Love Letter

Stay at the Cutest Little Cabin in the Woods of New Jersey

by Shanika Hillocks
Lokal All photos by Theodore Samuels.

Your next romantic weekend escape is waiting for you in the woods of southern New Jersey.

MAURICE RIVER, New Jersey – "The place doesn't even have mail delivery. Stuff just gets returned to the sender," reads an e-mail accompanying my reservation to Lokal A-frame, a beautifully refurbished three-room cabin in the middle of the woods in southern New Jersey.

After a bustling December filled with projects that carried into the New Year, I craved quality time, not only to recalibrate creatively, but also to connect romantically with my partner. For such pursuits, A-frame has serious appeal. By car, it’s 50 minutes from Philly, an hour from Atlantic City, and two and half hours from NYC. The hotel is attractively modern in a setting that’s all about peace and quiet. And it’s purely personal — no staff, no other guests, no reason to keep your voice down.

Lokal A-frame.
The living room.
The kitchen, dining space, and loft bedroom. Photo by Rosie Simmons / courtesy of Lokal A-frame.

Walk inside and, bathed in light, the open living room sets a scene for all things hygge. Warm blankets, plush pillows, and monogrammed waffle robes are for the taking. The bedrooms are outfitted with Casper mattresses dressed in Parachute linens and smelling subtly of aromatic California redwood. Aesthetically, A-frame’s design captivates the eye. Its structure is simple with raw elements of concrete and metal exposed on the walls, in the bathrooms, and in the hardware. Open windows scattered throughout the cabin look out on the outstanding rural landscape, allowing guests to admire the rustic, sepia-toned scenery from the cozy interior.

At the heart of A-frame is the ethos of "live like a local," the preferred way of travel for husband-and-wife owners Chad and Courtney Ludeman, the Philadelphia hoteliers behind Lokal Hotel in Old City. The spirit is seen throughout the space, where guests are encouraged to take full advantage of the cabin as if it were their second home.

Read more from Chad and Courtney Ludeman: The hoteliers behind Philly’s newest boutique hotel show us around one of Philadelphia’s most exciting and historic neighborhoods.
Scandinavian-inspired design in the woods of New Jersey.
Exposed wood perfumes the place.
Views from back patio.
Scenes from around the house.

Before check-in, Chad sends along his contact information and assures us he’s just a text away should we need food, drink, or grocery recommendations or have any questions during our stay. But the pace around here is self-explanatory: brew a cup of coffee, enjoy a home-cooked meal prepared in the full commercial kitchen, concoct a spirit-forward libation with complimentary ingredients from nearby Philadelphia artisans, and unplug with a nostalgic game of Scrabble. Other must-do activities are listed in an appropriately themed field guide and include soaking in the indoor marble jacuzzi and walking down to the makeshift Maurice River beach to catch the sunset.

The simplicity of it all is the property’s most charming component. Quiet mornings were pleasantly interrupted with birdsong, which only added to the unhurried atmosphere. Waking with the day, we basked in seclusion on the extended porch, overlooking fire pits kindled the night before. We were fully engaged in a natural state of mindfulness, intentionally listening to the quiet of the surroundings. Even the sensations on our palettes were elevated. Overall, comfort was felt a bit deeper here.

Plan Your Trip

Lokal A-frame is located on 2.5 acres of private land bordering Maurice River in southern New Jersey. It sleeps up to eight people in three bedrooms, and is not super accessible by public transport. You need a car for this trip. Rates start at $150 a night. Book far in advance, as the house has already filled up until spring. Coffee, tea, linen service, firewood (for the two fire pits), and charcoal (for the Big Green Egg grill) are included in your stay. Maurice River is a quiet town, so I recommend bringing groceries with you. If you need anything during your trip, the owners are on hand via email or text before, during, and after your stay.

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