Lodge known for idyllic lakefront locationPicture a historic vacation home on a quiet lake, the kind of peaceful getaway you might have experienced with your grandparents as you were growing up. Picture a perfect beachfront location with ripples of lake water splashing the shore just footsteps from your vacation home. Now picture a deep green rainforest with its trees densely packed together on the mountains and hillsides that serve as the backdrop of this pristine lake.
Put all of that together and you’ve pictured Lake Crescent Lodge, an amazingly pure and nostalgic place that combines an interesting and colorful history with one of the most spectacular destinations in the country, Olympic National Park.
Open from May 1 until January 1, the Lake Crescent Lodge has long been a choice destination for residents of Puget Sound and other parts of the Northwest who find the rainforest especially enchanting. Built right on the shores of Lake Crescent, the lodge is like a journey back in time to a simpler, kinder place where the gentle lake waves lap onto the shore while birds fly overhead proclaiming their freedom for all to hear.
It’s all about the recreation and natural beauty way out here in the heart of the Olympic National Park. There are many hiking trails near Lake Crescent, some of which take you to mountain vistas while others take you through lowland forests and along creek beds. One of the most popular hikes is the trail to Marymere Falls by way of the Barnes Creek trail, a walk you can take directly from Lake Crescent Lodge.
The lodge itself has a kind of simple elegance – a historic hunting lodge feel that begins with the giant stone fireplace with the head of a seven-point buck overlooking the large, wood-paneled room with 10-foot-high divided-light windows. It’s an open, airy kind of place with a rustic flavor.
From the outside, the main lodge building is like a large three-story residence but not huge by today’s hotel standards. There are just a few rooms available for rent in the main lodge, all of them upstairs. Downstairs at one end of the lobby, there is a bar for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic refreshments, with a nearby entry way leading to a charming beachfront porch-style dining area.
We stayed in one of the Roosevelt Fireplace Cabins just a short walk from the main lodge. The cabins are on the National Register of Historic Places and are small and modest, yet cozy with a fireplace and two easy chairs to sit back and get caught up on your reading while staying warm by the fire. There are also motel-style units further away from the lodge. The Roosevelt Fireplace Cabins are closest to the lakeshore – just footsteps away – but it’s only a short walk from the other lodgings to the lake and lots of water activities depending on the season.
The Lake Crescent Lodge dates back to 1915 when Avery and Julia Singer built a small hotel and some cottages and called it Singer’s Tavern. It was quite an attractive place to visit for guests who marveled at its design and furnishings. The owners planted gardens and even created a golf course on the property.
For many years, the Singers’ guests arrived by ferry – exclusively until the Olympic Highway was completed in 1922, making it possible to drive an automobile to the lodge. Later, in the 1930s, the lodge – which had gone through an ownership change -- was impacted by the establishment of Olympic National Park. The lodge was even visited by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937 as he reviewed plans for the park that was eventually opened in 1938.
Over the years the lodge has added, remodeled and demolished various buildings, but the main lodge is still intact. Lake Crescent Lodge now is operated by Aramark Parks and Destinations, which manages several national park facilities nationwide.
Today, there are 55 rooms available at the lodge including Historic Lodge Rooms, Storm King Motel Rooms, Marymere Motel Rooms, Pyramid Motel Rooms, Singer Tavern Cottages and Roosevelt Fireplace Cabins.
The lodge dining room is a casual, comfortable place to enjoy what the resort calls “creative Pacific Northwest fare.” In keeping with that theme, the lodge emphasizes wines from various wine-producing regions in the Pacific Northwest. The porch atmosphere with the incredible lake views makes dining a highlight of any visit to the Lake Crescent Lodge.
Lake Crescent Lodge is 18 miles from Port Angeles, Washington, and is an ideal waypoint for an overnight stop when driving the loop route around the Olympic Peninsula. For more information, phone 888-723-7127 or visit www.olympicnationalparks.com.
PHOTOS: From top: Lake Crescent Lodge; porch-style dining with view at Lake Crescent Lodge; beach is footsteps from cabins at Lake Crescent Lodge
PHOTO CREDITS: Sandi Ordway, Cary Ordway
RECOMMENDED LODGING: Olympic Peninsula lodging
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