Posts Tagged ‘washington’

Hotel Review: Skamania Lodge, Washington

Friday August 29, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 2 Comments

Our daughter recently accepted a job in Washington state and is living in the hip city of Portland, Oregon. As my husband and I are graduates of the University of Oregon, we are more than happy to explore our daughter’s new recreational playground. With that in mind, we put together a Pacific Northwest roadtrip beginning in central Oregon and ending in Washington’s Columbia Gorge. Our home base for Washington was Skamania Lodge.

"Columbia Gorge"

Sailboats float along Columbia Gorge

What we liked about Skamania Lodge; this 22 year old playpen – offering 254 rooms for outdoor lovers – caters to both young and old. Golfers walked by me as I exercised my dog, while a group of excited teenagers shrieked and did their best Tarzan calls from zipline platforms strung between towering trees above.


I met a coffee roaster from Seattle while I was soaking in the outdoor hot tub. Hyped up on caffeine, he was singing the praises of Skamania and the hiking trails around the area. Splashing in the pool were two millennials from Gresham, Oregon by way of Romania. They had learned that this was the place to stay when you visit Multnomah Falls.

"Skamania Lodge" hot tub

Soak in the hot tub

"Skamania Lodge" pool

Splash in the indoor pool

And then there were the friendly employees – the gift shop lady who steered me to a cup of gourmet instant oatmeal for my early morning departure, my server in the Cascade Dining Room who wanted to make sure that I enjoyed my diver scallops and the Waterleaf Spa Manager who took the time to explain to me why organic skin care products really are better for your body – and the earth.
"Cascade Dining Room" scallops

Diver scallops, Cascade Dining Room

Pet-friendly resort

Like many of our readers, we travel with our pet. This can be a problem at upscale resorts. Fortunately for us, Skamania Lodge is pet-friendly. $75 one time charge for pets, check the website for current rates. Room #194 welcomed dogs and had a back door that opened to plenty of dog walking trails. The golf course pro shop even had a water bowl waiting outside their front door!

"Skamania Lodge" pet-friendly hotel room

Pet-friendly hotel room

Sit back and relax
After a full day of outward bounding, pull up a rocking chair in the great room and admire the beauty that surrounds this place. There’s plenty of room to roam or sit back and relax and drink in the view of the spectacular Columbia Gorge – with a glass or two of local wine.
"Skamania Lodge" rockers

Sit back and relax

"Skamania Lodge" exterior

Take in the Columbia Gorge view

Insider Tip
As I live in California, I am very aware of our water shortage. I am always shocked when hotels don’t provide hotel guests the choice to opt out of daily linen and towel changes. Skamania Lodge goes one step further with their Green Choice Program. Hang a bamboo card on your door to opt out of housekeeping services. In return the lodge will deliver a $5 voucher for use on the property for each following day.
"Skamania Lodge" "Green Choice Program"

Green Choice Program

The lodge charges a reasonable $19 one time resort fee. My room rented for $179. Check the website for current rates and package deals. Skamania Lodge is a member of Destination Hotels & Resorts. For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @Nancydbrown and follow @SkamaniaLodge on Twitter.

Check-In Time: 4:00pm

Check-Out Time: 12:00pm

If You Go:

Skamania Lodge (800) 221-7117
1131 SW Skamania Lodge Way,
Stevenson, Washington 98648

Article written by, video and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of Destination Hotels & Resorts. All opinions are my own.

Arlington National Cemetery: A Visit Worth Making

Wednesday May 21, 2014 at 8:08 PM | 0 Comments

Changing of the Guard and a new wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Changing of the Guard and a new wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

When I took my son to Washington D.C. when he was 10 years -old, the age I was when I first visited D.C., we headed to Arlington National Cemetery for our last stop of our three-day vacation. I had images of my own Arlington experience etched in my memories that I wanted to share– in particular the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and John F. Kennedy’s grave.

There is a feeling of solemnity at both spots–a feeling of longing and loss. At age 10, I felt the weight of both of these places as significant markers in American history. I was also mesmerized by the constancy of each. At Kennedy’s grave, the Eternal Flame never goes out. At the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, military guards stand watch each day. Sharing these landmarks with my son before the threat of adolescent angst set in seemed like a perfect way to spend a sunny Sunday morning.

Changing of the Guard at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Changing of the Guard at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

We arrived at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as people were gathering to watch the Changing of the Guard, a meticulously executed, white glove ceremony that happens every hour on the hour Oct. 1 to March 31, and every half hour April 1 through Sept. 30.

The sound of the soldiers’ shoes clicking across the concrete as they marched, and the precision of their movements as they changed the positions of their weapons are things not forgotten. The careful attention to these graves of four soldiers–one for each war: WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam, whose identities are not known, holds a certain comfort that these sons of mothers and fathers are being cared for day in and day out without fail. Along with the Changing of the Guard, we also witnessed a Public Wreath Laying ceremony where four high school students, along with soldiers assigned to this duty, placed a fresh wreath at the tomb.

The wall around JFK's grave

The wall around JFK’s grave

John F. Kennedy’s grave is another must see in this vast acreage where white tomb stones follow the dips and rises of the various sections in seemingly endless ribbons.

Kennedy’s words that called out to Americans to take part in their country are forever etched in stone here. Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy and two of the Kennedy’s children–Patrick Bouvier who was an infant when he died and a stillborn daughter are also buried at this site. Senators Robert and Edward Kennedy are close by.

Because we only had an hour and a half to spend wandering Arlington National Cemetery’s grounds, we missed other sites that I hoped to get to, particularly the Women in Military Service to America Memorial.   We did start our visit at the Welcome Center, something I recommend. Here you’ll find maps, a gift shop, an overview of the cemetery and special exhibits.

Ribbons of graves

Ribbons of graves

We hoofed it from the parking lot near the Welcome Center to each of the sites which was a bit of a hike.

If I had planned ahead, I’d have purchased a guided tour. Tram type bus tours depart from the Welcome Center. This is where you can buy tickets for the tour. You can also purchase tram tickets online.

Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington, VA 22211

Hours:  7 Days a week: 365 days
8am – 7pm (April – September)
8am – 5pm (October – March)

Parking garage closes 1 hour after cemetery

Post and photos courtesy of Jamie Rhein, member of Midwest Travel Writers Association

Passports with Purpose: Alderbrook Resort helps Africa

Monday November 25, 2013 at 9:09 PM | 4 Comments

Alderbrook Resort

Alderbrook Resort & Spa

Imagine sitting on the deck, a glass of wine in hand, while watching and eagle catch thermals above the canal.

With your $10 donation, you could be kayaking on Washington’s Hood Canal, enjoying dinner at The Alderbrook Restaurant or relaxing at the Alderbrook Resort & Spa. This is just one of  the travel prizes up for grabs at this year’s Passports with Purpose.

Passports with Purpose is celebrating their sixth year of fund-raising for a cause. I’m pleased to say that this travel blogger has supported Passports with Purpose from the start and I continue to be involved in 2013.

Last year we raised $100,000 for to fund five water wells in Haiti.

This year, close to 150 travel bloggers from around the world will participate in Passports with Purpose 2013.

Together with your support, the money will fund buildOn to help construct three primary schools and fund three Adult Literary Programs in the Sikasso Region of Mali, Africa.


Building schools in Africa with buildOn

Passports with Purpose Prizes

To see a list of prizes on the Passports With Purpose website check here. Each donated prize will link back to a full description of the prizes on the blogger’s website.

Your purchase of a $10 raffle ticket will help support Passports with Purpose and ultimately build three primary schools and several Adult Literacy Programs in Mali, Africa. For each $10 in donations that you make to Passports with Purpose, you will be entered to win a prize (or prizes) of your choice. The fundraiser begins on November 26th and closes at midnight on December 9, 2013. On Monday, December 16, 2013 Passports with Purpose volunteers will notify prize winners. All proceeds go directly to buildOn.

Alderbrook Resort & Spa, located a convenient two hours from Seattle on Washington’s Hood Canal,  is donating a one night stay in a Canal View guestroom, a $50 dining credit at The Restaurant at Alderbrook and $50 spa credit at The Spa at Alderbrook.  The suggested retail value of this Alderbrook Resort & Spa package is $385. Thank you Alderbrook Resort & Spa  for your generous donation.

Certificate is based on availability
Valid Sunday through Friday
Not valid on holiday weekends
Certificate includes resort fee and applicable room tax
Promotional Certificates are not replaceable if lost or stolen

Article written by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip

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Build a Library, Win Travel, Passports with Purpose 2011

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Passports with Purpose 2009