Looking for something completely different this New Year's, like spending it deep in the Missouri woods in the lap of luxury? Stonewater Cove Resort, perched above Table Rock Lake in the Ozarks, a private, 500-acre retreat in the Mark Twain National Forest, is offering a New Year's package.
Rates start at $1,600 per couple, which gets you three nights, five-course gourmet dinners, plus lunch, breakfast, s'mores by a roaring fire pit, and live entertainment on New Year's Eve. Besides meals, the package includes an ATV tour and zip line ride for two. Stonewater Cove is about an hour from the airport in Branson, Missouri.
I was there last year and when I told friends I was going to a resort in the Missouri wilderness, their uniform reaction was "Seriously?" They figured how upscale could a place be in the depths of wilderness. Turns out, very. The resort is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World and was named one of the Top 10 Wilderness Lodges by Luxury Travel Magazine for 2010. It's run by the Bond family (the patriarch's name is James, he's used to the kidding), and is a rural haven of luxury, from its massive-yet-cozy 12,000-square-foot main lodge with vaulted ceilings, giant fireplaces, and exquisite food, to Western-style accommodations, with plank walls, stone floors, and log bed frames and headboards, much of it designed by Ruth Bond, James's wife and mother of Kristi, Randi, and James Jr. - all involved in the resort.
Cool stuff here includes ATV riding up and down steep, muddy hills, zip lining over yawning chasms, and skeet shooting until your shoulder goes numb. I'd gone with my 21-year-old, Army-bound son and it was a most unique father-and-son bonding experience. Not sure he'd pick it as a spot to spend New Year's Eve, though. Maybe when he gets to be my age, when luxury matters more.
For information, visit www.stonewatercove.com