September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

A country getaway

Reuters manage White Deer Lodge in addition to dairy operation
The White Deer Lodge is a house the Reuters built on their farm in 2006. The Reuters said people can rent it for a “country getaway.” (photo by Krista M. Sheehan)
The White Deer Lodge is a house the Reuters built on their farm in 2006. The Reuters said people can rent it for a “country getaway.” (photo by Krista M. Sheehan)

By By Krista M. Sheehan- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

ARCADIA, Wis. - Every fall, Roger and Michelle Reuter's house turns into a hotel-like setting.
"During hunting season we were everyone's best friend," said Roger, whose family owns 400 acres of woods in Buffalo County in Wisconsin. "We had hunters sleeping on the floor in the sun parlor and in the living room."
To solve the space issue, the Reuters built a second home on their land. They now own and manage the White Deer Lodge, which they call a "country getaway."
In addition to the lodge, the Reuters milk 60 cows on their organic dairy near Arcadia, Wis. Roger and Michelle's children, Matt and LaTonia, work on the farm with Roger, and they also employ Michelle's brother, Mike Kouba. Michelle works off the farm in addition to the work she does with the lodge.
"We thought about it for 10 years before we actually built it," Michelle said about the lodge.
Their initial idea was to build a small hunting "shack," Roger said. But then their idea grew.
"We thought if we were going to invest in this, we should make it bigger so we could rent it out year round," Michelle said.
They had a backup plan in case the lodge didn't turn out like they hoped.
"Since we're out in the boonies ... we thought if it doesn't rent out it will be our retirement home. We built it nicer than our current house," Michelle said.
But the country atmosphere has been a draw to the lodge since they finished building it in 2006. Although it was originally intended to be a hunting lodge, hunters now occupy the lodge only a few weeks of the year.
"Hunters are our slimmest clientele," Michelle said.
The lodge has been a place for honeymoons, ladies nights and family gatherings. It has also been the site of weddings and engagements.
"It has really taken off. We have tons of repeat customers," Michelle said.
The Reuters said there are many reasons other than hunting why people stay at the lodge - to enjoy the wildlife, scenery, peacefulness, stars, quiet and each other. There are also area wineries and small towns with shops to visit.
"People just want to get away from their busy lives," Roger said.
Even people from different parts of the country and from around the world are looking to the lodge to "get away." Visitors have come from Texas, California, Illinois, Florida, Scotland and Ireland.
The lodge has a basement, main floor and loft area that totals almost 2,500 square feet. It can sleep up to 10 people with two queen beds in the two bedrooms, two queen sofa sleepers and one queen futon in the loft. There are three bathrooms and a full-size kitchen.
"We take pride in keeping it clean," Michelle said.
"And Michelle did all the decorating," Roger said.
Antlers hang above doorways and a picture of a white deer taken from one of the windows at the lodge hangs on the wall. There are five albino deer in their valley.
"That's how we named the lodge. That's a huge attraction," Roger said.
Materials used to build the lodge are sentimental to the Reuter family. Some of the wood used to hold up the loft and for the floors is from trees Roger planted with his dad on their farm. They also have a rock wall taken from the original barn, which was heavily damaged in a tornado in 1991.
Their weekly schedules are intertwined with both lodge work and farm life, creating a crammed schedule.
"We get up at 4 a.m. and go to bed at 8 p.m.," Michelle said. "We have a routine and get into a frame of mind."
Every so often, the Reuters plan a vacation for their own "get away."
"It really helps keep us going throughout the year," Roger said.
Roger is the third generation on his family's farm. In 2005, the farm became certified organic. His vet had recommended it to him 10 years prior since the practices on the farm were nearly organic already.
"I was one of the few farmers in the area to use little penicillin, graze cattle, and not use insecticides," Roger said. "With my vet's recommendation and a lot of thought we decided it was the thing to do. The transition was hard but it was well worth it."
Most of the Reuters' herd is Milking Shorthorn and Holstein cross.
"They're a better grazer," Roger said.
They alternate every 1.5 years putting a Shorthorn bull with the herd and a Holstein bull.
"I don't want full bloodlines," Roger said.
In addition to the cows, the Reuters also have 750 acres of land. Of the 400 acres of wooded land, the Reuters have rented out 300 and keep the rest for the family to hunt.
For the future, Roger and Michelle plan to phase out of the dairy, with the possibility of the next generation taking over; however, they plan to keep the lodge going.
For more information about the lodge, visit the Web site,[[In-content Ad]]


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