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Cozy retreat

Lori Scharlau, owner and operator of Creative Cottage Quilting and Crafting Retreat in Black River Falls, stands by the fireplace in the crafting retreat. The crafting center is observing its fourth year as a place where quilters and other crafters can get together to work on their projects.

There’s a special vacation hideaway located right on Main Street in Black River Falls. The Creative Cottage Quilting and Crafting Retreat at 1014 Main has been offering crafters a home-away-from-home for four years now.

The retreat is owned and operated by Lori Scharlau and her husband, Jim, providing a homey atmosphere to quilters, knitters, scrapbookers and others wanting a place where they can focus on their crafts and other projects.

“We get more scrapbookers than quilters,” Scharlau said. “There was one woman staying here who worked on her bills. She needed a place where she wouldn’t be interrupted.”

Some guests have driven six hours to spend a weekend or longer at the former Louis Gardipee home. Crafters come from as far as Wisconsin’s North Shore, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.

These staying at the home include groups of friends who share a passion for creating or family members getting together for a reunion.

“There’s nothing so revitalizing than a weekend with girlfriends,” Scharlau said. “There are fewer distractions and you can just leave your mess out.”

She tells the story of a group of scrapbookers who came to the retreat in a crewcab pickup towing a trailer packed with supplies for their stay.

When they initially bought the house as an investment property, the Scharlaus thought about renting the craftsman style home. But after Scharlau enjoyed stays at crafting retreats elsewhere, she suggested to her husband they renovate the house for that purpose.

Licensed as a hotel, the retreat has sleeping accommodations for five on the main flood and five on the second level. Guests are generally self-sufficient. “I meet them (guests) and then leave them alone,” she said.

Its home-like setting has a large work room with 10 five-foot work tables.

In addition to a full kitchen and baths, house also has heating and central air conditioning, a den with cable TV, Wi-Fi and gas fireplace, a full kitchen and a backyard equipped with a charcoal grill.

Located in a quiet neighborhood, the retreat offers off-street parking for three to five vehicles as well as on-street parking.

A quilter herself, Scharlaw has handcrafted the coverlets placed on all the beds.

When guests need a break from their projects, they can enjoy the recreational activities available in and around Black River Falls. Those include the parks and walking trail, aquatic center, stores and others attractions a short drive away.

“People come to Black River Falls because of the retreat,” Scharlau said.

Scharlau has used the retreat herself for staycations. When she wants some time away from the couple’s farm, she will stay at the house and become a “tourist” in her hometown.

“When I’ve stayed here, I go to the shops and stores downtown,” Scharlau said. “I’ve even gone walking on the (Foundation) trail.”

Groups reserving the house for the minimum two-night stay are limited to a maximum of 10. The Creative Cottage offers special rates during weekdays and summer months.

The crafting retreat’s website is located at www.creativecottagebrf.com. Information or reservations can be made by calling 715-299-5057.

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