Work is stacking up, school’s still in session and it’s dark most of the time. It’s time to escape. Thank goodness one doesn’t have to go far to get away. Here are three posh places for the perfect winter getaway.
THE WINE COUNTRY
14580 NE 145th St., Woodinville
425-424-3900 ◆ willowslodge.com
Wander through the gardens and courtyards at this upscale lodge in the heart of Western Washington wine country and you’ll hear the sound of running water, singing birds and little else. Well, besides the clinking of glasses.
Open since 2000, Willows Lodge is tucked away on 5 acres of lush greenway in Woodinville’s Tourist District. A couple of world-class restaurants, The Herbfarm and Willows’ own The Barking Frog border it on one side, and the lazy Sammamish River bubbles by on the other. The pace of life slows as soon as you set foot on the lodge grounds.
Willows has 84 rooms that vary from nice, nicer and nicest. All the rooms are spacious and decorated in a minimalist, modern flare. Every room has either soaking or jetted tubs and a private balcony or garden area for sitting (and drinking). Enjoying the sounds of silence is highly encouraged.
Want more hands-on experience? The Willows’ spa offers massages, facial treatments and body wraps. When you’re finished, sit in the outdoor relaxation pool and soak it all in.
What to do
• Grab one of the bikes on the property and hit the Sammamish River Trail, heading south to Woodinville or north to Redmond.
• If the weather is dry, head over to Willows Run Golf Complex for a quick round with a foursome.
• Give your green thumb a workout with a shopping turn at Molbak’s Garden + Home, one of the largest garden centers in the state.
• For those wanting to shop for something a bit more pret-aporter, head over to the Redmond Town Center.
Where to eat
• Chef Chris Weber and The Herbfarm have an herb garden onsite at Willows Lodge and a farm about a mile away.
• Barking Frog, Willows’ own restaurant, is no slouch. Executive chef Bobby Moore takes advantage of the proximity of world-class farms in east King County and beyond to craft a menu full of Northwest-inspired fare.
• For a cozier environment and informal tavern grub, visit The Hollywood Tavern just down the road. Just make sure to get the ancho chile tots and bartender’s special, a pint of beer and a shot of whiskey from neighbor Woodinville Whiskey.
Where to drink
• There are more than 120 wineries in the vicinity, including nearly 20 a short walk from Willows Lodge. On Saturdays, Willows offers a wine tour for guests.
• Woodinville has become a destination spot for spirits lovers as well. Just to the west is one of the best whiskey makers in the Northwest, Woodinville Whiskey, with up-and-coming Grapeworks Distillery a short walk east of the lodge.
• Since 2012, breweries have been flocking to Woodinville. Sumerian Brewing, Triplehorn Brewing and 20 Corners Brewing are three of the hottest breweries in the Puget Sound region.
River Rock Inn
15425 133rd Ave. NE, Arlington
360-403-7014 ◆ riverrockinnbnb.com
Stroll into River Rock Inn’s Great Room and the first thing you’ll notice is the fireplace. Double-sided and standing nearly 20 feet tall, it’s hard to miss. Made of beautiful locally sourced river rocks, the giant fireplace is the centerpiece of the main room at the inn and is a big attraction when it’s cold outside and the fire is crackling away.
Run by Bob and Lisa Watkins, River Rock Inn opened in 2005 when the couple decided to become innkeepers after an inspiring trip to Europe. They tore down the original home on the property and built the five-room lodge, complete with spa, kitchen and, of course, the Great Room.
Set deep in the woods off Burn Road in Arlington, River Rock Inn is an ideal place to get away from everything. As the gravel road leads visitors away from civilization, they’ll feel their cares recede. As the darkness descends early, warm up by the fire, grab a drink from the fridge and visit with Bob and Lisa or the others staying the night.
Time seems to stand still here. Look out from the Giant Room toward the meadow behind the inn and gaze upon the giant evergreen trees looming over the property and old-growth stumps dotting the meadow. Mountain birds, woodpeckers, deer, rabbits and other local wildlife are regular visitors.
River Rock Inn has five guest rooms, all with tubs for two and with balconies overlooking the meadow. Original artwork depicting local features adorns the walls. In the morning, a multi-course breakfast is served in the Great Room, helping visitors gear up for a big day.
What to do
• Bring your bike or go for a stroll on the Centennial Trail, which has a number of trailheads in Arlington.
• Looking for something a little more challenging? Head out on the Mountain Loop Highway. Many hikes are closed in the winter, but a few are still accessible. Check with the Verlot Ranger Station before heading out.
• It may be the offseason, but there’s still plenty to shop for at Garden Treasures. Pick up some organic fruit, vegetables and flowers.
• Take a stroll along Arlington’s downtown core and shop at Sassafras Antiques and Salvage and Perfectly Knotty, or get a tattoo at Traditions Tattoo Studio.
Where to eat
• If you’re in the mood for a little fine dining, stop by Bistro San Martin in downtown. It has a wonderful wine list and white-linen atmosphere.
• For a more down-home environs, visit Nutty’s Junk Yard Grill and order up the Trunk Junk burger and some homemade onion rings.
• Head to Kafe Neo for food with a distinctly Greek flare.
Where to drink
• One of the best breweries in the state isn’t far from the inn. Near the airport, Skookum Brewery is an award-winning craft brewery that specializes in adventurous IPAs.
• Down the road, Dave and Shelly McGlothern have turned Dave’s skills on the still into Bad Dog Distillery, one of the county’s best distilleries. Try Grandpa’s Likker, a 90-proof corn liquor. River Rock has a tastings package that includes flights at Skookum and tastings at Bad Dog.
The Inn at Langley
400 First St., Langley
360-221-3033 ◆ innatlangley.com
The view that lays behind the front doors at The Inn at Langley on south Whidbey Island is deceiving. But walk out on one of the rooms’ balconies and let the view take your breath away. Looking east across Saratoga Passage, one can see the hustle and bustle while still being able to breathe deeply and forget about it all.
Built nearly 30 years ago, The Inn at Langley is what you’d expect a waterfront inn in the Northwest to look like. Plenty of weather-beaten wood, iron lawn furniture and colorful gardens greet guests. Inside you can dry off, check in and feel the stress melt away.
The rooms are luxurious and spacious. There are 22 guest rooms each with a balcony overlooking Saratoga Passage, fireplaces and jetted tubs. Need a little more room? The two cottages are just under 1,000 square feet and the suites are 1,500.
Listen to the rain patter on the water just outside the windows and reach next-level relaxation at the Spa Essencia. Located on the ground floor, the spa has three treatment rooms and offers massages, facials, steam baths and body wraps.
Where to eat
• Enjoy the best the island has to offer as chef Matt Costello uses fresh ingredients from around Whidbey Island in his multi-course dinners at The Restaurant at The Inn at Langley.
• Located on a historic 5-acre farm, Orchard Kitchen is the place to have an intimate farmhouse dinner.
• Sit on the patio, weather permitting, and take in views of Saratoga Passage while dining on French-inspired food at Prima Bistro.
• For more casual fare, Braeburn Restaurant serves country-style breakfasts and homemade soups and salads for lunch.
Where to drink
• Blooms Winery’s tasting room is at Bayview Corner just outside of Langley and hosts live music and local artists.
• Stay at Bayview Corner and wander over to Taproom @ Bayview Corner for a pint of craft beer and a basket of bacon.
• Double Bluff Brewing serves up Euro-inspired ales in its cozy taproom in downtown Langley.
• Just down the road is one of the best distilleries in the Puget Sound region. Whidbey Island Distillery makes a number of spirits, but be sure to try the blackberry liqueur.
What to do
• Langley, the quaint village on the east side of Whidbey Island, has so much to do that you could stroll around town for the good part of a weekend. There are a number of art galleries, including Brackenwood Gallery and MUSEO Gallery, bookstores such as Moonraker Books, and plant stores such as Bayview Farm & Garden.
• For entertainment, take in a show at the 1930s Clyde Theater or play classic arcade games at The Machine Shop.
• Get outdoors and go for a short drive to visit Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, which is 25 square miles of beaches, trails and beautiful scenery.