Get Out and Go: Life’s a Summer Camp

Head to Olympic Peninsula’s Iron Springs Resort or Hood Canal’s Alderbrook Resort for a well-deserved weekend getaway.

Starry nights, skipping stones, and adventure by land and water, childhood summer camp is filled with sweet innocent nothings. If you are looking for a vacation that mirrors your beloved camp dreams, there are two Washington resorts Seattleites can go and bask in the comfort of marshmallow roasting, moonlight swimming, and connecting to the sincerest and purest parts of oneself long ago forgotten.

Alderbrook Resort and Spa

Only a two-hour drive from Seattle, the Alderbrook Resort and Spa  is an iconic northwest destination.  Coming up on a centennial celebration, the resort offers a rich history for the region and serves as a special place for multiple generations of Seattle families. The rooms, furnishings, and architecture reflect the elegance of the Hood Canal; visitors are surrounded by beauty with every turn of the head. The hot tub and swimming pool are in a waterfront glass building so you can soak while pondering at the mountains and the stars. Everything from the robe and slippers to the exquisite dining room (with the panorama of the Olympic Range in the background) makes spending time in a beautiful place all the more luxurious.

While sophistication and grace create the ambiance of the Alderbrook, its unfettered charm keeps it low key, similar to summer camp. The resort boasts skipping stones along the shore as one of the best activities in the area, even providing the first throw on the nightstand. Every summer camp has a pet and the Alderbrook as two, Alder and Brook, tabby cats that wonder wherever they please and graciously accept petting. With creature comforts and expansive views, listening to one’s own breath and ignoring time never felt so good. S’mores on the desert menu, campfire and BBQ pits, and the amiable nature of the staff give one the sense of being at summer camp.

With summer approaching, the Alderbrook will once again be the Hood Canal destination for boaters in the region. With waterfront BBQs and dining service many visitors will flock to the resort on sunny Saturdays and especially for the front and center view of the Hood Canal’s 4th of July fireworks show. Expect oyster eating contests, music on Friday nights, and an array of fun activities scheduled through out the year.

What to do: Summer camp is as much about sitting still and enjoying the slow pace as it is about being active in nature’s playground. Whether you are interested in a few hours, or a full day, Hood Canal Adventures (located on the Alderbrook Pier) will spark your childlike adventure in a safe and inviting environment. In addition to kayaking, the Alderbrook offers an 18-hole golf course, a game room, fitness center and a day spa. Additionally, guests can explore the nearby shell fishing (when in season),  hiking trails and State Parks.

Good to Know: The guest rooms in the resort do not have cooking facilities so visitors should be prepared to dine at the resort restaurant or elsewhere. The fifteen guest cottages do have full kitchens and living rooms with a cozy fireplace.

Iron Springs Resort

On the last day of summer camp, when parents are set to meet their children, tears and expressions of not being ready to leave come flooding out. The end of summer is hard as time set aside solely for play and wonder is overshadowed by responsibility and reality. The Iron Springs Resort in Copalis Beach, Washington draws out a similar sense of attachment, leaving many adults not wanting to leave and always wanting to go back. The long and seemingly endless beach fills the heart with beauty that quickly turns into kinetic energy forcing your body to run, skip and jump out to touch the ocean. Located on the southern coastline of the Olympic Penninsula, The Iron Springs Resort is a mere three hour drive from Seattle, making summer time day dreaming a weekend trip away.

A beautiful1940s two-bedroom cabin with views straight up and down the Pacific Ocean creates the perfect setting for playing cards, reading,  and napping. The cabins Iron Springs Resort have been completely renovated to capture the spirit and longstanding traditions of this special place. Each of the 24 guest cabins at Iron Springs is unique and some accommodate large groups of friends or families (up to 10) while others are better suited for a romantic or personal retreat. All of the cabins welcome dogs.

Many Seattleites have been vacationing at Iron Springs much of their  lives (including the new owners) and are thrilled to see the legacy continue. With full kitchens and few local grocery stores, it is best to bring in groceries and cook. Each cabin is equipped with a deck BBQ, a fire place, a brand new TV (with cable and free DVDs to rent), and incredible views. The famous Iron Springs Resort Cinnamon buns round off a perfect morning of sipping coffee and watching the waves.

What to do: Let the world slow down and awaken the inner child buried beneath deadlines, projects and social engagements. Playing games on the beach, drawing in the sand, and yelling into the wind are activities that will quickly take your mind off of the busy Seattle lifestyle. The  beach front campfire pit makes marshmallow roasting on a summer’s night is an obligatory part of the experience. If it’s a clam dig weekend, Iron Springs Resort is well positioned for access to the beds. There is no sense of urgency to want to do much of anything when you wake up and immediately look out your large picture window to the Pacific Ocean and Olympic Peninsula coastline. Iron Springs is set up to let oneself go by taking long beach walks intermixed with afternoon naps, cooking in the cabin, and reading on the porch. In sum, “What to do?” becomes a “Do nothing” approach.

Good to Know: Iron Springs has a great deal offered through June. Guests that pay for two nights get a third night free.

Side Note: Coast Hotels and Resorts are kicking off a contest for their guests. Stay at one of their properties between now and December 31st and you may win an unexpected free upgrade, your room for $12, and be entered to win 2 nights at each of their 12 featured resorts (in places including Hawaii, California, Alaska…)