A Cabin in the Pines

We love the idea of getting away to a remote cottage in Colorado's high country. Yet, more often than not, that "sweet little rustic retreat" you rented online turns out to be a dusty, cold, bare-bones log dwelling with a tattered plaid sofa and animal heads on the walls. Truth is: It's just not that easy to find weekend escape-worthy cabins on your own. Which is why we've done it for you. Throughout Colorado, we found resorts that offer cozy, romantic, well-appointed cabins. If fluffy down comforters, rough-hewn furniture, and quiet nights by the fire are what you seek, we have a cabin for you.

November 2008

Devil's Thumb Ranch
Canoodle in peace in the snowy high country.

It hardly matters how much snow already frosts the ground—when I'm in the high country I long for white flakes. I want to spend a romantic, chilly night on the couch—glass of wine in hand and a fire crackling on the hearth—watching a snowstorm dance outside the windows.

When we arrive at the 1,050-square-foot Coyote cabin getaway early in the evening, we find a neat bundle of firewood resting on the rocking-chair-lined porch (delivered each day at 4 p.m.) and a pre-readied tepee of kindling and logs in the floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace. Placing our snowy boots in the door-side warmer and our bags on the lodgepole pine bed, we then take a minute to peruse our cabin: Blond, round-beam walls soar into an angled ceiling, geothermally heated floors warm our feet, a well-equipped kitchen comes with the requisite wineglasses, and a view of nothing but tall pines and snowy thickets fills the windowpanes.

Waking the next morning to still-flurrying snow, we take a cup of hot coffee on a short stroll. Just down the road we run into the stables at Devil's Thumb, where a brown and white horse stands ready to pull a sleigh across the open meadow. In the distance we see cross-country skiers slip-sliding along some of the resort's 100 kilometers of groomed trails. And sitting just down the way, the ranch's new easy-rustic, 52-room lodge and day spa come into view.

As we walk back toward our chalet, snowflakes catching on our eyelashes, we discuss what to do next. Snowshoe? Ski? Spa? Instead, we decide to do what we do best—nothing, except watch the snow fall. —LBK

Worth-the-Money Extra Set up a time for a couples' Swedish massage (50 minutes, $200) at the Ranch Creek Spa. Show up a few minutes early to sit a spell in the steam room.

Must-Try Activity If you have cross-country gear, there's no better place to put it to use. If not, the staff at the Nordic center can outfit you and get you on the best trails for your ability level.

Where to Eat Bring some snacks and a bottle of wine (or two) for your cabin, but make a reservation at the on-site Ranch House Restaurant for chef-prepared meals bursting with top-notch ingredients like organic beef and locally grown produce. Call 970-726-5632 for reservations.

How to Book It Devil's Thumb Ranch is located in Tabernash, just minutes from Winter Park. The resort offers 16 cabins, all of which are nestled in the woods about a half-mile from the main lodge. Rental fees range from $315 to $895 per night. Visit www.devilsthumbranch.com for more information, or call 1-800-933-4339 to make a reservation.