The North Rim
Perched on Rock
This was our first view of the lodge. We parked and walked out to Bright Angel Point and headed back to see this view. What an impressive sight! It looked like the rocky canyon just grew some windows and a rooftop!
A Windy Walkway
The walkway where I stood to take the photo was pretty exciting. The wind was whipping at my camera, forcing me to wear the strap around my neck like a good tourist. We headed out to see the canyon view, which was stunning... and then as we turned around, it was the image of that amazing building that lured us back.
During our fall road trip, Don and I sort of became experts on lodge terraces and porches. By the time we had reached the lodge we had already been impressed by some pretty good ones. But this view, the chairs and the surrounding stonework made the terrace on the east side, hard to beat. Especially in the morning when we had it to ourselves. But why didn't they give us a fire in that gigantic fireplace?
The West Side
On the other side of the building we had to fight for chairs at sunset. Don and I caught some good ones earlier, with a little coffee to warm us up.
Sharing the Sunset
It was just September, but the air was chilly by the time the sun dropped. But who could complain? The jackets started to zip and cameras clicked... and everyone stared west. No one seemed to notice the second sunset that was happening, in the lodge windows!
The Lodge's Simple Side
To glance at the lodge's north side, you would never imagine the stunning limestone and log image on the other side. This view of the building looked like a really nice Boy Scout Camp, not an entrance to arguably the best view in the U.S.
It started to get cozy the moment we walked through the doors. Leather furniture and woven rugs warmed up the walls and floors.
the lighting fixtures were especially intriguing. We got a seat near the window in the Sun Room, after dark. The window reflection did an odd trick with the image of the oddly shaped light. Its shape was repeated (in the glass) ... out into the night!
Brighty of the Grand Canyon
This is the Sun Room, when there was no sun shining. It looked pretty much the way it did when the lodge was built in 1927-28. There was a fire that damaged most of the lodge, but they were able to rebuild using much of the original stone in 1937-38. It was pretty peaceful when we sat on the big couches after a late dinner. So peaceful that a lot of people were falling asleep.
From the upper lobby we spotted the Sun Room when we first checked in. You could see the canyon through the massive glass windows. This was our 5th National Park lodge on our road trip and the first that had lounge seating set up in rows, as if the windows were movie screens. At sunset tourists became part of the movie scene, as they gathered at the windows.
Our Lincoln Log Cabin
There has never been actual lodging in the lodge, but there have always been cabins. Our "Western Cabin" was just steps from the lodge entrance and the sight of it with rounded logs, stone fireplace and cozy porch, just made me grin.
There was a spacious feel with 4 windows and the raised, log-beamed ceiling. The wood furniture was quaint, the 2 queen beds were cozy soft, the curtains on iron rods fit the scene. And the sweet fireplace even had a heart shaped stone!
The Darn Door
After many failed attempts we found ourselves on the cabin porch talking with a lodge manager, I will call Ms. Grinch. She had a similar smile and she played down our problem, the way The Grinch did when Cindy Lou Who was concerned about her Christmas tree being taken away. Ms. G. grinned and gave me her cheery solution. "We have no other rooms and we can't make your key work. So just give a call to maintenance when you need to go in or out."
A Little Fussing
She didn't really say this, but her attitude spoke, "Aren't we glad we have a nice little cabin now? Let's not be complainers. Ba-bye!" Don and I had some drinks on our Old Hickory rockers before heading back to the the lodge for dinner.
Earlier I peeked into the dining room as they were setting tables. What an incredible view, with windows overlooking the canyon to the west and south.
Dark by Dinner
The dining room began filling up before sunset and by the time of our 8:45 reservations, the windows were dark. But our table at the south end had a great view of the whole room and we had the special treat of being served by Maria, who had served us dinner at Big Bend National Park lodge in Texas, 8 months earlier. We gave her a big surprise by remembering (mostly thanks to Don's memory) and then we enjoyed a good feast of Bison Meatloaf, potatoes and snap peas!
We woke early after a good night's sleep, despite the sounds of gusting winds and scampering squirrels on the roof. We headed out to Bright Angel Point before the sun rose and had some spectacular views.
Back to the Lodge
As the sun rose higher, we warmed up on the terrace. Then it was time to find out about breakfast. I was pretty sure Ms. Grinch assumed our new cabin assignment had cancelled out our free breakfast.
If I hadn't been so irritated by the Ms. G's fake smile, I wouldn't have worried about getting a free breakfast. She wasn't on duty yet, so I had to go through about 4 staff members before someone printed out a voucher. Our Eggs Benedict and omelet wasn't really worth the $27.00 we should have paid. But the view and our gracious waiter made our breakfast perfect. We tipped him well.
I may have nagged about that silly manager in my way too long write up, but she'll be forgotten and it's the breathtaking view that I'll remember! Our hikes and meals and lodge lounging all included this stunning scenery. And when we headed back to our comfy little storybook cabin, those were the images that were in my head... when it hit the pillow!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!