A week before Christmas, we look a seven day trip down the West Coast, stopping off and gawking at the Pacific Coast every few hours (or minutes). It was snowy and blisteringly cold, but it was the kind of vacation we had dreamed about for years.
At the end of our journey we were lucky enough to stay at a place unlike any other in the seven nights: the Suttle Lodge. Nestled on the east shore of Suttle Lake, the lodge itself is part of a 15.5 acre resort that has been hosting guests beneath its pitched timber roof, privately by lakeside, or more adventurously in a series of camping cabins since the 1930’s, but newly renovated and reopened in summer of 2016. The recent makeover was the effort of the Mighty Union, the same group responsible for Portland’s Ace Hotel. The menu in particular resounds with city comforts in a classic lodge atmosphere, with dishes designed by Portland’s own Ava Gene’s chef Joshua McFadden and drinks by Sean Hoard of Teardrop Cocktail Lounge.
The lodge extends a calm, social atmosphere, with plush modern seating and an intimate bar in the lounge. I imagine it to be much more lively in the summer, but for the Christmas season, the crunchy frozen ground and frosted lake was as peaceful as you can imagine.
Arriving after dark, we were greeted warmly and checked in with ease. Spying the bar, we decided to return to the great room for dinner. We chatted with other guests and locals who frequent the lodge to eat and drink, making small talk and soon laughing at what a small world it is. The menu and our meals were as fresh and flavorful as we’d been led to expect from the lodge’s culinary team, and drinks every bit as inventive. We treated ourselves to a variety of cold weather specialties, like the Lodge Nog, Snow Shovel, and Frozen Pump (pictured), to name a few. With the lights dim, a delicate snow falling, a fire stoked, and absolutely no where else to be, we were beginning to wonder 1. why we hadn’t booked a whole week and 2. what would be the harm in one more drink?
The room we spent that snowy night in was connected to the main lodge, complete with its own pitched ceiling and view of the sleepy, frozen lake. Our bed, a generous king topped with custom Pendleton wool was a welcome sight, while a private fireplace hummed in the corner. After a week on the road with mostly questionable lodging, we felt we had entered a Northwestern palace. A leaning foot ladder stacked near the bed revealed a twin loft, just right for the kids, or single guests. Taking only enough time to note each small touch of Suttle’s signature hospitality, we crawled into bed and slept off a week’s worth of cold feet and road trip aches.
In the morning the temperature read a frightening 8 degrees, but we ventured out anyway, hoping to see more of the lake and the Boathouse where the lodge hosts its summer events and typically serves its guests a menu of local seafood and approachable specialties to fuel their leisure. When our extremities could take no more of the cold, we made our way back to the bar for breakfast, sampling (again) as many items on the menu as decorum would allow.
Our breakfast was hearty to say the least: a warm, house-made bowl of granola with pepitas, local hazelnuts and juicy fresh apricots, and a toasted, bacon-y, kale egg and cheese breakfast sandwich with a housemade hash brown, flecked with Jacobson’s Salt. Bundled and breakfasted, the cold was forgotten and our plates demolished. And, because we were on vacation (and come on, it was late morning) we had one more cocktail before packing our bags.
Despite the weather that prevented us experiencing so much of what Suttle Lodge has to offer, our stay was supreme, and we’ll be back again soon to sip and sleep as soundly as we did that evening. We certainly can’t wait. Book your own stay at the Suttle Lodge before the snow melts to grab some of these delicious winter specialties and some much needed hibernation.