Country Retreat provides stay on historic area farm for a single night or an extended getaway


Jan. 24, 2018

The exterior of the Country retreat is seen on Tuesday afternoon in Germantown. The bed and breakfast on a portion of a farm homestead from 1847 opened in December 2016.
John Ehlke/Daily News

GERMANTOWN — A cozy retreat for a single night, weekend or extended getaway in Washington County is closer than you think. Matt and Laura Schmitz opened The Country Retreat on the historic Knetzger Family Farm in December 2016.

“We’ve had positive results and great comments from those who have stayed here over the past year. Many have said it’s like coming back to a home rather than to a hotel,” said Laura. “We were booked more than 75 percent of the time during the first year.”

Matt said the farm, which has been homesteaded since 1842, was exactly what they were looking for.

“There is the log home and then two later additions to the home that are not constructed of logs,” Matt said. “We purchased the home in 2016 after we were married in February. It wasn’t built for a retreat. We renovated it to make it useable for that purpose.

“For us it was an opportunity. We had this place that had the additional space. The layout was such with a minimal amount of remodeling we were able to make half of the house into this private retreat,” Matt said. “It is enjoyable to share what we have here with other people. Part of it is the experience.”

One of the two additions of the house was renovated for use as the extended stay space. That section of the house is about 15 years old and can be used by as many as seven people at a time. They have had a family of five stay for about three weeks.

“We have the newer amenities there that they need, however we have furnished it to look a little more historic and we still have the ambiance that they are out on the old historic farm,” Laura said. “We tell people to just ‘bring their groceries’ because that’s really about all that you need to stay here. They cook their own meals. If they want to meet with us that’s great, but we want to allow people that privacy. If they want to be alone that’s great, too.”

The couple said the people who stay at The Country Retreat are able to walk the property. “We have a lot of people who just wander around the 10 acres we live on,” Laura said.

Matt said they want visitors to really have a farm experience.

“We have chickens and other stuff around here that helps provide the feeling. We also have eggs now and again,” Matt said. “It’s the peaceful, small hobby farm kind of experience.”

Laura said the couple married in February 2016 and came back from the wedding and began looking for the right historical property so they could begin their dream.

“We grabbed a Washington County map and drove all around on the weekends scouring the county looking for a fieldstone home or a log home,” Laura said. “We just wanted something old and beautiful that we could refinish and this was a dream running into something like this.”

Matt said once they found the right location it took about three “intensive” months to renovate the house so they could open for business.

Matt and Laura said The Country Retreat is close to many attractions, ideal for couples, families, girls weekends or business travel.

“People visit the local areas including the Kettle Moraine and Milwaukee,” Matt said. “We have people that just come up from Chicago for a stay.”

Laura said they’ve had several business travelers.

“We’ve do have one business traveler who will stay one day a week,” Laura said. “He will come from Madison.

“We knew we wanted to be on a historic property,” Laura said. “This is just one of those bucket list dreams that happened a lot faster than we expected.”