Last weekend Papa Bear and I enjoyed a wonderful getaway at New Sundborn Ranch, a Swedish homestead near Westby, WI owned and operated by Loran Nordgren.
This Scandinavian compound and its 410 surrounding acres are nestled in a deep valley called Runge Hollow, where Loran's nearest neighbors are a full half mile away. Solitude and wildlife abound here.
It was, for me, a dream come true, a dream inspired back in October of 1997 when I pulled from the pages of Country Living Magazine a story about Loran's homestead with a full-color spread featuring his guest house, the Carl Larsson Cottage. These pages went into my "Dream Home Inspirations" binder, which I still have, and still peruse on a regular basis. I have always hoped of adding some Scandinavian details to our own little homestead some day.
Flash forward 14 years to my summer at the Big Farm. Justin has agreed to let me tag along on a farm visit to assess a herd of alpacas, a skill I have not yet acquired. Unbeknownst to me, we are about to enter the New Sundborn ranch. After making our way down the long driveway and coming around a curve almost at the end of it, there it is - the Swedish homestead in all of its glory, on a beautiful, sunny, summer day.
I about died and fell out of the vehicle.
After meeting the alpacas, Loran, after hearing me ramble about saving the magazine article from 14 years earlier, graciously gave us a tour of the main house and guest cottage, explaining how the guest cottage, which sleeps 9-11 people, was now available for rent. My mind started spinning with plans to have the entire family over once we settled in the area.
It was in this 3-story guest cottage that PB and I found ourselves last weekend, a surprise thank-you gift/get-away weekend from Justin, soaking up the colorfully painted woodwork and feeling like we had been transported into a fairy tale.
The cottage had all the amenities visitors would need, including a well-appointed kitchen and 2 1/2 baths, one of which included a digitally controlled shower! (Turns out we like our shower water about 103 degrees).
I wandered around the 3 levels of the cottage, grinning from ear-to-ear and pinching myself, wondering if I really were in a dream.
We had 7 beds to choose from and I was sorely tempted to take one of the colorfully painted alcove beds designed for visiting grandchildren. But in the end we chose the soothing blue bedroom with a view of the pond.
On Saturday morning we were greeted by the sight of wild turkeys grazing the sod runway across the pond from the cottage, near the airplane hangar. After breakfast Loran gave us the keys to his ATV, a John Deer Gator, that we used to explore a few of the many trails running around his property.
The afternoon was spent traveling to visit farms and friends in the area, and we were beat when we returned that evening, just in time to crawl into our nice bed.
Sunday offered us time to greet the alpacas and explore an old logging road by foot, and I always love a good hike. I realized despite a summer of climbing hills on an almost daily basis, I am no longer in condition for hills, and we had to stop several times on our ascent to the ridgetop (the only place it so happens that either of our phones would work - AT&T or Verizon).
All too soon, it was time to pack up and head out. My only regret was that it all went too quickly. I would have loved to do more relaxing and exploring.
But that just means there will be more to enjoy when we return again, which I am certain we will.