My favorite type of place to stay when not in a big city is next to a moving river. I love the peaceful sound of flowing water.
Many cottages and cabins are available for rental on rivers like the Ohio, the Mississippi, or—on this trip—the Piankatank River, Becky’s Creek, Bluff Creek and even the Black Lagoon! It is so appealing to listen to the water flow and watch the boats pass. I also enjoy a small swiftly moving stream as it cascades across the stones along its path. The closer to the water, the more private and secluded, the better.
Many of the spaces that I have visited are in small neighborhoods. But so long as the space by the river is quiet and private, it is a peaceful sanctuary to me. Such are the places I picked for a month-long road trip to movie conventions (for my husband’s work) in Kentucky and Pennsylvania. It was quite a journey through different climates and terrain. There were plenty of great river front properties all along the way. All of these retreats were available through Airbnb or Vrbo.
River’s Edge, Louisville, Kentucky
We stayed at this unique and stylish house on the Ohio River, a few miles east of Louisville. The long, rather narrow building is designed to maximize the view of the river. Virtually the entire wall that faces the river is floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors. Thus, either on the patio or in the living space, we could watch life on the river pass by. To the west is the city and skyline which you can see in the distance from the private deck right next to the river.
Nearby are many places to dine, including a few great places along the river east of the house. There are unique sites like Churchill Downs, the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, as well as other good museums and a delightful historic old town. We explored the historic Cave Hill cemetery which contains many impressive headstones and monuments, as well as the graves of Muhammad Ali and Colonel Sanders.
The location has all the amenities for a pleasant stay. It is an open concept design with classic and contemporary touches. The house felt secluded though nearby are President Zachary Taylor’s home and other historic houses. It was an excellent place to relax and take in the ambiance of Louisville without the traffic downtown.
Huttonsville, West Virginia
This spacious cabin is on a rhythmically meandering creek near Kambrabow State Park, and on the edge of Monongahela National Park .
It is a very fine, isolated retreat with a large outdoor area where you can cook, lie by the fire or enjoy the hot tub. The interior kitchen is well equipped, and the living area and bedrooms are very comfortable. There is a firepit and bench right next to the river.
The setting here is extremely quiet It is a great place to unwind and enjoy nature. The creek runs along the entire span of the property. We spent an evening in the hot tub under the stars with no interference from the outside world, accompanied only by the sound of the creek and a large variety of birds. If you enjoy fishing the stream is loaded with trout. You could not wish for a more scenic view or remote cabin without close neighbors that is near enough to town to enjoy good restaurants.
There is no TV reception or internet due to all of the trees- but several large TVs are connected to DVD players, with a large library of DVDs (though bring your own, for your tastes may not match what’s available–my husband’ s suggestion- as he is not a nature guy). He did find the patio couch a pleasant space to relax and fall asleep to the sounds of the rolling creek.
It is a blissful place that we hope to return to in the fall.
Neither my husband or I had ever been to historic Williamsburg, and decided to see it on the Eastern leg of our road trip. Accommodations in Williamsburg are expensive and crowded so we retreated to a vacation rental north of Gloucester, Virginia on the Piankatank River.
Beautiful views from the riverside patio, and a private dock. There is a fire pit off the patio with plenty of wood. The house is spacious and fully equipped and furnished, with fresh, colorful, comfortable furnishings. There is cozy screened in porch where I spent most of the evenings.
There was a small scenic bit of driving to get to the sites (Williamsburg, Jamestown, Plantation tour, Yorktown), but we were quite happy with the compromise for price and seclusion with plenty of space.
The Lodge at Wakulla Springs, Florida
Wakulla Springs is a state park, about 30 miles south of Tallahassee, Florida. The Lodge is in the park. We originally went there a few years ago to see where exterior scenes of Creature from the Black Lagoon were filmed in 1953. We fell in love with the place, and now stay there whenever we are near.
The Lodge has a vintage feel. The lobby decor is from the 1920s, and is delightful to lounge in. At the far end, near the gift shop, is also a rather large, preserved alligator under glass.
The rooms are simple, and—typical of the era—smaller than most hotels. No television.
Walking the grounds around the lodge is quite pleasant. The treat of the visit is the “jungle cruise” around the lake. It seems a primordial world, just like the Black Lagoon. We spotted three manatees during our cruise.
The Lodge has only 27 rooms, and the only nearby place to dine is the Lodge’s restaurant. So, reservations to stay and to eat are necessary.
The Lodge does not make a big deal out of being the location site for a classic monster movie. A framed poster in a hallway is the only hint.
Twisted Run Retreat on Bluff Creek, Vancleave, Mississippi
This cabin is nestled in a wooded area in southern Mississippi. There is another, larger house about 50 yards away, as well as other rentals on the property. During our stay, however, we saw no one, and enjoyed the privacy.
The cabin has two mirror-image bedrooms, two mirror-image bathrooms, and a large living area/kitchen. Quite comfortable and spacious, with beautiful wood finishes and an open concept design. The WIFI is reliable, and there is Netflix on the TV.
The prime feature of the cabin is the wrap-around, screened-in porch. We sat there, watching the sunset through the trees while a fire burned in the outdoor pit.
Modest dining and take-out choices are about a 10-minute drive away. The Mississippi Gulf Coast is about 30-minute drive.
Arrive before dark, because finding the cabin can be tricky.
We thoroughly enjoyed our waterfront retreats and plan to revisit several of them in the fall to see the change of seasons.