Tag Archives: Family Time

Alder Lake House – Alder, WA

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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!
http://alderlakehouse.com

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WorldMark Long Beach by Wyndham – Long Beach, WA

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If you didn’t know already, the WorldMark resort is part of the WorldMark Club timeshare program. Although you need to be an owner, family member or friend of a WorldMark Club owner to stay here, I wanted to write a review about our stay here anyway.

Fantastic place to stay

This whole trip was a surprise planned by my husband. He had been away for a month and said he wanted to treat our family to a weekend away when he returned. All I knew was that I was supposed to pack for three days away and I knew we were heading to Long Beach, WA. The two hour drive from our home was beautiful, as most drives in Washington prove to be. It was scenic and sunny – mixed in with some rain showers here and there. When we arrived in Long Beach, it was the quaint little town I kind of expected. Very “beachy” with cute little cottages lining the streets and plenty of places to get fresh seafood. We drove down toward the beach and towards two resorts. My husband then finally told me that we were staying at the WorldMark Wyndham Resort.

Welcome to Long Beach!

Welcome to Long Beach!

From the outside, before we ever walked in, I could tell it was more than just a decent place to spend the weekend. While checking in at the front desk, I was pleasantly pleased with the friendlessness of the front desk clerk. She explained the best place for us to park, the easiest access to the elevator, and how to find our room. After parking, we went up to the second floor to check out our room. When I say we went to check out our room, I should say, we went to check out our personal condo. Our resort room has all the amenities you could ask for and then some. The room featured two bedrooms, living room, full size murphy style bed in the living room, full kitchen with table and chairs, dishwasher, washer and dryer, two bathrooms, and a deck complete with our own gas grill. The unobstructed view of the Pacific Ocean from our deck was the icing on the cake. The place felt like a home rather than a hotel room where you get the usual little single use shampoo and soaps.

View of the Pacific Ocean from our deck

Our resort room at the WorldMark by Wyndham

Our resort room at the WorldMark by Wyndham

We knew about the full kitchen, so we planned ahead of time to cook homemade kabobs on our first night there. My husband and I popped open a bottle of wine while we prepared the kabobs and our kids watched a movie and played with a friend of ours who also joined us on the trip. The full kitchen really did have everything you could possibly need to cook a meal in your room, right down to packs of spices in the cupboard. It was nice to be away, enjoying a peaceful, relaxing weekend yet being able to sit around a dining room table and enjoy a home cooked meal together as a family rather than sitting at a restaurant somewhere spending a ton of money.

The second day, we walked down to the beach, which was no more than a 7 minute walk. There is nothing quite like listening to the waves crash along the beach. There is something just so peaceful about it. The kids, who were wearing rain boots, certainly enjoyed splashing around in the puddles of water along the beach. You can choose to walk along the beach, drive down the beach, or walk along the boardwalk.

Walking along the beach

The resort also features a large heated outdoor pool, kiddie pool, and hot tub. The adults certainly enjoyed the 14 person hot tub while the children, of course, enjoyed swimming and splashing around in the pool. The resort hosts different activities for their guests on different nights of the week. For example, Sunday night is movie night. A movie is shown in the Rec Room area and movie style popcorn is served. Tuesdays is a Scavenger Hunt day. They also have two pool tables and a fitness room as well. We also took advantage of the ability to rent DVDs from the front desk. After the kids went to bed, the adults enjoyed watching a movie while sipping on some adult beverages.

Our stay here was quite enjoyable. Over the years, we have stayed in our fair share of hotels. The number one thing that always irritates me is the ability to hear those around you, above and even below you. This wasn’t the case at the WorldMark by Wyndham. Sure, I could occasionally hear kids running down the hall, anxious to get to the pool but there are designated quiet hours. Is it enforced? Maybe. Do the other guests respect those quiet hours? Yes. I never heard a peep from any other guest from about 9pm until morning. It was wonderful. Staying at that resort was like being in a home away from home. We had very little, if any, cell phone reception, no computers, no internet … it was nice to be disconnected from the world for a few days. It was nice to venture out around Long Beach and experience a new place without worrying about what time it was or who had to be where at what time. The WorldMark by Wyndham is a top notch place to stay with staff that truly appreciate their guests and welcome them at the front desk like they are welcoming them home.

Ahhh, enjoying vacation! Cheers!