Gathered Oaks: Minnesota’s popular breadbasket Airbnb

Originally published on December 29, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota is in the middle of the country and agriculture is a big part of what we do. So what happens when you combine agriculture and Airbnb?

“We love being here in Alexandria. It’s called ‘God’s Country,'” Dave Larson said.

It is also known as ‘lake country’ and, of course, ‘agricultural country’. Evidence can be found on farms in Douglas County.

“There are so many fun things to do. And the countryside is so beautiful,” said Anne Larson.

Added to this scenic countryside is a farm-grown concept so unusual that even farmers are doing a double take.

“I grew up building forts in the woods. It was like my [laughs] funniest thing to do. I should have been an architect,” Anne said.

In a sense, Anne has become one. A few years ago, she and her husband Dave came up with the idea of ​​turning old grain silos into getaway destinations.

“We just decided we had to try something special like this,” Dave said. “These four bins were from Anne’s aunt’s house near their family farm about 15 miles from here.”

The bins are about 90 years old. The Larsons were able to create eight comfortable bedrooms from these four bins. Daughter-in-law Tessa Larson has become an expert on this cylindrical concept.

“Our lower level bedrooms are covered in linens. They’re kind of like a light bluish gray, and then they have like old doors as headboards,” Tessa said.

Grain Bin Airbnb in Douglas County - Explore Minnesota
(credit: CBS)

Like the bins themselves, much of what you see is repurposed with modern equipment. Country atmosphere in a country setting. But it doesn’t look like you’re inside a building that was once used for farming.

“A lot of people say ‘My husband is a farmer, he’s really going to love this!’ said Tessa.

Who says geometry lessons don’t pay off on the road? Builders had their work cut out for them. They are used to working with square floor plans – not this cylinder. This forced them to cultivate new ideas.

“It was really fun watching them work on it. There were times when they kind of cursed us and there were times when they said it was really fun [laughs]!” Dave said.

In the summer, the venue known as Gathered Oaks typically hosts wedding parties, with ceremonies taking place by Little Charlie Lake. An old converted barn is used for receptions. When there is no wedding, guests come from all over for a mini vacation.

“I originally thought it was going to be cold. You know, a grain silo, just a piece of metal. But these are really comfortable, clean, and really nice rooms,” said guest Michelle Venter.

Venter and Ronnelie Grobler are guests from South Africa. When they sent photos home, friends and family were amazed. This is the best guest review the Larsons could receive.

“We love it. It’s so beautiful. The weather is great. There’s so much to do. The people are awesome. It’s just a fun place,” Anne said.

The Larsons said they were very busy when the pandemic hit.

They say Picked oaks is popular in winter because the area is known for ice fishing, snowmobiling and shopping. In addition, there is a cellar nearby.

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