By Mary-Justine Lanyon
As a girl, Tricia DuFour would come up to Running Springs, where her parents had a cabin. Dave DuFour was also familiar with the mountain, having attended Calvary Chapel Bible School in Twin Peaks.
In 1979 the couple – married just four months – was living in Dana Point. Dave came up to the mountain to help out after a big snowstorm; he was offered a job by contractor Kenny Anderson. And so, Dave and Tricia moved to Twin Peaks, purchasing an old miner’s cabin that Tricia said was falling down. They fixed it up and moved in.
A friend of Tricia’s had rented one of the cabins at what then known as Arrowhead Road Resort, owned by Fred and Helen Dowd. That friend told Tricia that the resort was for sale.
Prior to Fred and Helen negotiating a lease from the U.S. Forest Service to take over the cabins, the cabins provided housing for forest rangers. There was a general store and post office, which burned down in 1948. By the 1960s, the Dowds purchased the land from the Forest Service and built more cabins. In 1989, Fred passed away, leading to Helen’s decision to sell the resort.
Dave and Tricia purchased what became Arrowhead Pine Rose Cabins in 1993 and are celebrating their 30-year anniversary this year.
“I didn’t realize how big the resort was,” Tricia said. She and Dave loved the knotty pine interiors of the cabins. And Dave’s experience as a general contractor was one reason Helen sold the resort to the DuFours. “We had to buy it ‘as is,’” Tricia said. She added that Helen was aware of all that was wrong with the resort and felt Dave could correct those things.
One selling point was the swimming pool as Tricia wanted a place for their girls, Jolene and April, to swim. “A lot of people have taught their children to swim in our pool,” she said. “It’s one of the largest pools on the mountain.”
Tricia has a background in interior design so she accepted the challenge of fixing the cabins up. “The knotty pine interiors reminded me of my fun times as a kid, coming up to the Running Springs cabin. We had no telephone – we played games and did puzzles. I wanted to create a family atmosphere for other people.
“The community was awesome,” Tricia said. One person called with a sofa they had to donate. Kenny Anderson’s wife made curtains out of sheets. George Cobb traded lodging for fixing a metal roof that was leaking. Tricia had to purchase new linens, towels, even beds.
“The resort wasn’t making any money at that time,” she said. “And we had no money – we were living on our credit card.”
Tricia and Dave sold their old miner’s cabin and moved into the cabin that is now the registration area and gift shop, where they lived for several years. When they purchased the resort, there were 16 cabins, five of which were rented out full-time to people.
The cabins were numbered when the DuFours purchased the resort. Tricia named them after items she found in each one and according to the décor she had. Tricia found some antique Smokey Bear items in one cabin, which became the Smokey Bear Ranger cabin. Another had old skis and sleds in it; that became the Winter Ski Chalet.
Arrowhead Pine Rose Cabins now has 20 cabins, ranging in size from studios to large lodges. Over the years, Tricia and Dave bought several cabins that adjoined their 10 acres and added them to the resort. They added a gazebo for weddings. “An oak tree fell down,” Tricia said, “so Dave made the gazebo from that wood.” They also added ponds and streams to the property.
Over the 30 years they have owned the resort, the DuFours have had a lot of repeat guests. Some want to stay in the same cabin year after year. Others, Tricia said, was to try out a new cabin every year. Most guests do develop a favorite.
As for the décor, Tricia said she likes an eclectic look. She has made cosmetic changes to the cabins and is constantly redecorating. “Styles change,” she noted.
Unlike the situation when they purchased the resort, there are no long-term guests staying in the cabins currently. That could change, Tricia said, with a special circumstance such as a battered woman needing a place to stay. And she has had people trying to find a house to buy on the mountain; they will stay longer than the typical weekend guest.
Four of the cabins are currently “offline” due to damage from the recent winter storms.
The DuFours’ daughters are gradually assuming daily operations of the resort. Jolene is in charge of weddings and April operations.
“We’re always updating our wedding packages,” Tricia said. One thing she likes about their weddings: “We’ve helped a lot of businesses grow – caterers, florists, musicians.” Tricia has a wedding background, having worked for a high-end caterer down the hill. She was a founding member of the mountain’s wedding association.
Because she grew up moving around a lot, Tricia is glad to have been part of a community these past 30-plus years. As for changes she has seen, she said there are more full-time people, more traffic and more 4WD vehicles. “They became more affordable and make it easier for people to get up here and get around.”
And how did Arrowhead Pine Rose Cabins get its name? While vacationing in Northern California, Tricia found a pine cone that she thought resembled a rose. She kept that pine cone and called the tree the Pine Rose Tree. When she and Dave purchased the resort, she was amazed to see a Pine Rose Tree on the property. As it turns out, the tree is actually a Deodar Cedar Tree but, to Tricia, it’s a Pine Rose Tree. And thus the name was born.
Arrowhead Pine Rose Cabins is located on Highway 189 in Twin Peaks. For more information about the 20 cabins and their amenities, visit pinerose.com or call (909) 337-2341.