The cottages at Sunrise Point are beautifully appointed, with each having its own color scheme.
Going stir crazy? Sunrise Point on Cedar Creek Lake is the perfect excursion to recharge mid-pandemic
Text and Photography
ARNOLD WAYNE JONES | Executive Editor
Remember when the idea of a staycation was an indulgent treat and not a months-long sentence occasioned by an insidious virus? Even homebodies can go stir crazy. And while many folks resist the idea of getting on airplanes or visiting the few foreign countries that will still have germy Americans, there are driveable distractions closer than you think.
It’s great if you have a friend or family member with a lakeside condo you can crash at on a random weekend, but the newly-opened Sunrise Point on Cedar Creek Lake offers a nearby, relaxing haven without having random social connections (the region itself has been all-but corona-free).
The environs around Cedar Creek Lake, southeast of Dallas on the edge of East Texas, is well-known to the gay community for its acceptance of LGBTQ residents and visitors — the gay campground Circle J Ranch isn’t far from one of its tendrils, and many queer folks live out and proud around its shores. The fourth-largest lake in Texas (technically a reservoir, because it is man-made), Cedar Creek Lake snakes nearly 20 miles across Kaufman and Henderson counties, covering about a thousand square miles of surface area.
On one three-acre promontory jutting out from about the southernmost tip sits a peninsula occupied by the home of
Ann and Sue Wigodsky … and, more recently, a string of small, elegant, modern-design cottages that the women have dubbed the Sunrise Point resort. “Resort” may be overstating it. There are no spas (although local massage therapists happily make cabin-calls); there’s no on-site restaurant; the closest you’ll come to an activities coordinator or concierge is asking manager Casey Lee (or one of the owners) directions to the grocery store, where to go for good barbecue or what gay-owned restaurants are worth checking out. Instead, let’s call it a peaceful getaway on the outskirts of the big city that’s ideal for recharging, relaxing and renewing during the pandemic.
That’s what we did. And what a difference it can make.
On one of the hottest days of the year, we drove down I-45, hooked a louie at Corsicana and navigated the intricate network of speed traps (I counted 18 speed changes over about 25 miles) to Malakoff (about 15 minutes from Athens), one of the tiny burgs surrounding the lake (if you pass its one stoplight, you’ve gone too far!). From there it’s a series of small numbered FM roads to the destination. Ann and Sue have long hosted outdoor weddings in their backyard (If you had a backyard along the placid shores of an idyllic lake, you’d want others to enjoy it, too).
They still do, but this summer they finally finished construction on the five cabins (four are rentable) that make up the resort — all identical 450-sf cottages, except for the color scheme and the names (there’s Bluebird, Cardinal, Goldfinch, Hummingbird). Each is a one-bed oasis (no pets, no kids) appointed with modern touches and homespun elegance: original artwork, designer linens, remote-controlled everything, comfy chairs, luxe shampoos, plus a personal-sized Keurig, Trulys in the fridge and complimentary snacks in the kitchenette. (There’s a microwave and sink, but don’t expect to do much cooking unless you want to use the grill on the patio; that’s what UberEats is for.)
But as pleasant as the amenities are, one of the main draws is your hosts themselves — two hilarious, whip-smart retirees (Ann from clinical psychology, Sue from event planning… hence their facility with weddings) who clearly enjoy having company but also respect your privacy and desire to get away from the dread of Miss Rona. You come back to places like this because you feel so welcomed.
And there are things to do, if along the slow-paced side of life. The grounds are yours for the exploring, and lovely grounds they are. There’s plenty of fauna wandering the grounds (much of it immortalized in sculpted stumps resulting from trees that needed to be cleared), from raccoons to egrets to foxes and even a herd of 31 deer. You might see any of them while pitching horseshoes or using the putting green or just dipping into the lake. For less “active” activities, tan by the spacious pool, soak in the hot tub or swing from a hammock. (There are outdoor fireplaces and firepits that, let’s be honest, are less useful during the Texas summer but will be invaluable by late fall.) You can watch the sun come up or even hitch up your own boat and enjoy the lake and its various watersports. (There are kayaks for the taking already here.)
The area is well-suited for further enjoyment, too. On your way down, pay your respects at the notorious Buc-ee’s, a cultural icon of a truck stop that’s like the redneck Emerald City. Continue on your way, but rather than immediately turning left off I-45, consider a quick detour to Corsicana. The historic Texas town not only exudes charm, it’s also home to the Collins Street Bakery, home of the best fruitcake you’ll ever have. Pick one up, plus some cookies, bread and other foodstuffs before settling in at Sunrise Point. (If you head back to Dallas late enough, you can even stop off at the Galaxy Drive-In in Ennis to catch a movie, old-school.)
The intimacy of the resort is definitely a selling point. With room for eight overnight guests across the resort, it’s especially well-suited for a friendcation: Organize your favorite couples, pack a few coolers and chill without fear of COVID. Trust me, sometimes that’s all you need.
Sunrise Point, 3199 County Road 1708, Malakoff. Wedding packages available. 903-904-7500. SunrisePointCedarCreekLake.com.