Showing posts with label Stehekin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stehekin. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Travel Tip Tuesday: Got Reservations? Maybe; Maybe Not

Sometimes our travels go as planned – other times they don’t. And when they don’t,  it’s because of a screw-up somewhere, like last week. . .

. . .when we were reminded of the importance of assuming nothing when planning a trip – no matter how short a getaway it might be.

DSCF0586We’d decided last Sunday to head to Stehekin, that remote little hamlet on the head of Washington State’s Lake Chelan for a couple of nights.  Our destination the North Cascades Lodge, (formerly The Stehekin Landing Resort). Its water views (like pictured above) makes it our favorite among the half dozen rental properties available in this pristine gateway to the North Cascades.

DSCF0615Stehekin can only be reached by float plane or boat (okay,you can also hike in but in 100-degree temperatures that didn’t appeal.)

When no one answered the reservation line phone Sunday afternoon, we used the Lodge’s computerized on-line system. Two nights in Room 16, lake view, $150 a night, beginning Tuesday. The computer-generated message told us a confirmation was forthcoming.

We –lDSCF0570uckily – decided not to buy tickets on-line for the Lady of the Lake ($60 p/p, round-trip), the only public boat serving Stehekin, until after we arrived in Chelan on Monday. It’s the town from which you depart for Stehekin and where we planned to stay that night for our early morning Tuesday departure.

10 a.m. Monday, with our bags in the car, and no confirmation  in the inbox, I decided before starting the three-hour drive to Chelan, to check emails one final time for that confirmation and not finding it, I called the reservation line again. 

DSCF0616“Would that be a reservation for Joel Smith? I’ve got it right here,” said a perky voice on the other end.  “But. . . we have a problem. The computer seems to have double booked that room and the other people booked before you.”

Oh, she said, they’d had that same problem with the computerized system before but thought it was fixed. She offered  two other rooms at about $50 more each night or one at a $129 nightly with no lake view.  Neither option appealed.

We still wonder if, or when, we might have been told about the ‘problem’ had I not called.  At check in, perhaps?

Travel Tip:  The tip embedded in this post is: If you haven’t received a confirmation of a computer generated reservation – double check with the resort or hotel. 

(Our practice is to arrive at a hotel with a printed copy of the reservation confirmation, or at least a confirmation number,name of the person who made the reservation and the time it was made with us.)

Photos:  Probably don’t need to tell you these Stehekin photos were taken during our last stay at The Landing Resort

Have you ever had a problem with a computer-made reservation?  When and how did you discover it?  Any tips?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

TPThursday: Do you ‘Capture the Colours’ or Clichés?

We’ve sometimes overlooked the ‘colors of  travel’. So often, I am trying to capture the memory of a particular travel moment, that I don’t notice the colors that contributed to it.

I traveled down a number of Memory Lanes to find photos that express each of the world’s primary colors: blue, yellow, red, green, and white for today’s post. I did so after Cathy Sweeney of Traveling with Sweeney and Vi at Short Travel Tips  tapped me for participation in a contest being sponsored by TravelSupermarket.  (I never win contests, but this was a great exercise - you should try it.)

DSCF0617The contest judges don’t want photo clichés: a blue sky, a red sunset or a yellow flower (like the sunflower photo here that I took in Stehekin, WA. It’s a great memory but cliché).

They want color in photos that give a sense of place, perhaps even ‘a splash’ of color.  Something that ‘captures a place so well that even if I’ve been there before, I think to myself, ‘Wow, I have to go there', ” says one judge.
With that in mind, here’s the travel palette of colors I chose:


It was simply, a fairy tale. One of the most stunning road trips we’ve ever taken was high up into Spain’s Andalucian hillsides.  We lost track of the number of small hamlets – the famous White Towns – as we followed the winding road on that magical journey.



Sometimes the ambiance and charm are so intense that a place seems unreal, almost as if it were a movie set; one in which we are lucky enough to be among the cast members.  That was Gibraltar.  This pair of street musicians provided the movie’s soundtrack. Their melodies followed us for blocks in this little bit of England on the Iberian Peninsula.



Greek ferries. They come in every size, shape and color creating a rainbow in the harbor at Piraeus, the port city serving Athens. If I were recommending travel experiences you must have before you die; sailing a Greek ferry from this harbor is at the top of the list.



I called it the Emerald Empire in an earlier post; The Palouse, that agricultural land that makes up the Eastern part of Washington State.

WARoadTrip2012 097


My take on blue is probably as cliché as it gets, but after years of dreaming about visiting Greece and then finally getting there, I couldn’t believe it was as picture perfect as we found it. And this time I did notice the colors because it made the travel moment unforgettable.


Have you been capturing the color or clichés?  On your next trip keep those primary colors in mind when you take aim with the camera – I will.

That’s it for this week’s Travel Photo Thursday. Hope you’ll head over to Budget Travelers Sandbox for more photos.

I’d also like to tap the following fellow bloggers to join in the Capture the Colour contest:
Dick’s Travel Tales from the Road
Keryn’s Walking on Travels
Heather’s Lost in Arles
Andi’s The Particular Traveler
Five American guys’  Travel Philosophy

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Romance of Travel. . .

It’s February 14th, Valentine’s Day; a perfect time to immerse ourselves in the romance of travel. Romance, both in the cupid-arrow type, and that defined by Webster’s as an ‘emotional attraction or aura belonging to . . .adventure’.

Traveling down memory lane, these are some of our favorite travel romance destinations:

France Vegas Mike G. 2009 0181. Paris, France

It is not a cliché – this is a romantic city. We don’t have any one spot to recommend, but I can tell you that strolling along  the Seine is romantic.

2. Cape Panwa House, Phuket Island, Thailand.

The Cape Panwa House restaurant is where I’d go for a romantic Valentine’s dinner.  This Sino-Portuguese mansion  made such an impression on us 30 years ago that I checked the Internet and was delighted to see it is still offers diners the exotic - and romantic setting - we so fondly recall.

DSCF05863.  Stehekin, head of Lake Chelan, Washington State.

The only way into Stehekin is by boat, float plane or on foot. This remote  hamlet at the head of the 55-mile-long glacier- fed Lake Chelan is the perfect place to picnic with  bread, wine and cheese. (Buy a couple bottles of wine at any of the two dozen wineries in Chelan and don’t forget the picnic blanket.)

4. San Sebastian del Oeste, Mexico

Back when we owned vacation homes outside Puerto Vallarta, we’d break up our working trips with a getaway to the towns  tucked high above us in the nearby Sierra Madres. 

One of our favorite places was the old silver mining town of San Sebastian del Oeste, and our favorite place to stay was in one of the very rustic rooms at Hacienda Jalisco, just outside town.  Back then it was run by a lovable character, Bud Accord.  We’ve not been back to Mexico for several years and San Sebastian now has several accommodation and dining options, a web site and Facebook page! We can tell you there was no better place for star gazing than from our deck at the Hacienda – it felt as if we’d landed in the middle of the Milky Way.

DSCF06775. Palace Hotel. Madrid, Spain

Our vote goes to the lobby bar at the Palace Hotel for the most romantic spot to sip a cava, the Spanish equivalent to champagne.  The dignified, library-like setting is perfect for settling into its comfy chairs and couches and getting lost in its old-world flair. . .or for watching other romantics.

6.  Le Sorelle Restaurant, Rome, Italy

On our last night in Rome a  few years ago we happened upon this small restaurant owned by two sisters (sorelle is sister in Italian) not far from the Spanish Steps at Via Bellsiana, 30. 
The food, wine, atmosphere and the sisters’ warm welcome, made us vow to return any time we found ourselves in this magnificent city.  We’ve manage to keep our pledge – twice. Once when the food was as good as we remembered it being and once when our single-night stay fell on the night they were closed – we were thoroughly disappointed!

0006100-R2-033-157.  On deck a Greek ferry sailing the Aegean or Ionian Seas.

Despite the current economic woes and related unrest in Greece,  we can hardly wait to return to its magical islands. Anyone who loves the romance of travel would find a trip on one of Greece’s cruise-ship-sized ferries to be a magical experience.. .no matter which island you were heading toward.

8. Washington State ferries from Seattle, Washington

We can’t overlook our own backyard, so must make note of the ferries that ply the waters of Puget Sound providing great views of Seattle and wonderful trips to the San Juan Island port cities and as far as Vancouver Island, British Columbia

If you are not into ferries, take a trip up Seattle’s 1962 World’s Fair Space Needle that continues, 50 years later, to be the Emerald City’s icon.  On a clear day (and we do have them sometimes) you can take a 360-degree tour of Puget Sound by walking the outside deck or dining in the restaurant.

DSCF01089.  Ko Olina, O’ahu, Hawaii.

Ko Olina in Hawaiian means ‘place of joy’ and it has been that for us since we began our annual visits there five years ago.  Bird song at sunrise and sunset, swaying palms, gentle ocean waves, lagoons with tropical fish that find you as interesting as you do them, those incredible sea turtles, honus, in Hawaiian. . .ah, yes, a most romantic place.

10.  This one is yours.  What romantic destination – past, present or future - are you thinking of today?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Washington Wednesday: Stehekin


Stehekin, a small outpost at the head of the 55-mile long glacier-fed Lake Chelan in Central Washington State is one of our favorite getaway destinations.

DSCF0577Accessible by boat or float plane (or for the outdoors enthusiasts) by trail; this remote treasure has been ‘discovered’ in recent years by Sunset and Martha Stewart magazines - yet, it remains a place where the biggest excitement of the day is the ferry’s arrival at The Landing.  (That bus in the photo provides the shuttle service up into the Valley – a must trip if you go.) 

Getting there: Most visitors depart for Stehekin from Chelan, about 180 miles from Seattle.  This  small town wraps around  the foot of Lake Chelan (consider staying there at least a day to visit its wineries).  Note: You can  also catch the ferry at Field's Point, about mid-way up the lake but you'll need a car to get there.

The nearest airport is Pangborn in Wenatchee, some 35 miles from Chelan.  From there you’ll need to use public transportation or rent a car. The route from Wenatchee follows Washington’s Columbia River.  If you are driving, a stop at Rocky Reach Dam visitor's center, just a few miles north of Wenatchee shouldn't be missed.
The Lady of the Lake – a bit of lake history in itself – and the Lady Express are our favorite forms of travel  between Chelan and Stehekin. (I snapped this photo of the Express stopping at Field’s Point to pick up passengers.) For day-trippers, there's time for a long lunch (a trip to the Stehekin Bakery is a must) before heading back to Chelan. 

Accommodations:  In the Stehekin Valley range from cabin rentals to ranch stays and hotel type rooms at The Landing.  (Click the link to see photos, availability and prices).

Activities:  Way too many choices: hiking, horseback riding, waterfalls and meadows.  You can rent bikes (seasonally) or simply set off walking – the road to the bakery and beyond is level and paved.  Disconnect: There’s limited computer access at The Landing and a public phone.  Turn off your cell – it won’t work anyway. Don't forget your camera!

Have you been to Stehekin? Got a recommendation?  Share it with us in the comments below.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Washington's Winter Getaways

The folks at Friday Harbor House ( on San Juan Island are offering up two cleverly-named packages that are going into our 'traveler tickler' file, the place we store good ideas about places we have not yet visited. This 23-room hotel has an Eat, Drink and be Jolly package starting at $239 a night, (two-night minimum stay required) that includes Continental breakfast and two 60-minute spa treatments - facial or massage - followed by milk and cookies in your room. Also included is a CD of holiday tunes. While that package runs through Dec. 31st, another even more tempting is the 0ne-night Curl Up with a Good Book package that includes a $30 gift certificate to a local bookstore and hot chocolate. It runs through April 30, 2010 and starts at $229 a night.

The nose-numbing crisp winter air of Central Washington tempts at Stehekin, the tiny hub nestled on the slope of the Cascade Mountain range at the tip of the 55-mile-long glacier-fed Lake Chelan. Stehekin Landing Resort ( has become a favorite summer/fall destination but unfortunately, they don't rent rooms in the winter. We don't have the equipment - nor desire - to camp in the snow. Two cabins are available for rent so we may just round up some adventuresome friends to join us in this mountainous wonderland where the winter days are short and the piles of snow tall. If nothing else a day trip aboard the Lady of the Lake to the Landing for a bowl of steaming hot soup may be in order. For more about Stehekin in the winter, check out my article in the Seattle Times, November 26, 2009.


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