Trout River Log Cabin and Decorah House are operated by us, Paul Cutting and Nathan Thompson. In 2007 we began disassembling and reconstructing pioneer-era Nowegian-American log buildings. Over the past decade we've reconstructed many log buildings, including two others that sit on Paul's parents farmstead. In October 2021 we closed out our ninth season operating the cabin.
Paul is an industrial arts high school teacher and Nathan works at a local land use planning organization. Paul's parents Craig and Ellen are retired and spend lots of time on the farm.
Q & A
How many years have you been operating the cabin as an overnight rental? Decorah House?
2022 will be our tenth year running the cabin and our fifth year with Decorah House. Yikes, time flies.
Do you live on the farm?
We spend our time between the farm and our place in Decorah. We spend our summers on the farm and are around most days. You'll also meet Paul's dad Craig who is out most every day tending to his heard of cattle, mowing, tinkering with his bees, and caring for the many buildings.
What is your "philosophy" as hosts?
The time you spend at the cabin is your own. We go out of our way to make sure the cabin is ready to go, is super clean, and inviting. Most people show up wanting to disconnect from it all, and we encourage you to do so. We leave most interactions up to the person staying. If you want to stop by the big house to say hi, please do so. But alternatively if you want to chill and savor your own time, that's perfectly fine, too.
So, the cabin looks small. Elaborate.
You're correct, it's tiny. The house measures 17'x18' and is two stories. Everything is tight and compact, but also surprisingly functional. Downstairs is the kitchen/living room and half bath. Upstairs is the bedroom and shower. Yes, the shower is not in the bathroom. The steps to the upstairs are curved and steep, so please be careful. If you're looking to spread out, this definitely isn't the place.
You say "farm". What is that?
Our farming activities have gotten smaller and smaller as the years have gone on. Until last year we had pigs, goats, sheep, chickens and cows. Today we're down to a heard of Belted Galloway cattle, bees and seasonal chickens. Some of the ground is hayed by a neighbor who owns a small organic dairy. And the rest is enrolled into conservation reserve as prairie. The rural economy of Iowa has changed greatly since the 1980s. Despite not being a "working farm" in the traditional sense, we think we've done a commendable job.
What do you mean by the cabin being rustic?
The cabin is 160 years old and sits in the country. There are bugs and long grass. The house is quirky, has resident crickets in the late summer months, and has steep steps. If you're willing to put up with all that, you're in for a super relaxing and worthwhile time. The cabin has a super efficient mini split heat pump for heating and AC. There is a wood stove, but we ask guests to not use it. Thanks for understanding.
What about the Decorah House, you live downstairs?
Yes, it's a big house. We live downstairs below the second floor rental. We wake up early and go to be early and are fairly quiet and ask those staying above us to be conscious of this.
Have another question? Shoot us an email.