Old family home becomes bed and breakfast on new lake in Lincoln County

April 29, 2004|EMILY BURTON

CRAB ORCHARD - Sitting on the bright deck in your grandmother's white wicker chair, a lake breeze mingling with fresh iced tea, it is easy to imagine Howard's Inn as the edge of the world. The house once perched at the brink of a rolling valley now overlooks Cedar Creek Lake, sparkling the white-tipped color of dark, grape Kool-aid.

It is, in a single word, peaceful, said owner Jim Howard. It is also poised for summer growth.

The Lincoln County Fiscal Court met Wednesday for the final approval of a zone change allowing Howard to add several small cabins to his property, as well as pontoon and fishing boat rentals on the lake. At present Howard's Inn offers guests two sun-sweetened rooms and a country breakfast, but its prime location can support more, said Howard.

"It's a great get-away, and the million-dollar view is what really sells this place," he said.


As the lake settles in its banks, plans have been made to expand on its draw as a vacation and fishing spot. In March, county Judge-Executive Buckwheat Gilbert revealed designs for a beach and marina. Both new amenities will sit at the base of Howard's property.

The additions are expected to cash in on the growing source of tourism for the county, Gilbert said last month. A lakeside sun spot and boat launch will give younger generations a reason to stay in the county, he explained.

Lincoln County already has at least one good reason for stopping by, said Howard.

In the middle of Amish country

Located in the middle of Amish country, Howard's Inn sits near several shops featuring Amish baked goods and produce. The inn is two miles from the historic William Whitley House, several greenhouses, and is close to Stanford and the planned location of a new Super Wal-Mart and Sonic. The Howard property also could become home to a small restaurant with a host of treats for beachcombers and fishermen.

But above the beach line and boat dock, the atmosphere will remain a slow draw. Four wooden cabins will add extra space for a weekend escape, said Howard, with one structure slated to be finished in the upcoming weeks.

"They've got a place just to relax and get away from the telephones," said Howard.

With sunny plans on the horizon and a view to sip slow and savor, Howard's Inn is poised for success with a gentle hush.

"Everybody loves the view," said Howard. "They say this place is awesome and we're coming back."

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