BBOnline Member SINCE 1995

The Secret Bed & Breakfast

2356 Alabama 68 West, Leesburg, Alabama 35983
Innkeeper(s): Charlie and Kris Thomas
  • Introduction

    The Secret Bed & Breakfast woods

    Perched atop Lookout Mountain lies the secret Bed & Breakfast Lodge - the best kept (secret) in the south! Spectacular view by day! Enchanting view by night! Spectacular and breathtaking only begin to describe the more than 180 degree panoramic view of the foothills, valleys, and beautiful Weiss Lake below.

    From Gothic rock formations one can see Rome, Georgia to the east and Weisner Mountain in Piedmont, Alabama to the south. Spreading majestically behind Weisner Mountain, lies the Cheaha Mountain range. Mount Cheaha, the highest point in Alabama, looks like a silver-wrapped candy kiss atop the mountain range. To the west the town of Gadsden, Alabama sparkles brilliantly when darkness falls.

    The view is as spectacular by day as it is enchanting at night. The secret is the perfect setting for making dreams come true or celebrating special moments or anniversaries.

  • Insider's Info

    Travelers are always looking for memorable and relaxing experiences. Let’s discover more through the words of our innkeepers. Many thanks to Charlie and Kris for sharing their own secrets with!
    Why do most travelers stay at your inn?

    Most travelers come to The Secret B & B for a cozy, peaceful, and/or romantic getaway. Our remote location on top of Lookout Mountain offers a great place to "hide" from the world for a day or two.

    What are you best known for? What makes your inn unique? What do you love most about your inn?

    I think people who have stayed here would say that we are best known for our incredible 180 degree panoramic view of Weiss Lake and the surrounding mountains and valleys. The view is spectacular in every season. The Secret B & B has many unique characteristics. The design of the main lodge is very Frank Lloyd Wrightish, and has a pool on the roof, a giant custom-built lazy-susan on the breakfast table (that seats 14 comfortably), and a wet bar that can be hidden from view (very important considering the county was dry until just recently!). My favorite thing about the Secret is the peaceful serenity that seems to envelop the property. We like to say that once you come through our brick entrance, all of your cares melt away, and time seems to just stand still.

    If someone has never been to your city, what is the #1 reason to come visit?

    The number one reason to visit our area is the Little River Canyon, and all of the natural beauty that abounds in and around the canyon. We like to consider ourselves as being at the gateway to the Smokey Mountains, however, most people end up realizing that they can travel further into the mountains and never find the breathtaking scenery that surrounds us.

    What’s the best compliment you have ever received about the inn?

    The best compliments we receive from our guests are the heartfelt comments that praise us as innkeepers. The biggest reason for this praise seems to be the way we interact with our guests...which to us simply means treating everyone like family.

    What’s the best kept secret about the area?

    There are several great places to see and things to do in our area that we tell our guests about, but if I had to choose one I would say Cherokee Rock Village. CRV is a rock climbing Mecca for those in the sport, but it is also a very beautiful place for non-climbers as well. It boasts many large rock formations that are easily climbed by all skill levels, trails for walking and biking, awesome views, and it is a great place to camp. Cherokee Rock Village is also only a short ten minute drive from our Inn.

    If a traveler is staying at your inn for 4 nights, what should he/she do in the area?

    Day 1: Trip through Little River Canyon for the beauty, then to Desoto State Park for some trail hiking, finally on to the little town of Mentone with its many local artisans and craftsmen. Dinner at the Wildflower Cafe.

    Day 2: Shopping, shopping, shopping...there are hundreds of antique stores within 45 minutes of our inn, and yard sales are a way of life in Northeast Alabama. OR If shopping isn't your cup of tea then try True Adventure Sports. They are an outfitter that will take you (or teach you) rock climbing, repelling, caving, zip lining, kayaking, or anything else outdoors that you can think of.

    Day 3: Morning hike at Cherokee Rock Village, then a trip to Orbix Hot Glass to see our local glassblowers in action (they have been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show!!). Lunch at The Mountain Parkway Grill (fantastic southern cooking, and less than a mile from our B & B. Spend the afternoon in the pool (summer) or Jacuzzi (winter) then maybe head into "the big city" of Gadsden a short 25 minute drive for a nice romantic supper at The Courtyard Cafe.

    Day 4: If you've done everything listed the first three days, you are now ready for a quiet day at the Inn. Snuggle in the hammock, stroll the ridge line, visit Jose the miniature donkey and Max, Toby, Pinot, and Merlot the friendly goats, go for a swim or just relax in the sun, curl up with a good book, or best of all...just do nothing. And at the end of the day, join your innkeepers for our daily glass of wine and social time, where we get to learn all about our guests as they learn about us .

    Is there anything within walking distance of your inn?

    One of the best features of our inn is the fact that we are isolated from the hustle and bustle of daily life. We have great places to walk, where beauty and wildlife abound, but to get back into civilization you'll need to use the car.

    What is your favorite restaurant/food in the area?

    There are many great places to eat in our area, but the two best are The Mountain Parkway Grill which is located less than a mile from the inn and Tony's Steak Barn which specializes in STEAK of course, and it is delicious. Tony's is about 10 minutes away.

    Any good area guides/websites that travelers could reference? for Little River Canyon,, and

    How many rooms does your inn have?

    Our Bed and Breakfast has five rooms in the main house- four on the second floor, and one on the main floor. We also have four cabins each within 100 feet of the main lodge.

    Do you accept pets?

    We accept pets on occasion, and only in certain rooms/cabins.

  • Living Area

    The Secret Bed & Breakfast living area

    The lodge features a 22' tongue and groove vaulted ceiling, fireplace, satellite T.V. and an entertainment center.

  • Roof-top Pool

    The Secret Bed & Breakfast pool

    Discover why we feel it is the best kept secret in the South atop the scenic roof-top pool.

  • Meet Your Innkeepers Charlie and Kris Thomas

    Innkeepers Diann & Carl CruickThere are new "keepers of the Inn"!! On June 27th Charlie and Kris Thomas took over as Innkeepers of The Secret Bed and Breakfast. In June of 2010, Kris shut down her mortgage business in which she had been part owner for 10 years.

    The following February, Charlie was laid off from his job of 22 years as a Golf Pro. With few options in their fields, they decided it was time for a radical change in their lives. A few years back, after staying at a Bed and Breakfast in north Georgia, they had discussed owning one when they retired. Little did they know that retirement would come at the age of 47.

    It is said that when God closes a door he opens a window. In this case, he opened the window and basically pushed! After looking at several Bed and Breakfasts in the southeast they had almost given up.

    The places were either too small to profit, did not have enough land to grow, had owner's quarters that would not accommodate ants, or were located so close to a railroad that the house shook three times a night! Then came The Secret! Upon stepping out of the car, walking into the massive lodge, then seeing the most amazing view, God said "It is done"!

    The chill bumps are still coming each time Kris shares their story and both she and Charlie look forward to sharing their little piece of heaven with many future guests! So come on up to the mountain and feel the peace and tranquility that everyone deserves at least every once in a while

  • The Kissing Tree and the BIG Chair!

    "The Kissing Tree & The Big Chair"

    Don't forget your camera! Especially if it's a birthday or an anniversary!

    We know we should not favor any particular guests, but we do. These two gracious Southern ladies (pictured above left) graced our mountain last fall. Mrs. Marion Rollins (left) and her life-long friend, Mrs. Robbie Sessions from Enterprise, Alabama have been friends since the age of three. They still cherish a picture of Ms. Robbie at age 3 standing beside a stroller the day Ms. Marion was born. This November each of these girls will celebrate birthdays--Ms. Marion will be 94 and Ms. Robbie will be 97. As these two enchanting ladies were having their pictures made I commented to Ms. Robbie that I would like for her to visit us on her 100th birthday and have her picture made in the BIG chair again. She remarked, with a twinkle in her eye, "Oh, that's a great idea. I always like to have something to look forward to!" Our mountain seemed to lose some stardust when they left.

    The Secret Bed & Breakfast The Kissing Tree

    The Secret Bed & Breakfast big chair

  • Seasonal Views

    We are often asked, "Which season is the prettiest?" We haven't decided. Maybe you can.

    The Secret Bed & Breakfast summer

    The Secret Bed & Breakfast fall

    The Secret Bed & Breakfast Winter View

    The Secret Bed & Breakfast Spring View

  • Area Attractions & Restaurants

    The Secret Bed & Breakfast dining area

    Also near the secret is Yellow Creek Falls which drops 100 feet into Weiss Lake. Nearby DeSoto State Park (1-800-568-8840) and DeSoto Falls are nature lover's paradises. Walking and hiking trails, streams, and the beauty of nature abounds. Activities include: fishing, swimming, rock climbing, hiking, nature walks and "critter" watching.

    Golfers may enjoy a day at either Silver Lakes Golf Course, a part of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail (1-800-949-4444) which is approximately 45 minutes away. Twin Bridges Golf Course is also an excellent choice and only twenty five minutes away (in Gadsden) (256-549-4866). Stonebridge Golf Course (1-800-336-5046) in Rome Georgia is also available and less than an hour away. The Cherokee County Country Club golf course is located within a 10 minute drive. The Huntsville Space and Rocket Center is also located within 1 1/2 hours of the secret.

    The secret is located near the Lookout Mountain Parkway and just 9 miles Interstate 59. It is 80 miles northeast of Birmingham, Alabama, 70 miles southwest of Chattanooga, Tennessee and 90 miles west of Atlanta, Georgia. For this reason, the secret is an excellent pivotal point from which one can discover some of the best secrets in the south.

    Local Attractions (0-30 minutes)

    • 411 Midway Drive In Theater - Call for Shows and Time: 256.927.2855
    • Akins "Dog Town" Furniture Store 256.845.2057;
    • Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce 256.927.8455
    • Cherokee Historical Museum 256.927.7835
    • Cherokee Rock Village (formally known as Little Rock City) -Location of 2006 movie, Failure to Launch, starring Matthew McConaughey & Sarah Jessica Parker, then search for Cherokee Rock Village
    • Chief Ladiga's Trail (bikes and hiking)
    • Cultural Arts Center Gadsden's Phone: 256.543.2787
    • Famous Collinsville Trade Day (Saturdays 4:00 am - 1:00 pm)
    • Fort Payne's Big Mill Antique Mall & Deli 256.845.3380,search for shopping
    • Gadsden Museum of Art 256.546.7365
    • Harris Furniture and Auction (1st and 3rd Saturdays) 256.927.7487
    • Historic Cornwall Furnace
    • Hubs Mercantile 256.523.3892 - 24012 Al. Hwy. 176 Collinsville, AL 35961
    • Jet Ski Rentals 256.484.9999 (Seasonal - Call for reservations) 10 minutes away
    • Jules J. Berta Vineyards 256.891.5115
    • Leesburg Landing (Public Boat & Fishing Dock)
    • Little River Canyon National Preserve 256.845.9605
    • Orbix Hot Glass 256.523.3188
    • " ADD: Rome Sail Club (Call us for more information - private excursions)
    • Terrapin Outdoor Center Canoe Shop, Accessories and Rentals 256.447.6666
    • The Odyssey Health Spa and Fitness 256.927.2772 (Call for appointment.) Eight miles from the secret
    • Twin Bridges Golf Course 256.549.4866
    • Untamed Mountain (over 30 large carnivores)256.524.4150
    • Weiss Lake Dam
    • Weiss Lake, The Crappie Capital of the South!
    • Wills Creek Vineyards 256.538.5452
    • World's Longest Yard Sale (Yearly in August, 7 miles from the secret) Then search for shopping
    • Yellow Creek Falls

    Nearby Attractions (30-60 minutes)

    • Alabama Band Fan Club and Museum 1.800.557.8223
    • Boaz Outlet Malls 1.800.4.Tanger
    • Cloudmont Ski, Golf and Horseback Riding 256.634.4344
    • DeSoto State Park 1.800.ALA.PARK;
    • Mentone Rhododendron Festival (once a year)
    • Mountain Top Flea Market (Sundays) 1.800.535.2286
    • Noccalula Falls 1.888.565.0411
    • Robert Trent Jones-Hampton Cove Golf Course - Call for Tee Time256.551.1818
    • Robert Trent Jones-Silver Lakes Golf Course - Call for Tee Time 256.892.3268
    • Sally Howard Memorial Chapel
    • Sequoyah Caverns 1.800.843.5098
    • Stonebridge Golf Club (Rome, Ga) 40 minute drive 1.800.336.5046
    • Unclaimed Baggage (Boaz and Scottsboro)

    Within One and one-half Hour

    • Ava Maria Grotto "Little Jerusalem" 256.734.4110
    • Burritt's Living Museum 1.800.772.2348
    • Huntsville Museum of Art 1.800.786.9095
    • Motor Sports Hall of Fame 256.362.5002
    • The State of Alabama Sports Hall of Fame 205.323.6665
    • U.S. Space and Rocket Center 256.837.3400
    • Vulcan Park 205.933.1409

    Recommended Local Restaurants (5-10 minutes)

    • 411 Drive In Movie Theater 256.927.2855 (Homemade hamburgers!)
    • The Bar-B-Que Place 256.927.3793
    • Beans and Greens (Country Buffet) 256.492.3276
    • Burger King, McDonald's, Jacks, Subway, Hardee's, KFC and more
    • City Buffet 256.927.6669 (Chinese)
    • Lanny's Barbeque 256.927.2400
    • Mama J's (Buffet)
    • Pizza Hut (Take out only)
    • Sageberry's Restaurant 256.475.3398
    • The Mountain Parkway Grill 256.523.5555
    • Tony's Steak Barn 256.927.2844
    • Three Style Pizza 256.523.3336

    Recommended Nearby Restaurants (Approx. 25-45 minutes)

    • Applebee's
    • Courtyard Café 256.547.1066 (Local entertainment occasionally)
    • Logan's Steak House
    • Mi Casita Mexican Restaurant
    • Red Lobster
    • Ruby Tuesday
    • The Fish Market
    • The Log Cabin Deli 256.634.4560
    • Top-of-the-River Seafood 256.547.9817
    • The Wildflower Cafe 256.634.0066 (reservations recommended)
  • About Our Accommodations

    The Secret Bed & Breakfast Guest Rooms

    The secret features four guest rooms which are located on the 2nd floor above the Main Lodge. Two rooms are located on the view side (Tranquility and Serenity) and two rooms are located on the wooded side (Remembrance and Enchantment). Each of these rooms may be entered from the main upstairs hallway which also leads to the unique roof top pool and suspended deck. The patio and balcony area offer one of the most impressive views in the south!

    All rooms and cottages have balconies and private baths. Direct TV is available in all rooms/cottages except Remembrance. DVD and VCR's are available in all rooms/cottages. Guests may select from over 400 courtesy movies for their watching pleasure or bring their own DVD's or videos. A hearty breakfast is served daily at 9:00 a.m.

    Looking for something more private? Discover four of the most unique cottages in the state of Alabama. These cottages offer the best of both worlds - a bed and breakfast experience with the ultimate privacy. Enjoy the main lodge area which features two TVs, a large fireplace and a spectacular view from windows towering three stories in height. Then, you may return to your hide-a-way to enjoy your personal view of the surroundings.

    The ceiling in the main gathering room at the lodge is over 2 stories tall. In the morning guests may enjoy a full country breakfast or pancakes around a 10' revolving dining table. In this charmingly secluded and privately owned location guests discover "the secret". No one leaves the same as he came. It is truly the secret awaiting your discovery.

  • Inn Accolades & Special Appearances

    Movie Appearances

    Large rock outcroppings abound on the property and in nearby areas. Cherokee Rock Village is about 7 miles from the secret. It was one of the sites selected for filming the 2006 movie, Failure to Launch, starring Matthew McConaughey & Sarah Jessica Parker. Visitors discover rock formations over 100 feet high that form unusual observation decks. Rock climbers from surrounding states may always be found scaling the rocks. This area is located on an old pioneer road and Indian trail that is today called the Lookout Mountain Trail. This trail is known to have existed during the Civil War.

    The secret has been featured in the The Atlanta Journal & Constitution and on the front page of the Birmingham New Travel Section. The secret has also been featured in The Country Register, The Lookout Mountain Discoverer, the Times Daily, Alabama Magazine, Prime Times Magazine, the North Alabama Traveler, AAA's Travel Magazine, Going Places, Southern Lady Magazine and Southern Living Magazine. Also, we are honored to have been selected as one of twelve bed and breakfasts in Alabama to be featured on the Alabama Public Television Network.

    Articles About Our Inn

    Trip Advisor

    The Secret Bed and Breakfast Lodge rated "excellent" by 11 travelers

  • How to Find Us

    Within 1/8 mile, your GPS may have us all over the road. Please call us if you need any assistance.

    From Birmingham, Alabama traveling North on I-59

    Estimated driving time from Trussville Exit is 1 hour, 15 minutes

    Option 1 from Birmingham (15 minute longer route, all interstate except 9 miles):

    1. Take Exit 205 - Collinsville Exit
    2. Turn right, following Highway 68 East all the way (8.9 miles) to the sign (the secret Bed & Breakfast Lodge) on the left side of the road
    3. Turn left in front of the sign onto Cruickshank Lane
    4. Follow Cruickshank Lane 2/10 mile to the top of the mountain and behold!
    5. Note: Watch road signs carefully
    6. After you exit I-59 you will travel 1.2 miles and turn right at the traffic light in the town of Collinsville
    7. You will then go to the next traffic light and turn left
    8. You will now travel 7 miles
    9. This can be tricky if you are not watching the road signs carefully

    Option 2 from Birmingham (15 minutes shorter, two-lane state highway all but 4 miles)

    1. Take Exit 182 onto Highway 759
    2. On 759, take Exit 4B (The exit ramp clover leafs onto Hwy 411 North)
    3. Follow Hwy 411 North about 20 miles
    4. Turn leftat the traffic light in Leesburg onto Hwy 68 West
    5. Travel 2.4 miles
    6. Turn right at the sign, the secret Bed & Breakfast Lodge, onto Cruickshank Lane
    7. Note: Upon approaching the sign you will see a chain link fence on a small hill on the right side of the road. You will turn right when the chain link fence ends onto Cruickshank Lane
    8. Follow Cruickshank Lane 2/10 mile to the top of the mountain and behold!

    From Chattanooga, Tennessee on I-59 headed South

    (Estimated driving time - 1 hour, 15 minutes)

    1. Take Exit 205 - Collinsville Exit
    2. Turn left at end of Exit ramp
    3. Follow Highway 68 East all the way (8.9 miles) to the sign the secret Bed & Breakfast Lodge on the left side of the road
    4. Turn left in front of the sign onto Cruickshank Lane
    5. Follow Cruickshank Lane 2/10 mile to the top of the mountain and behold!
    6. Note: Watch road signs carefully
    7. After you exit I-59 you will travel 1.2 miles and turn right at the traffic light in the town of Collinsville
    8. You will then go to the next traffic light and turn left
    9. You will now travel 7 miles
    10. This can be tricky if you are not watching the road signs carefully

    From Atlanta, Georgia via 75 North

    1. Take Exit 290 - Rome/Canton Exit
    2. Follow 20 West
    3. For a while you will be on 20 West and 411 South
    4. Follow 411 South to Cave Springs, Georgia; Centre, Alabama and Leesburg, Alabama
    5. At the traffic light in Leesburg turn RIGHT onto Hwy 68 West
    6. Travel 2.4 miles
    7. Turn right at the sign, the secret Bed & Breakfast Lodge, onto Cruickshank Lane
    8. Note: Upon approaching the sign you will see a chain link fence on a small hill on the right side of the road
    9. You will turn right when the chain link fence ends onto Cruickshank Lane
    10. Follow Cruickshank Lane 2/10 mile to the top of the mountain and behold!
    11. We recommend traveling through Cave Springs rather than Hwy 20 (GA)/Hwy (AL). Cave Springs to Centre is a pretty drive, no traffic lights or city traffic

    From Atlanta Airport (Georgia)

    (Estimated traveling time - 2 1/4 - 2 1/2 hours)

    1. From the terminal take Camp Creek Parkway/Return to Terminal
    2. Follow Camp Creek Parkway
    3. Travel about 15 miles - Take 20 West
    4. In Alabama take Exit 199 (Hefling/Hollis). This is the 2nd Heflin exit)
    5. Follow Hwy 9 North to Piedmont then to Centre
    6. In Centre, turn LEFT onto Hwy 411 South
    7. Travel about 5 miles to Leesburg
    8. At traffic light in Leesburg turn right onto Hwy 68 West
    9. Travel 2.4 miles
    10. Turn right at the sign, the secret Bed & Breakfast Lodge, onto Cruickshank Lane
    11. Note: Upon approaching the sign you will see a chain link fence on a small hill on the right side of the road
    12. You will turn right when the chain link fence ends onto Cruickshank Lane
    13. Follow Cruickshank Lane 2/10 mile to the top of the mountain and behold!

    From Huntsville, Alabama

    1. Travel south from Huntsville on 431 through Guntersville and Albertville
    2. In Boaz turn left on Hwy 168 E.
    3. Travel approximately 7 miles
    4. The road comes to a "T"
    5. Turn right onto Hwy 68 E
    6. You will follow 68 E for approximately 23 miles traveling through the little towns of Crossville and Collinsville
    7. Our driveway (on the left) is located in a curve and can be pretty tricky
    8. Most guests miss it
    9. Just before the turn into drive is a silver fence erected by the state
    10. If you miss the turn you'll drop off the mountain (only about a mile)
    11. Turn around and travel back up 68
    12. You will see a sign, "Welcome to the Town of Sand Rock"
    13. We'll be the next drive on your right
    14. Turn, travel up the mountain and prepare to see an unforgettable view of Alabama, the beautiful!