Quinault Lodge is popular Northwest escapeIf you’ve had enough of modern, gleaming hotels that are so busy they are anything but relaxing, the antidote may be a historic lodge in the thick forest two hours away from the nearest Costco – in other words, the ultimate definition of an escape from civilization.
Out on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula there is just such a place where you can go to collect your thoughts, renew your spirits and marvel at the beautiful work of Nature called the Olympic National Park. The Lake Quinault Lodge is near the coast, about an hour away from a city of any size, and even though it was built way back in 1926, one gets the impression the place is just as quiet as it’s ever been.
Just looking at the lodge, it takes you back to those days of Teddy Roosevelt and a thirst for exploration and adventure that might be quenched by days exploring a wilderness area followed by nights curled up by a roaring fire in a rustic, yet luxurious lodge. Folks have been coming out to the Lake Quinault Lodge for decades for just that kind of experience.
The lodge is situated on Lake Quinault with a panoramic mountain and lake view. The huge trees and thick rain forests of the Olympic Peninsula surround the lodge and give visitors the sense of going back in time, far from the everyday hustle and bustle of modern big-city life. The lodge has been featured as one of the great national park lodges in the U.S., an example of a historic building that blends well with its natural surroundings.
There are a variety of accommodations and buildings at Lake Quinault Lodge, ranging from fairly basic rooms in the lodge itself to units like the renovated Lakeside room we enjoyed with its view of the lake, private balcony, king bed and seating area with couch. The grounds just in front of the Lakeside units are especially good areas to stroll and enjoy lake views or perhaps even picnic. In summer, boat rentals and water activities abound.
In winter, Lake Quinault Lodge becomes a respite from anything weighing on your mind. The quiet and solitude – although there are 91 rooms and a couple hundred guests on a busy night – just seem to allow the worries to melt away, while time seemingly stands still. A popular activity at the Lake Quinault Lodge, for example, is simply reading the paper in front of the huge stone fireplace in the lobby, the warmth radiating throughout the grandiose lobby area while you soak up the ambiance of this historical setting.
Another popular year-round activity is a tour around the lake where a guide will take you on a three-hour trip around the lake pointing out historical scenic locations, explaining how the Quinault Indian Tribe, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service and 1,200 local residents all work together to preserve this historic, scenic area.
There is gourmet dining on property with an emphasis on Northwest cuisine – especially the fresh seafood that comes from the waters off Port Townsend that is delivered fresh to the lodge a couple of times a week. Local produce figures to be a big part of the recipes and dishes served at the lodge.
In addition to the biggest local tourist attraction, Olympic National Park, the Washington coast is close by with many of the best beaches less than an hour’s drive. These are the kinds of beaches that are scenic and remote, accessible but not terribly busy. It’s easy to find long stretches of sand where you can walk the beach all by yourself, take in the sounds of the surf and search for various objects washed ashore by the significant waves on this part of the coast.
But while the coastal beaches, the lake’s water activities and Olympic National Park are all reasons to visit the Lake Quinault Lodge, a lot of people are simply looking for an escape. If peace, relaxation and a degree of solitude are on your wish list for your next getaway or vacation, then the lodge may be exactly what you are trying to find.
For more information on Lake Quinault Lodge, please phone 800-562-6672 or visit www.olympicnationalparks.com.
PHOTOS: Historic Lake Quinault Lodge, top; lobby of Lake Quinault Lodge, bottom
PHOTO CREDITS: Sandi Ordway
RECOMMENDED LODGING: Washington Coast lodging
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