Our Dream

Charlene & John

Charlene & John

Overlook from the north bluff hill.

Overlook from the north bluff hill.

Journey Inn, an eco-retreat officially opened in June, 2006, but was many years in the making.

The owners, John Huffaker and Charlene Torchia, met in 1992. Early on they shared their dreams for a future that included their visions of an ideal personal lifestyle and professional work environment. Charlene, a massage therapist and co-owner of Lifeforce Massage Studio in  Minneapolis, envisioned a spa-like healing center where clients could relax and renew through bodywork and other services. Following sessions, they could rest and integrate their experience, instead of having to jump back into their daily world. John, a Minnesota psychologist and practicing psychotherapist, had imagined a healing center in a beautiful natural setting that would employ a multi-disciplinary team of psychotherapists, body workers and others committed to a body-mind healing orientation.

John and Charlene forged their dreams into a single vision that has evolved into Journey Inn, an eco-retreat and EarthSky BodyMind Center. Weaving together the elemental energies of earth, air, fire and water with the needs of body, mind, spirit and emotion, they have created healing environments that accommodate guests’ needs for rest, retreat and renewal. 

The Journey Inn shown with Wildflowers

During the design and build process, the two researched natural building, feng shui, and non-toxic materials. They drove many back roads in Western Wisconsin looking for a building site that would be ideal for a passive solar design, maximum quiet and privacy, as well as good access to the Twin Cities and other urban centers.

Seven years later, in 2003, they discovered their dream land in the diverse and highly creative Lake Pepin community and purchased its 66 acres of prairie, hilly woodland, and creek.  They worked for three years with town, county and state officials on zoning and building issues. After finding designers and work crews, John and Charlene were off on a year-long journey of building their home and eco-retreat, which culminated in the grand opening July, 2006.


The Journey Inn Experience

The experience at Journey Inn is restful and revitalizing, combining elements of a B&B, retreat center and spa. Elegant simplicity, privacy and creature comforts make Journey Inn a unique destination to enjoy nature and reconnect with yourself and others.  If you wish a more private getaway, the nearby two-bedroom cottage is available for individuals, couples, families and small groups for two-night or more rentals.

John and Charlene hope that their dream supports yours, and that Journey Inn, an eco-retreat can be a renewing place for you as your personal journey unfolds.

what we offer

Green Features

Solar hot water collectors for under-floor heat.

Solar hot water collectors for under-floor heat.


Journey Inn, an eco-retreat was designed with an environmental, healthy-home focus.  We continue to run our business with the health of the environment and people in mind.

•  Passive solar siting & design
•  In-floor hydronic heating
•  Under-floor hydronic space & hot water heating, supplied by 24 solar hot water collectors
•  Concrete floors throughout for heat retention (naturally stained)
•  Wood building materials from managed forests (some FSC certified)
•  No or low voc latex paints, varnishes, adhesives, sealers
•  Natural Bioshield clay paint
•  American Clay earthen plasters
•  Homemade earthen plasters
•  Formaldehyde-free fiberglass insulation
•  Energy Star appliances
•  Ceiling fans for cooling, energy star
•  High efficiency windows (Energy Star rated)
•  Air exchange system for clean indoor air quality (winter use)
•  Natural beds – pure grow wool, organic cotton, and natural latex
•  Homemade, non-toxic cleaning products
•  Amenities include: organic and local soaps, hair-care and room spray
•  Organic sheets and towels, wool pillows
•  Local and organic food & beverages served
•  Native landscaping and prairie restoration
•  Composting

Come to enjoy these features and more:

•  Three nature-inspired guest rooms for overnight stays
•  Each guest room has private patio/deck and separate entrances
•  Organic whole-food breakfast and brunch
•  Nature trails and labyrinth are on Journey Inn grounds
•  Dark night skies
•  Biking, hiking, snowshoeing, birding, running, star gazing - bikes and snowshoes available upon request.

The Lake Pepin area:

Lake Pepin, Wisconsin.

Lake Pepin, Wisconsin.


Located three miles from the Great River Road on the Mississippi River at Lake Pepin, Journey Inn is one hour from St Paul, Minnesota. It is nestled in a “coulee”, a small valley with a spring-fed creek, situated across the street from the Morgan Coulee State Natural Area. Sixty-six acres of land provide guests with hiking trails, snowshoeing, a seven-circuit labyrinth for meditative walking and a two-acre prairie restoration. The local towns of Maiden Rock, Stockholm, Pepin are teeming with creative shops and restaurants. It's a short jaunt to the towns of Red Wing, Ellsworth, Nelson and Wabasha for many other unique adventures.

We look forward to your weekend B&B or Cottage stay.