A Safe and FUN Space for LGBTQ+ Vacationers in Cromwell

Photos courtesy of Airbnb
Photos courtesy of Airbnb

This summer, take a break from the fast-paced hullaballoo of the city, and enjoy a peaceful, centering connection with nature, your loved ones, and yourself. There’s no better spot to enjoy all of the lovely natural splendors Minnesota has to offer than Brandon and Derek’s thoughtfully designed Airbnb by the lake.

Derek (he/him) and Brandon (he/him) have been together for a decade now, and absolutely love inviting people to enjoy Cromwell, which they both so adore. Derek, a proud Minnesotan and “closet designer” originally from Cromwell says, “Our comfy and cozy retreat in the North woods is a quiet and relaxing [space]”. He elaborates that it’s a great place “to enjoy the indoor and outdoor spaces,” and says, “Brandon’s inspiration for the cabin was a ‘Love Letter to Minnesota’ and all the fun things that make Minnesota unique.” The two decided to revamp Derek’s childhood home and make it into a welcoming Airbnb after moving back to Cromwell full-time, five years ago. Derek says, “When the opportunity came to buy my childhood home, we jumped on it. I grew up in Cromwell, so I’ve always known this place to be a welcoming and loving small town.” He also adds that it’s “every gay man’s dream to remodel his mother or mother-in-law’s house,” which is just icing on the cake!

Derek explains some of his best-loved amenities of their Airbnb. He says, “We offer 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Our favorite guest amenities include our indoor (electric) and outdoor (traditional wood) saunas. We also offer an 80-foot bridge (that I built with my Dad) to a private island on a pond for a perfect setting to read a book or play cards with some friends. Our unique basement custom speakeasy bar is a perfect place to have a few cocktails or stream a movie or three.” He expands, saying that the pair imported wallpaper from Scotland, installed a bronze-cast custom sink from a “real carved stone vessel” and even “commissioned a 110-year-old grain-eroded wood vanity from local craftsmen.” But that’s not all the unique home has to offer—Derek continues, “We wanted everything in the cabin to tell a story—from the art on the walls to the hidden Scooby Doo-style bookcase door.  We can’t forget about our Vintage Boutique Clothing Closet, too, where our guests have enjoyed shopping from the comfort of their own cabin rental.” The two take great care together to make an incredibly one-of-a-kind space for guests to enjoy. Derek says, “[Brandon] has a background styling celebrities and [as] an interior set designer. He is a Master Gardener and designs gardens at our lake home and Northwoods cabin.” With so much care put into both the inside and outside of the space, there’s no chance you won’t feel special in this woodland oasis, with, as Derek puts it, “a mix of vintage and modern with an appreciation for nature.”

While Derek and Brandon’s Airbnb itself would be plenty of reason to come visit Cromwell, the appeal doesn’t stop there! Their North woods cabin is also near several State Parks, including Jay Cooke, Savannah Portage, Moose Lake, and Banning, and Fond du Lac State Forest. The activity options are endless: riding 4-wheelers, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling are just a few of the many things you can enjoy during your stay. Sax-Zim Bog is a “bird watcher’s heaven” according to Derek, and he says that there is even agate hunting that can be done on their road! With all of these incredible experiences to be had, Derek says, “The ‘Up North’ experience is alive and well!”

Derek and Brandon are proud to host any and all people, and are especially proud to be a safe place for LGBTQ+ vacationers. Derek says, “It’s never been more important that there are safe spaces for LGBTQ+ people!” He shares one of his memories, “We’ve had a minivan full of transgender teens come up from Iowa—they were terrified at first—but they soon relaxed and were excited to explore the Northwoods.” Now more than ever, finding welcoming, accepting places for LBGTQ+ people can be a challenge. In a dangerous political climate, it can seem like the spaces meant for us are dwindling, but Derek and Brandon prove that there are still great places for fun and relaxation out there, specifically geared towards our community. Everyone should get the chance to relax and enjoy a little vacation, and Derek and Brandon provide just that. Derek says, “we knew it was important for us to represent our community and offer a safe space to relax and have some fun for LGBTQ+ people. We are out and proud in our small rural town…so join us with more representation!” It’s sometimes easy to forget, especially if you are coming from the lens of living in a bigger city, how scary and profoundly brave it can be to be proud of your queerness in a small town, but Derek and Brandon are beautiful examples of how good spaces and good people still exist. Derek adds, “I’m also proud that our county and areas vote blue with a progressive and welcoming community and surrounding area.”

Derek and Brandon have worked hard to make their woodland cabin a place for all to enjoy. Check it out this summer, and don’t miss out on the adventure of a lifetime! (Or the relaxation of a lifetime, if that’s more your speed.) Derek says, “We LOVE hosting and sharing our spaces. It’s even a bigger bonus if we can share with our LGBTQ+ family. All our welcome!”

If you want to check out their space, click the link HERE to see their Airbnb page and join the over a hundred people who have found a little slice of heaven in Derek and Brandon’s cozy Cromwell cabin!

5100 Eden Ave, Suite 107 • Edina, MN 55436
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