Despite the long drive, the rain and snow, and the many washed out footbridges impeding hiking – we just had the most amazing week of holiday at Breitenbush Hot Springs in the Willamette National Forest. Four whole days of hot springs, an incredible sauna, three vegetarian meals a day (that I didn’t have to cook), lots of book-reading, and even a cranio-sacral massage treatment. Heavenly!
Breitenbush retreat is an old hot springs lodge from the 1920s that has been run by an intentional community dedicated to service since the early 1980s. In addition to the historic lodge building, many sleeping cabins, workshop/yoga spaces, an incredible sauna, a gift shop/office and a massage house spread across the forest site along the Breitenbush River. Think sleep-over camp for grownups – with bunk beds in some of the cabins, shared toilet and bathing facilities – but a whole lot quieter than your Camp Thunderbird experiences of the past! There’s a definite sense of being cared for in this environment, as staff are friendly and helpful – while at the same time lots of space to just be on one’s own. While we were there, two structured retreats were also taking place, which meant that during sessions the hot springs were empty except for us and sometimes a few others.
For $70 per day, per person (offseason rate) we got a very cozy cabin (rustic, heated with geothermal radiators), all meals, access to the hot spring/sauna/lodge and other physical spaces, plus yoga and other wellness classes offered on a daily basis. We felt like this was a pretty good deal for the level of service, relaxation, privacy, and beauty we were afforded in this gorgeous spot… and we will definitely be making another stay (or more) here in the future.
The only downside from Vancouver is the long drive (9 and a half hours) which is mostly on the I-5. Having looked into things, I now realize that Amtrak offers a continuous service from Vancouver to Portland (first offered during the Olympics, now on as a trial service) and I’m thinking that next time we’ll just take a train to Portland and then rent a car from there. This is something we’re going to try in June when we meet my parents in Lincoln City for a family holiday – since the driving issue there is the same (about 9 hours from Vancouver). As much as I used to not mind driving that much, I’m finding the I-5 a real drag these days, not to mention the fact that going as far as we can by train is the far more ecological option.
I’m back at work now which is a real shame if you ask me, but at least it’s a short week!