Romance At Sun Mountain not JUST For Newlyweds
By Jane Cassie

What determines a great romantic getaway? Spectacular views? Fine dining? An intimate spa? How about all of these and more? Well, that's what we found on this recent visit to Washington's Sun Mountain Lodge.

From this getaway's elevated bluff, we share panoramic vistas with soaring eagles and swooping swallows. The picturesque Methow River, flanked by a band of luscious greenery, snakes along the valley floor far below, and the surrounding semi-arid terrain blends with stands of pine and fir that march diligently up creviced hillsides. The landscape stretches to distant snow-dappled peaks, and it comes as no surprise to us that this craggy Cascade mountain range has been coined The American Alps. Although nestled in Washington's Okanogan instead of Switzerland, it's a place that Heidi would be proud to call home, and the ambience is every bit as romantic. It's for this reason that weddings are a frequent affair at Sun Mountain Lodge, and whether couples choose to exchange heart-felt vows overlooking this very bluff, or within the lodge's palatial interior, the setting is guaranteed to be the same - sensational! Thanks to Mary Campbell and her qualified staff of wedding consultants, 'tying the knot' for couples has been simplified. "We don't offer wedding packages," Mary explains during a brief interview. "Instead, we provide specific services to meet the needs of each couple. After they express their wishes, we simply take over. That way it gives the couple time to relax and truly enjoy Sun Mountain Lodge." After looking through varied photo albums of wedding extravaganzas, we're sure 'simply taking over' is an understatement!

Although we're far from being honeymooners, our visit to Sun Mountain comes with the similar romantic intentions to celebrate anniversary. After all - why should just the newlyweds have fun! Distanced from cell phones, televisions and other electronic interruptions, we find solace to rekindle and reunite over the next two days. It's not an arduous task.

We soon discover that romance makes its way to the rustic chic interiors where magnificent post and beam construction is coupled with hand crafted wrought iron and willow furnishings. Volcanic rock-faced fireplaces grace several common areas that share the same panoramas as the 112 guest rooms, suites, and nearby cottages on Patterson Lake, as well as the piéce de résistance in pampering are the newest Robinson additions, which include jetted whirlpools, king size beds and cozy fireside settings. Now that's romantic!

There's good reason to stay cocooned the entire stay, but why would we with the lure of so many activities? After all, we're not honeymooners. A well-equipped work out room, two swimming pools, four tennis courts, pool tables and ping-pong are just a few that tempt us out the door. And as we find out, the list keeps on going - in fact over a hundred trails lace Sun Mountain's landscape, offering a variety of ways to connect with Mother Nature as well as to each other.

We set out on a three-mile round trip trek to The Hough Homestead and parallel those who travel on horseback and mountain bike. A dilapidated log-hewn structure and stagecoach wagon are the only historical remains at this grassy meadow that is a popular destination for wedding rehearsal parties and Cowboy Camp Dinners. Carted in on horse drawn wagons, guests are served up a western spread that would satisfy the likes of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. Although this experience provides a romantic taste of the Wild West, other couples may opt for a rehearsal party in the lodge's intimate wine cellar room of over five thousand bottles, or in the main dining area where the Methow Valley views are forever and the food is equally spectacular with an AAA four diamond rating.

Although soothing hot tubs help soak our weary muscles after enjoying all of these activities, nothing beats our visit to the spa. Double decadence, bilateral bliss, paired paradise - whatever you want to call it, the 'spa for two' is out of this world! A heady fragrance wafts from our intimate candle lit setting while new age music transports us to transcendental states. Lying side by side, and under the trained fingertips of Michael and Leah, knots in taut muscles melt like butter and our bodies flop like rag dolls. Oooh, aaah...ecstasy!

As the sun sets behind Gardner peak, and crystal blue skies turn a shell pink, shot with streaks of amber and orange. This silent symphony of colour seems to go on forever, and returning the bluff, we reflect on our stay at Sun Mountain Lodge. Has it been romantic? ...You bet!

Photos: Sun Mountain Lodge and Brent Cassie

If You Go:

Sun Mountain Lodge
P.O. Box 1000,
Winthrop, WA 98862
Toll Free 1-800-572-0493 or 509-996-2211 Fax: 509-996-3133
Web site:

North Cascades Route
Vancouver / Peace Arch or Douglas Border Crossing to US
Follow I-5 to Sedro Wooley
Follow Highway 20 to Winthrop.
Although this is the most scenic route, the pass is closed from approximately mid-November through mid-April and access is via Wenatchee is necessary

Washington State offers two major international airports.
*Seatac International Airport
*Spokane International Airport
Most major carriers serve Seatac, and nearly as many serve Spokane.
From there, fly into Pangborn Memorial Airport in Wenatchee via Horizon Air and then rent a car for the 1 1/2 to 2 hour drive.

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