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Journey Inn combines relaxation with the nature of Wisconsin’s west coast

Brett and Jenn Rohweder took over ownership of the inn last June

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April 29, 2024

MAIDEN ROCK – According to Jenn and Brett Rohweder, Journey Inn – a bed and breakfast (B&B) and eco-retreat nestled on 33 acres of nature preserve in West Central Wisconsin – is the perfect place for guests to unplug as they immerse themselves in nature.

And though the couple had never been owners of a B&B before purchasing the property (located at W3671 200th Ave. in Maiden Rock) nearly a year ago, Jenn said it was a career move many years in the making.

Taking the step, making the change

Jenn said before purchasing Journey Inn from previous owners Charlene Torchia and John Huffaker, she and Brett had talked about purchasing a bed and breakfast on and off for about eight years. 

“We poked around and looked at bed and breakfasts for sale,” she said. “There (are) national websites like and”

Though the couple had spent the last 23 years living in Plymouth, Minnesota, Jenn said their initial search radius was mainly focused in Colorado, a place where both their sons lived at some point or another.

“Everything in Colorado was expensive,” she said. “Most of them were fixer-uppers, and they were well into the $2 million to $3 million range.”

In January 2023, Jenn said they began to take their B&B search more seriously – expanding the search radius to include much of the Midwest.

“There was one in Hudson,… (it) was an old Victorian style,” she said. “We didn’t necessarily want that kind of brand, but we were going to go look at it because it was close to where we were.”

To maximize the trip to Hudson, Jenn said she looked to see what else was available around the area they could potentially look at – finding a “ tiny little dot” on the map.

“It said Journey Inn – I had never heard of it,” she said. “I clicked on the dot and opened the website and… it said the Journey Inn was for sale.”

Scrolling through the B&B’s website and seeing all it had to offer, Jenn said, made her “really excited.”

“It talked about all these things Brett and I had always wanted,” she said. “They’re an eco-resort – they built everything with eco-friendly materials. They were self-sustaining. They had solar panels. They had a well and had all this land. (It checked off) all these other boxes we had always talked about.”

After talking more about the property, the Rohweders said they set up a Zoom call with the owners, and then set a time to visit. 

As the pair made the trip out to the inn in late February 2023, Jenn said they joked about how it seemed as if the previous owners “set everything up” by how perfect of a fit the inn was for them.

“A fox ran across the road in front of us, there was a big gaggle of turkeys and we saw no fewer than 100 deer on our drive in,” she laughed. “We were like, ‘they planned all this.’ We pulled into the driveway, got out of the car and it was over from there. It was peaceful, quiet and beautiful.”

In June 2023, the Rohweders said they decided to walk away from their years-long careers – contracting and real estate (Brett) and sales, finance and retail (Jenn) – and make the leap into inn ownership.

Making it their own

The 33-acre property, Jenn said, includes the bed and breakfast, as well as a cottage. 

The B&B features four different rooms to choose from, while the cottage, Brett said, is a vacation rental home equipped with a kitchen, dining area, living room with a wood stove, two bathrooms and two bedrooms.

Nearly immediately after taking ownership of the property, Brett said they made some renovations to make the inn their own.

“We re-did all the bathrooms – all new vanities, some new toilets, painted every wall, all new appliances in the kitchen, all new furnishings and, in each of the rooms, there are brand new king-size beds,” he said. “We touched every surface.”

However, Jenn said there were no structural changes made to either of the buildings. 

“We didn’t move any walls or anything like that,” she said. “(The previous owners) were a little bit more minimalists, and we went more luxury.”

The couple said they also renamed the B&B’s rooms – now called the Forest Room, the Celestial Room, the River Room and the Flora and Fauna Room. 

Renovating the cottage, Jenn said, was “a bit more of an overhaul.”

“We changed a lot in the cottage,” she said. 

To complement the eco-retreat aspect of the inn, Jenn said, Brett built a barrel sauna outside for guests to use as well. 

“We’ve also added a gift shop and a library, too,” she said. 

Numerous amenities

Jenn said guests will never run out of things to do at Journey Inn, no matter the season. 

Those who visit, she said, have access to bikes, snowshoes, beach chairs, yoga mats, meditation cushions and “every yard game you can think of.”

The Rohweders said they want their guests to take advantage of everything the property and surrounding area has to offer.

“We’ve got a little more than a mile of walking paths on our (property), and we’ve got little benches and hammocks all over (that) people can rest in,” she said. “Right across the road is the Morgan Coulee (Prairie), and we show (guests) how to hike up there. We’ve got hiking poles, and we provide natural bug spray and things like that. We try to make sure all the details are taken care of so people don’t have to think about much when they’re here.”

And, because it’s all in the details, Brett said he keeps all the trails mowed and maintained so people can “get a chance to experience nature.” 

There is also a spring-fed stream that runs through the property, which he said “is a nice feature, too.” 

“On the other side of the stream is the other half of our property,” Jenn said. “We were hoping to have cross-country ski trails there this winter, but then we didn’t have any snow. Hopefully, next year we can make that happen.”

As a protected nature habitat (which is designated by the state), she said it’s important for guests to note there is a lot of different wildlife roaming throughout the property.

“There are bears, coyotes and (animals) like that here,” she said. 

For those who looking to venture off the property during their stay, Jenn said they’ve got them covered.

“We’ve got a list of all of the hiking trails around here, all the way over into Minnesota, Redwing, Frontenac State Park and all up and down,” she said. “Then (there’s) also places where people can get kayaks to rent or go on boat rides.”

Additional services, events

The nature and relaxation opportunities, Jenn said, don’t end there. 

While staying at Journey Inn, she said guests have the opportunity to utilize the Japanese soaking tub, which is “a popular service.”

“We fill that tub with about 104-105 degree water,” she said. “It’s a full ritual. We do magnesium flakes and sea salts with essential oils. There’s sea salt candles going and music… it’s a full soaking ritual.”

The tub can fit two people, so Jenn said guests are able to choose whether to do the soak alone or with a partner.

The entire soak lasts 90 minutes, but Jenn said it’s important to note those using the service should not remain in the tub the entire time. 

“A lot of people will soak in the tub and then go into a cold shower to get that rejuvenation,” Brett said. 

The couple said they hope to implement a similar system for the sauna as well.

“We have the sauna outside…,” Jenn said. “Now that it’s coming up on spring, we’re going to put a door in (the spa that will) go out to the sauna. Then people can do cold plunges as well, if they’d like, from the sauna.”

Jenn said the inn also offers magnesium foot soaks, which can be done either in the guest’s room or the center room.

“That is a cedar tub – we do liquid magnesium with the salts and then essential oils, (guests) get to pick their scents,” she said. “Then we do a warm blanket and a lavender neck wrap, and usually a sleep mask. Those are popular as well.”

Magnesium, Jenn said, is great for helping anxiety, digestion, sciatic pain and any type of arthritic pain.

For those who enjoy yoga, she said that’s an option as well with Kristina Ahern at Santosha Springs Yoga, which is located nearby.

“If we set up ahead of time, she’ll come do a private session with our guests,” Jenn said. “We’ve done that a few times.”

For Journey Inn’s wellness retreats – which she said are popular among guests – they will send the entire group down to the studio.

“(Kristina) is amazing,” she said. “It’s like a yogi yoga – it’s not your YMCA yoga. There’s Vedic chanting and everything. It’s an intense, cool yoga, and she meets everybody at their level and where they’re at with their practice.”

Jenn said Journey Inn started offering women’s wellness retreats this past winter.

“We’ve been trying to encourage that,” she said. “Brett does a guided hike on the Coulee on each one of those retreats, so that’s a big deal. Most of the women will do that with him.”

Other activities during the wellness retreats include facials, aromatherapy and acupressure. 

Creating community

Becoming B&B owners, Jenn said, is a leap she and Brett did not have to do alone, thanks to the little community surrounding Journey Inn.

“John and Charlene, the previous owners, they parceled off 13 acres of the original property and they’re building down the road from us, so they’re still here,” she said. “They’ve become family to us. And then Kristina lives at the end of the road – she’s got three horses. Our other neighbors have a bunch of Longhorn steers. All of our guests love that full integration of everybody.”

For example, Jenn said, Charlene still comes and guides the inn’s aromatherapy and acupressure classes.

Before opening, the Rohweders said they also made an effort to get out and meet as many of the people and business owners in the area as they could.

“We’ve made a lot of friends in the community,” Jenn said. “We had an open house last summer to invite as many neighbors and business owners as we could to meet everybody, and it’s been great. People have been welcoming.”

She said they have also been able to build great relationships with inn guests. 

“We usually get a lot of hugs from people,” she said. “People tell us we make them feel like family, and that’s what we want.”

Jenn said their Australian Shepherd, Fiona, is also a fan favorite at the inn.

“She’s a big deal here,” she laughed. “She will go for walks with people – (they) love her here.”

A peaceful future

As the Rohweders come up on their first-year anniversary as owners of Journey Inn, Jenn said, “it feels like it keeps ramping up.”

“I don’t think either one of us has any regrets,” she said. “I think we both feel like we wish we would have been here five to 10 years ago – like this is where we should have been.”

Though there have been learning curves to being owners of the B&B – such as learning what works and what doesn’t with social media –  Jenn said “it doesn’t feel like work.”

“I bet I talked to 100 innkeepers up and down the Mississippi River – I took a college course on how to run an inn and read every book I could get my hands on,” she said. “Everybody said it’s so much work, and every book I read said ‘don’t do it.’ It doesn’t feel like work… We’ve been cooking and cleaning up after people for 30 years with our kids, and the people here appreciate it.”

Brett said their long-term goal is to run the inn for 15 years.

“And then looking at either retiring here – definitely in the area for sure if we end up selling the property – or maybe parcel off to John and Charlene,” he said. 

To learn more about the eco-retreat, visit

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