Hilltop Restaurant and Herb Garden

Open for Takeout - Dine In Returning October 2, 2020!



Swimming Pool, Swim Lake, Horseback Riding, Fitness Center


Log Cabin Rentals

Log cabins and log homes to fit any size family.


Family Vacation!

Nature focused activities...
Plan your Spring or Summer Vacation Now


Log Cabin Rentals

Authentic Log Cabins, Log Suites
& Private Log Homes

Hilltop Restaurant & Herb Garden

Dining in a lakeside setting

Featured Menus

Sassafras Meeting Room

Conference Center

Group & Corporate Retreats
Meeting Rooms
Challenge Course


Artesian Lakes Property for Sale

Purchase a waterfront home or waterfront lot in the adjacent Artesian Lakes Community.  The perfect place for a second home for today, maybe a retirement home for tomorrow.


The Retreat at Artesian Lakes (formerly Chain – O – Lakes Resort & Conference Center) is a uniquely designed, nature-focused facility with authentic log cabins and log suites, ideal for weekend getaways, family vacations, romantic getaways, garden weddings, group retreats, corporate retreats and business conferences.

Located on the edge of the Texas Big Thicket National Preserve, about one hour north of Houston, The Retreat at Artesian Lakes offers overnight accommodations in authentic log cabins, log suites, and private log homes.

The Retreat at Artesian Lakes is also home to Hilltop Restaurant and Herb Garden, a famous East Texas landmark founded by renowned herbalist and cook, Madalene Hill.  Hilltop’s exquisite cuisine is based on the herbs grown in the adjacent garden.

James D Smith Sr. 1969ish

Our History

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Every so often, across this great and bountiful country, Mother Nature is especially kind to a certain small slice of her landscape. These special places are distinguished by their visual or geological esthetics as well as an intangible “energy” or “feel” about them. The Retreat at Artesian Lakes is such a place, and for over a century has served as a retreat for outdoor and nature enthusiasts, a special place for respite and rejuvenation. The story begins eons ago when this land was in the center of an “ox-bow” of the Trinity River for many thousands of years. What this means is that the river made a sharp 180° reversal of its direction; literally a u-turn. When heavy rains upriver…

Jim Bowie is a privately owned cabin.

This log cabin features a living/dining area with a fireplace, sofa, coffee table, side chair, and dining table with four chairs.  A kitchen area is furnished with full-size refrigerator, stove, sink, built-in microwave, coffee maker, toaster and dishes, glasses, and silverware for four guests; a full set of cooking utensils is included.

A separate bedroom features one queen-sized bed, antique dresser, and nightstand.  A loft with two twin beds is accessible only by ladder. These cabins have one bathroom.

This cabin includes a flat-screen TV with Netflix.

Dine In returns October 2, 2020!

Hilltop Restaurant and Herb Garden

Lunch Menu

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Friday & Saturday Lunch - 11:00AM - 1:00PM Salads, Sandwiches, Catfish and Shrimp baskets, and more!

Dinner Menu

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Open Thursday for Take Out – Friday & Saturday for Dine In and Take Out - 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
The Grille - Poolside

The Grille

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"The Grille", located at the pool and swim lake, is open Wednesday - Sunday, 11 A.M. to 2:00 P.M., during Spring Break and from Memorial Day through Labor Day. FOR LUNCH ORDERS, PLEASE CALL 281-223-0168.

Everything was great. Wonderful food, friendly service. I will for sure make more reservations.


The home was perfect for our family. The children loved the horseback riding, fishing and alligators. I love what you did with the swimming pool and fish pond.


Quiet and peaceful visit. It was nice to get away from everyday life and be close to home.


The community is beautiful......far enough from the big city but close enough for a weekend getaway. It's our choice....quiet and relaxing.

JaneStayed in The Lake House

Our cabin was fantastic, it was tucked away and private. Loved being able to fish off the deck whenever we wanted, canoeing was awesome we had never done that before and my kids loved seeing the gators, snapping alligator turtles, and our nightly visits from the raccoons lol.