We stayed close to home last month, keeping true to our annual commitment to a frugal January – no eating out, no shopping for non-essentials, no spending money on entertainment. Shane made it the entire month without a single drop of alcohol. On February 2nd, we patted ourselves on the back for our incredible restraint and then counteracted said restraint with a three-day getaway to Sleeping Lady Lodge in Leavenworth. On Thursday morning we loaded up the car, swung by REI to pick up my rented skis and a pack of hand-warmers, and jetted toward the mountains. We rolled into town around lunchtime and chowed down on pizza and beer. No doubt, Leavenworth has a very faux vibe about it, but there’s no arguing the natural beauty of that backdrop!
We popped into the candy store after lunch and told Juliette she could pick out a treat – she was over-the-moon thrilled with her single piece of cherry saltwater taffy. I’m so thankful for the way this kid finds joy in the smallest of things!
We made our way to the lodge, not entirely sure what to expect (traveler reviews ranged from “bare-bones rustic” to “wonderfully luxurious”). But from the moment we stepped out of the car and saw the sunlight streaming through the trees onto snow-capped cabins, I was certain we were someplace special.
Free cider in the lobby? Juliette’s day just kept getting better and better.
We had some time to kill before our room was ready, so we headed over to the “Play Barn” to shoot pool and spin foosball.
Once we had our keys, we settled in for some quiet time – Juliette claimed this little sleeping alcove as her own cozy play space.
Quiet time was short-lived, as Shane was itching to try out the ski attachment he’d scored on Craigslist for the bike trailer. We bundled up and hit the nearby Nordic trail.
I wasn’t sure how Jules would fare in the cold, but with a couple of blankets, a hand warmer, and another cup of hot cider, she was more than happy to sit back and enjoy the ride.
I know, I’ve said it before, but this man is a STUD.
We ate dinner Thursday night at the lodge’s bar and all fell into bed satisfyingly exhausted. Juliette was out like a light by 7:45 and I think I followed suit around 7:50. Who says a pre-8:00 bedtime is just for kids?
Snow started to fall sometime during the night and we awoke Friday morning to a freshly powdered winter wonderland.
“Breakfast buffet in the dining hall” usually isn’t a promising phrase in terms of flavor or ambiance, but wowsers, this place does breakfast right. And those windows!
After breakfast we strapped our skis to the top of the Forester and drove over to Leavenworth Ski hill for a romp in the freshy-freshy pow-pow.
Good God, it was gorgeous out there. And blissfully quiet, the only sounds being the swish of our skis and Juliette’s voice as she belted out “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart“.
These downhill stretches made me awfully nervous, but Shane stuck ’em all. (I didn’t.)
Seriously, guys – I think I discovered peace on earth.
Our zen was momentarily interrupted when we got a little off course, tried to ski through some bushes, and all ended up face-first in the snow, but we quickly dusted ourselves off and found our bearings. I like to think we’re making the quite the adventurer out of Juliette…
We ate lunch in town and then settled in for an afternoon of Candyland and books.
The snow started dumping again late afternoon and wielded its magnetic powers on Shane, so we all headed out for sledding and snow angels.
This icicle just about blew her mind!
We ate dinner at the lodge again, too tuckered out to venture any farther. Juliette was asleep before I’d even finished her bedtime song, but I rallied and opened up a bottle of wine while Shane queued up a show on Netflix. We ate popcorn and drank wine and watched The People v. O.J. Simpson until the wee hour of 10 pm, at which point we joined Juliette in her deep, deep slumber. VACATION. SO GOOD.
Shane got up early Saturday morning for a solo ski. Juliette got up early to play Candyland for the 87th time.
Our morning stroll to the breakfast buffet…
We soaked up every last minute at Sleeping Lady, doing puzzles in our cozy nook until the clock struck checkout time.
Even after we’d turned in our keys and loaded up the car, we still couldn’t bring ourselves to leave, so we played in the snow outside our front door for a half hour.
Magic, I tell you.
And one last family photo at our little sliver of heaven on earth:
Still not ready to head back to Seattle, we headed back to the Leavenworth Ski Hill to do some tubing.
I was a little alarmed when we were told that Juliette would have to go on her own tube rather than sit in Shane’s lap, but once she saw people zipping down the hill, there was no turning back. She was adamant that she was a big kid and could do it all by herself. I had a minor panic attack watching that rope tow her away from me…
Sure enough, she held on and landed safely at the bottom of the hill, slightly stunned (that course was fast!) but quite proud of herself.
Tubing was fun, but sitting by the fire and drinking hot chocolate with my arm securely around Juliette felt much better.
We polished off our hot chocolate and debated whether to head back to Seattle or to make one more snow stop. Snow for the win! We drove over to Enchantment Park to play on some slightly smaller hills.
How many times did she pile snow onto the slide and then launch into it? Fifteen, easy.
By this point, I was cold and damp and had my fill, but it was near impossible to tear Jules away. She most certainly had found her happy place.
We headed back to the car and peeled off our wet coats and snow pants and mittens, satisfied that we had made the most of our snowy getaway. Still, it was a little hard for me to wave goodbye to these mountains. I didn’t know when I booked the trip back in December that we’d be so desperate to unplug and find serenity, but it turned out that this place was exactly what we needed when we needed it.
Adios, Leavenworth. Muchas gracias.