Xanadu Island Bed & Breakfast and Resort
Table Of Contents
Xanadu Island Resort is a 1920's wooded island estate accessed by a narrow causeway. Xanadu, situated on Elbow (Bass) Lake, the third clearest lake in Otter Tail County, provides peace, quiet and privacy. There is great swimming and fishing for bass, crappie and sunfish just waiting for you at the resort on this private island.
This Minnesota bed and breakfast is located near Battle Lake, Minnesota in Ottertail County. Families and lovers alike enjoy this secluded 1920's five acre island estate. Xanadu Island Bed and Breakfast is a spacious lodge style bed and breakfast which features massive stone fireplaces and five bed and breakfast rooms.
Nestled among the oaks and maples on this Minnesota island are three cottages which were originally servants' quarters. They are now available as a mini resort for that special Minnesota summer family vacation.
About the Owners: Bubba & Margie
For years, Bubba and Margie Shivler have taken vacations staying at bed and breakfasts as a nightly destination during a two week vacation. When pain issues took Margie to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, with time on his hands, Bubba noticed an ad for Xanadu and suggested spending the weekend there. But, during their stay, and learning the B&B was for sale, Bubba decided one visit wasn't enough.
Having previously discussed the possibility of owning a B&B after Bubba's retirement, Bubba decided this was the one! Perfect in every way. Location. Tranquility. On the water. Private. A resort and a B&B. Projects for Bubba. Retirement for Bubba. Putting Margie back to work. Entertaining for both of them. Owning an island. Sharing it with others. Making new friends. And with their vast experiences, it seemed a natural transition.
Bubba is a former architect who retired (the first time) at the age of 40 and moved from his native state of Florida to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. After a few years "in retirement" he opened a chain of barbeque restaurants aptly named Bubba's Barbeque. Serving two terms in the Wyoming state legislature led to a position working with the Governor of Wyoming as Director of the Wyoming School Facilities Commissions, a school construction and maintenance initiative for which he helped write the bill during his term. Wanting to bow out gracefully during the Governor's second term, Bubba purchased Xanadu and he was off to his fourth career!
Margie spent eight years as a home economics and food service teacher, was the Director of the Jackson Hole Senior Center and expanded on her home economics background into interior decorating and sales of home furnishings.
Entertaining comes naturally so running Xanadu is second nature. Having had a steady stream of house guests throughout the years, entertaining friends fits their lifestyle-it's what they've always done.
Bubba and Margie welcome each and every one of you to come and enjoy their Minnesota home with them.
The History of Xanadu Island Bed & Breakfast and Resort
Xanadu Island was built in the 1920's as the summer home of J.C. Jones, a millionaire from St. Louis, Missouri. Jones enjoyed annual fishing trips to Otter Tail County and fell in love with the area.
According to an article in The Fargo Forum, Ed Everts of Battle Lake, who worked for Jones in the 1920's and whose father Fred built Xanadu recalls the following: "I remember the day Mr. J.C. Jones came into my father's lumber company and said he was going to build a little shack out on Bass Lake." says Everts.
"Well nobody around here knew who Mr. Jones was or if he had a cent, for that matter," says Everts. "We didn't hear anything more until a few months later the plans for his `shack' arrived in the mail. Still, nobody knew who he was. My father asked around and a millionaire by the name of P.D.C. Ball, who at one time owned the St. Louis Cardinals, said "Jones is good for the money. Build what he wants. Anything he doesn't pay for, I will."
And the building began.First, a causeway had to be built to the small island, then electric generators were installed, and the outbuildings and servants' quarters were built. The original servants' quarters are now the guest cottages on the property. No expense was spared in building the main house. Douglas fir was brought in from the West Coast for the beams and local field stone was used for the foundation, supporting pillars and massive stone fireplaces.
Once complete, Jones and his wife Clara, who was Clara Morgan of the J.P. Morgan family, enjoyed the property for many summers entertaining other millionaires from around the country.
Legend has it that one such guest went for a swim one day wearing a ring with a diamond the size of a walnut. When she returned to the house, the diamond was gone. Some say she lost it in the lake, but according to Ed Everts, "She said she remembered seeing it when she got out of the water, but by the time she'd walked up the path toward the house the stone was gone. I must have spent three days on my knees looking for that diamond. Never did find it." It has never been found, but looking for it is a popular past-time for guests on the island.
The summer parties at Xanadu during the 1920's and early 1930's had a definite Roaring 20's feel. Nothing stopped the parties during that time. Not even prohibition. Alcohol was hidden in a crawl space under the closet in the master bedroom to make sure it was available for the guests if they wanted it.
Somewhere around 1935, Clara Jones died. Her distraught husband closed the summer house and never returned. The initial grandeur of the island had passed. Only to return again, in the future.
Around 1960, the island was bought. The couple who purchased it, lived in the main house and converted the servants' cottages to summer rentals. In 1995, Janet and Bryan Lonski purchased the island. They not only kept the cottages as rentals but turned the main house into a Bed and Breakfast with 5 rooms including one that was the original master bedroom.
Bubba and Margie Shivler now own the island. They have transformed it into a full Bed & Breakfast and Resort. From the delectable, edible creations they cook; the boats and activities they provide; and their attention to detail with the service they offer, they make their guests feel like the millionaires that once enjoyed being invited and entertained by the Jones's.
Xanadu in the News
Xanadu Island Bed & Breakfast and Resort has frequently been featured in the press. From travel writers to mystery writers, the magic of this island is irresistible
Mpls/St. Paul Magazine June 2011 Best of Summer Edition
says of Xanadu "the days revolve around quiet enjoyment of the wooded grounds, views of the lake, swimming in one of the clearest lakes in the county, and an occasional fishing trip."
Midwest Living July/August 2011
included the resort in its Fancy Islands article that featured island resorts located in the midwest.
Resorts of Minnesota
Exploring the Heritage and History of Minnesota's Family Resorts by Neil E. Johnson dedicates a chapter to the resort's history and the Innkeepers Bubba and Margie Shivler.
Xanadu for Mystery Lovers
For fans of Jess Lourey's comedic mystery June Bug, Xanadu Island is the real Shangri-la island resort featured in the book. While the fictional mystery surrounds stolen gems, moonshining, and murder, history documents a lost diamond and a crawl space under the Master Bedroom closet where booze was kept during prohibition.
Spend a night at Xanadu as part of your excursion into the life of part time reporter, librarian and sleuth - Mira James.
Xanadu's beauty and history have captured the attention of many writers over several years and through a variety of innkeepers.
- Travel Lady Magazine
- Home and Away - AAA Magazine
- Minnesota Skier Magazine
- Minnesota Monthly
- Fargo Forum - Sunday Edition
About Our Accommodations
The original servants quarters have been updated into guest cottages with newly renovated, fully equipped kitchens and bathrooms.
Recent bed and breakfast guests wrote of the peace and tranquility of the place, the history of the island, the exquisite breakfasts, the magical sounds of the loons, the lovely view from the deck, reading, sleeping, talking, dreaming, hot-tubbing, canoeing, boating, exploring so many sweet memories. Come and experience Xanadu Island Bed and Breakfast with your sweetheart.
All cottages have spectacular lake views and grills are available outside each cabin making summer barbeques the favorite dinner choice for our guests. Bring your food and family and a complete vacation awaits.
The bed and breakfast located in the main lodge on Xanadu Island features 5 unique guest rooms, each with its own private, newly remodeled bathroom and either a Jacuzzi jetted tub for two or a fireplace, and, most importantly, a lovely view of Elbow Lake.
Relax, Have Fun and Enjoy Your Stay on Xanadu Island
From fishing and boating to relaxing in the hammock, Xanadu Island Bed & Breakfast and Resort has something for everyone.
Three motor boats are available for fishing or taking a ride around the lake. If you want to add a little exercise to your waterfront fun, try the paddle boat or canoe.
The playground was built in July 2005 by the former owner with help from his grandsons. The part they liked best was climbing the rope and ringing the bell.
The Fire Circle down near the docks is a place to visit with friends, read a book or just watch the kids on the beach.
Fish are abundant in Elbow Lake and each year our guests enjoy catching crappie, sunnies, bass, wahoo and Northern Pike. These two Viet Nam-era friends have been enjoying the fishing at Xanadu Island for more than 25 years. Sunsets are spectacular at Xanadu Island.
Fun Things to Do Near Xanadu Island
If you want to experience more of Minnesota than the fishing, boating, swimming and relaxing that the island amenities provide, there are plenty of things to do in the surrounding area.
There are two local riding stables available for your pleasure. They both feature summer trail rides and winter sleigh rides. Check out the Silver Sage Ranch or the Shady Oaks Riding Stable.
Antique hunting is very big in this area.
Battle Lake is home to the Art of the Lakes, one of the finest small town art galleries in the state of Minnesota. They feature a number of local artists with some very good work in a variety of mediums.
There are very nice 18 golf courses in the area. The regular golfers say they are better than most that they play on, which is a fine tribute to golf in rural Minnesota.
Carlos Creek Winery is home to an orchard full of 7,000 apple trees - not to mention the largest grape vineyard in Minnesota. Enjoy winery tours anytime of the day. Feel free to walk around and tour one of Minnesota's largest purebred Arabian horse facilities. Check it out at Carlos Creek Winery.
10 Reasons to Visit our Island Getaway
- You can rekindle tender romance with your sweetheart
- Learn to communicate again over soft music in the peacefulness that pervades this secluded island estate
- Feel the warmth of romantic fireplaces in the warm fir-paneled rooms that millionaires once called their summer home
- The island is quiet, peaceful and secluded
- The rooms are cozy, inviting, and decorated in classic summer home furnishings
- There is a full breakfast, the kind you think your Grandmother used to make
- The views are wonderful. You can enjoy lake views from every room on the island
- You can drift around the lake in a canoe or kayak and listen to the loons
- You can be very active: fish, swim, boat, play, explore, roast marshmallows or fry your day's catch in the outdoor fire pit, get married, honeymoon, celebrate a special occasion or family reunion, barbeque, make new friends or reconnect with old ones
- You can relax on the deck (or dock), in the hammock or on the floating dock, enjoy the peace and quiet or do absolutely nothing
“We loved it!” -Reviewed June 27, 2011
"Living up to its name we traveled a very narrow causeway to our island retreat in the Central Lakes region of Minnesota. The B & B has stellar scenery and accommodations with a breakfast to top them both. Canoes and fishing boats were available for our use on the good sized lake. The lake was not big enough to interest motor boats but had lots to explore by canoe. From the canoe we got a close up of loons, osprey and herons. From Xandadu's deck overlooking the lake we enjoyed the company of hummingbirds visiting the feeders and pelicans flying overhead. The hosts were wonderful company, we are looking forward to going back." -Marilynn T. Eden Prairie, Minnesota
“Xanadu is Magical” -Reviewed June 2, 2008
"My stay at Xanadu Island B&B and Resort was somewhat unusual because I used it as an alternative to a typical motel stay along Interstate 94 as I traversed from my home in the Twin Cities to and from a wedding in northern Minnesota. I was able to break up my roughly 12 hours of driving time with 2 most delightful and relaxing nights at Xanadu. If you decide to avoid a common highway motel and sojourn instead at Xanadu, it'll cost you only 22 extra miles over decent roads to divert from the Interstate highway and is well worth the diversion."
"The property is an island and lake views await you outside every window. The decorating style in this 1920's era millionaire's summer playground is a charming mix of manly lodge-style and comfortable, casual country. No sissy Victorian style B&B here where a guy's afraid to make any sudden moves for fear of destroying some delicate trinket. And no terrifying dead animal heads hanging around to give a girl nightmares either."
"Xanadu is clearly a fisher person's paradise, where you'll find everything you need save your license & bait and a cooler to transport all your bounty. There are boats (with new motors in '08), convenient docks and a cleaning shed stocked with the equipment you'll need to clean and pack your catch. Elbow Lake abounds with sunfish, crappies, bass, northern pike and offers up the occasional tussle with a walleye. If you're not a fisher person, the home and grounds are filled with comfortable little pockets to curl up with a good book, do some birding or just sit back and enjoy the peace and serenity that surround you. In addition to the fishing boats, there are also canoes and a paddle-boat. The surrounding countryside is dotted with numerous antique stores."
"The home has five tastefully appointed, comfortable sleeping rooms, some with fireplaces and some with whirlpool tubs. The dining room frig was stocked with pop & water and fresh fruit & cookies were always present. Breakfasts in the B&B were wholesome & hearty, served with genuine hospitality and simple country elegance. The former servants' quarters now comprise three self-catering cabins surrounding a children's playground and a fire pit for evening camaraderie."
"From the moment you enter the comfortable lodge-style living room until you walk out the door stuffed with one of Margie's sumptuous breakfasts, you feel very much the pampered guest in a wonderfully gracious and welcoming home. -loveire Minnetonka, Minnesota"
"We have been to several B&B's and Xanadu is by far our favorite. Your hospitality is unsurpassed - you are gracious to all. Interacting with your guests is unusual and welcomed. It comes without saying the food is great - each room is cozy. A true R&R at a great B&B. Thank you" -Bob and Mary Ellen H.
"Ah, Xanadu Island, piece of paradise for anyone desiring peace, relaxation, warm hospitality, and seclusion. We loved our cozy Maid's Cottage."
"If the lakes are the "sequins on the paisley shawl" as Sinclair Lewis would say, then Bubba, Margie and Xanadu are the jewels. Thank you for your hospitality. You are very generous. God bless you in your future and until we meet again." -Tim and Claire S.
"Margie and Bubba, thanks for sharing your beautiful B&B" -Suzanne and Peter
Xanadu Island is about 2.5 hours driving time from the junction of 94 and 494 in Minneapolis.
- Drive west on 94 about 25 miles beyond Alexandria.
- At Exit 77 turn north (right) onto Highway 78
- Continue about 24 miles to Battle Lake
- Turn left at the Dairy Queen onto Holdt St. (County Hwy 83)
- Go about 3.5 miles and turn right at the Xanadu Island B&B Resort sign onto 235th Street
- About 1/2 mile further, turn right at the second Xanadu Island B&B Resort
- Continue until you reach the house
Xanadu is about 1.5 hours from Fargo/Moorhead.
- Drive east on Interstate 94 about 47 miles to Fergus Falls
- At Exit 57, the third exit to Fergus Falls, you will find Highway 210
- Go east on 210 to Battle Lake (about 17 miles)
- At the Amoco Station (junction of 210 and 78) turn left into Battle Lake
- Turn left again across from the Dairy Queen onto Holdt St. (County Hwy 83)
- Go about 3.5 miles turning right at the Xanadu Island B&B Resort sign onto 235th Street
- Going about another 1/2 mile brings you to a second Xanadu Island B&B
- Turn right again and continue until you reach the house