A Peaceful Hideaway
Rental cabins offer a get-away without going far away
By Les O’Dell
When Kurt and Pamela Wollert leave their busy lives in Chicago to vacation in downstate Illinois, they can choose from a variety of overnight accommodations. Choices include campgrounds, motels, hotels and bed-and-breakfasts. But the Wollerts, like many other travelers in Illinois, often select lodging that features aspects of all three—a rental cabin.
Rental cabins comprise a fast-growing segment of the Illinois hospitality sector. Featuring the rustic feel of camping, the uniqueness of bed-and-breakfasts and all the amenities of motels, cabins come in a variety of sizes and are growing in popularity throughout Illinois.
Brian and Carrie Davis of Carbondale enjoy the view from a rental cabin porch at Cabin on the Hill near Carbondale.
“Cabins are just so personable and quaint,” Pamela Wollert says. “They’re usually already uniquely furnished, the housekeeping is impeccable and cabins are so family oriented. We absolutely love them.”
Sherry Vidinich, owner of Hickory Hideway Cabins near Shannon in Carroll County, says there are cabins offering something for everyone. “We have 12 cabins ranging from units with kitchenettes to rustic getaways to romantic luxuries.”
Vindinich’s cabins, like many similar accommodations across the state, offer a variety of amenity packages. Some cabins are very basic, like fancy camping according to Vidinich, while others offer full amenities including air conditioning, satellite television and barbecue grills. Others even go so far as to offer chilled wine, king-size beds and hot tubs. Most will accommodate four or more people, while some will sleep as many as 10.
Many are located near state parks, hiking trails, lakes or other attractions. Practically all of them offer something unique in their particular location.
Nauvoo Log Cabins in Hancock County is owner David Hardle’s collection of actual cabins built in the 1800s around the country. Hardle has disassembled the cabins, brought them to Nauvoo for reassembly in a small village setting and then modernized the cabins.
“The cabins are very popular with history buffs who visit our area, because they’re a little more authentic to what were originally here in Nauvoo,” Hardle says.
Many cabins, like Bluff Cabins located near Savanna in Carroll County, offer convenient access to popular hunting and fishing spots. Guests at Cabin on the Hill near Carbondale in Egyptian Electric Cooperative’s service area of Jackson County can visit the horses, turkeys, goats and other animals in the barnyard located a short stroll from their cabin.
Most of all, cabin owners believe that their facilities offer one thing that can’t be found with traditional overnight lodging — lots of privacy. Cabin on the Hill owner Jill Fager says, “When people get here, they realize they like being out in the country.”
Todd England of Bluff Cabins agrees. “I think people choose cabins because we have everything ready for them, but once they check in it’s like being in an individual home. They can do what they want and we leave them alone.”
Southern Illinois Electric Cooperative member Dixie Dart, who owns Rim Rock’s Dogwood Cabins near Elizabethtown in Hardin County, says it’s not uncommon for people to come and relax by doing nothing in particular. Dart says, “We recently had a family of five that stayed for a weekend. Most of the time they just stayed at the cabin, doing things like sitting on the porch, roasting hotdogs, looking at the stars and just enjoying being in the woods.”
Many cabin owners report that guests have included residents of major metropolitan areas including Chicago and St. Louis. England reports that visitors to Bluff Cabins regularly come from other states including Wisconsin, Michigan and Nebraska. International guests are not uncommon, either.
Not all cabin-goers, however, are long-distance travelers. Many cabin guests are people looking to “get away from it all” without getting too far away. Vindinich says that nearly 70 percent of her guests travel less than 100 miles to stay.
Carbondale resident Kelly Wicoff, who has spent several nights at Cabin on the Hill located less than 10 miles from her home, says her family appreciates having a retreat destination so close.
“It’s nice to have such a peaceful place to spend family time,” she says. “It feels like it’s really far away, yet it’s so close.”
Cabin owners say that once couples or families spend time in one of the cabins, they’re likely to return. Many of the cabins now accept reservations as much as a year in advance, according to Fager, and units are usually booked solid during spring, summer and fall. Often a family will visit once and then bring their friends when they return the next year.
“The biggest complaint I hear is that people regret they didn’t book enough days,” Hardle says. “One of our guests recently said that during his two week vacation, he spent one night in one of our cabins. He said the cabin was the most enjoyable place he stayed during the whole trip.”
For the Wollerts, who live and work amidst the tempo and tensions of downtown Chicago, a weekend at a cabin is a welcome switch.
“It’s so nice getting away to somewhere that’s quiet.” Wollert adds, “It’s absolutely a change of pace.”
Cabins Available For Rent In Illinois
Cobden: The Cabin at Mountain Glen 618-833-5807 www.winetrailcabins.com
Eddyville: The Hideout Cabin 618-942-3880
Ipava: Lost Pelican Cabin 309-251-8600
Nauvoo: Nauvoo Log Cabins 217-453-9000 www.nauvoologcabins.com
Mulberry Grove: Bear Grove Cabins 618-267-7243 www.beargrovecabins.com
Oquawka: Deerwood Cabins 309-867-3031 www.deerwoodcabins.com
Pleasant Hill: Miller Cabin 800-499-7938
Rockwood: Country Cabins 800-817-7350 www.countryviewcabins.com
Shannon: Hickory Hideaway 866-333-1333 www.hickoryhideaway.com
Stockton: Indian Springs Lodge 815-745-3437 www.indianspringslodge.com
Sullivan: Coyote Cabins 217-728-7150 www.coyotecabins.com
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