“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” may be a holiday tradition celebrated in song, but roasting them on an open fire while you snuggle up to a massive slate hearth, steaming mug of cocoa in hand, as muting layers of snow pile up outside, silencing everything except the crackle and pop of the fire and the laughter of family and friends—now, that’s what the velvet-voiced Nat King Cole really had in mind. And it’s precisely the kind of quintessential Northwest experience you’ll discover among our picks for the region’s best lodges, all within a few hours’ drive. To find them, we asked, “What makes a lodge a lodge?” For some it might mean snow and skiing and rough-hewn timber beams. But for us, the experience isn’t just about powder, sports, and architecture. It’s about soul: a place as steeped in community as it is in nature, a shelter set among the Northwest’s natural bounty—be it mountain, river, or sea—where you’ll find cozy, communal spaces for sharing stories and supper and, eventually, memories ... and, of course, where you’ll also find a good fireplace.
National Park Inn at Longmire | Mount Rainier
Planted in the middle of Mt Rainer National Park, Longmire affords a classic mountain setting with an average of 52 feet of snow each winter, out-the-lodge-door cross-country skiing, and a roaring stone fireplace to fend off the chill sweeping down from the Northwest’s highest peak. Hot cocoa not included (but you can find some in the 1918 log cabin–cum–general store next door). mtrainierguestservices.com; from $115
Book It! Room 8’s brilliant perspective on Mount Rainier makes it a regular favorite.
Tu Tu’ Tun Lodge | Gold Beach
This Rogue River gem trades traditional Cascadian heft for gentler Craftsman lines, gracefully blending into the riverbanks upon which it was built in 1970s. Seven quiet miles from where river meets sea, Tu Tu’ Tun’s serene acres host 21 rooms—many with wood-burning fireplace and all with a wall of windows that invites the outdoors in. tututun.com; from $145
Book It! The Osprey House, new in 2011, boasts 180-degree views of the Rogue and three bedrooms—perfect for a couples’ retreat.
Sleeping Lady | Leavenworth, Wash.
Also built by the CCC, Sleeping Lady shares a family tree with Timberline, but the aesthetic is entirely different. Instead of a mountaintop retreat with several floors of lodge rooms, Sleeping Lady’s suite clusters spread out along 67 creekside acres in Icicle Canyon, where skiers can shoosh off their backsteps into 4 miles of cross-country trails. If you start feeling lonely, visit the main lodge for meals inspired by Sleeping Lady’s organic garden and a side of communal chatter. sleepinglady.com; from $320 (including meals)
Book It! Perched uphill from the suite clusters (and near the outdoor hot tub), the Eyrie Cabin promises the most privacy.
Timberline Lodge | Mount Hood
A masterpiece forged by an earlier generation’s economic hardship, government stimulus, and artistry, Oregon’s iconic lodge ties up its 75th anniversary celebration this month. That means you can savor the National Historic Landmark’s enormous stone fireplaces—crafted from boulders found slopeside during the Civilian Conservation Corps’s 15-month construction of Timberline—for less. As part of the festivities, Timberline offers rooms in the hand-built “People’s Lodge” for as low as $75. timberlinelodge.com; from $75 (through web specials)
Book It! History buffs pick Room 107, used by FDR and Eleanor during the lodge’s 1937 dedication.
Play like a Hood local with these tips from Betsy Valian, director of the Arts Cabins Project, co-owner of Valian’s Ski Shop, and proud 30-year Government Camp resident.
THE MT HOOD CULTURAL CENTER AND MUSEUM
“I don’t think people realize how integral Mount Hood has been in the history of the Northwest,” Valian says. Find out in this 11-year-old museum, which showcases Hood’s rich legacy and fascinating ski history through photograph collections, architecture exhibits, and annual local art sales.
THE TACO SHOPPE
Keep your eyes peeled on E Government Camp Loop Road for chef Kevin Bastin’s easy-to-miss streetside taco shop, serving fresh, homemade Mexican food with a focus on local produce and vegetarian options.
SUMMIT SKI AREA
Operating since 1927, Summit is the oldest ski area in the Pacific Northwest—and owns one of the best sledding hills for the pint-size set. Rent a tube all day for just $25. —Rachel Ritchie
Suncadia | Cle Elum, Wash.
A recent descendant of Sunriver-style decadence, central Washington’s Suncadia makes kids the center of attention with its outdoor ice rink, tubing hill, pools, and signature “Camp Cadia” programs (themed excursions, like Shake Your Music Maker or Creepy Crawly Night, that involve games, crafts, and field trips). Generation Next, indeed. suncadiaresort.com; from $159
Book It! Multifamily retreats are easily served by Suncadia’s collection of houses, like 120 Bunchberry Ct, which boasts four master bedrooms, a bunkhouse, and covered outdoor deck for the kids to burn off any unspent energy.
Lake Creek Lodge | Camp Sherman
Let the little ones run wild without worry at this Camp Sherman retreat. The pet-friendly chalets provide plenty of room to stretch out. (The smallest is 500 square feet.) And if nearby Hoodoo Ski Area doesn’t fix the kids’ case of stir crazy, the main lodge, with its big-screen TV, Ping-Pong, foosball, and pool table, surely will. lakecreeklodge.com; from $99
Book It! The 1,200-square-foot Cabin 27 is outfitted with chic, WPA-inspired appliances.
Sunriver Resort | Sunriver
The granddaddy in Central Oregon’s lineage of golf resorts, Sunriver offers 300-plus days of sunshine and Fido-friendly suites and homes that have been drawing families since 1968. This winter there’s a new reason to go: the Sunriver Homeowners Aquatic & Recreation Center. This 22-acre (yes, acre) site promises myriad ways to warm up—and wear the kids out: an indoor pool, outdoor hot tub, and a year-round sledding hill (snow not required), to name a few. sunriver-resort.com; from $119
Book It! Kids love the Lodge Village Suite’s loft; parents appreciate the second bathroom and private deck.
Skamania Lodge | Stevenson, Wash.
Skamania rarely sees piles of snow, but it’s always got plenty to keep every member of your family entertained. For the kids: minigolf, an indoor pool, s’mores at the outdoor fire pit, and a new zip line through the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. For you: 18 grown-up size holes, an outdoor hot tub open until 10, and easy access to Gorge trails. skamania.com; from $125
Book It! The four Parlor rooms include balconies overlooking the lodge’s front lawn and the riverscape.
Seventh Mountain Resort | Bend
A $20 million renovation has helped shore up this longtime family favorite’s townhomes, along with the outdoor ice rink and heated pools, and the adventure center (air hockey, video games, Ping-Pong and more). Don’t limit the family to on-site activities, though: Mount Bachelor and one of Central Oregon’s best sledding hills are just a few miles up the road. seventhmountain.com; from $129
Book It! Building 17’s third-floor rooms have the best views of Mount Bachelor and the Deschutes National Forest.
Play It Again
Kara Larson, owner of NE Alberta Street’s Grasshopper toy store, suggests three cures for cabin fever.
Batabanga ($18) Reaction times get a boost with Batabanga, in which players slap the pile when two of the same beautifully illustrated cards come up in a row.
Qwirkle ($25) Tetris meets tic-tac-toe in this game for two to four players. Score points by using 108 wooden tiles to build lines sharing certain attributes. “Not only are kids learning colors and shapes, they’re learning how to strategize.” Larson says.
Sketch It! ($20) A kind of communal Pictionary, Sketch It! rewards budding Van Goghs by giving top points to drawings guessed first. —Jasmine Eoff
Wildspring | Port Orford
No matter what your romance recipe calls for, WildSpring Guest Habitat has the ingredients: five adults-only cabins nested in a forest of firs near a gale-prone stretch of southern coastline, perfect for privacy and storm watching; radiant-heat floors (no cold feet in bed); showers built for two; chocolate on hand 24 hours a day in the guest hall; and—the pièce de résistance—an outdoor tub overlooking the frothy Pacific. Get cookin’. wildspring.com; from $198
Book It! The Craftsman-style Anwen Cabin will feel like a homecoming. Especially once you light the fire in the beautiful cast-iron wood stove.
Run of the River | Leavenworth, Wash.
A mile from downtown Leavenworth—and blissfully free of its kitschy Bavarian theme—Run of the River Inn & Refuge’s majestic setting makes it nearly impossible not to fall in love. Wake up to winter songbirds (the inn is surrounded by a bird sanctuary and wildlife refuge) and fall asleep to the sound of the Icicle River rushing past your suite’s private deck. And should the picturesque winter scene inspire taking a knee, well, it wouldn’t be the first time. The adults-only inn has “elopement packages” at the ready for just such an occasion. runoftheriver.com; from $230
Book It! The stand-alone Ravenwood Lodge comes with an outdoor hot tub and a shower view of the Enchantment Mountains.
Five Pine Lodge | Sisters
If Dante penned a modern revision of his seminal Paradiso chapters, he’d surely set it at Five Pine. Heavenly sphere 1: an on-site brewpub and old-school movie house, ideal for a date night within walking distance. Sphere 2: a fireplace. Sphere 3: a sunken, two-person rock soaking tub next to a fireplace. Sphere 4: an Italian tile shower for two ... a fine place to kindle your own “inferno.” fivepinelodge.com; from $149
Book It! The only place you’ll find that sunken tub is in a “romance cabin” on the back row of the property, abutting the Deschutes National Forest.
Alta Crystal Resort | Mount Rainier
Your seat heater will barely have time to warm up in the seven miles between Alta Crystal and premier Rainier ski area Crystal Mountain. Not that you want to get too comfortable, anyway: with 2,600 skiable acres and the Northwest’s first ski gondola (opened in 2011), Crystal Mountain beckons powder hounds from across the country. When you finish snagging turns, Alta’s 104-degree muscle-mending hot tub—the only one in the area—awaits. altacrystalresort.com; from $179
Book It! Splurge with the super-private Honeymoon Cabin, hand-built by a man named Jack Frost. Really.
Collins Lake Resort | Government Camp
In just 10 years, swanky Collins Lake Resort has helped transform Government Camp from a no-frills roadside village to a bustling base camp for all things Hood. Your stay here comes with up to 35 percent discounts on lift tickets to area ski resorts, a porch-to-powder shuttle to Timberline and Skibowl, and 28 acres of trails inside the resort in case your ski bummin’ doesn’t extend beyond city limits. collinslakeresort.com; from $189
Book It! Only one room at the new Grand Lodges has a balcony Jacuzzi: Suite 15.
Husum Highlands | White Salmon, Wash.
Part of the adventure at Husum Highlands is simply getting there—the last four miles to this four-room B&B follow a steep gravel road to 1,800 feet. But there’s good reason to search it out: besides the sweeping views of the Gorge, you’ve got prime access to snowshoeing stashes and more “high lonesome” than Louis L’Amour could shake a fountain pen at. husumhighlands.com; from $155
Book It! Top-floor Melanie’s Suite affords a spectacular view of Hood.
Freestone Inn | Mazama, Wash.
Set in north-central Washington’s Methow Valley, Freestone Inn provides click-in-and-go access to some of the nation’s best cross-country trails from its 12 lakeview rooms. Up the adrenaline factor with a backcountry tour courtesy of North Cascades Heli-Skiing, Washington’s only heli-skiing operation, which launches from a pad at Freestone. Post-piste, the floor-to-ceiling river-rock fireplace provides a fitting spot to ride out the endorphin high. freestoneinn.com; from $155
Book It! Rooms 6 and 12 are the only suites with fireplaces and jetted tubs.
Salish Lodge & Spa | Snoqualmie Falls, Wash.
Back when Salish was a simple country breakfast spot perched at the edge of roaring 268-foot-tall Snoqualmie Falls (1916), waitresses stood on the second floor and dripped the inn’s famous honey onto biscuits. Today it’s dripped onto your face—and arms and legs and just about anywhere else—in one of the, ahem, sweetest resort themes known. Salish’s luxe fourth-floor spa uses honey from the inn’s 12 hives, as well as herbs from its organic garden, in treatments and in the bath products on your room’s spa butler menu (essential for your two-person jetted tub). salishlodge.com, from $189
Book It! For dinner reserve Table 5, a private nook so close to the waterfall the floor shakes when it’s in full force.
Awtrey House | Neahkahnie
With two units, this intimate B&B is about as close as you can get to owning your own beach home without a down payment. It’s not just any beach house, either: Awtrey couples one of Oregon’s most dramatic locations with the bone-simple design of one of the Northwest’s most celebrated architects, James Cutler. The property showcases the elegance of wood, glass, Rais stoves, oversize soaking tubs, and great conversation with your hosts, former NBA pro Dennis Awtrey and his wife, Peggy—all with the battering winds and roiling Pacific just a window’s thickness away. awtreyhouse.com; from $295
Pronghorn | Bend
Initially envisioned as a gated golf community, Pronghorn Club & Resort’s multibedroom suites come with the fresh scent of juniper and all of the lavishness you’d expect of second homes built for millionaires: gourmet kitchens, jetted tubs, fireplaces, and home theater systems, plus access to the Jack Nicklaus–designed course. pronghornclub.com; from $150
Book It! Get the best view of the 18th hole in the four-bedroom Suite 501.
Salishan | Lincoln City
This 47-year-old icon is so steeped in Portland-style opulence that, as one frequent visitor notes, it seems like there’s a tunnel from the MAC to the front door. Look past adds like antler chandeliers to John Storrs’s graceful architecture cuddled by Barbara Fealy’s native gardens. Here, the resort is the adventure—specifically the spa, with its rain showers, saunas, whirlpools, and an infinity tub with a view of Siletz Bay. salishan.com; from $139
Book It! Find the best views (and coziest rooms) in the Fisherman Building’s upper floor.
To Hide Out
Mountain Home Lodge | Leavenworth, Wash.
Even if the world finds you at Mountain Home, it can’t reach you. At 1,000 feet above Leavenworth, snow and ice make the seemingly vertical road to this 30-year-old resort impassable in winter. The only way up is aboard the lodge’s snowcat. But isolation has its rewards: breath-stealing views of the valley and Stuart Range, plus 30 miles of out-your-front-door ski and snowshoe trails, and three meals a day served beside the 10-room lodge’s cracklin’ wood fire. mthome.com; from $350 (includes meals and rentals)
Book It! Get even farther away with one of Mountain Home’s two cabins, stand-alone sanctuaries that command the same unbelievable views.
House on Metolius | Camp Sherman
Nothing says hideaway like a locked gate—especially the high-tech kind that guards House on Metolius. For 50 years, this seven-room sanctuary above the Metolius River has been an invite-only affair. While cabins southwest of the main house were available for stays, the house remained the domain of the Lundgren-Zehntbauer family (of Jantzen Mills fame). But this spring the owners welcomed the rest of us into the clan. Situated near Camp Sherman, House on Metolius combines 1950s architectural detail with the beauty of Central Oregon. Pines flank the house, their scent mingling with that of a wood fire sizzling and popping in the living room, while in a clearing below, the Metolius snakes along, beckoning fly fishermen, painters, and winter wanderers. And since cell service is spotty here, you can remain blissfully unplugged as long as you’re locked away. metolius.com; from $149
Book It! Pick Room 4 or 5 for better views of the river (but only slightly).
Eagle Rock Lodge | Vida
Halfway between somewheres (Eugene and Bend), Eagle Rock Lodge is a beautiful kind of nowhere. Snuggled in a forest of cedar and maple on the banks of the McKenzie River, the historic lodge is a summertime fly-fishing mecca. But in the winter, it’s the purest form of escape for those who love the Willamette National Forest’s soft green mosses. Curl up by the fire with a Zane Grey novel, prop open a window, and savor the soundtrack of rushing river and wind whispering through trees. eaglerocklodge.com; from $225
Book It! The Fireplace Suite’s hearth was part of the original 1947 structure.
Brasada Ranch | Powell Butte
Fourteen miles from the nearest sizable town, Brasada offers a high-desert hideout with benefits. The gated golf community was sold to Northview Hotel Group in 2010, and the new owners invested more than $3.5 million in resort improvements. A renovated restaurant and guesthouse, new spa, steam room, outdoor hot tub, and kid-friendly “Hideout” (complete with Ping-Pong, air hockey, and climbing wall) mean you’ll never have to leave this island of Central Oregon pleasure. That way there’s no danger of missing the resort’s most impressive asset: the unbelievable sunset panorama, an amber-hued swatch of juniper and sagebrush stretching up against the feet of snowcapped Bachelor, Broken Top, Black Butte, and the Three Sisters. brasada.com; from $169
Book It! The second-story suites are the only lodge rooms with soaking tubs.
Lakedale Resort | San Juan Island, Wash.
Lakedale’s 10 lodge rooms and private cabins aren’t just on an island; they’re on the farthest San Juan island accessible by Washington State Ferries. If the two-hour ride from Anacortes doesn’t feel far enough, you’ve got 82 waterfront acres to get lost in. Or escape into a book next to your choice of fireplaces: a huge slate one in the Main Lodge or your own gas version in the lodge rooms and log cabins. lakedale.com; from $149
Book It! Want a wood fireplace? Find it in the three-bedroom Lake House.
BY THE FIRE
Portland author Emily Chenoweth sometimes describes her novel Hello Goodbye, which chronicles a family’s search for love while on vacation, as “Dirty Dancing meets On Death and Dying.” To find some literary love of your own, Chenoweth suggests throwing these local titles in your suitcase (complete with fireside pairings).
Glaciers by Alexis Smith
A bittersweet tale of a Portland thrifter’s search for beauty, love, and the perfect vintage dress. It can be read in one sitting, after which you can stare wistfully into the fire. A good inexpensive red.
Goodbye to the Nervous Apprehension by Michael Heald
Remember what it was like to be young, ambitious, arty, and confused? It’s OK if you don’t, because Heald’s funny, sharp-eyed essay collection will remind you. Beer, of course.
Mayakovsky’s Revolver by Matthew Dickman
Dickman’s second book of poems covers dark ground, juxtaposing raw grief with flashes of jubilance and wit. Whiskey. Pills. —EC