By CINDY LADAGE
EDDYVILLE, Ill. — Looking for a place to kick back – a place to stay when hunting or hiking in southern Illinois? A great family place with lots of room and the Shawnee Forest at the doorstep can be found at Willowbrook Cabin Rental.
Located just outside of Eddyville, each cabin offers space and privacy. The cabins are the brainchild of Doug and Carrie DeVore, a busy young couple with three young children.
A hunter who enjoys the wildlife that southern Illinois has to offer, Doug said he and Carrie are central Illinois transplants who came to Carbondale for college at Southern Illinois University. They have been here ever since. Carrie, a geologist and Doug, a systems manager, have found their niche in this beautifully rugged land.
“God put me in a certain situation,” Doug said, explaining how a phone call from a friend landed him in a good position, allowing them to stay in the southern Illinois area.
“We bought seven acres,” Carrie added. Working for a while for an environmental company out of Springfield, the couple thought they would have more time for their children and to pursue a dream in the land they have come to love by going into business for themselves.
They opened the rental business they call Willowbrook. It was Carrie’s dad who first mentioned the idea. They first thought it was not feasible, but then Carrie and Doug learned how busy cabin rentals are, and that there is a great demand in part because of the vast wilderness at the Shawnee National Forest.
“There are over 295,000 acres in the Shawnee National Forest and at least 100,000 of them are in Pope County,” Doug explained.
Besides computers, Doug also has a marketing background that has proven effective, so with market research in their back pocket the couple’s first endeavor was Big Creek, a luxury cabin they built on their acreage. Located just minutes from the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail and several of the most unique attractions of the Shawnee National Forest, the cabin offers amenities such as a pool table, hot tub and, most of all, a beautiful view.
This cabin was a labor of love. “It has real exposed beams and a black walnut bed made from a tree we took down,” Doug shared.
With the next year the chance to buy an established cabin business came up – and they had some decisions to make. “We thought about it long and hard. It is 45 minutes away in Eddyville, but there is a main fiber line. There at the cabins, they have better Internet conductivity than we have at home,” Doug said, laughing.
Along with being located down the road from the largest public land area in three states, the location and amenities made this a buy they could not resist. They have revamped and added on, with four cabins currently available. They offer at least two private bedrooms (with one cabin offering three), a clean bathroom, fully-stocked kitchen, satellite TV and, in most, Internet access. The cabins each have either a deck or the forest right outside the front door.
With Carrie’s touch, the décor and neatness of the cabins draw visitors from all walks of life. During the hunting season the cabins have been filled every weekend.
In fact, the DeVores reported they had a famous visitor last year, Jordan Hembrough, who hosts the “Toy Hunter” show for the Travel Channel. Hembrough stayed in one of the Willowbrook cabins while traveling in search of rare vintage items to sell at the New York Comic Con.
Visitors don’t have to be a famous toy guy, though, to get a room – just contact Doug or Carrie and they can book a cabin. Don’t wait; availability goes fast, though there are currently some dates left for April-June. Visit www.willow brookcabins.com or call 618-672-4815 to learn more.