Tag Archives: Family Fun

Alder Lake House – Alder, WA


When I realized that my children had a four day weekend in the month of February, I thought it was an excellent opportunity to do something for fun as a family. I thought about things we could do and then thought about places we could go. Hawaii! Tahiti! I’m just kidding. I remembered knowing that there was a house available for rent near Alder Lake, so I searched for the website to read more about it. The house is located pretty much in the middle of nowhere – perfect! The location itself offered several different opportunities for outdoor fun nearby – even better! Without reading more, I sent a request to see if the lake house was available for February 15-18. As it turns out, my friend Diana Riehm owns and rents out the house. You may remember that Diana also owns the Old General Store in Roy, WA that we rented out in November for a friend’s wedding. She was so very pleasant the first time we did business together, there was no hesitation to rent from her again.

With a check in time of 3 p.m., we were in no real hurry and spent the morning packing and then stopped in Yelm for lunch on our way out of town. It took us about an hour to arrive to the Alder Lake House on Friday, February 15. We circled around the area twice unable to find the driveway for our lake house. There are about 15 houses (maybe less) in that area of Alder Lake. We finally found it and pulled up next to the brown, two story house. We were parked behind the house and walked on the near wrap around porch to the front of the house where we were greeted with the sunshine sparkling off a beautifully blue lake. Alder Lake is surrounded by beautiful, untouched green trees. What a sight! Holding my hand over my eyes to shade them from the sun, I felt this sense of relaxation come over me. With a deep breath, I exhaled and felt like we were truly on vacation.

View from the Alder Lake house deck

View from the Alder Lake house deck

We opened the double doors to the historic lake house that was built in 1910 and were surprised with how cozy the house was. It is fully furnished and features a full sized kitchen with more cupboard space than I would ever know what to do with. The cupboards are filled with the necessities like pots, pans, plates, bowls, and serving utensils. There is a generous sized living room with leather couches and an oversized chair complete with a television, Direct TV, and a DVD player. The dining room features a full sized dining room table with available leafs to make it even larger. The large bathroom is home to the washer and dryer, double sinks, shower, and again – plenty of storage space. The den off of the kitchen offers more space for kids to play and additional seating. Upstairs you will find three bedrooms each with an abundance of closet space. Outside of the bedrooms is a nice seating area. The coffee table reminded me of home because it is identical to a table my parents have. It is a little bear cub on its back “holding up” the glass part of the table. So cute! I had never seen it anywhere else besides my parent’s house. When I say the lake house is fully furnished, I mean, it is fully furnished. You have everything you’d need for an extended stay.

Soon after we unpacked, we immediately went down to the lake to explore. At this time of the year, the water level is very low, so we had to navigate around rocks that are normally under several feet of water. But the shallow lake offered us an opportunity to hike down to a point where we were surrounded by water and in awe of not only the quiet but of the incredibly beauty that nature has to offer. On one side, Alder Lake stretches out further than you can see. On the other, the stretches out and then hides behind tall trees. Beyond those trees, snow capped mountains peek out and if you look behind you, you’ll see Mt Rainier. The kids had a great time skipping stones, finding hiking sticks, and exploring through the sand. They pretended they were on a great hike and that they might even find gold among the endless amount of rocks.

Gorgeous view!

Gorgeous view!

My family loved hiking around Alder Lake and finding the perfect hiking sticks.

My family loved hiking around Alder Lake and finding the perfect hiking sticks.

That night, the sky truly showed off all its natural beauty. The sky was clear and no city lights or neighbor’s garage lights took away from seeing the stars. I live in a very small town and thought that I had an amazing view of the stars. Well, Alder Lake showed me that there is an even better view available. The stars seemed absolutely infinite. It was like my kids had thrown pixie dust into the sky and it just never came back down. It was truly a sight to behold. Just gorgeous.

The Alder Lake house is about a 15 minute drive from Mt Rainier National Park, so the next day we drove up to the park with the intention of having the kids go sledding from Paradise at Mt Rainier. Unfortunately, the weather forecast called for snow at about 4,000 feet and without four wheel drive or snow chains, we were unable to to go all the way up to Paradise. We weren’t letting a little snow dampen our day, so we stopped at Longmire near the lodge and decided to take a hike in the snow. The kids were bundled up in snow pants and snow boots, so we figured, why not? We hiked around the area for about an hour and the kids had a blast. The Alder Lake house is also a short drive from The Northwest Trek, which was another amazing stop. I think I’ll save that one for another post.

It rained on and off throughout the weekend, which was fine. While it was raining, the kids enjoyed playing together indoors, watching movies, and we all even found time to take naps. It was so nice to be together – with little or no cell phone service! – without life’s interruptions of phones ringing, the internet distracting anyone, video games, and noise. Not to say we don’t like hearing from friends and loved ones but you know what I mean. We were really on vacation. I have always been and will always be a firm believer that my kids don’t need the biggest, fanciest toys to be happy. To me, family trips, especially outdoors, are where the memories are. When our kids are older, I know they will remember that one weekend at the lake or wherever we go in the future. Great family vacations don’t need to be expensive and flashy, sometimes it is the smallest things that mean the most.

I cannot thank Diana enough for renting us the Alder Lake house. She is such a sweetheart and even followed up with us after our stay to see how everything was. She seemed so genuinely excited and happy to hear about our weekend and everything that we did. If you are looking for a wonderfully, quiet place to stay during any season of the year, please consider renting the Alder Lake house. It has so much to offer for every season. It is a nice, cozy place to stay in the winter months if you’re out that way for hunting, skiing, or snow boarding and there is a boat dock and horse paddock for you to use in the spring/summer. The property also has a fire pit for the nights when you want to take advantage of star gazing. I also hear there is great fishing out on Alder Lake. It is the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of every day life and the perfect place to go to remind yourself of what is truly important in life.

Enjoying the sunshine at Alder Lake!

Enjoying the sunshine at Alder Lake!

For more information, including rates, please contact Diana … and let her know Heather sent you!


The Breakers Resort – Long Beach, WA


The Breakers Resort – Long Beach, WA

My family and I arrived at The Breakers late afternoon on Friday, June 25. My husband pulled up next to the lobby allowing me to hop out and check in. The front desk employee was very courteous and seemed to be very happy to have us there. She carefully gave directions to our room, let us know where to find the pool, and gave us a map showing us where the hotel park was, the trail to the beach, as well as other hotel amenities.

Our room was right across from the main lobby up on the third floor. As soon as we entered our room, I could tell that it had a wonderful, inviting cozy feeling to it. It felt exactly like we were walking into a fully furnished beachfront condo instead of walking into a boring hotel suite. To our surprise, there were several goodies waiting for us on the table! A bag of beach toys and kites for the kids (EXCELLENT idea!), a basket of pamphlets for local events, a bottle of wine, and locally canned albacore tuna and salmon, and a lovely bouquet of flowers. I must say, this display of hospitality made me feel a bit like a celebrity rather than a writer coming to take a tour of the area. And by the way, the salmon and tuna was delicious! (Welcoming package compliments of Funbeach.com)

What a nice welcome! (Compliments of Funbeach.com)

Our room was very large and quite spacious. It features a full size kitchen, a table for six, sofa will a full size pull out bed, oversized chair, rocking chair, fire place, and a bedroom with a king size bed. The best part? The deck that leads out to an unobstructed view of the Pacific Ocean! Being able to see the glistening ocean from the deck made this room worth a million dollars.

The view from our deck … beautiful!

Another nice touch was the fact the room had several extra pillows and blankets. Not just any run of the mill “hotel” blankets (you know what I’m talking about!), I mean the kind of comfy, soft blankets you’d have in your own home and the blankets you’d have on the back of your sofa at home. Another reason why I say this felt more like a fully furnished condo instead of a hotel room is because of how it was furnished. Not the dull furnishings you’d see in a big name hotel but the rooms features little trinkets lined across the fire place mantle and personal touches filled the walls. Our room had a nice selection of movies to choose from as well as a cabinet full of all your favorite board games! We had fun playing a few rounds of Candyland and Battleship. What an excellent touch to the room! There was another small but significant feature about the room that I thought was just awesome. On one of the side tables, there was a small journal. Inside, previous guests from all sorts of places had written entries regarding their stay in that very room! I read through some of the entries and some really stuck out. One couple had spent their honeymoon there and had returned several years later to celebrate an anniversary. Two sisters had stayed there to catch up with one another. The stories were really touching. Of course, we added a journal entry of our own.

Our room at The Breakers Resort

After unpacking a bit, we decided to take advantage of the sunshine. We headed out across the parking lot to get to the trail that led to the beach. On our way, we passed the playground and the covered community grill. It wasn’t just one grill but several grills and benches. What an awesome place to meet new friends while sharing a meal! I thought this was a really neat feature. We found the trail and started making our way to the beach. The trail was clean of garbage and easy to walk. In no more than five minutes, you find yourself walking up a small hill and then see the beach make a brilliant appearance.

… and suddenly the ocean makes a grand entrance!

The kids ran towards to beach and could not wait to start digging in the sand with their new shovels and buckets compliments of FunBeach.com. We enjoyed splashing around in the water, collecting interesting objects in the sand, and taking lots of photos.

My favorite photo of the beach … just look at that view!

After frolicking on the beach, we made our way back to our room. We utilized the full sized kitchen in order to prepare dinner that first night. The kitchen had everything you needed from plates, utensils, and baking sheets to wine glasses. The appliances were clean, easy to use, and everything worked properly.

The next day, we decided to relax a bit and enjoy the pool! The pool is located in a separate building which was right across the street from our room. The pathway to the pool is lined with well kept and beautiful flowers. The kids were very anxious to get in the pool and splash around! The pool was clean and not too cold. We all had a lot of fun swimming and relaxing! I was able to kick back and relax in the hot tub for a while, too, which was even better. The indoor hot tub could probably use a little work. Not all of the jets worked properly. The outdoor hot tub, which is considerably larger than the outdoor, was significantly nicer. One thing that I noticed about the pool area was the shelf that should provide towels for guests was empty. They could probably use some more seating in the area, too. There were two other families in the pool besides ours and not enough dry places to put towels or clothing. One guests resorted to putting her clothes on a window sill. Overall, though, the pool and hot tub provided an excellent place to play and unwind.

The indoor pool and hot tub (there is another larger hot tub outdoors)

Part of my tour (which I will elaborate on in my next posts) included a bicycle tour. I wanted to mention that the purple beach cruiser that I used as well as the safety helmet were compliments of The Breakers Resort for their guests to use. And I would almost have to insist that you take advantage of the bicycles and enjoy the Discovery Trail that is located just a few yards from the resort. It is such a wonderful, easy – and educational! – trail. More about that soon …

Checking out was easy and efficient. Once again, the ladies at the front desk were extremely courteous and I don’t think the smiles on their faces every left while hearing about what a wonderful stay that we had. They seemed incredibly happy that we had enjoyed our stay at their resort.

So what did I think overall? I think The Breakers Resort is an excellent place to take family. The whole place is family oriented and family friendly. I really liked the fact they had a cabinet of family board games to play. Getting the family together after a fun filled day to play a board game was a nice way to unwind while having fun at the same time. A vast majority of the rooms – if not all of them – have spectacular views of the ocean. The room itself was clean and welcoming. There was nothing like curling up in the oversized chair with a light blanket to read while occasionally gazing outside at the ocean view. I think it would be a fun place to have bring the family … and I mean maybe the whole family! Some rooms at The Breakers Resort can accommodate up to eight people!

The Breakers Resort at Long Beach

The Breakers Resort offers a variety of rooms in different sizes and is also pet friendly. Their rooms start at just $179 a night. You can check them out by visiting their website at: www.breakerslongbeach.com