When writer R.D. Zimmerman and architect Lars Peterssen need a getaway from their busy lives in Minneapolis, they drive 40 miles to the Wisconsin side of the St. Croix River, then take a 125-foot tram ride down to their weekend home on the water.
“You glide through the woods,” said Zimmerman, author of “The Kitchen Boy,” a New York Times bestseller, and other mysteries, thrillers and children’s books. “It’s so close to town, yet when you get there, it’s like being up in Canada.”
They discovered the place in 1991 after Peterssen, principal of Peterssen/Keller Architecture, drew a circle around their city home to mark the one-hour maximum he was willing to drive to a getaway retreat.
Their real estate agent showed them a property south of Hudson, Wis. Peterssen recalls walking the path from the bluff down to the river, with a regional park on the other side — not another house in sight — and announcing, “We’re buying this.”
“This,” at the time, was a one-bedroom fishing cabin built in the early 1900s, and near it a two-bedroom bunkhouse, set on 2 acres.
Over the years, the couple expanded their retreat, ultimately creating a 5.9-acre oasis with 300 feet of river frontage. They bought a ramshackle third cabin that they tore to the floorboards and rebuilt, including adding a sleeping loft. Another parcel came with a 6,000-square-foot pole shed with an apartment, including bath and kitchenette.
All combined, they can comfortably sleep nine or 10. There’s also a level area near the shed — potentially a buildable site for a year-round home, Peterssen noted.
The couple made many improvements to the main cabin, including new hickory cabinets, a wood-burning stove with rustic mantel in the old stone fireplace, a steel-framed ipe wood deck, and a brand-new kitchen with quartz countertops and a walnut-topped bar.
Peterssen and Zimmerman have enjoyed recharging on the river and hosting gatherings, including a wedding where the guests sipped champagne during the tram ride.
But the couple is now ready to spend more time at a home they recently bought in Mexico. “Being warm in wintertime is taking precedence,” said Peterssen.
Jeanette Kunz of Lakes Area Realty, 715-441-2804, has the listing.