Listing of the Week: Garrison Keillor's log retreat

Radio host and his son turned Swedish settlers' cabins into modern-day homes. The Wisconsin woods helped the writer appreciate winter.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Nov 11, 2011 1:10PM

Do you want to live at Lake Wobegon, where you can ice-fish in the winter and enter tomato-growing competitions in the summer?

You can't, of course, really live at Lake Wobegon, Minn., which comes from "Prairie Home Companion" creator Garrison Keillor's imagination.


You can, however, buy the riverfront compound where Keillor used to live and did some of his writing. The four-building compound, nestled in 11 acres of woods, has a certain rustic Lake Woebegonlike quality. Asking price is $995,000.

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The compound isn't in Minnesota, however, but along the St. Croix River in Wisconsin, about an hour from Minneapolis-St. Paul.Courtesy of

The property includes a main log home, a log guest house, a studio and a writer's cottage. The main house and guest house were reassembled by Keillor and his son, Jason, from three Swedish settlers' cabins on the property.


Keillor bought the property in the early 1990s, planning to live there permanently, he told The Star-Tribune of Minneapolis. "It was a whole country life that I imagined," he told the newspaper. "Then I woke up here this summer and realized I was not going to live there."

The radio host, 69, divides his time between a home in St. Paul and a place in New York City. His son Jason Keillor, wife Tiffany Hanssen and their two sons, 9 and 11, have been living on the property, but now that the sons are older, the family wants to live closer to the city.

If you like the log-cabin look, modernized for today, this might be your kind of place. The photos show wood floors, wood cathedral ceilings, built-ins, decks and a big clay tennis court. In keeping with the Scandinavian heritage of the area, it also has saunas.


Keillor says that living in the woods helped him appreciate winter. He told The Star-Tribune:

"Whenever it snowed it was beautiful beyond words. It really was. I remember walking down the long driveway with the snow falling, with cast members from New York, and it was like a scene out of a Russian novel with the snow falling and people in long coats with their arms around each other. There's nothing like having a little piece of woods to really experience fall, winter and spring."
Nov 12, 2011 11:26AM
Garrison Keiller and the two Italian brothers from Boston(Tappet Bros.?) are wonderful radio  weekend entertainments.  I am grateful for both programs. Thank you very much NPR for these delightful programs. These are the best investments of our tax dollars that I can think of.  I mean this sincerely.   Now about your MN property for sale Garrison...  How much did you pay for it originally?  What is the present appraised value? In today's market if you get near what you paid for it, be thankful baby!  
Nov 12, 2011 11:15AM
He should donate it to Jared Allen's Wonded Warrior's Project. 
Nov 12, 2011 10:29AM

I have listened to Garrison for almost 30 years.  He's entertaining.  Living in the woods in the winter has to be experienced to be enjoyed.  I lived in the mountains and had snow on the ground from Nov. to Mar 31.  The mailbox was a mile away (as close as the mail person cared to venture) and you didn't go down the road unless it was necessary. The dead silence was nice and the only sound was the wind coming down the mountain and the snow falling off the trees.  There were no tire tracks to mar the beauty of the virgin snow. Deer and wild turkeys were plentiful. It's not a life for everyone as some people are too soft the live it.  I'll take it over a high rise in the city any day.  I look out on 11 acres of hardwood and right now the beauty rivals that of the northeast in autumn.


Land here in the mountains that went for $500 an acre in the W's now goes for $30,000 an acre with eager buyers.  It's all in what you want.

Nov 12, 2011 9:52AM
Some pretty bitter people posting here.
Bitter? No, idiots, yes. Some jerk even thumbs downed a comment about enjoying growing up in the north woods. How much more asinine can someone be? Attention seekers, the lot of them and it worked. I went from enjoying the article to shaking my head at stupidity.
Nov 12, 2011 8:54AM

Log-cabin for sale,  Garrison Keillor happens to be the owner and is looking for a buyer.  I like his show and look forward to each one, it provides exposure to diverse entertainers both new and old, music from several genres, and does not take itself too seriously.  Nothing I like about the show will change the location, closet space, number of bathrooms, or storage space in the log-cabin.  I hope to hear a story on how the sale of the cabin went  after the conversation returns to the point at hand; owner seeks buyer for log-cabin.      

Nov 12, 2011 8:41AM
It's sad that people don't see the Garrison and others like Michael Moore are indeed the apparently hated 1%.  As a result, it's a wealthy person selling a cabin.  Not sure why this is news?
Nov 12, 2011 8:41AM
i have always love listing to him and his stories  pray he enjoys the rest of his life
Nov 12, 2011 8:32AM
I loved growing-up in the north woods and am glad to be going back for Thanksgiving.  The winter day does change your view, even if only for a bit.
Nov 12, 2011 7:57AM

Enough of the hate and political stuff already. The man is a gifted story teller that is enjoyable to listen to for some. If you don't like the show, don't listen. The world has too many anger filled comments and too many jerks willing to spread them around.

Cut the guy some slack, I hope someday you get to be old and have a enough success that some young brainless jerk has envy for. Equality for the masses sounds great until you see that not everyone pulls his own weight and you get tired of pulling his load too.

Have a nice day anyway.

Nov 12, 2011 7:52AM

I invite those of you who must fill this world with hate to go to the northwoods to learn the art of listening.  The deep silence of a winter day closes your mouth and opens your eyes to a wonder beyond the endless babbling.  The steely silence of ice on the lake and "not one alike" snowflakes touching your eyelashes awakens a deeper life you have yet to live.  In this season of Thanksgiving, I am thankful I was born and raised in the northwoods.  How about you?

Nov 12, 2011 7:27AM
I agree with Aeolus, a simple article about a famous personality selling his house leads to a bunch of hate comments, mostly political.  You haters all need to get together at a local coffee shop for haters and spew your crap to each other and stay off the internet.  Better yet, meet in a dumpster in an alley somewhere, your mind is there already; may as well join it.
Nov 12, 2011 7:10AM
Some pretty bitter people posting here. I don't believe there is one place I can go on the Internet where someone who hates anything and anyone liberal isn't posting some kind of clap-trap, as if any of us are interested in their uninformed opinions. I go to the NFL site, and every big mouth with an internet connection feels they have to post about Tebow, Christians, and Tebow-haters. I open my email and get urban legend garbage about how the Democrats are stealing our Social Security and allowing illegal immigrants to steal our lawns. Grandma used to say, "If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything."  Jesus Christ on a Cracker, people. Get a freaking life. Get a hobby. Something positive. Volunteer. Do something productive. And leave the discussions to people who really want to discuss something--not just post hateful things.
Nov 12, 2011 7:02AM
are they selling a cabin or the name
Nov 12, 2011 6:14AM
$995K+.  Just plain folk,  Maybe Michael Moore will buy it with pocket change.   And perhaps with some of the sale proceeds Keillor can get a decent set of dentures so that I don't have to continue listening to him whistling his s's. (I could enjoy Writer's Almanac once again.)  But maybe that comes with the employment-for-life-barring-political-incorrectness deals at NPR (Carl Kassell, Dan Shorr, etc.).  NPR and all these talented folk are great, but maybe someone could open a window now and then and let in some talented fresh air (no pun) now and then.  Give more smart youngins a chance.  I won't even start on "Wait don't tell me!" aka "Dead Air."
Nov 12, 2011 5:50AM
They all keep talking the talk, while the States are closing down the Parks because of lack of money.  Now they are selling and moving to a Bigger Park.  Central Park.  Unfortunately most of us realize as we age that we can't intelligently stay in the sub zero climate of northern Minnesota/Wisconsin if we have an out.  The old bones just don't like the creeping cold that filters in thru everything.  To wake up in the morning and go out on the front porch and stick your hand to the 30 below zero temp door knob.  Now thats the experience of a lifetime.
Nov 12, 2011 4:43AM
For me, that would be a lovely place to visit for a week, but I'll keep living in Florida. In MN snow comes all winter every year, but hurricanes only come once in awhile.
I was born in St. Paul,  MN.  For many years, I resented what I felt was Garrison Keillor's  privileged arrogance.  But I started listening to "A Prairie Home Companion,"  and I came to understand that he's an OK guy.  He's had better opportunities than I've had, but that's not his fault.   My wife, a college professor, had never heard of him.  I took her to his live show in Tucson, AZ and she loved him.  At some point in time, we must make peace with ourselves.  Luck to all!  ;-)  
Nov 12, 2011 4:10AM
His program is enjoyable, he promotes poetry and seems to have a measured approach to his political satire, people that would take offense should really get a life. So we are going to return to things said about Vietnam? Really?
Nov 12, 2011 3:43AM
Garrison Keillor's imagination was beyond compare and I was fortunate enough to have shared some of his experiences.  I worked as a forester for Champion Timberlands in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Not many people have seen a beaver build its dam with utmost determination, a doe gently guiding its fawns through the woods, or a black bear clumsily pondering its next move.  Yes, these are the wonders of the forest and Garrison had a true appreciation of what nature can provide.  In the winter, fell an old hard maple (what we foresters call a cull) and build a fire.  Melt some snow for drinking water and pick off some small game with a 22.  Next, get a book on dendrology and learn how how to identify each and every one of those "same dead trees" by its bark only.  Guess what?  All of a sudden, the forest becomes rather interesting even during the dead of winter.  CCM
Nov 12, 2011 3:41AM
the man has done some good in his day but, like many liberals, he has a blind spot IMHO.  just keep supporting Obama types and the great days are over for his ilk.  for freedom and liberty and all that sets the USA apart from the rest of the world.  how is it that such talented people can be so shallow, otherwise?  it forever amazes me.

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