4 bedrooms + den with futon. 2.5 baths. Sleeps 8
About Lee Olivier
Lee and Jonathan live half the year in the San Francisco Bay Area and half the year in Wisconsin. Lee is a retired librarian who grew up in Pittsburgh. Jonathan is a retired community college math teacher originally from Chicago with family in Sauk County.
Lee Olivier purchased this House in 2004
Why Lee Olivier chose Plain
We bought our American Foursquare Wisconsin home in 2004 so we could spend part of each year near our Midwest family. We did extensive remodeling the first year: we designed and replaced the existing kitchen and bathroom, and added an additional bath and a half, as well as the two-level porch. We replaced all the missing woodwork and refinished the hardwood floors. In 2004-2007 we planted almost all the trees and bushes in the yard. In 2015-16 we added insulation and 14 double-pane'd windows, turning the upstairs back porch into a 4-season retreat. Much of the house is original: the woodwork, floors, staircase, doors and hardware, dining room buffet, cut glass windows and front porch. It may look like a stone house but the formed “stones” were made from fine grained cement poured on site by local workmen in 1915. Neighbors tell us that it is a Sears kit house; so far my research has not disproved it. When the house was 100 years old in 2015 we had a little celebration during our summer visit. We added the front sidewalk and fence, as well as the back patio and stone wall. We planted more than 70 trees and shrubs.
What makes this House unique
Relaxation comes naturally in this house: beautiful views from every window give a strong sense of connection to the land and its seasons, terrain and wildlife. Our location overlooks a 750-acre wildlife preserve to the south and our own 2 1/3-acre hillside of climax forest to the west. Our Bear Valley house is spacious enough to have lots of places for folks to gather together, as well as many spaces for those who would like some time alone.
Check-in: 4:00 PM
Check-out: 11:00 AM
Maximum of two dogs
Minimum age of primary renter:25
100% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date. 50% refund if canceled at least 14 days before arrival date.
Very comfortable old farm house, with all the creature comforts of home. Very quiet stay with a nice atmosphere of nature all around.
Beautiful spot, strange issues
Pros: Comfortable king bed, quite firm; good shower upstairs with fluffy towels (didn't use downstairs shower). Kitchen cute and well stocked; needs a cookie sheet :) . FANTASTIC book collection! Bill the caretaker next door was very nice and responsive to the TV issue we had on our evening arrival - satellite was obstructed or jostled by a tree branch, and he got it fixed next morning (we called 9:45 pm Saturday night not expecting immediate help). Gorgeous surroundings for fall color long weekend. close to interesting places, parks, trails; sadly we didn't have time to visit the regional October Art Tour. Area is wonderfully rich in arts and culture and nature . Loved the bird sanctuary out front -- saw a bald eagle watching the creek for fish, & thousands of noisily flocking blackbirds. We visited White Mound County Park near Hilltop - beautiful park around a lake, with trails from easy to hard, and a lovely, short drive. Spring Green is a neat place, and Taliesin, which we've visited in the past, is a must-see.
Cons... Disappointed that several things we looked forward to/counted on did not function: had a TV issue (on our foggy/rainy arrival night when we got in 8:30-ish). Roku could have saved the day, but is not in service - - maybe should be removed from the online amenities list if it's not going to be available. Only one available DVD interested us. Beckoning front porch on a sunny afternoon was rendered unusable by a siege of literally thousands of japanese lady bugs, many of which also died there and on the window screens. Had to sweep them away from the doors. Upstairs back porch stove did not work - would have liked to read out there, especially the evening when TV was not working. In the end, while we thank our hosts for the location and the efforts made, sorry to report a mixed bag for this stay.
I’m always grateful to get feedback from our guests re their stay. I was saddened to learn your stay was such a “mixed bag,” but I could see why. I appreciate your attempt to be balanced in your remarks and for putting the pros before the cons. Yours is our first only 3-star review, so I’m paying careful attention to what you have to say.
1) The ROKU was bought and installed by my techy CA son-in-law. We leave it working, and come back to find it disconnected. I think the problem is that the technology is beyond the rest of us, so we will remove it from the house and from the listing. I would not have put this together without your help, so thanks.
2) There were Asian beetles dying on the porch because the outside of the house was sprayed by our pest control person in early Sept, with the goal of killing the beetles before they get inside the house, which mostly works. The peak of the awfulness is mid-Oct when you were there. And while I hesitate to call it an “Act of God,” there is only so much we can do. There were no beetles on the porch when you got there because we had swept them up before your arrival.
The beetles were brought into the country by US soybean farmers to kill the pests in their fields; now they’re pests for everybody else---they are in a large part of the Midwest/Northeast in mid-Oct. When we bought the house in 2004, we were sweeping them up inside too. You can avoid them if you come earlier or later. Those of us in WI are inured to them after so many years of sweeping up their bodies. Yucky on a couple of levels, huh?
3) When we are in WI, we use the upstairs porch all the time, and the fireplace anytime it gets cold enough to want it. We have all been very distressed by our inability to get the fireplace serviced. In Oct the Richland Center business that we bought it from in 2005 gave us a 4-6 week repair estimate.
The larger problem is that living in a rural area means minimum, but usually, adequate options for a problem like this. The only other fireplace businesses in Sauk county are even further away in Baraboo. I got news today that my pleading worked: they came yesterday and it is fixed---it took three weeks.
To say I’m sorry, and that I hope you’ll give us another try, I’ll give you one rent-free day on a second visit.
Perfect setting for family get together
Love it here!
This was our second time here!
Love everything about the house and area!!💙
A Weekend Retreat
I located this property online last January and began a plan to gather my siblings together for a "retreat." The online communication with the owner was a breeze. Pricing for us was very fair. We searched for an activity for us before we were to check in this past weekend. We went to the Cedar Grove Cheese Factory and were treated royally to a tour-explanation of the cheese making process and the challenges of organic farming and organic cheese making. Plus we were able to buy various cheeses, etc. in their store.
We arrived an hour early at the property but because of the advance instructions we were able to get in and were quickly settled.
The house was large enough for eight of us, all senior citizens, and we easily could access all parts of the living area.
Appliances, technology and all other expected services worked as advertised.
Close enough to restaurants in Plain and Spring Green that we could enjoy the brief rides in the country for dinner.
Check out was well defined and easy for us to comply with.
Yes, we had great time looking at photos and videos, playing games and cards and simply talking about past and present.
In this day and age of rush and hurry it was a blessing for us to simply come together with loved ones.
This house brought back fond memories of my grandparents farm house. We loved the hardwood flooring and the woodwork throughout the home.
The owners were thorough and very accommodating providing all that was necessary for an enjoyable stay. Their attention to details did not go unnoticed. Small details such as a coffee grinder, deck of cards, pads of paper with pencils and pens. Flashlights and so much more. Thank you for being so thoughtful- We enjoyed our stay very much
Ten minutes east is the Cedar Grove Cheese Factory in Plain. Oakwood Fruit Farm is 10 minutes southwest and open in the fall. Twenty minutes north near LaValle is the original Carr Valley Cheese Factory. Ten minutes north on St Hwy 154 is an Amish community with a general store and other shops, plus a summer roadside stand with picked-that-day fruit and veggies.
Area attractions within about a 30-minute drive include: American Players Theater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesen, Unity Chapel and Hillside School, the Spring Green Art Fair, the lower Wisconsin River, Global View, the Fall Art Tour, House on the Rock, Gov. Dodge State Park, Natural Bridge State Park, Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue, and the Mid-Continent Railway Museum. Spring Green is 20 minutes south via County Rd G.
Other area attractions include: Mineral Point, Baraboo, the Circus Museum, the Shoe Box in Black Earth, Devil's Lake State Park, the International Crane Foundation, the Wisconsin Dells, Mt Horeb, New Glarus, Wollersheim Winery, Cave of the Mounds, Dr Evermor's Sculpture Garden, Gays Mills, Kickapoo River, and Viroqua. Madison is 50 minutes east via Hwy 12.