Travel and Leisure News

Hearthstone Elegant Lodge
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By Marjorie Schmaehl

The Hearthstone Elegant Lodge main building “The Villa’’ is an unique elegant work of art which sometimes makes visitors gasp with amazement and at the beauty of the exterior and interior.

A 2000 lb iron sculpted fountain from a village in France sits on the east side of the building visible to all arriving guests coming up our drive way.

The patio by the fountain is furnished with old fashioned ornate iron garden tables and chairs is just out side the Tea Room for fair weather eating or visiting. This patio is just off the building kitchen and group event dining area.

Coming up the drive way on the arrival side of the building people are amazed at the rich deep royal purple color of the building with subtle gold paint speckles shimmering in the black antique iron balcony railings. The antique exterior iron and ceramic art are embedded in the walls all around the Villa exterior as a quiet outdoor art gallery. 

The width of the building faces the Clearwater River on one side. The lobby entrance faces the  mountain view side so guests and cars do not interrupt the views of the river and opposing mountains.  Our terraced hillside will be planted with flowering Russian Sage in the spring. We are in process of creating a lovely hillside view for additional visitor enjoyment.

There are 65 acres of hiking trails and intermittent wild life viewing.

On the arrival side of the Villa building a porte cochère entrance covers the cars of arriving guests who are registering in the lobby. The porte cochère has a tiled decorative deck on level with the building second floor. The roof of the deck is round copper-shingled with a tower open to the deck. The tower has windows inside the tower. A chandelier also hangs inside the copper-shingled tower and an angel weather vane that swings in the wind above the tower.

Guests enjoy the comfortable deck chairs while breathing in country air. This deck retreat has a second floor entrance and is connected to the upstairs balcony halls. Deck railings are  enhanced with ornate antique French cast iron detail. The deck continues around the 2nd floor of the building on three sides. Between these striking railings are beautiful columns and wood arches.  

Lodge is located on 65 wooded acres along the Clearwater River just off US Federal Highway 12 and a five minute drive along the Clearwater River to the historic small town of Kamiah, Idaho which has been artfully restored.  This town and trading center was occupied by Native Americans for over a thousand years by Nez Perce history lore and reportedly supported by archaeological digs. Other races have visited and lived among the natives since the early 1800s when Caucasians and other races of fur trappers arrived here.

We have found the Nez Perce people to be friendly hosts to all people moving because of the geographical beauty of this area’s mountains, valleys, rock outcroppings and handsome forests. Kamiah is near the gateway of the largest remaining wilderness in the lower 48 states with millions of forested acres. Only Alaska has more forest wilderness than Idaho. Within a close drive from our Villa Lodge one can also experience the beauty of three different rivers ie the Clearwater River which is right in front of our Villa Lodge, and the Lochsa and Selway rivers. There are also many surrounding area mountainside creeks, ponds, lakes, hot springs, sandy riverside beaches, hiking trails and more. The nearby US Forest Service office headquarters provides free guides and maps to most of these beautiful spots.

Hikers, fishermen, hunters, lovers of nature, rock hounders, explorers, motorcyclists, bicyclists and more are all enthralled not only with our unique Hearthstone Villa Lodge but also with the profusely lovely surrounding engaging nature and other activities.

The towns of Lewiston Idaho, Whitebird Idaho and Riggins Idaho are all about a one hour scenic drive away from our Lodge. Each of these towns has advance-reservation boat tours that carry guests down the Snake River at the bottom of Hells Gate Canyon which is the deepest gorge in North America. Hells Gate Canyon is deeper than the Grand Canyon and very beautiful.

In Kamiah the local U.S. Forest Service Headquarters provide maps at no cost to guide visitors to local forest area hot springs, a spring time whitewater rafting, some very special sandy summer river beaches and hiking trails. There are old abandoned towns in the surrounding hills with tales of gold mining, antique forest service towers and Native American religious land forms and other historic Native American sites.

Our small downtown museum is operated by the Chamber of Commerce and has both early pioneer artifacts and displays of some native American artifacts. There are other museums in surrounding towns. Some visitors love to see historic one room school houses.                                                                                                               

Hearthstone Lodge Villa guests are a few short steps from the Clearwater River. Our guests enjoy   mountain and forest views, hikes and rock-form discoveries. In the surrounding areas lodge guests can see a variety of mountainside beauty and the lovely Camas Prairie farms, ranches, cowboys, Native American settlements, annual rodeos and various County and a local summer fairs including at a local monastery which has been here in Idaho since the early 1800s. Wildlife flora, fauna, large game are seen here or around the area. The Nez Perce have a museum and a preserved western historic town in Lapwai Idaho that were built by early missionaries to the Nez Perce. There are also some historic Nez Perce buildings here in Kamiah. The oldest church in Idaho is here. It is a Native American Presbyterian church still being used by the Nez Perce and has a cemetery of famous past Nez Perce leaders and pastors and other notable tribe members.

Our private forested grounds above Hearthstone Villa lodge buildings have rough and interesting trails through woods, meadows and old logging roads. Guest are able to experience the wilderness in just a few yards from our Villa Lodge. Often there are sightings of wild animals that travel through the area. We see humming birds, wild turkeys, pheasants, wild ducks and wild geese, quail, woodpeckers, magpies, eagles, osprey, hawks other exotic birds. Also, in various seasons we see deer, elk  moose and other large game occasionally.

We are close to several National historical monuments and millions of acres of National, Idaho State, County and Private forests. The largest remaining wilderness is here near Kamiah. We have cowboys, cowgirls and Nez Perce Native Americans.   


Deer, elk, and other forest creatures walk by on our grounds at intermittent times.  A short drive away, there is a buffalo (bison) ranch for people to visit. Idaho is called the Gem State and rock collectors enjoy scouting the area for semi-precious stones.

In 1806 on their their return journey Lewis and Clark rested in Kamiah for the longest camp of their famous expedition to the west. They called Kamiah “Paradise Valley” in their journals. The Nez Perce tribe saved the lives of the expedition group who had floundered in deep snow unable to hunt or to move on.  The Nez Perce found them, fed them and housed them here in Kamiah.

The flora and fauna and wildlife of this area are extraordinarily diverse. During the expedition’s stay in Kamiah, more flora and fauna specimens were collected here by Lewis and Clark for the Smithsonian Institute than from any of their other expedition locations.

Our Hearthstone Villa Lodge is only a five minute drive from our  charming, historic town of Kamiah which has shops, restaurants, clinics,  a rock store, and service businesses. The town has a  western Victorian style.

We provide guests information about interesting sites and drives throughout our area’s beautiful landscapes. Other visitor interest sites include sandy river beaches (in season), personal river rafting, whitewater rafting, local hot springs, Native American National land form monuments, a meteor site, fishing guide and equipment shops, historic sites, the Nez Perce Museum, the Orofino Dworshak Dam and lake, scenic mountain-top ranches and farms.

A  U.S. Forest Service office is just a mile from our Hearthstone Elegant Lodge, with maps and visitor guides. 

Orofino is a town not far to the west of us that has the largest straight axis dam in North America with a visitor movie exhibit views of the old dangerous log runs down the river before the dam was built. There is a notable display of various wild animal furs which people love to feel because of the variety of textures among those furs.

An occupied historic monastery built by Europeans in the 1800s in nearby Cottonwood no longer has monks but now has retired nuns. It looks like European monasteries and it can be toured. The monastery also has an interesting museum and gift shop.

Federal highway12 runs along the Clearwater River in front of the Hearthstone Villa Lodge. We have a very large culvert under the highway built to disperse heavy rain and melting snow but our guests like to walk through it to the river.

The current Federal Highway 12 was originally a Nez Perce trail along the Clearwater River and later was called the Northwest Passage to the Sea for pioneers in Conestoga wagons traveling west.

The Hearthstone Lodge consists of 4 unique buildings located within walking distance to each other on a land bench along the Clearwater River on 65 acres of surrounding woods and meadows to walk and enjoy.  Although this is a country setting our Lodge is only a five minute drive from our historic Kamiah town center shops and services including restaurants, a gym, a medical clinic, bars, town pool, and a U S Forest Service Headquarters that provides maps and guides to visitors about area natural office on the Nez Perce Reservation. 

The Villa is the newest and the main building of our Hearthstone Elegant Lodge complex. It is brand new and has 11,000 square feet which includes guest rooms, a ground level handicap room, a meeting room, an elevator, snack machines, a spacious fireplace lobby, the main reception desk, offices, meeting rooms and  guest service spaces. We provide all standard service amenities of a fine hotel including concierge services.  We have three other smaller but lovely original Hotel buildings on site.

Next to the Villa front entrance is a large wall embedded antique iron plaque dated 1784. An English countryside mansion in the English Cotswold of that era was demolished about thirty years ago and we found and bought the fire back from that building with its Latin inscriptions. We later realized that 1784 was the year of the Treaty of Paris. That was the year that all the major European countries signed a Treaty with the USA that acknowledged that we were now an independent nation. Our US government officials went to Paris to sign the Treaty of Paris and  the major European countries also signed and acknowledged that we were now an independent nation. That is why this historic plaque is honored by us by the front door and is cabled through the walls to the building structure. It is an historical piece with double meanings.                                                                                                                                                              

After the entrance to Villa through the glass door foyer there is a grand 20 foot high paneled lobby ceiling in warm hues offsetting the stunning antique alabaster chandeliers, wall art, antique office doors, and castle floor similitude tiles under oriental carpets with a cozy fireplace lounge at back half of the lobby where ceilings are lowered to 10 feet high.

At the end wall in the lobby are two sets of French doors on each side of the fireplace which give views of the Clearwater River, opposing mountains and woods across the Clearwater River.

The reception desk is made of a beautiful oak antique church altar with columns that hold up arched antique fretwork. 

The Villa lobby has handsome comfortable furnishings, lamps, a computer desk for guests use and a  central fireplace. All our registered guests are welcome to use and enjoy the Villa lobby.

Next to the Villa lobby is a spacious meeting room with a large stately imported antique English conference table. Outdoor views are seen through French doors on the side of the meeting room. There is a large wall mounted TV for group meeting uses and also elegant framed art and furnishings. Weddings, reunions and meetings are scheduled in advance by the lodge office.                                                                                                                                                                                                         

In the lobby a carpeted staircase to the 2nd floor has beautiful French antique iron railings that have a subtle shimmer of tiny gold flecks on the black iron finish. This handsome artful railing continues to the second floor balcony railings overhanging a portion of the 20 foot high entrance. The second half of the lobby ceiling drops to 10 foot high giving a cozy ambiance in the fireplace seating area. The lobby has views of the Clearwater River and opposing mountains at the fireplace room end.                                                                                                                                            All our buildings and lodging rooms are beautiful and unique from other all other lodging rooms. There are king bed suites and double queen suites with standard amenities plus a Jacuzzi in every guest bathroom.  We do also have a kitchen next to our large conference room in the Villa portion of the lodge. That kitchen is typically used for family reunions, meetings or conferences in the meeting room next to the kitchen.

The Lodge Cottage is a handsome stand alone single suite building with a wrap around covered porch. Guests can sit outdoors on comfortable deck chairs to view the river, forest and land on opposing mountains in the various seasons. Sometimes deer and other large mammals can be seen crossing the hill on the other side of the river.

The Lodge Chateau is a spacious two story building near the Cottage with four elegant king bedroom suites upstairs. Each suite is unique from the others in color and artful fine furnishings. Each room has a deck in front and in back for viewing the river, mountains in front and the woods in back. We occasionally see wild animals from the back quietly passing by. Each suite has a private Jacuzzi bathtub and a fireplace with all the other amenities of a fine hotel.

In the Chateau there is an office downstairs and a Guest Library for guest lounging/dining or meeting room uses. An equipped kitchen nook is just off the Library, available for guests use.  There is a visitor public bathroom right off the Library. There are two large tables for meeting or  dining uses. Books, games, playing cards, a piano and an enclosed fireplace for guest enjoyment.                                                                                                               

The Chalet is a custom built hand hewn log building with two separate suites and a two story high cathedral ceiling in each. Each suite has a king bed in the spacious loft and downstairs a twin bedroom and bathroom. Hunters, fishermen, Europeans seeking old western style lodging and families needing more beds love this type of lodging. We built the Chalet near the river in a special nook of trees and berry bushes.

The Chalet interiors have a fireplace, a large screen television, a high ceiling with fan and light embellishing the room. It is furnished with a sofa, chairs, an eating counter with stools. Outside we have a community barbecue available for use.  

The loft is reached by a unique ornate wooden staircase with a smooth top rail and twisted branch railings. People have gasped with delight when they see the staircase. Each chalet has its own propane heater and a wood burning fireplace. In the summer we provide window air conditioners. There is a central ceiling fan.

The chalet small kitchen has a microwave, a kitchen sink, dishes, a small refrigerator and food storage cabinets. 

In addition to our beautiful lodge we also own the large Hearthstone Restaurant Bakery a three contiguous attached buildings on Kamiah's Main Street. That historic Restaurant Bakery building is only a quick five minute drive from our Villa Lodge. Guests enjoy their breakfast at the Hearthstone Bakery in one of the decorative but warm and friendly booth or table areas just a five minute drive from the Villa Lodge grounds. We also make and sell cookies, pastries and artisan breads at that bakery. Our Hearthstone Lodge just outside the town of Kamiah in North Central Idaho consists artfully and uniquely designed lodging buildings within walking distance of each to the other. Our Hearthstone Restaurant Bakery building was founded in the late 1800s and is just a five minute drive to 502 Main Street where it sits. The founder/builder, Dr. Bridwell was here in the 1800s and first built the building in wood but after a serious fire he rebuilt it 1912 in brick. It is eligible for the national historic registry. We bought the conjoined Bakery Restaurant buildings in 2001 and turned it into a beautiful Bakery Restaurant by picturing the town preferred style and history with our furnishings and decor. Our lodge guests enjoy their complimentary breakfasts at this beautiful Hearthstone Bakery.

We purpose to honor the Nez Perce who saved the lives of the Lewis and Clark expedition arriving here in 1804. Thus we planned to give back by doing things that create prosperity in this reservation town by creating jobs for locals. The Nez Perce are friendly to all races living here.

Quite a few business people live here in lovely homes among the surrounding hills and valleys. They manage their businesses by internet. This provides us with well traveled people as guests.

Hearthstone Villa Lodge consists of five buildings on our 65 forested acres.

The 11,000 square foot Villa is the main building has an elegant, artistic beautiful one of a kind exterior. Antique iron art is embedded in the walls around the outside of the building. A gallery of art is along interior hall walls. The lobby entrance to the Villa gives a quietly dramatic unique and beautiful but cozy, artistic old world style ambiance with 20 foot high ceilings in the front of the lobby where the reception desk is. The back portion of the lobby is at 10 feet in height because of upstairs rooms. We have comfortable furnishings which surround the stonewalled fireplace in the lobby.  A spacious meeting room and antique conference table with padded chairs is next to the lobby as is the “Tea Room” available for small gatherings of guests.

We have an elevator in the hall but also a handsome ornate stair case which boasts antique wrought iron railings that embellish the carpeted stairs to the second floor. These ornate stair railings also run along the lobby side of the upstairs hall on two sides of the lobby giving an artistic experience as one enters the building.

Two large ornate iron chandeliers with bowls drop into the lobby from the 20 foot high ceiling entrance. The reception desk is an antique oak ornate church altar from Chicago with a charming artistic overhead of an antique fretwork art piece on columns across the top of the desk space. The lovely quiet lobby wall colors, furnishings and amenities give people the experience of steeping into the elegant world of an historic era. However we do have all the world class lodging guest amenities.

The Villa is peaceful with Clearwater River and woods views but feels cozy like an historic Bed and Breakfast Inn although it is an 11,000 square foot building with world class amenities.  Out doors on this main building we have a fastened to the wall 2000 lb iron ornate fountain from a village in France.

The there is a lovely elegant stand alone additional building called Canterbury Cottage a sizable suite with a living room a private bedroom large Jacuzzi tub and shower and an exercise treadmill.

The Chalet is a stylish handhewn western style handhewn log building with 2 identical two story suites in the building. It was built in a quaint woodsy nook of our land just yard from the river water but sitting up on a knoll of bushes and berries. We call that building the Chalet.  Europeans, western history lovers, families, hunters and fishermen all love to use this building and its out front barbecue.

We moved from Orange County California to Kamiah in 1998 but are still enthralled with Idaho some 22 years later. My husband Harty separated from the Army after the Vietnam War. He became a real estate Broker in California for many years and is now a Real Estate broker in Idaho while working with me to run  all six small businesses here with a great crew of local people. I am a retired Registered Nurse.

We are now on a mission to provide jobs, community service businesses that bring artful enhancements to the historic buildings here on this Native American reservation. We love serving this unique and charming community of Nez Perce Native Americans and the many other races living here. We are giving back to other by providing services, creating jobs and by restoring  buildings on this reservation. We build businesses with warm friendly atmosphere artfully designed business environments which appeal to the public. These works builds jobs and benefit both local residents with services and product. We also enjoy town visitors coming to us.

We have all the world class amenities and conveniences including WiFi. 

Citizens in this area include ranchers, cowboys, Native Americans (this town is on the topographically beautiful Nez Perce Reservation). Highly educated folks doing business by computer from home but down home folks thrill locals and visitors to our town. This area has stunning natural, historic, scientific, visitor serving sites and service. First of all people love the drives up and down the rivers, the wild animal sightings, fishing, river sports (have to bring own boast or raft except for the spring whitewater Rafting down the Lochsa River and other visits and activities in or at our surrounding valleys, trails, rivers vast forests, huge colorful rock outcroppings along the rivers, in the fields and forests even on farms. This is called the gem state for a good reason. We have a rock shop with a college trained host who shows and tells about rocks. There are places rockhounders, bird watchers, historians, fishermen, hunters, Easterners, Europeans, Chinese and beyond love our stunning topography our friendly western mix of Cowboys and ranchers, Native Americans, Caucasians, Asians, Black citizens and endless creative hardworking caring citizens live and work in our Western smallville USA where real people, and shopkeeper entrepreneurs care about each other with grace and style.  Down in the valley we have changes of topography every few minutes as a person drives down the highway or up mountain side roads, or past incredible movie set like enormous picturesque rock outcroppings, streams, rivers, forests and more. People here manufacture and sell goods, care for vast farms and ranches including a buffalo ranch, raise cattle horses, exotic birds and animals, and famous Native American Appaloosa horses.