Stay-Cation Ideas: Chaska Mill, The Simple Cottage and Cool Breeze Cottage

Plan a trip without traveling too far.
Sherry Nielsen preps a bed in The Simple Cottage in New Germany

Booking a Group trip doesn’t have to be a big production. Three local venues house large groups for mini-staycations featuring crafts, biking, golfing, shopping, breweries, wineries and more. Plan a small family reunion, a shopping weekend with friends or a golfing retreat.

The Simple Cottage

The mix of clean lines and upcycled vintage aesthetic makes The Simple Cottage in New Germany a great new rental option for weekend getaways. Owner Sherry Nielsen was inspired and intrigued by the Airbnb scene and decided to renovate her primary residence for rentals. Nielsen and her 15-year-old son stay with a local family while their house is in use.

Opened in December, the four-bedroom 1928 bungalow sleeps eight to 10 people and sits near the Dakota bike trails. “It’s definitely a gathering place. It’s cozy and inviting,” says Nielsen, who formerly owned a vintage shop in Waconia and uses her expertise at upcycled décor in adorable and nostalgic accents throughout the space.

She has labeled drawers and shelves so guests can find items easily, and also keeps extra toiletries on hand, as well as popcorn and coffee. “Also, nobody has to clean up, strip the bed or take out the trash after their stay. They’re on vacation, after all,” she adds.

Nielsen added friendly touches to each bedroom such as a small clock, mirror, chair, hooks and a place to put a bag. “These are the small details that make it comfortable when you travel,” she says.

The home rents on the weekends for $500 per night, and $300 weekdays.

The Top of the Mill Event and Retreat Center

Guests love the historic industrial vibe of exposed brick, timber and relics at The Chaska Mill, a three-story building that was a flour and feed mill in the early 1900s. Using her experience attending scrapbooking weekends, owner Krista Flemming outfitted the top floor for events and overnight retreats.

The studio-style loft features 3200 square feet of living and gathering space, sleeps up to 12 people in two bedrooms and has a fully equipped kitchen and dining area. The workspace features large tables with individual craft lighting. It also offers individual cutting boards for scrapbookers, and items quilting groups love, such as irons and felt boards.

“I love scrapbooking, but I didn’t like having to drive three hours away, not have cell service and not have anywhere to eat,” Flemming says. “This makes it still feel like you’re getting away, but in downtown Chaska there’s plenty to do.” Weekend overnight rates are $100 per person, with a minimum of eight people.


(Photo courtesy of Party Crashers Photography)

Cool Breeze Cottage

It’s not all about the ladies, according to Cool Breeze Cottage owner Renae Stuewe. “We have a group doing a guys’ weekend this summer where they are golfing, hitting the lake and the brewery. We are a great location for girls’ and guys’ getaways.”

Built in 1924, the six-bedroom house was fully renovated eight years ago and sleeps 12. Renters enjoy the comforts of a full house with fully loaded kitchen and outdoor grill, as well as an event room that can be set up for crafting, meetings, even yoga classes. “We want it to be comfortable and relaxing,” says Stuewe.

With the growth of Waconia, Stuewe says guests keep coming back to enjoy all the lake activities, local shopping and tour wineries and brewery and distillery. The cottage rents for $708 for Friday, $708 for Saturday, and $150 per day to add on Wednesday or Thursday.


(Photo courtesy of cool breeze cottage)