by Sue Frause | Photo © Suncadia Resort
Over the river, and through the wood, to Grandfather’s house we go… Although the opening line from that traditional song may not ring as true today as when written in the mid-1800s, families still gather throughout the holiday season, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. The Northwest is a region abundant with destinations for long holiday weekends—and you don’t need a horse and sleigh to get there!
Featured here are five favorite family getaways that are perfect for the holidays. Running west to east, they include two ocean-side retreats, a mountain lodge and two lakefront resorts.
The Cottages at Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City, Oregon
Set on the edge of the Pacific, these 18 cottages have front-row views of iconic Oregon Coast scenery: the ocean, Haystack Rock and Cape Kiwanda. The two and three-bedroom units accommodate up to six, and all feature gas fireplaces and kitchens equipped with the tools to prepare a full holiday feast. If you don’t have time to shop, send a list, and the Concierge will stock your fridge, including the all-important turkey. Just down the hill, the Pelican Pub & Brewery (part of The Cottages at Cape Kiwanda, along with the nearby Inn at Cape Kiwanda and Shorepine Vacation Rentals) has built a reputation for bountiful holiday buffets. For this year’s offerings, check their website at cottagesatcapekiwanda.com or call 866-571-0605.
After dinner, walk off that big meal on Pacific City’s three-mile beach stretching south into Bob Straub State Park. And just to the north tackle the giant sand dune for a spectacular view. The Oregon Coast Bike Trail runs right through Pacific City. Either bring your own bike or use one of the resort’s Beach Cruiser bikes to explore the town or beach at low tide. For information about the Oregon Coast, go to visittheoregoncoast.com
Iron Springs Resort, Copalis Beach, Washington
This scenic spot on the Washington coast has been a favorite getaway for people in the Northwest since 1947. In 2010, a Seattle family—one that had vacationed at the resort for generations and cherished their memories there—purchased it. After a thorough renovation it reopened, much to the delight of other families that had been going there for generations as well.
The 25 unique cabins, perched on cliffs above the Pacific, are homey and cozy, blending old and new, with plush chairs upholstered from vintage Pendleton and East Hudson Bay blankets—perfect for storm watching or playing board games. The modernized kitchens now include dishwashers, and all units have fireplaces or wood stoves.
On site, the General Store sells grocery staples along with beer and wine. But for major holiday dinner shopping, drive 10 miles south to Ocean Shores or bring your own.
Iron Springs Resort is in the Mocrocks Beach area with beach access for miles of beachcombing. Or take a hike on the restored trails of the resort’s 100-acre woodland site. For more information, call 800-380-7950 or visit ironspringsresort.com. For information about visiting the area, go to tourismoceanshores.com.
The Lodge at Suncadia, Cle Elum, Washington
Suncadia is an all-season mountain resort community located 80 miles east of Seattle near the historic mining town of Roslyn. The 6,400-acre site includes The Lodge at Suncadia, a full-service hotel with 254 guest rooms and suites. Opened in 2008, the lodge is situated on a peak overlooking the Cle Elum River Valley and the Cascade Mountains. Adjacent to the lodge, the luxurious Glade Spring Spa features outdoor hot mineral baths and saunas. The nearby Suncadia Club Swim & Fitness Center has an indoor pool, and the property has 20 miles of groomed cross-country trails if the snow flies.
For skiers and snowboarders, the Summit at Snoqualmie is 40 minutes away.
Choices abound for holiday meals at the resort. At Thanksgiving, Executive Chef Casey McManus believes most guests want a traditional meal, so he’ll prepare holiday dinners for guests to take back to their rooms or suites. For those who prefer to do their own cooking, most suites are equipped with spacious kitchens that feature stainless steel appliances and granite counters (perfect for baking). Portals Restaurant, with its mountain and river views, rolls out a full holiday buffet, or diners may order off the menu.
Winterfest at Suncadia begins the day after Thanksgiving with a community Christmas tree lighting, holiday carols and ice skating. Weekend activities include hot toddy making, holiday craft classes and a Sunday breakfast buffet with Santa. There are s’mores by the fire pit on Friday and Saturday nights along with Elf Tuck-ins for the wee ones.
Call The Lodge at Suncadia at 866-904-6300 or go online at suncadiaresort.com. For information about visiting the Cle Elum and Roslyn areas, go to visitkittitas.com.
The Coeur d’Alene, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Thanksgiving weekend is a big event at The Coeur d’Alene. On Friday night after Thanksgiving, The Coeur d’Alene Resort Holiday Light Show—the nation’s largest on-the-water light show—takes center stage. This year, the lighting ceremony begins on November 29 with a lighted parade through downtown, followed by carols, candle lighting and fireworks over the lake. Then, with a flip of a switch, 1.5 million lights illuminate more than 250 displays that remain lit through New Year’s Day.
For holiday dinners, check out The Coeur d’Alene’s restaurants known for holiday fare, whether special menu (you can even take complimentary “leftovers” to your room) or a lavish buffet.
Throughout the festive season, there’s no shortage of activities. Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre presents a holiday musical in the Shore Room. A 40-minute Journey to the North Pole lake cruise departs several times each evening. And winter sports are less than an hour to the east at Silver Mountain in Kellogg.
For more information about holiday season happenings, call The Coeur d’Alene Resort at 800-688-5253 or visit cdaresort.com. For information about visiting the city of Coeur d’Alene, go to coeurdalene.org.
The Lodge at Whitefish Lake, Whitefish, Montana
Tucked in the mountains bordering Glacier National Park, this luxury lodge is located on Whitefish Lake, just ten minutes from downtown Whitefish. It features 99 rooms and suites, along with 20 lakefront condos with full kitchens for preparing your own holiday feast. The Boat Club Restaurant features a bountiful spread of traditional offerings on its Thanksgiving buffet and all the holiday trimmings you’d expect at Christmas, along with plenty of activities to make your stay memorable.
The Spa at Whitefish Lake includes a full menu of treatments and has a steam room, rain dump shower and a lakefront hot tub. The lodge offers complimentary shuttle service to downtown and Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort as well as Glacier Park National Airport in Kalispell and the Amtrak station in Whitefish. (Tip: Check with the lodge for seasonal Amtrak packages.)
To check this year’s holiday offerings, call The Lodge at Whitefish Lake at 877-8887-4026 or go online at lodgeatwhitefishlake.com. For information about visiting Whitefish, go to explorewhitefish.com.