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Simply the Best

The editors of Log Home Design are ringing in the new year with our picks for the Best of 2006. The best what? The best of everything for folks who love log home living. From decks to dishwashers—and even a few great destinations—we’ll share some new and notable things that have recently crossed our desks.

Are there other great finds out there? Of course! Stay tuned for more best bets in every issue.

SPLASH! BEST FOR ADVENTURERS
RaftingLocated atop White Rock Mountain in the Alleghenies, The Retreat (866-303-8439, www.theretreatwv.com) in Lewisburg, West Virginia, is the perfect spot for people who can’t sit still.

Outdoorsy types can spend their time hiking, camping, fishing, horseback riding and whitewater rafting. And the 900-acre community’s proximity to the Greenbrier resort and Snowshoe Mountain also gives owners easy access to exceptional golf and skiing.

Once you return home, "chill out" with a massage at the grotto spa, designed to evoke nature’s own hot springs. The lodge also boasts an infinity-edge pool, fitness center, fire pit and wraparound porches. And with fine dining, galleries and boutiques in "downtown" Lewisburg, this wild and wonderful log home community really does have it all.

Ridge-line and peak home sites start at about $100,000. Partner with your choice of log home companies. Lewisburg locals, Antique Cabins and Barns, specialize in restored structures and recycled materials.

ZIP CODE 59937: BEST FOR DAYTRIPPING
To most of us, a typical day of shopping might include an afternoon spent at the local outlets topped off with a cafe latte from Starbucks. Not bad, but for more than 5,000 lucky residents (and visitors) of Whitefish, Montana, the term "great shopping" is hitting new heights—literally.

Situated at the base of Big Mountain Resort, one of North America’s top 25 ski destinations, Whitefish is a historic railroad town known for its charming Central Avenue shopping, where the backdrop includes sapphire-colored rivers and dramatic glacial valleys.

WhitefishOn an average summer day, the temperature lingers around 75 degrees—perfect for moseying into Stephen Isley’s quaint handcrafted jewelry shop. Then there’s Sprouts (an adorable kid’s clothing store) and Hit The Hay (specializing in creature comforts for bed and bath).

You’ll also find plenty of shops brimming with decor for your log home. Our favorite: Bear Mountain Mercantile, a two-story home store, where the goods range from vintage ski signs to rustic-style log furniture. Or, if you’re more of an arts connoisseur, this small town boasts more than 15 galleries. We especially love the people and products at Whitefish Pottery (www.whitefishpottery.com). You can buy online, too.

Shopping not your thing? No worries. Whether you’re lucky enough to live here or just passing through, Whitefish offers year-round activities for the outdoorsy set. Insider’s Tip: For $50 throughout the summer season, you can gain unlimited access to the gondolas and chairlifts that carry visitors to the top of Big Mountain.

For nighttime entertainment, check out a show by the Alpine Theatre Project, an acting troupe whose members boast Broadway credits. Or take a seat at the Great Northern Brewing Company, a friendly haunt famous for its Black Star Beer, a local favorite. With all this in the mix, there’s no denying that Whitefish is an ideal destination for any log home lover to spend the day—or a lifetime. For more information, check out www.visitmt.com.

SPORTSMAN STYLE: BEST PARTNERSHIP
Our choice for Best Design Partnership goes to the folks at Rocky Mountain Log Homes of Hamilton, Montana, and The Orvis Company, the 150 year-old country lifestyle retailer from Manchester, Vermont.

With Orvis Log Homes (866-363-5680, www.orvisloghomes.com), these two powerhouses have taken the outdoor concept to another level, offering six log home plans designed especially for the sporting life.

The top of the line is the Rogue, which boasts five bedrooms and almost 4,000 square feet of living space. Priced just under $1.2 million, the package includes walls, roofs, windows, blueprints and hardware, but not assembly.

Finer details include a stone fireplace and a Sportsman’s Room. "That’s where you can tie your flies, hang your waders, store your hunting gear, and maybe have a cigar with your buddies," says Jon Sellers, Orvis’ project manager for Rocky Mountain Log Homes. "It’s considered the man’s room in the house, but we know plenty of women who’d love it too."

LET IT FLOW: BEST FOR FICKLE DESIGNERS
Delta Easy Flow FaucetNot just for restaurants and airport terminals, automatic faucets with electronic-eye technology are making a big splash in residential bathroom design.

First introduced by Delta (800-345-3358, www.deltafaucet.com) in 2001, the e-Flow Faucet is user-friendly for both kids and seniors, thanks to its hands-free activation and above-counter temperature control. Not to mention, there’s a 30-second "flow limit" to avoid wasted water.

Why do we love it? The e-Flow’s new interchangeable covers come in six bold jewel tones, making it easy (and fun) to change the look of your bathroom in just seconds. Brilliant.

For more of the editors’ "Best of 2006" picks, check out the February 2006 issue of Log Home Design.