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The Coolest Places To Stay Warm This Winter

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Inside of a Hidden Valley Ranch cabin at Eureka Springs.
Inside of a Hidden Valley Ranch cabin at Eureka Springs.
    Cabin at Buffalo Outdoor Center, Ponca
Cabin at Buffalo Outdoor Center, Ponca
Cabin at Lake Catherine State Park
Cabin at Lake Catherine State Park
     Mt. Nebo State Park cabin
Mt. Nebo State Park cabin
Hidden Valley Ranch, Eureka Springs
Hidden Valley Ranch, Eureka Springs
December 18, 2001

The Coolest Places To Stay Warm This Winter
By Jill M. Rohrbach, travel writer
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

When the cold wind blows and old man winter takes control of the outdoor thermostat there's only one thing to do -- curl up in the warmth of a cozy cabin. And it's only natural that The Natural State offers a wide variety of cabins, each a memorable spot for a winter getaway.

Creating memories can be as simple as the brisk outdoor air and a walk through the woods while squirrels and birds scurry for food, or the warmth of a crackling fire spent cuddling with a loved one or with family playing games.

While all Arkansas cabins offer beautiful surroundings and outdoor recreation, each is also unique in its own way, whether located on a mountaintop, by a river or on a lake.

Hilltop Havens

Mountain retreats provide the perfect place to refresh and renew the spirit, and the Ozark Mountains in northern Arkansas are a number one destination for cabin rentals. Hilly terrain and clear streams provide beautiful backdrops for hikes, wildlife watching or just for sitting back and taking in the view.

The Spirit Mountain Lodge and Cabins in Ozark is situated on 250 acres of meadows and woodlands. At Spirit Mountain, guests can unwind with a massage by a certified master therapist or be mesmerized by bonfires the lodge claims as the largest in the state. At Hidden Valley Guest Ranch in Eureka Springs, themed, rustic log cabins lie high on a secluded mountainside and offer hot tubs for two. In Mount Judea Tatanka Timbers invites guests to own a mountain for a week, and the breathtaking vista from Tatanka is touted as the "Grand Canyon of the Ozarks." The panoramic view of the White River from atop a high bluff is what draws people to Happy Lonesome Log Cabins in Calico Rock, which is secluded on 250 acres of forestland.

Other Ozark cabins worth checking out feature specialties in addition to their cozy accommodations. Patrons at the Buffalo Outdoor Center in Ponca can take hot air balloon rides over the Buffalo National River, and Tall Pine Horse Resort in Norfork offers guided horseback rides on premiere trails.

Riverside Respites

Watching the fog roll in and hearing the flow of rippling water can make a riverfront cabin the perfect escape. A river location can stimulate all the senses while still providing a tranquil atmosphere. It also lends itself to fishing, which is great year-round in Arkansas.

At River Hideaway in Heber Springs guests can enjoy the luxury of a snug log cabin located 20 feet from the banks of the Little Red River, a world-renowned trout-fishing stream. Also on the Little Red, is Lindsey's Rainbow Resort, home to 44 cabins (many with fireplaces and hot tubs), boat rentals, guided fishing services, and a restaurant (open after Feb. 13). For diehard fishermen, Gaston's White River Resort near Mountain Home, is tough to beat. The resort offers numerous cabins, a rustic restaurant overlooking the river, boat rentals, guide services, a game room, walking trails and more to ensure a trip with as little or much to do as desired.

Buffalo River Outfitters in St. Joe prides itself on spacious cabins and plenty of outdoor recreation to make it a complete weekend getaway or vacation destination. In Caddo Gap, River's Edge Bed and Breakfast claims the ultimate Ouachita Mountain experience on the Caddo River and boasts a country gourmet breakfast. Riverside Cabins in Murfreesboro offers rustic cabins on the banks of the Little Missouri River, which is ideal for trout fishing during cooler months, and located near Lake Greeson, which is known for great striper fishing in the winter. Visitors also enjoy playing with the proprietor's pet squirrel, "Splat." No phones or televisions make it a definite "getaway."

Lakeshore Lodging

The lure of the lake is a view spreading out from the calm water lapping at the shore and the numerous outdoor activities available. It's nature at its best, and the perfect playground for a retreat. Winter months on Arkansas lakes are also popular for eagle watching when hundreds of bald eagles migrate to the lake areas.

An abundance of deer and wild turkeys frequently join visitors at the Ventris Trail's End Resort in Garfield. The cedar log cabins are located on 20 beautiful wooded acres on the shores of Beaver Lake. This destination offers cabins with large wrap-around decks and a covered boat dock. Also in Garfield, accommodations at Whispering Hills Cabins are luxuriously furnished. Each cabin contains a spa, porch swings, fireplaces and a large deck with a view of Beaver Lake. On Norfork Lake, 101's Place coddles guests with modern stone cottages nestled in large hardwoods. At Lake Ouachita, Crystal Springs Resort offers numerous amenities in addition to lakefront cabins, including a full-service marina with a bait and gift shop, and a restaurant. This complete family resort is located on 72 acres of wooded, rolling hills nestled in a protected cove of the largest lake in Arkansas.

Lake Ouachita is also home to Mountain Harbor Resort, which features ideal log cabins on hills overlooking the lake, a marina and restaurant (open after Feb. 6), horseback riding, and, most notably, the surrounding beauty of the Ouachita Mountains.

Several Arkansas State Parks have fully furnished cabins, and to learn about the accommodations at Lake Ouachita, Lake Catherine, Lake Chicot, Mt. Nebo, Petit Jean, Devil's Den, Crowley's Ridge and Village Creek state parks, visit www.ArkansasStateParks.com.

Across Arkansas, cabin owners offer unique resources for those looking for a romantic getaway, vacation, family reunion or the perfect spot for a wedding or honeymoon. More information on Arkansas cabins can be found in the attractions, lodging and dining guide of www.Arkansas.com.

Most cabin rates are between $55 and $150 per day, depending on the location and amenities offered.

Cool Cabins Locator

In the Ozarks:

*Spirit Mountain Lodge, Ozark. Directions: Located 16 miles north if I-40 on Hwy. 23 near the Mulberry River. (501) 667-1919. www.spiritmountainlodge.com
*Hidden Valley Guest Ranch, Eureka Springs. Directions: Located on Hidden Valley Ranch Road, five minutes west of Eureka Springs off U.S. 62. (888) 443-3368. www.hiddenvalleyguestranch.com
*Tatanka Timbers, Mount Judea. Directions: Off Hwy. 74, four miles from Mt. Judea on Tatanka Trails. (877) 828-2652. www.tatankatimbers.com
*Happy Lonesome Log Cabins, Calico Rock. Directions: Located off Hwy. 5 between Calico Rock and Mountain View. (870) 297-8764. www.bbonline.com/ar/hlcabins
*Buffalo Outdoor Center, Ponca. Directions: Located in Ponca on Hwy. 43. (800) 221-5514. www.buffaloriver.com
*Tall Pine Horse Resort, Norfork. Directions: Located two and a half miles south of Norfork off Hwy. 5. For reservations, (870) 499-7574. For trail ride information, (870) 499-7413. www.trailriding.net

On the River:

*Lindsey's Rainbow Resort, Heber Springs. Directions: Located on Rainbow Road, three miles north of Heber Springs off Hwy. 25. (800) 305-8790. www.lindseysresort.com
*Gaston's White River Resort, Lake View. Directions: Off Hwy. 178 on Powerhouse Rd., two miles south of the Bull Shoals Dam. (870) 431-5202. www.gastons.com
*River Hideaway, Little Red River. Directions: Located 10 miles south of downtown Heber Springs off Hwy. 337. (800) 848-6046 or (501) 362-9988. www.riverhideawayhebersprings.com
*Buffalo River Outfitters, St. Joe. Directions: Located on U.S. 65. (800) 582-2244. www.buffalorivercabins.com
*River's Edge B & B, Caddo Gap. Directions: Located in the Ouachita National Forest at Highways 8 and 240. (800) 756-4864. www.RiversedgeBnB.com
*Riverside Cabins, Murfreesboro. Directions: Located just below Narrows Dam on Hwy. 19. (870) 285-2255. www.riversidecabins.com

On the Lake:

*Ventris Trails End Resort, Beaver Lake. Directions: From U.S. 62 at Garfield (between Rogers and Eureka Springs), take Hwy. 127 south toward Lost Bridge. Just past the "Across the Creek Restaurant" turn right on Ventris Road. Go 6.3 miles to Trails End Road. (501) 359-3912 or (501) 359-3497. www.beaverlakeresorts.com
*Whispering Hills, Beaver Lake. Directions: From U.S. 62 at Garfield (between Rogers and Eureka Springs) take Hwy. 127 south. After traveling 5.3 miles turn right on Slate Gap Road. Travel 3.4 miles and then turn left on Whispering Hills Road. (888) 694-4773. www.beaverlakecabins.com
*101's Place and 101's Boat Dock, Norfork Lake. Directions: In Howard's Cove just off Hwy. 101. (870) 467-5252. www.101boatdock.com
*Crystal Springs Resort, Lake Ouachita. Directions: Located 15 miles west of Hot Springs off U.S. 270. (501) 991-3361. www.crystalspringsresort.com
*Mountain Harbor Resort, Lake Ouachita. Directions: Located 25 miles west of Hot Springs off U.S. 270. (870) 867-1200 or (800) 832-2276. www.mountainharborresort.com


Submitted by the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism
One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201, (501) 682-7606
E-mail: info@arkansas.com

May be used without permission. Credit line is appreciated:
"Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism"