Upscale Log Cabin Nestled in Cook Forest Wilderness
Within northwestern Pennsylvania’s Cook Forest, an 8,500-acre swath of old growth trees stand tall, so dark and densely packed that they’re often referred to as the “Black Forest of Pennsylvania.” Tucked away in the wilderness, surrounded by white pine and Eastern hemlock trees, is the Gateway Lodge Resort & Spa. The log cabin inn incorporates the woodsy environs into its aesthetic, with a timber wraparound porch, exposed beams in the great room, and a pool table supported by carved wood.
The cabin-inspired luxury suites are rustic and elegant, with in-room jacuzzis, gas fireplaces, and private outdoor balconies equipped with pairs of Adirondack chairs. When you wake up, head to the lodge’s attached fine-dining restaurant for a complimentary breakfast. Choose from dishes such as whole-grain buttermilk pancakes, crepes, and fried eggs.
The eatery is also open for dinner—Executive Chef John Georgvich practices a farm-to-table philosophy, using high-quality meats and produce to craft entrees such as cider-brined Berkshire pork chops and wild Pacific salmon. Be sure to pair with some vino, as the restaurant’s extensive wine list has earned it a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for the past three years.
The onsite Woods Spa offers Aveda products and services, such as a 30-minute head-and-foot massage ($45) and a therapeutic Stress-Fix massage ($85+), which uses Aveda aromas to help diffuse tension.
Cooksburg, Pennsylvania: Outdoor Recreation within Expansive Old-Growth Forest
A small town in northwestern Pennsylvania, Cooksburg borders the Cook Forest State Park and its groves of ancient trees. In milder weather, hikers take to more than 30 miles of trails that weave throughout the old-growth forest. Head to the Cook Forest Fire Tower, an 80-foot-tall structure that dates back to 1929, for an aerial view above the treetops—and a peek at the Gateway Lodge, the only building visible from that vantage point. You can fish for trout in the nearby Clarion River, or float the waterway in a canoe, kayak, or inner tube.
There’s also plenty to do when the forest floor is blanketed with snow—the town has more than 10 acres of sledding slopes, three cross-country ski trails, and a lighted ice-skating pond, run by local snowmen.
Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.