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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)

Special for Christmas holiday 2017. Christmas stay is still available!! Reserve now. $800 plus VRBO fee for six day period of Friday night through Wednesday night.

December weekends are mostly full. January weekends are all full. Limited January mid-week days are available.

Take your sweetheart on a weekend getaway. Weekends just before and just after Valentine’s Day are open in February 2018. $450 for a two day weekend or $560 for a three day weekend all fees included.

Overall winter 2017/2018 special!! $400 plus VRBO fee for any 2 day period and $500 plus VRBO fee for three day period, including weekends. $800 plus VRBO fee for any 7 day period. 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. Extra charges for major Holiday periods.

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

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 in July or August 2018.

Delightful 3 bedroom - 2 bath year around home. Interior and exterior details are updated every year.

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 special for family meal prep and relaxed gourmet meals 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.

Private dock with 3000 lb covered boat lift.

Supplied with Old Town canoe and Lund 14' 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 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 HomeAway partner has demonstrated and is committed to fast response times, the best rates, and a great traveler experience.

Speaks: english, spanish
Response time:
Within an hour
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
January 21, 2018

About John Swailes

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

Like to 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 65 years. Family on this lake for 95 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 all 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 and are now well prepared to do so, when the time is appropriate.

What makes this cottage unique

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

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

House is all new in 2013. Roomy 3 bedroom and two bath cottage. Full laundry. Full living area with separate 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 commerical 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 has ensuite bathroom. Sleeping loft has areas for children or adult guests. Spent four years designing and preparing to build this. Corrected all of the flaws in the previous home and then some.


Backus Cottage Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • cottage
  • Guests provide their own meals
Floor Area:
  • 2200 sq. ft.
House Rules:
  • Max. occupancy: 10
  • Minimum Age Limit for Renters ...
  • pets considered ...
  • children welcome ...
  • non smoking only ...
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 -
(51 traveler reviews)

98% Complete
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Four Season Cottage is Small Enough to be Romantic and Large Enough for a Family
average rating of 4.980392 based on 51 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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Beautiful Winter get away

  • 5 of 5

The cabin is beautiful and comfortable. This was the second year we have stayed here, no matter how cold it was out side, it was always warm and comfortable inside. Kitchen is second to none, great entertainment center. Enjoyed watching the Vikings beat the Saints with 7 seconds left to advance to the NFC championship. If any little issues do come up during your stay, the owner is very quick to address the situation.

  • Submitted: Jan 19, 2018
  • Stayed: January 2018
  • Source: HomeAway
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Wonderful cabin

  • 5 of 5

Very well kept cabin. Awesome kitchen and layout, lots of high end details.

  • Submitted: Jan 7, 2018
  • Stayed: January 2018
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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  • 5 of 5

This place is perfect! If you love to cook...this is the place! Beautiful views and trails. So peaceful and private. We look forward to coming back again and again. John, made sure that we were taken care of. Is quick to respond with answers to any questions. I would recommend to anyone!

  • Submitted: Dec 3, 2017
  • Stayed: November 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you Missy for the kind review. Look forward to having you again. There are three other groups of ladies that come for a long weekend or a week henerally in the spring and fall.
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Perfect retreat

  • 5 of 5

Beautiful home; perfect for a Thanksgiving retreat away from the Twin Cities. The gourmet kitchen and baby grand piano were the two most popular features. We will definitely be back!

  • Submitted: Nov 27, 2017
  • Stayed: November 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Our 25th Anniversary getaway...

  • 5 of 5

This cottage is designed so well. The huge kitchen allowed me to make two great meals there; it is a gourmet cook's delight. We had our best friends there and they love kicking through the trails and all the leaves. I appreciate that John allows us to bring our dogs, since they are family to us and it wouldn't be fun without them. We are very conscientious pet owners who travel with a mini-shampooer, extra rugs and towels and blankets and sticky lint brushes for hair (just in case-but we've never had accidents anywhere yet). Many owners won't even consider allowing us to rent from them; we have rescues and we would be homebound if it weren't for thoughtful, considerate people who give us the benefit of the doubt. Our time there seems to fly by too fast! We never do anything in the area but walk and look at the view. We are hoping to go back next year!

  • Submitted: Oct 22, 2017
  • Stayed: October 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Great having you. Yes. Too short a time.
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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

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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