More Snowy Than Scary at This Oregon Lodge
There was nothing spooky about the big lodge when we approached this past October.
The icy parking lot was kind of scary though. We weren't expecting snow in October.
Two Years Ago
I remember approaching the lodge 2 years ago, when we stopped for lunch on a trip. I was so excited to see the building that was depicted in exterior scenes, of the thriller, The Shining.
It was cool and sunny that day, but there was no snow. It was a little hard to imagine those frightening scenes that took place outside The Grand Overlook Hotel.
There was snow when we visited last month, but it was still too sunny, to be eerie.
We were at nearly 6,000 feet and it was in the thirties. The wind was whipping at our faces and the flags up on the viewing deck were flapping away.
The sun was working on the icicles and the wind was doing a job on the 750-pound "snow goose" weathervane!
Entrance to the Head House
I grinned as we climbed the steps to the iconic stone entrance. It wasn't really the movie connection that I was excited about. To me, it's the lodge's connection with WPA that made the place exceptional! There was so much to see.
The carved panel in the huge door was just one artistic contribution made by hundreds of artisans, involved in the construction of Timberline. I couldn't wait to take it all in.
Starting at the Bottom
We checked in at the desk, on the lower level, then had a look at some of the displays about the hotel's construction period, from 1936 to 1938.
80 years ago, skiers must have been pretty excited when the grand lodge opened. They would have lounged on these "snowshoe chairs" in front of the fires. The curling andirons were impressive... made from recycled railroad rails!
The hexagonal fireplace continued up through 2 more levels. The "first floor" had ample sitting space around the fireplaces and near the windows. The upper floor had dining and bar tables, near the Ram's Head Bar.
Lunch With View
On our summer visit, Don and I had lunch on the circular balcony near the bar. We had a stunning view of Mount Hood, with just enough snow for some August snowboarders.
Mount Hood In October
This time, we stepped out the back door and I posed very quickly for a photo with a much whiter, Mount Hood. I look pretty relaxed here, but I was gritting my teeth and telling Don to hurry. It was freezing!
Our room wasn't quite ready, so we did some wandering before settling in.
We checked out some of the murals and mosaics that were created by artisans over 80 years ago.
Doors and Windows
It's amazing to look at the completed hotel and to realize this was all created during the Great Depression. Hundreds of skilled and unskilled laborers, craftsmen and artists worked for nearly 2 years.
On our first visit, I made Don pose so I could show the amazing size of this door. This time, I studied the ironwork. The door knocker looked like something out of a haunted fairytale.
Some of the whimsical door and window shapes just made me smile. Don and I remembered the cute, pointy door from before. We were sad the little tavern was not open this time.
Not only did the lodge project provide jobs, but it made use of recycled materials.
These wonderful carved newel posts (new term for me) were made from discarded utility poles. There were 19 different ones in the hotel and all of them had been smoothed and shined by appreciative guests. Just how many hands in 80 years?
We didn't make good enough use of the Barlow Room, but it was one of my favorites.
This room made me feel like I was stepping right into the movie, Sun Valley Serenade. I wanted to wear a cute little Sonja Henie sweater outfit and play some pingpong... on the wooden table!
We didn't hang out and play games, but I was happy just studying the sweet details that surrounded me.
The linoleum mural panels had a dreamlike quality. They gave me the same feeling I get, when I pick up an old worn, but loved family Christmas ornament.
Our room was down a hall, with cozy paneling and another marvelously shaped door at the end.
We even had a wooden Privacy sign. Much better than those plastic things.
We had 3 doors, including the closet and bathroom. All had intriguing locks and handles.
Our little room had lots of cozy wood and a cute retro phone. The window faced the front, so no view of Mount Hood for us.
There was a sweet little desk if we needed to write letters. There was indeed stationary in the desk, next to an ice scraper for the car! We didn't end up needing that or the tiny (sinfully out of place) TV.
Clean and Comfy
The queen bed was surprisingly comfy. I liked the wool blanket accent.
The bathroom wasn't huge, but the pretty tile was spotless and the towels were thick and soft.
View of Mount Jefferson
Our room view would have been a little better if we'd been on the floor above.
We could see Mount Jefferson from our room, so I'll say that counts as a view! These photos I have to say, were not taken from our room.
The best view of Mount Jefferson was from the stone terrace on the second floor. I checked on the view a few times in the evening and morning.
It was a little too chilly for more than picture taking. But it was fun seeing the flags. Evidently, the flags represent the countries of the international staff.
Where to Sit?
In the evening, Don and I wandered a bit, in search of cozy seating. We passed on the chairs, with woven rawhide seats.
There were a number of cute little nooks with couches or writing tables.
By the Fire
Seats by the fire were in demand, but there were 3 fires burning, so we lucked out.
I didn't get a photo of the fire tender and his cart of wood and tools. It's practically a full time job keeping the fires going.
For a while Don and I sipped wine and enjoyed a few snacks, while watching people coming and going.
These interesting chairs had built in side tables, which were pretty handy!
Morning at Timberline
Morning came early, since we had some kind of pacing, floor-walker above us from 5 am on. (Another good reason to book an upper room) But I was happy to get up at dawn and explore a little.
Long before 7, there was a table set up for coffee, tea and hot chocolate. The fires were burning and a few little girls dressed in p.j.s were having a wonderful time with their Teddy Bears.
I was pleased to meet 3-year-old Heidi. who posed with me briefly.
Heidi was lounging behind the front desk when I first spotted her. The young man working the desk said he remembered when she first came to the lodge 3 years ago. "She was as big as her head is now. She stepped out into the snow and disappeared!"
Breakfast in the Cascade Dining Room
Heidi wasn't allowed in the dining room, but Don and I headed in happily.
We had forgotten that we had booked a room & breakfast package. It was a nice surprise.
We didn't sit next to the fire, because there wasn't one. We were told the winds were blowing in the wrong direction and it would be too smoky if a fire was lit. We did have a great table by the window, though. More views of Mount Jefferson!
Sometimes breakfast buffets are a disappointment, but we had some fun options.
The Glacier Freeze Smoothie was an exciting way to start the day. The tricky salami slicer was a little scary for me! We ate well, then enjoyed a late check out and more fireplace lounging!
Don and I have stayed at many state and national park lodges. This one ranks pretty high for coziness... which is what attracts us to lodges.
Besides being warm and cozy with all its stone and timber, the lodge staff was also warm and welcoming. I'm still unclear about the ownership of Timberline, but it felt like things were run well.
Mostly, I will remember the views and the amazing WPA creations that filled the lodge. I have a feeling we will be back!
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!