill outside or inside. Picnic out while watching the kids swim and the sun set. Roast marshmellows. Walking trail through woods and ponds just behind house. Two miles distance to 80 miles of the Paul Bunyan and Heartland bicycle trails. Paul Bunyan Trail provides access to added 70 miles of Heartland Trail.


Rates & Availability

Taxes and fees are additional

Additional information about rental rates

cleaning added, if less than a six day rental $150
Pet Fee $100
Property Damage Protection $59

All payments are non-refundable. I will provide a full refund of any advance payments if I can re-rent the property for an equal rental fee. If there is a requirement to cancel, letting me know as much in advance as possible is highly advantageous to both you and I.

A cleaning fee of $150 will be charged for stays of less than 6 days.

Weekly rentals only in May - September. All weekly rentals will normally be Saturday to Saturday. I will occasionally rent by less than a week or other than Saturday to Saturday, if still open on short lead time. Ask, if interested.

Any pets, if permitted by owner, will require extra cleaning fee and in some cases a refundable damage deposit

Owner's Cancellation Policy

  • Canceled bookings will not receive a refund

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