Nestled deep in the woods north of Ada across the Canadian River in Seminole County, Roberts Retreat is the ultimate get-away.

The two-story, 6,200-square-foot facility will soon be available for family reunions, company meetings, religious retreats, hunting groups and just about any other event where people want to gather in picturesque surroundings.

Darren and Angella Lee, owners of Ada Creative Homes/Construction, led the 10-month construction of the cedar-and-stone lodge that overlooks a lake on the 400-acre shangri-la.

“Construction was really challenging,” said Darren Lee, an Ardmore native who earned a bachelor’s of science degree at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant. “The site was covered with trees that had to be removed to make room for the lodge. A lot of dirt was hauled in. There was also a large bee hive that caused a few problems. We hired a beekeeper to come in and move the bees because we know they are important to the ecosystem.”

The Lees were chosen to contract the operation by a highly successful Dallas, Texas, roofing contractor James Roberts and his wife Jackie.

“They were looking for a place where they could relax and enjoy the outdoors,” Angella Lee said. “They like to hunt and fish, and this was the perfect location for them.”

Roberts Retreat will sleep 30 guests comfortably in its eight bedrooms. There are also nine bathrooms — each bedroom has a private bath — and two bunk rooms. Guests will have the run of the lodge — except for the Rogers’ suite downstairs.

Darren Lee — a 10-year construction veteran who offers his personal design-build touch — is proud of the finished product.

“The owners believe deer hunters from Oklahoma City, Dallas and elsewhere will have the time of the lives during a stay at Roberts Retreat,” he said. “There’s something for everyone — ATV trails, hunting, fishing, hiking or just relaxing. The breath-taking view will be a big draw.”

Darren Lee grew up in the construction trade in the family-owned Lee’s Excavating in Ardmore.

Meanwhile, his partner Angella brings a creative touch to Ada Creative Homes/Construction, a company that has served the Ada area for a decade.

She home-schools their adopted 6-year-old daughter, Gloria. That works out well for the youngster, especially since her mom earned a teaching certificate along with a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in educational administration.

“We really enjoy what we do,” Angella Lee said. “And we’ll soon have another daughter from China.”

While clearing off the wooded acreage, the Lees discovered several artifacts related to the area’s unique history — arrowheads left behind by tribal members from Indian Territory days and before.

The Lee family’s roots run deep in Ardmore, but they also intersected in Ada briefly during the Great Depression as Oklahoma and others in the Great Plains sizzled in the 1930s.

“Gene’s grandfather, Leo Woodrow, was 18 years old when he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps,” Angella Lee said. “His group was sent to Ada to work in Wintersmith Park during 1932-1933. He mentioned that service many times, recalling how they had lived in tents. He was very proud of his role at the park. We are all pleased that the park’s amphitheater is being restored.”

Ninety-two-year-old Leo Woodrow passed away last week. He had kept the memory of the CCC alive in an Ardmore nursing facility.

Leo Woodrow, Gene’s grandfather, was also related to a former U.S. president.

The family comes from the lineage of Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president who served two terms between 1913 and 1921. The Virginia Democrat led the nation through World War I and is remembered by historians as a champion of world peace and democracy. The former president’s first name — Woodrow.

The annual Wilson/Woodrow/Axson, Bolling family reunion is held in May at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library in Staunton, Va.

While some landscaping and a few odds and ends remain before the public can take advantage of Roberts Retreat, it would be prudent to lock in reservations now — or at least get on a waiting list — a wait that will be worth the effort.

For information on renting the facility, phone James or Jackie Roberts, owners of Dallas Roofing Co., at (214) 882-1328.

“There will be a full-time groundskeeper on duty,” Darren Lee said. “All the details haven’t been finalized, but Roberts Retreat will offer a peaceful, private get-away. It has surveillance cameras, locked gates and a safe room. Everyone who’s seen the site has been impressed. We’re proud that we were selected as the project’s general contractor.”

It’s been a little noisy the past year in an isolated area north of Ada. But the bulldozers are about to move on and the last nail hammered on the $600,000 facility.

Soon, the first guests will begin to enjoy a lodge that will rival any in Colorado or elsewhere. Who needs to travel hundreds or thousands of miles when a weekend dream stay is right in your own back yard?

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