Malone's Guest House
A couple years ago, when Greg and Mary Malone bought the land across from their farmstead five miles southwest of Wadena, they faced a choice.
Should they tear down the old farm house or fix it up?
The couple chose to turn the two-story five bedroom country house into a vacation rental, which they named "Malone's Guest House.".
"It's a bed and breakfast - without the breakfast," Greg explained with a chuckle.
Although guests have to make all of their own meals, the brood of hens in a close-at-hand coop are just about ready to start laying "complimentary fresh eggs," he said.
The hens - along with the open fields, woodlands and three rippling creeks - make for a pastoral scene. Wild turkeys roam freely and the occasional Amish buggy passes by on the gravel road.
"We really want this to be a refuge for people - a peaceful place for people to come and stay," Greg said.
The Malones have lived together in this setting for four decades. Greg's even more familiar. He grew up a quarter mile down the road. These days, Greg farms corn and soybeans, while raising a few head of cattle.
When the couple acquired the old country house, it was already in pretty good shape on the outside, but the Malones completely remodeled the interior last year one room at a time. They installed air conditioning, put in a second bathroom and spruced up the original wood floors.
Nicole, one of the Malones' five daughters, played the role of lead decorator. She snapped photos of farm artifacts found on the property and hung them in each room. She also found antique furniture and old hardcover classics to place throughout the house.
So far, Mary said, no one's complained about the lack of cable television or internet access.
Guests are more likely to spend time around a bonfire or head across the road to Bluff Creek, where there's a swimming hole - and pleasant hiking opportunities.
"You can't do that at a hotel," Greg said.
The Malones hosted their first visitors last winter. Most so far have been from out of state, in town for weddings, funerals or family reunions. Last weekend, a family from Washington state rented the property.
Malone's Guest House fills a vacation rental void, the couple said.
"We're the only Wadena people (on vrbo.com)," said Greg, referring to the Vacation Rentals by Owner website the Malones use to book guests..
The house has been pretty popular in its first full season, with weekends booked through the end of July. And judging by the unanimous five-star reviews - "cuter than a bug's ear," one wrote - on the website, it's been well received, too.
There are still some midweek nights available as well as weekends later in the season. A single night costs $200, while a three-night minimum stay goes for $150 per night. For booking information - and to see more photos, visit http://www.vrbo.com/499182#.