Tiffiany Decou, firstname.lastname@example.org 9:31 a.m. CST January 19, 2016
I like to think I’m “outdoorsy,” but I’m really not.
My idea of camping is the expeditions of the Wilderness Girls in the 1980s movie, “Troop Beverly Hills.” I want actress Shelley Long as a camp leader to take me on adventures of spa manicures/pedicures and roasting marshmallows over an electric fireplace.
It’s glamping — camping in style.
Though I didn’t glamp in my Girl Scouts days, I recently discovered a perfect Louisiana getaway for it — Cypress Bend Resort.
The secluded Sabine Parish resort on Toledo Bend Lake is far from the hustle and bustle of city life, but not without its conveniences. It features hiking trails, fishing and other outdoor adventures, as well as luxury amenities such as a spa, 18-hole lakefront golf course and fine dining.
I spent some time there in November to meet with its new executive chef and found myself amid breathtaking scenery and unexpected comforts.
From its scenic trails to fine dining, here are a few reasons I’d suggest planning your next glamping trip at this central Louisiana resort.
Chef Timothy Head recently took over as the resort’s executive chef, and he’s doing his best to leave a mark on the culinary world.
Cypress Bend gave him creative free will in the kitchen, and he’s used it to put his own stamp on resort cuisine.
Not one to take short cuts, Head makes many ingredients (such as mozzarella cheese) in house. He also worked closely with the resort’s horticulturist to create a fresh herb garden. Its yields often appear in his cuisine — a first for a Cypress Bend chef to do.
Dishes taste better with fresh herbs, and the addition of them makes a dish better for you, he said.
Head describes his new menu — which is expected to be finalized this month — as “twisted soul food.” It’s southern food with nods to French, Italian and even Indian cuisine.
It features crawfish spring rolls, bananas Foster French toast and a deconstructed cheesecake made with phyllo dough coated in cinnamon and sugar. Some other potential menu candidates include a pimento cheese with basil lavash crackers, grilled redfish on basmati rice and a breaded mozzarella with grilled pita bread — all of which I sampled on my November visit.
The pimento cheese was hands-down the best I’ve tasted, and the flavor of the basil (picked from the herb garden) burst into my mouth from the crackers. It and the other dishes will undergo “official” tastings before a decision is made on whether to add them to the new menu.
Taste isn’t the only culinary component Head focuses on.
He is a fan of dramatic plating and enjoys seeing a “wow” reaction from customers when a plate is set before them.
“If you have a plate of food in front you; that dramatic presentation speaks to the dish and how it was prepared,” Head said. “I believe it also speaks to the chef who prepared it as to the time and care it took to put it together. It’s about presentation and perception.”
Solitude can be a welcome sight for any woman with a constant go-go-go lifestyle.
What better way to find seclusion than amid 600 acres of forest and gardens full of natural wildlife and flora?
A Cypress Bend stay can lend itself to fox, bobcat and deer sightings, as well as strolls through towering maple, elm and other species of trees.
A breathtaking view of the resort gardens is visible from one side of the main lobby, which features wall-to-wall glass that leads to a bricked patio overlooking the golf course. Sit in one of the outdoor rocking chairs to capture a scenic sunset with views of flowering bushes and impressive landscapes created by resort horticulturist Cathy McCurdy.
If the quiet isn’t enough to calm your mind, indulge in a spa treatment at The Spa. Massages, facials, body wraps and other skin care treatments are offered Tuesday through Saturday. Hot stone and Swedish massages are among the most popular treatments, according to resort staff. They range between $100 and $215.
Another way to unwind is to take a dip in the heated indoor-outdoor pool. Swim underneath a glass window barrier to get between the indoor and outdoor sections. In addition, the resort has a hot tub and sauna to soothe aching muscles after a day of hiking or golf.
Cypress Bend Resort puts the fun in outdoors.
Its grounds include myriad options for an outdoor adventure, many of which have little to no cost.
The resort’s hiking trail features five loop distances so you can pick the trail that is right for you. I did the scenic one-mile loop, which took me along Toledo Bend Lake.
Cypress Bend also offers many places for a bicycle ride. Signs and lanes for cyclists are posted everywhere. Take advantage by renting a bicycle for the day. It’s free.
In addition, fishing is a must while there.
Toledo Bend was voted the best bass fishing lake in 2015 by Bass Master Magazine.
If you are not the avid fisherman but want to try, Living the Dream offers fishing excursions that include boat, tackle and lures. Just make sure to get a valid fishing license before you go! Contact them at 318-256-8991 for rates and times.
Not a fan of fishing? The company also rents party barge cruises to keep the party going all over the lake.
In addition, for a more luxurious outdoor adventure with the girls, try a round of golf.
The golf course features 18 holes and runs along the waterfront at Toledo Bend. It can be challenging but is a favorite among golf enthusiasts. Golf packages are available.
Want to go?
WHAT: Cypress Bend Resort
WHERE: 2000 Cypress Bend Drive in Many (164 miles northwest of Lafayette)
COST: Hotel suites (living room, wet bar, king bed and balcony or patio) range from $149 to $169. One and two-bedroom condominium-style golf suites are $169 and $199 per night, respectively.
INFO: 318-590-1500 and cypressbend.com