Of the four vacation rental units within Strawberry Creek Village, perhaps the most iconic is an authentic schoolhouse, nearly 100 years old, restored to elegant rusticity by the Hinds family, owners of the Village.
Strawberry Creek Village, Idyllwild’s newest vacation rental property, is staging its delayed grand opening in March. The grand opening was delayed for four months following an unfortunate incident that severely impacted the Hinds family, owners of the Village.

On Saturday, Nov. 19, Cindi Hinds, recently from the San Francisco area, was in the front yard of the family’s newly renovated vacation rental property putting touches on exterior landscaping. It was one day prior to the day the first guest would occupy one of their recently remodeled units and just over a week before their scheduled Sunday, Nov. 27, grand opening.

A sign, below, found in the old school building during its remodel, recounts the building’s use as a schoolhouse in Corona before its move to Idyllwild. Said Strawberry Creek Village co-owner Cindi Hinds, “The schoolhouse was our inspiration to create a village.”
Photos by Marshall Smith

Hinds was adjusting a landscape light on a deer on the property when a car, driven by Idyllwild resident Ed Hansen, apparently failed to negotiate a curve, came up onto the property in the area in which she was working and struck her.

Hinds was airlifted to a trauma center in Palm Desert, having sustained serious injuries, including a broken pelvis and three out of four ligaments torn in the right knee.

Now, after a long and difficult four-month recovery, Hinds and family are looking forward to their rescheduled grand opening from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 25. A ribbon cutting is at noon.

Strawberry Creek Village is a family operation, jointly created out of a love for the property and need for more space for their extended family — Cindi and Rick, their children and grandchildren, and Cindi’s mom, Joyce Schilling.

The interior of the Mill House at the Strawberry Creek Village.
Photo by Mike Schilling
“I’m happy to be here in Idyllwild and even happier to be alive,” said Cindi. The family decided to retire to Idyllwild after visiting. They bought their home on Strawberry Creek in 2015. Then when the current property that is now Strawberry Creek Village became available, they moved quickly to lock down the sale. That was in June 2016.

Cindi and Rick have a shared background in vacation rentals and property management. They owned and operated a 6 ½ acre property, 6,000-square-foot estate home that could accommodate 22 guests in Castro Valley just across the bay from San Francisco. Called Deer Crossing Inn, the property was first run as a bed and breakfast and then as a vacation rental for large events. Cindi also has a background in hotel management.

“When we came here, we intended to retire completely,” said Cindi. “But then we have a large family and our home only has three bedrooms. So, when the property [for the inn] became available, it just seemed the right thing to do. We found the sign about the schoolhouse on the property and that inspired us to create our village. The sign reads, ‘This 93 year old schoolhouse was moved to this site in 1924 from east of Corona.’ That was our inspiration.”

The extended Hinds family. Pictured are
Rick and Cindi Hinds, son Kurt Jones and wife Nicole, Cindi’s mom Joyce Schilling and grandchildren Trinitie, Joseph, Brendan and Sean.
Photo courtesy Cindi Hinds

In the renovation, Cindi acted as decorator in chief and Kenny Gioeli provided landscaping, with help from other family members and locals.

The Hinds family will welcome visitors and guests to their grand opening with tours, free drawings and complimentary refreshments. Their village comprises the Historic Schoolhouse, the Creekview Barn, the Day Dreamer’s Den and the Mill House. The property also features a Bocce Ball court and a hot tub.