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Winter getaways
Five really cool cold-weather retreats
When winter's cold weather arrives here in the Northwest, that's a great time of year to get out and experience a cozy winter getaway. There's something about being out in the elements and then retreating to your cozy cabin where you can enjoy a crackling fire and a warm hot chocolate.

Check out these suggestions for great places to go this winter here in the Pacific Northwest:

Timberline Lodge

This National Historic Landmark lodge on  1Mount Hood was crafted from boulders found on the mountain's slopes during the Civilian Conservation Corps' 15-month construction of Timberline back in the 1930s. It's a magnificent ski lodge and mountain retreat.

The main lobby at Timberline features three fireplaces at the base of a 90-foot chimney. The outdoor patios offer the most stunning views in Oregon. Each room in Timberline Lodge has a unique rustic elegance, yet a modern and comfortable feel.

All rooms have period furnishings, artwork and decor and a private bath. And there's a year-round heated pool, spa and sauna.

For more information, please visit www.timberlinelodge.com or phone 800-547-1406.

WildSpring

If you're looking for a quiet eco-friendly resort, head down to the southern Oregon coast and visit WildSpring near Port Orford. This is a place where you can enjoy incredible natural beauty without the crowds. There are just five cabins on this property so it's one of those places where you can really get away from it all.

This part of the Oregon Coast is spectacular and, in winter, storm watching is a big reason folks head out to this remote location. Take the coast highway for at least part of your journey and you'll be amazed at the ocean views that seem even more dramatic in winter.

WellSpring is close to Port Orford, which has several art galleries, a working lighthouse, a dozen trails and an uncrowded beach to hunt for agates. The resort is on five acres of forest and it's like visiting a private estate rather than a hotel. You'll stay in cozy, elegant cabin suites filled with art and antiques, in a quiet forest of 100-foot trees. And don't miss the breakfast buffet where you'll enjoy panoramic ocean view. For more information, please visit www.wildspring.com or phone 866-333-WILD.

Alta Crystal Resort

Mount Rainier has to be the most recognizable symbol of Washington state and the natural beauty we have here in the Northwest. And it's a great place to visit even in winter. Maybe even ESPECIALLY in winter.

Alta Crystal Resort is close to Mt. Rainier, and also very near the popular Western Washington ski resort of Crystal Mountain. It's actually just outside the northeast entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park. The scenery up in this area is unbelievable and, in winter, the snow can pile high.

You'll want to check out the loft suites. They're located in one of three chalet style buildings the surround the pool and hot tub. They each have a private balcony 0off the living room plus a beautiful vaulted pine ceiling with skylight in the living room. There's a bedroom and a loft.

Crystal Mountain is just seven miles from the resort and offers 2,600 skiable acres and the Northwest's first gondola lift. For more information, please visit www.altacrystalresort.com or phone 800-277-6475.

Mountain Home Lodge

Travel to North Central Washington and the Bavarian Village of Leavenworth and you'll be rewarded with very unique accommodations at Mountain Home Lodge. At 1,000 feet above Leavenworth, snow and ice make the seemingly vertical road to this resort impassable in winter. The only way you can reach your accommodations is on the lodge's snowcat.

But isolation has its rewards: There are incredible views of the valley and Stuart Range, plus 30 miles of ski and snowshoe trails that are right out your front door. There are several rooms in the lodge, each with luxurious amenities. But what caught our attention were the two cabins that are separate from the lodge.

One of those is a custom-built pine cabin for two people called the Cabin Ponder Rock, which overlooks a 20-acre meadow and the majestic Cascades. The pictures of this cabin are amazing -- it sits all by itself on the mountainside.

There also is Cabin Stuart's Roost which sits on a ridge just a short distance from the main lodge with spectacular views of the Stuart Mountain Range.

For more information, please visit www.mthome.com or phone 800-414-2378.

Lakedale Resort

Board a Washington Ferry in Anacortes and sail to San Juan Island, where you'll find a cozy island retreat called Lakedale Resort. San Juan Island is the farthest San Juan island accessible by ferry and Lakedale has 10 lodge rooms and some private cabins that make it well worth the trip.

Altogether, the resort has 82 acres. It's nestled between Roche Harbor and Friday Harbor and it features a variety of accommodation options. Be sure and check out the Lake House, which is perfect for a large family or maybe two or three couples. It's a log cabin with a large cedar deck that overlooks the lake.

You'll see right away that San Juan Island in winter can seem downright sleepy -- which is what a lot of folks want when they're really looking to get away from the every-day hassles of modern life.

For more information, please visit www.lakedale.com or phone 800-617-2267.
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