by Henry Allen
Winter brings out the nesting instinct in some of us. Most of the time we hunker down at home with our family, our long-neglected hobbies, a good book or that current series that we’re streaming. But sometimes a change of pace does the spirit good. Why nest at home when you can do it in a cozy hideaway somewhere? Here are a few of our favorite spots for a winter hideaway.
Tucked among orchards and the tawny rolling hills of Southeastern Washington, Cameo Heights Mansion is the pinnacle of warm hospitality. This family-owned and -operated inn offers the guest suites that are themed, each with a different international flair in décor and design—Spanish, Italian, German, French, English, Greek and even Dubai. The appointments are luxurious, yet cozy, perfect for a winter getaway where you have nothing to do but enjoy your surroundings. The public areas are spacious and include an in-home theater with a popcorn machine and movie selections to pass a winter evening. A gourmet breakfast is included, and the in-house fine-dining restaurant serves dinner accompanied by an excellent wine list (after all, you are in Walla Walla wine country). Walla Walla, famous for its wineries, is a 30-minute drive from the mansion.
The oldest hotel in Washington State, the Tokeland Hotel, opened in 1885. It is still operating, albeit with new owners who are breathing new life into the creaky old hotel on the Washington Coast. It lacks not a smidgen of charm and has a strong sense of the past, made more conspicuous by the collection of vintage photos from its 19th century heyday. Guests choose from 18 cozy rooms with shared baths, just like guests from 130 years ago. The restaurant on the ground floor serves an eclectic menu of dishes, many featuring local seafood, like Willapa Bay’s famous oysters. Stroll the grounds for sweeping views across the marshlands, and explore the owners’ mini farm with pigs, fowl and a vegetable garden that’s sure to be sprouting winter veggies. Settle in with a good book, listen for phantom footsteps and fall into a slumber lulled by the wind in the rafters. Check out what’s in the area at the Willapa Harbor Chamber of Commerce or the Tokeland-North Cove Chamber of Commerce.
In the late 19th century, Wolf Creek Inn & Tavern in Southern Oregon charged a whopping 75 cents for a room, bath and meals. While you can still get a room, bath and meals at this old stage coach stop on the Applegate Trail, you’ll pay a bit more. And while evening conversations in the parlor might differ from harrowing tales of life on the trail, the ambiance and warmth are the same. Beautifully restored down to every detail, Wolf Creek Inn & Tavern defines historic charm. The guest rooms even have private bathrooms, a novelty in most historic inns. Wolf Creek Inn & Tavern sits just off of Interstate 5 between Roseburg and Grants Pass. Learn about things to do in Southern Oregon at Travel Southern Oregon.
Chena Hot Springs Resort in the Alaska interior about an hour from Fairbanks offers up a mix of coziness with adventure and offbeat fun. Coziness comes in the form of well-appointed cabins and lodge rooms, and don’t forget the healing hot springs pools for soaking the stress away. Adventure comes in the form of anything you could imagine doing outdoors in the Alaska winter—aurora viewing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, ice fishing and much more. Offbeat fun can be found on a tour of the on-site Aurora Ice Museum, the world’s largest year-round ice structure that houses ice sculptures, and where you can enjoy an appletini cocktail served in an ice glass. Chena Hot Springs Resort has become one of Alaska’s best-loved winter getaway spots, but don’t let its popularity stop you. The resort offers a number of packages geared to what interests you most, like aurora packages and romantic getaway packages. Simply book your stay, fly into Fairbanks and let the Chena Hot Springs shuttle transport you to the resort. For information about visiting Fairbanks at Explore Fairbanks.
How about a cozy hideaway in a log cabin in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho? Stanley High Country Inn has just what you’re looking for. Conveniently located in the town of Stanley, the inn is close to every amenity the town offers, including outfitters for your outdoor adventure. During the winter, the onsite restaurant serves dinner on Friday and Saturday and brunch on Saturday and Sunday. For other mealtimes, check out the other restaurants in Stanley for true Idaho cuisine. Rent snowmobiles to explore the winter landscape or book a romance package and stay in with that special someone. Learn more about a winter trip to Stanley at the Stanley Chamber.