Frequently Asked Questions

Use of Charlson Meadows

Q: Can I rent Charlson Meadows for my family reunion, wedding reception, anniversary party, etc.?

A: At this time Charlson Meadows does not accept applications for private use. Charlson Meadows is a nonprofit organization and offers space to other nonprofits and for our programs.

Q: Can I come out for the day and use the property for an individual retreat?

A: Charlson Meadows is not available for day use other than for Charlson Meadows programs or as part of a non-profit organization. Charlson Meadows is private property and not open to the general public.

Q: How many groups will share the facility?

A:  Charlson Meadows values the safe and comforting nature of our buildings and property. Your group will be the only one using the Nancy Nelson Lake House and land. 

Q: Will we have access to the entire property during our time at Charlson Meadows?

A:  Yes! We encourage you to explore and enjoy the many facets of our property including the Life’s Journey sites, trails, beach, and lake access.

Q: If we need something during our stay, who do we contact?

A:  You will usually contact our onsite Caretaker.  That information will be provided to you in advance of your stay.  If the Caretaker is unavailable during your stay, we will ensure that other staff will be available on a 24-hour basis to assist you.

Preparing for a Visit

Q: Do I need to bring any bedding or linens?

A:  All bedding including sheets, blankets, pillows, and towels are provided. You may choose to bring a beach towel should you want to use the beach.

Q: Do I need to bring a hairdryer?

A:  We provide hairdryers in each of the bathrooms.

Q: What do I need to bring for an overnight retreat?

A:  Please plan to bring clothes and footwear appropriate to wear outside as we encourage our guests to explore and enjoy our property. Other helpful items include a journal or notebook, refillable water bottle, bug spray, sunscreen, and toiletries.  Please be sensitive to others and use fragrance free or natural products.

Facility Details

Q: Is Charlson Meadows handicap accessible?

A:  The Nancy Nelson Lake House is handicap accessible including an elevator and a handicap accessible bedroom and bath. Handicap parking is available. Certain areas of the property are not handicap accessible due to natural terrain. Accommodations will be made to the extent possible to allow handicapped guests access to natural areas on the property.

Q: What kitchen amenities are available to use?

A: Kitchen Equipment List:

  • Appliances
    • Fridge and freezer
    • Double ovens (convection or conduction)
    • Microwave
    • Warming drawer
    • Gas cooktop
  • Small appliances
    • Slow cookers (3)
    • Rice cooker
    • Blender
    • Toaster
    • Coffee maker
    • Electric teapot
    • Electric griddle
  • Pots and pans (variety)
  • Knives and cutting boards
  • Mixing bowls
  • Cookie sheets
  • Pizza pans
  • Silverware
  • Plates (Salad, Dinner, Dessert)
  • Soup bowls
  • Dessert bowls
  • Coffee cups
  • Drinking glasses
  • Wine glasses

Q: Is firewood provided for the outdoor fire pits?

A:  Firewood is provided by Charlson Meadows. To help us ensure that invasive species are not spread, please do not bring your own firewood onsite.  Fire starters are also provided.  If you have questions or have concerns, please contact the Caretaker who will be happy to help!

Q: What outdoor amenities are available to use?

A: Spring/Summer/Fall Amenities:

  • Golf Carts (4)
  • Kayaks (5)
  • Canoes (up to 7 available)
  • Life jackets (12)
  • Bicycles and helmets (5)
  • Lawn games:
    • Bocce ball (2)
    • Volleyball
    • Bean bags
    • Croquet
    • Ladderball
  • Fire pits:
    • Nancy Nelson Lake House
    • Chalet
    • Council Point
  • Camp chairs (9)

A: Winter Amenities:

  • Kick sleds (4)
  • Snow shoes (3)

Q: Do you have watercraft available for use?

A:  We do have kayaks and canoes available for guest use. We do not have motor boats or paddle boards available.  All guests must wear a Charlson Meadows-provided life jacket when using kayaks or canoes. Information on Lake Zumbra is provided in the Guest Books located in bedrooms.

Q: Can I bring my own watercraft to Charlson Meadows?

A:   Due to liability and safety concerns, watercraft that is not property of Charlson Meadows is not allowed onsite.

Q: Are the buildings air conditioned?

A:  The Nancy Nelson Lake House and Chalet are air conditioned for your comfort. 

Q: Are there any other recreational uses available?

There are bicycles available for use to enjoy the One Mile Trail. Guests are required to use a Charlson Meadows-provided helmet when using bicycles. We also have a number of lawn games available for use in the garage of the Chalet.  We have a small beach for swimming or relaxing.

We also have winter activities and equipment available such as snowshoes and kick sleds.

Q: I would like to enjoy the trails, but am unable to walk that far. Are there any other options available?

A:  We have golf carts available for groups to use to access the trails and a number of the sites as part of the Life’s Journey. Bicycles are also available for guest use.

Charlson Meadows Led Programs

Q: I registered for a Charlson Meadows program, but will arrive late (or need to leave early), is that okay?

A:  Please discuss this with the Program Director before attending.  Typically, you will receive the most benefit of a program if you can attend the entire day or overnight. If unable to do so, we welcome you to register for a different program that better suites your schedule.

Q: Should I bring my own lunch for a day program?

A:  Please bring your own lunch for Charlson Meadows programs.  We have ample refrigerator space available to store your lunch along with microwaves to heat meals if needed. To reduce waste, we request that you bring a refillable water bottle with you. 

Q: I have special dietary needs, can those be accommodated for the meals included with overnight programs?

A:  We will attempt to accommodate your dietary needs.  All meals are provided by one of our preferred caterers who focus on fresh and nutritious options.

Food for Your Events

Q: Does Charlson Meadows provide food for our programs?

A:  No, Charlson Meadows does not have a commercial kitchen, so you are welcome to bring your own food or use a caterer.

Q: Can we bring in food for our programs?

A:  You are welcome to bring in food for your programs.  You are welcome to use our refrigerators, microwaves, cooktop, and ovens. We also provide slow cookers and an induction cooktop if you need to warm food.

Q: Can we use the kitchen to cook our food?

A:  Your group is welcome to use the kitchen to prepare food.  The group leader will be required to have a tutorial prior to use.  Because it is not a commercial kitchen, we suggest that you limit usage to smaller groups (12 people or less).

Q: Do you have preferred caterers?

A:  We have preferred caterers who have provided meals for our programs and guests.  These caterers meet our high standards for ingredients and selections at a reasonable cost. They are also familiar with our facilities.  We will provide the list of preferred caterers.


Laura Martinek with L & L Catering 612-281-5273

Kowalski's Deli 651-313-6870

Q: Can we use a caterer not on your preferred caterer list?

A:  You are welcome to use your own caterer; however, we do require that they submit a Certificate of Liability and meet with us prior to the event to discuss access and review logistics of the facility.

Q: Do you provide beverages for groups?

A:  We provide coffee, tea, and pitchers of water for your group and for our programs. Your group is also welcome to bring in your own beverages.

Technical Resources

Q: What audio visual aids are available for our use?

A:  The Gathering Room has a TV monitor and iPad with Clickshare software that allows you to connect your presentation to the screen.  There is also a microphone available for speakers.

Q: Can we bring in our own audio visual equipment?

A:  You are welcome to bring in your own audio visual equipment such as flip charts, screens, and projectors.

Q: Is there Wi-fi available?

A:  The Nancy Nelson Lake House and Chalet are equipped with wi-fi throughout the buildings. While we provide this feature for the comfort of our guests, we do suggest that you consider limiting use of technology to better enjoy the natural beauty of Charlson Meadows.

Grounds of Charlson Meadows

Q: How much land does Charlson Meadows own?

A:  Charlson Meadows owns 142 acres with lakeshore on two lakes – Lake Zumbra and Stone Lake. We also have meadows, wetlands, and a wooded area for you to explore.  We will provide your group with maps so you can safely and comfortably enjoy all 142 acres!

Q: What is the property like?

A:  The property has rolling hills and wooded areas along with a beach. There are paved and mowed trails and trails within the woods. There are three labyrinths on the property, each with a different theme and view.

Q: Is there wildlife on the property?

A:  Charlson Meadows is a natural setting with the majority of the property preserved.  We have turkeys, osprey, bald eagles, ducks, geese, hawks, turtles, deer, and the occasional coyote. Please remember these are wild animals and respect their space!