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Winter Wonderland

Nestled in the Cascade Mountains on the banks of Icicle Creek near Leavenworth, Washington, Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort offers a Northwest getaway inspired by Nature.
Wrtten by Brandie Ahlgren | Photography by Julie Clegg
It never fails to amaze me, what a beautiful state Washington is, with its astounding diversity of natural beauty. It has everything a nature lover (and of course, dog lover) could want: snowcapped mountains, ocean beaches, thick rainforests, uninhabited islands. I could go on, but you get the idea. With each issue of CityDog, we have the great fortune of exploring these places and digging up the best getaways for you and your dog. This time, our destination is Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort, nestled in the Cascade Mountains and surrounded by some of Washington’s most breathtaking beauty.

Upon arrival at Sleeping Lady, I am first struck by its setting. The resort sits on 67 acres at the base of its namesake, Sleeping Lady Mountain, on the banks of Icicle Creek. Much of the land remains undeveloped and most of the buildings are original, dating back to the 1930s and 40s when the site was home to the 983rd Company of the Civilian Conservation Corps—known then as Camp Icicle. However, just because they were once used as barracks, don’t let the name fool you. Each building has been meticulously remodeled by the resort’s owner Harriet Bullitt, providing a warm and inviting retreat for you and Rover.

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Following check-in, I am next struck by how dog friendly Sleeping Lady is, with its Canine Companion Program. Dog-designated cabins (six total) feature cozy dog beds, water and food bowls, and complimentary treats. They also feature a queen-sized bed and double-decker bunk bed, accommodating up to four people—perfect for families traveling with their furry friends.

While dogs must remain on leash while on property, there is plenty of room to roam. We step outside so Scout and Ziggy can stretch their legs as we simultaneously enjoy one of the resort’s most unique features—a display of outdoor art featuring an array of Northwest artists from Dale Chihuly to Richard Beyer (known for his quirky creations including “Waiting for the Interurban” near the Fremont Bridge in Seattle). You can pick up a map at the Front Desk to guide you through the art walk, drawing inspiration from each piece while in the company of your canine. My favorite is “Emissaries” by artist Tony Angell, featuring two ravens sculpted in bronze. Beautiful.

After we drop Scout and Ziggy back at the room, it’s time for the “grown ups” to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail at The Grotto. Serving wine, beer and spirits, The Grotto offers a relaxing place to toast with friends or unwind after a day of outdoor adventure. Its interior is warm and cozy (almost cave-like), featuring faux granite walls adorned with petroglyphs and carvings as well as a dramatic Dale Chihuly “icicle” chandelier. You can order tasty treats while enjoying a football game on the resort’s only television set (that’s right kids, there are no TVs in the guest rooms). The Grotto also features an outdoor seating area with a fire circle and waterfall to enjoy on warm summer nights.

Next, we venture over to the Kingfisher Restaurant and Wine Bar, where we meet executive chef Ken MacDonald. Originally hailing from Glasgow, Scotland, chef MacDonald has been with Sleeping Lady since 2008 at which time he upgraded the menu to include only organic and locally sourced ingredients, many from the resort’s own two-acre organic garden. Meals are chef’s choice and served buffet style in the Kingfisher’s lodge-style setting which features exposed wood beams, river rock and sweeping views of Icicle Canyon.

Tonight’s menu includes an amazing salad bar, house-made breads and assorted rolls, GMO-free split pea soup, pork shoulder with Asian tea rub and roasted apples, long-line caught swordfish with organic butter sauce and herbs plus slow-cooked red cabbage and baked sweet potato yams.

An extensive wine list highlights local favorites and complements the menu, with 18 different wines by the glass to choose from. It’s also worth noting that all of the seafood is wild and sustainably harvested and all of the meat is sourced from Northwest farms and is produced naturally without hormones or antibiotics. Hooray!

The next morning, we meet the resort’s owner Harriet Bullitt and her dog Roki (an Icelandic shepherd and resident “doggie ambassador”) back at the Kingfisher for breakfast. Roki is a registered service dog, so he’s allowed in the restaurant and as we talk about Sleeping Lady’s history, he rests under the table at Harriet’s feet.

As mentioned above, the property was once a camp for the CCC, but after a short stint as a private ranch, it was sold in 1957 to the Yakima Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church, where it operated as a camp for young people until the church put it up for sale and Harriet purchased it in 1991, with the intention of preserving all 67 acres from over development—and that she has done.

New construction has been added of course to include additional lodging as well as the Icicle Creek Music Center, but all 18 original buildings remain. Also on site is the Aspen Leaf Spa, where you can treat yourself to a relaxing massage, rejuvenating body treatment or cleansing facial in one of the spa’s private treatment rooms.

After our delightful breakfast with Harriet and Roki, we grab Scout and Ziggy and wander over to O’Grady’s Pantry. O’Grady’s offers lighter fare for both breakfast and lunch. Daily specials include pastries, quiches, soups, salads and sandwiches plus seasonal desserts and ice cream. O’Grady’s also serves espresso, a wide selection of teas and juice along with Northwest wines, beers and spirits. And, best of all, you can relax and dine al fresco, while enjoying complimentary WiFi with Fido on the outdoor patio!

While we absolutely suggest exploring nearby Leavenworth (the outdoor patio at Icicle Brewery is dog friendly), there is so much to do year-round at Sleeping Lady, you may never want to leave! During winter months, there are plenty of indoor and outdoor activities. Shoot a game of billiards or try your hand at table tennis in the Play Room. Clear your mind and exercise your body in the 24-hour Fitness Room or simply curl up and relax with a good book in the resort’s quiet and cozy library. Or, rent a pair of cross country skis or snowshoes and hit the trails right at your doorstep.

During summer months, cool off after a game of volleyball, horseshoes or badminton in the Woodland Rock Pools, featuring a natural, rock-lined swimming pool. The adjacent hot pool is heated year round and will warm you up after a late fall hike with your hound.

Not-to-be-missed is a stroll through the resort’s Organic Garden. The certified-organic, two-acre garden not only supplies Sleeping Lady’s culinary team with fresh produce, but it also doubles as one of the best locations for observing wildlife. Deer are often spotted grazing nearby and several bird species including humming birds, black birds, purple finches, tanagers and robins call the garden home. It’s truly a magical place and worth a visit with your pooch.

Another feature to Sleeping Lady that may go unnoticed, but is worth mentioning, is the resort’s commitment to conservation and sustainability. From solar panels to heat the Woodland Rock Pools to recycled glass tables in The Grotto, Sleeping Lady aspires to be a model in the eco-building and ecotourism industries. You can rest-assured, the coffee you drink is certified organic and fair trade, the shampoo, shower gel, hand soap and lotion you use is plant based and cruelty free, and the food you eat is sustainable, all organic and hormone free. Native plants are used for all landscaping. Electric vehicles are used exclusively by the maintenance staff. Non-toxic, water based paint is used throughout the resort. Even the pencils are made from recycled pine. From composting food to using the earth’s natural warmth to heat buildings, Sleeping Lady’s commitment to preserving the environment is just one more reason we give it two paws up!

Alas, all good things must come to an end, and as we depart Sleeping Lady and head out onto Highway 2, we make one last detour at the Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce, where we find a wealth of information about Leavenworth and the Wenatchee Valley. As I would have guessed, the region offers year-round adventures and activities from hiking, biking, river rafting, skiing, golf and snowshoeing to wine tasting, dining, shopping, and the arts.

It seems like there is always something happening in Leavenworth no matter the season including the Christmas Lighting Festival in December, when the village is lit with hundreds of thousands of lights (gorgeous). Oktoberfest in October, features live music, German food, arts and crafts, and activities for the whole family (and did we mention beer?). Throughout the summer, you can enjoy outdoor concerts plus Village Art in the Park, the longest continually running outdoor art show in the state.

We’ve only scratched the surface with the events mentioned here, so be sure to check out leavenworth.org for a more complete calendar. Woof!

Click here for more stunning images of Sleeping Lady Resort!

More Information
Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort
7375 Icicle Road, Leavenworth, Wash.
Phone: 800.574.2123; sleepinglady.com

Average rate for a Canine Companion room is $319. Rate includes accommodations for two adults and canine companion(s), a gourmet dinner and hearty breakfast.

Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce
940 Highway 2, Leavenworth, Wash.
Phone: 509.548.5807; leavenworth.org

Icicle Brewing Company
935 Front Street, Leavenworth, Wash.
Phone: 509.548.2739; iciclebrewing.com

A Paw Above
900 Front Street, Suite M
Leavenworth, Wash.
Phone: 509.548.3647
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