BY MARGUERITE CLEVELAND
You can almost hear the soft murmurs of Gregorian chants when you enter the lobby of The Lodge at St. Edward State Park. The Romanesque Revival building, the former Saint Edward Seminary, has been lovingly restored and transformed into a tranquil Pacific Northwest retreat. It sits amid the 326-acre St. Edward State Park with lush forests on the northeastern shores of Lake Washington, only a 25-minute drive from Seattle.
The Art Deco interiors of the building were repurposed into new uses with fresh colors and décor yet retain a historic authenticity. The former dormitory rooms were transformed into 84 luxury hotel rooms. The classrooms have been converted into meeting spaces and the dining hall is now the Cedar + Elm restaurant. The overall effect is a peaceful sanctuary away from the daily grind.
Take some time to “forest bathe” on a hike filled with lush fir, cedar and maple trees or take the trail to the park’s 3,000 feet of Lake Washington shoreline. To enhance your experience, visit the Vita Nova Spa which offers seasonal treatments influenced by the spirit of the Pacific Northwest. Entering the spa, you will see cast in stone above the spa doorway, “Pax intrantibus, salus exeuntibus,” which is a Latin phrase meaning, “Peace to those who enter, good health to those who depart.” It is the ideal motto for this wellness spa.
The dining program and the signature restaurant, Cedar + Elm, are led by James Beard Award-winning executive chef Jason Wilson. The menu changes weekly and is developed utilizing ingredients that are local, seasonal and sustainable. The culinary team harvests produce, herbs and honey from the onsite chef’s garden and apiary. Wilson has a holistic approach to Pacific Northwest food, whose authenticity shines in this historic venue. What was once a dining space for seminarians studying to become Catholic Priests is now the heart of the lodge and rapidly becoming a favorite with locals. Visitors to the state park can enjoy lunch on the outdoor terrace after a hike in the park.
Insider Tip: The history of the lodge is fascinating. Learn more by taking the self-guided “Stories of Saint Edward” historical tour. Throughout the building are QR codes each linking to either a story, photo or video that tells the significance of the space you stand in. Ask for a tour brochure at the front desk.