By Laura Huth
In 1999, Gary and Diane Cole did something many would think crazy: they traveled on a whim to Missouri and bought a Civil War-era cabin covered in asphalt siding and plaster.
After shelling out $1,000 for the somewhat sight-unseen building, they spent four weekends traveling back and forth between Missouri and Illinois to deconstruct and move the cabin.
What they found under the siding and plaster was by all reasonable standards, awesome.
The white oak timber two-story, four-room cabin built by the Jorjenmeier family in the early 1860’s. Transferred to at least four other families in 100 years it was well-loved and lived in over the years. Peeling back the layers decades had added over time, the Cole’s stripped it down to find a glorious cabin that at once showed its age and its splendor.
Back in Illinois, the Cole’s painstakingly rebuilt the cabin on a scenic parcel of their 640 acres near Mattoon-Charleston.
Today, the Osage Inn, named after the river in Missouri the cabin once overlooked, lies nestled in a blend of restored woodland and tallgrass prairie just a stone’s throw from Interstate 57.
The cabin, inside and out, is full of rich history. Its logs tell the story of a time when building was done right and without today’s modern tools. And Diane, an antiques dealer, has outfitted the Inn with truly amazing pieces.
Despite its history and charm, though, the Osage Inn comes with most modern amenities. Antique beds have comfortable mattresses. There’s electricity, heat, and yes, even air conditioning. Howling winds the night of my stay were never detected inside. And built on to the back of the cabin is a small modern wing that houses a fully-equipped kitchen and bathroom.
What you won’t find here is a television or wireless. But with the Inn’s surroundings, this is hardly a drawback. The Cole’s own 640 luscious acres around Osage, including woodland, prairie, ponds for fishing and boating, and hiking trails. The cabin has a porch, gardens, a fire pit, a grill, and a gazebo. This is a place to unplug, relax, and get away.
The cabin has two bedrooms and can comfortably sleep eight, more if floors or camping is involved. Breakfasts are homemade, from scratch bakery items Diane prepares for each guest.
The one-of-a-kind Osage Inn is just an hour from Champaign-Urbana, and is a gem of a getaway for those wanting something truly unique. Head here to unplug and unwind, for that perfect for a romantic weekend, or even for a stay with the kids or friends. So grab a camera, a book, your fishing gear, and some walking shoes and reserve your stay at Osage Inn. Rates are $100-$130/night for two guests ($20 for each additional guest over 9 years of age).
Contact Osage Inn at (217)508-8812 or see http://www.bedandbreakfast.com/illinois-charleston-the-osage-inn.html.