Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, WA/Columbia Gorge

Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, WA/Columbia Gorge

My husband and I stayed at Skamania Lodge for 2 nights for a little post anniversary exploration of the Columbia gorge and pampering at the lodge.  We were impressed by the various walking/hiking trails (click this link for the hiking guide to the 3 trails on the lodge grounds) as well as golf course, fitness center, volleyball court, hot tubs and indoor pool, restaurant and spa services.  Our room had an absolutely gorgeous view of the Columbia River and the Columbia gorge!  What a way to wake up in the morning. 🙂

river view

Note: they do charge an advance deposit of 1 night (that is lost if you cancel) and a “lodge fee” for the various amenities that are provided.  So, make sure you are solid on your plans and that you plan to enjoy the amenities provided. 🙂

We were disappointed by the service our server provided at the Cascade dining room our 1st night.  She seemed to be struggling to manage the tables that she was handling and continued to comment about it and that she’d then stop ignoring us.  Meanwhile, the table seated next to us who arrived after us had a completely smooth process from drinks to dessert always one step ahead of us with a different server. 😦  We are well versed in the challenges of serving with many restaurant friends including a restaurant manager of a popular lodge restaurant in the Portland area, but this was far too expensive of a dinner to continue to have a bad experience throughout the process-and there were only about 5 tables being served at that 7 PM hour.  The food and the view were spectacular, but it was ruined by the slow and incompetent service.  Hopefully this was an unusual server experience.

What a gorgeous view from the dining room!

view

I had the 8 oz. tribal salmon with citrus thyme beurre blanc and the bacon and cider braised brussels sprouts and wind mountain goat cheese smashed potatoes sides.  My husband had the 12 oz. ribeye with roasted red pepper béarnaise and wind mountain goat cheese smashed potatoes and asparagus, roasted red pepper béarnaise sides.  They were all spectacular!

We were so unhappy with the dinner that we opted out of dessert and chose to have it next door at the River Rock.  They had tables in various configurations (including outdoor dining) as well as cozy couches perfect for a drink and dessert.  The service was excellent in comparison with dinner!  This is an example of one of the couch areas.

couch

After dinner we chose to take advantage of the “adults only” after 8 PM in the outdoor hot tub.  What a beautifully landscaped hot tub with a view.

hot tub

On the 2nd day we decided to explore the history of the gorge and started our day out with a breakfast buffet in the Cascade dining room (getting the same server as the night before :-().  We then went to the Columbia Gorge interpretive center down the hill from the lodge.  It was a nice walk down and a bit more challenging back up the hill afterwards.  The 3 story waterfall was visually appealing as well as a nice audio backdrop as we explored the history and culture of Skamania county and the gorge.  There was a lot of Native American artifacts and history, information about ships and logging in the area, Mt. St. Helens, etc.  There were 2 movie theaters.

We had spa treatments planned for the afternoon at waterleaf spa.  I had a mud wrap and then we had a couples massage following it.  I was about 10 minutes into my mud wrap while my husband was out running the trails when we were evacuated from the lodge because of a bomb scare.  I grabbed my iPhone so I could alert my husband and communicate with him as needed and then I spent 1-1/2 hours in the parking lot in nothing but my spa robe and slippers.  My husband found me and we sat and waited until it was okay to return inside.  The police department and fire department did respond quickly and it was good to take all precautions, however, it was quite a disruption to what was intended to be a relaxing spa treatment afternoon.  The spa adjusted the time and ensured we received all treatments in as relaxing of a manner as possible.  Apparently this has never happened before at the lodge and so it threw off everyone’s schedules.  Fortunately, it wasn’t the day before when there were wedding receptions and a business conference.

Because of the negative experience we’d had last night in the dining room, we cancelled our reservations for tonight and had dinner in the River Rock that we’d enjoyed dessert last night.  We had the same server as last night and she was excellent again.  What a relief!  The salmon mac and cheese was delicious!

salmon mac and cheese

Maryhill winery (Goldendale, WA) and the Columbia gorge

Maryhill winery (Goldendale, WA) and the Columbia gorge

I haven’t ever ventured out to the Columbia gorge and my husband and I were on our way to Skamania Lodge so we thought we’d go farther east and explore Maryhill winery and the views.  We wish we had taken I-84 (multi lane freeway) on the Oregon side as State route 14 on the Washington side was a pretty meandery 2 lane road with very slow drivers in front of us the whole way. 😦  It added a significant amount of time to our trip.  At the same time, the views were absolutely amazing of the Columbia River on the entire drive.  It was amazing to see the landscape change from the west side to rocky slate type cliffs and pine trees and sagebrush.  It would make some amazing paintings with a palette knife!

rocky cliffs

The winery was much busier than we’d expected and it was challenging to get a place at the tasting room bar to taste the wine and also lines for purchasing our picnic lunch. I had the “Reserve Flight” tasting of approximately 5 Reserve wines.  Chardonnay, I can’t recall the 2nd one, Syrah, Barbera, and Zinfandel.  I was prepared to like the Syrah and the Zinfandel as these robust, red wines tend to be my favorites, however, the Barbera (which is a wine I’ve never had before) was quite good.  It’s not as strong as Syrah or Zinfandel, but also not as light as a Rose and it has a bit of a bite at the finish like a less sweet Rose.  We bought a bottle for later that night.

Check out the Maryhill winery website for information about their concerts on the well groomed amphitheater lawn.

amphitheater

We enjoyed our picnic lunch of meat, cheese, bagel crisps, and wine/root beer/water from the terrace overlooking the gorge.

picnic lunch

gorge