A Quick Escape – Skamania Lodge

Engulfed in solitude: the surrounding forest, rain pattering on the stone ground and steam from the hot tub hitting the cold Gorge air, together created the perfect recipe for rest and relaxation. The novelty of an outdoor Jacuzzi – especially in its breathtaking environment – captured our children’s attention, and quelled the need for Brian’s and my repose. Yearning for a quick escape from our daily hustle, we only needed an hour outside the city to find it. Skamania Lodge is a place I had heard nothing but great things about and was excited to spend a couple days there during the kid’s spring vacation.

Determined to plan a quick trip for the impending holidays, my mind was first swept to Seattle. As our reservations neared, my husband and I concluded we needed a break from our busy ways and while visiting the Space Needle sounded appealing, we took a rain check. Quickly booking a simple room at Skamania, we knew hiking, biking and especially the pool and hot tub would win our kid’s hearts after canceling their much anticipated trip to Starbuck’s home town.

On our first day of spring break, we loaded the car with the kid’s bikes, swimsuits and hiking shoes. Deciding to first spend the day in Hood River, we took advantage of their breweries and lunched at Full Sail. While the food was enjoyable, Brian preferred the hops in the local brews. As his last sips of a sampling of IPA’s were enjoyed, the rain finally paused, inviting us to walk the streets of the quaint town. When meandering some shops, the kids would not stop voicing their dreams of the pool at Skamania, so we headed straight for the Bridge of the Gods.

Recognizing this landmark and its significance from the book and movie, Wild by Cheryl Strayed, I was excited to view something that held so much emotion in one’s life. As we crossed over, the density of the trees increased, guiding our path to the Lodge. We pulled up and my vision of a lodge came to life; the sprawling brick building with wood accents beckoned our names. Upon entry we caught glimpse of the expansive windows crawling up to the height of the tall ceiling. It overlooked the Columbia River, captivating our attention as we stood next to the crackling fire in its cozy setting.

In our room, we quickly settled in and gazed at our view of a beautiful forested area. We barely had time to relax before we succumbed to the kid’s request to take a dip. Walking through the day spa, we tiptoed quietly to the pool. The perfectly heated water kept us idled so long, the kid’s fatigue finally prompted our exit…but not before we retreated to the outdoor hot tub. Although the rain was coming down in sheets at that moment, the heat of the water and pulsing of jets kept us relaxed until it was our rumbling tummies that led us back to the room.

Timing dinner slightly later so as to guarantee a window seat overlooking the Columbia Gorge, we embraced the view. The food was tasty as was the good local beer, and the view was worth the wait for a late dinner. As we wrapped up, we were quite ready to retreat to the room. Deciding to lounge in the gathering hall, we lucked out with four rocking chairs parked in front of the statement fireplace. It stretched itself all the way to the ceiling with its rustic stone façade. Guests are able to experience the roaring fire from both sides: one protected by glass and the other a chained barrier. From our seats, we would scoot to the side, allowing an employee to rekindle the flames with large logs. Ignoring the children’s bedtimes, we leisurely rocked ourselves, embracing our slower pace.

The next morning entailed breakfast whose flavor was equivalent to the diet-size portions presented to us. However, it was enough fuel to head outside and as Oregonians do, live life in the rain. Slightly too slick for bike riding, we meandered a sublime trail, with glimpses of the golf course, pond, or just our usual breathtaking Pacific Northwest forested landscape.

It wasn’t too long before the kids were once again begging for the pool, so the rest of the afternoon was spent jumping in time and time again. A trip to the spa before readying for dinner and suddenly we realized how quickly our day passed. We delighted in another slow supper and perfectly lazy evening.

The next morning was already time to head home. While it was a short stay, it’s exactly what we had hoped for. We returned to Portland so relaxed, we could hardly resume our normal routine, even several days later. Thoroughly enjoyable for everyone, it’s even better that it’s only one hour away and we can make a quick escape when we need to hit the recharge button.

Teaching the kids chess after a sit by the fire.

Teaching the kids chess after a sit by the fire.


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