Day Trips

Pine Creek Country Inn creates a European-style retreat among the towering pine trees of East Texas

Day Trips
Photo by Gerald E. Mcleod

Pine Creek Country Inn outside of Nacogdoches creates a European-style retreat among the towering pine trees of East Texas. The compound of buildings on the side of the hill overlooking a small creek offers fellowship or privacy, depending on your wishes.

"We host a lot of family reunions, but we also have three honeymoon cottages that are nice and private," says Lisa Carter-Loubat. She and her husband, Jean Loubat, have owned the inn for more than 20 years.

With eight buildings and two ponds on the property, most of the 18 rooms are motel-style in two single-story lodges. The oldest of the lodges was built by the previous owner and added on to as business improved. The Loubats built the second lodge in a more traditional style, but both have comfortable rooms and big, covered porches.

For large groups, one of the main attractions is the common building. This is a space built for a party. A big-screen TV anchors one end of the hall and a small kitchen fills the other end. And, of course, it has a big, covered porch with rocking chairs.

None of the rooms, including the common room, have cooking facilities. Why would you want to cook when you have the treat of sitting at chef Jean Loubat's table just a few steps away from your bedroom? Trained in Paris, Jean cooks for Creekside Cafe in the main building of the inn, making Pine Creek a culinary gem in the woods. The menu mixes Old World with New World. You have a choice between French onion soup and tortilla soup, chicken-fried steak and beef bourguignonne – all served in a dining room with a view of the forest and an attentive waitstaff. The rib-eye special is a favorite of locals looking for a Thursday night outing. The dining room is BYOB, so don't forget your favorite beverages.

"Between us, Jean and I have more than 30 years of experience in the hotel and restaurant business," Lisa said. After working around the country, they decided to look for a place of their own. "This was the only place we found with the right potential and the location. We're a quick getaway for folks from Austin, Dallas, or Houston," she says.

If you come looking for activities, Pine Creek can keep you busy. There is volleyball, a swimming pool, and an old-fashioned tire swing. The ponds offer catch-and-release fishing. Some of the rooms have private hot tubs, while the lodges share a large, community hot tub. And there are plenty of rocking chairs.

Pine Creek Country Inn is about 15 minutes south of Nacogdoches and 18 minutes north of Lufkin. The parks on Lake Nacogdoches are about 10 minutes away. The scenic Stephen F. Austin Experimental Forest Interpretive Trail is five minutes away. For information, call 936/560-1675 or go to www.pinecreeklodge.com.

1,002nd in a series. Collect them all. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips" 101-200, is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Pine Creek Country Inn, Lisa Carter-Loubat, Jean Loubat, Creekside Cafe, Stephen F. Austin Interpretive Trail

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