Perhaps even more famed than the national parks themselves are the historic parks lodges, many built early this century in what then were remote locations.
In the tourist seasons, it can be difficult to even get a room in the commanding stone structures in Yosemite, Yellowstone and Glacier national parks. But if you can’t actually stay in one of the rooms, which are modest by today’s standards, these lodges are worth a visit.
I’ve camped at Many Glacier campground in Glacier Park but spent evenings reading on a couch beside the huge fireplace in the Many Glacier Lodge lobby. And what better way to taste the flavor of Glacier Park in an earlier era than by having an iced tea on the patio of the Lake McDonald Lodge while watching the tour boats come and go?
Each lodge has its own history and some were built in more modern times. Writer David Scott has compiled a “The Complete Guide to National Park Lodges” ($16.95, paperback, Globe Pequot Press) and the cover photo alone is almost worth the price. Unfortunately, not only is it the only color photo in the book, it’s the only photo. And, if there’s a downside to this book, it’s the illustrations of the lodges. They assume a sameness and, based on the drawings of the lodges I’ve seen, much of their charm is lost in the translation of photo to illustration.
That said, the book is a credible guidebook for those wanting the national parks lodge experience. Even beyond the historic lodgings in the parks, other options are included which give budget-minded travelers some choices, too.
After surveying the spectrum of lodges in our national parks, it’s easy to say, with conviction, they don’t make ‘em like they used to. These buildings are national treasures and should be regarded as such.
To that end, the publisher is donating $1 from the sale of each “National Parks Lodges” book to the National Parks Foundation, the fund-raising arm of the National Parks Service. The money goes to repair trails, clean up lakes and rivers in the parks, and research and protection of the important cultural and historic sites in the parks.
Among the many hotels boasting a Valentine’s Day package (aren’t they all?) is the new Heathman Lodge in Vancouver, Wash.
The mountainside lodge has a Romance Package that includes a Northwest-themed dinner, wine and lodging in guestrooms that boast a lodge decor. Rates begin at $169; the new lodge is located at 7801 NE Greenwood Dr. in Vancouver. For details call (888) 475-3100.
Fun on the eastern slopes
What could be any prettier than a wintery weekend in the mountain town of Leavenworth, Wash.? Maybe a party on a wintry weekend in Leavenworth?
The Bavarian look-alike town in the Cascades is staging Fasching, a traditional late-winter Mardi Gras-style celebration this Friday through Sunday. Activities include a two-day cross-country ski race, sleigh rides, dog-sled rides, ice skating, snow volleyball and an after-dark procession from restaurant to restaurant starting at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
For information, contact the Leavenworth Chamber of commerce, (509) 548-5807 or e-mail email@example.com.
It’s a parade - on skis
The 39th annual Whitefish Winter Carnival begins with a bang on Friday with fireworks and a torchlight parade down the ski slopes of Big Mountain at 7:30 p.m. A dinner follows at Moguls Bar and Grille at 8 p.m.
The real activities start at 10 a.m. Saturday with a kiddie carnival, a parade at noon, a battle of the bands, street and snow games, a skating exhibition and a dance at the Mountain Mall in Whitefish, Mont.
The events Feb. 8 include a pancake breakfast and nordic ski race.
For information, call the Whitefish Chamber of Commerce, (406) 862-3501.
Planning spring getaways?
The spring schedule of festivals and other events in Bellingham and Whatcom County is now available. The free brochure includes more than 165 events; just call (800) 487-2032.