A precious place for hobbits and humans on Orcas Island. Details below.
Vacation Getaway: Eccentric Northwest Lodging
For a vacation with a twist, book a stay at one of these uncommon lodgings.
| October 2012
Sleek, modern design meets sweet valley views in this unconventional “herd” of tiny cabins, rolled permanently into place smack in the middle of the Methow Valley—pure heaven for mountain bikers, hikers and cross-country skiers. Created by Seattle architect Tom Kundig, each of the six huts is perfect for two (but modular furniture can be reconfigured to add two more), and is equipped with a mini kitchen, fireplace and Wi-Fi; bathroom and shower are in a central barn nearby. Open year around. Starting at $135. About three and a half hours northeast of Seattle via I-5 and Highway 20 East. Winthrop, 18381 Highway 20; 509.996.4442; rollinghuts.com —K.R.
FREE SPIRIT SPHERES
Qualicum Beach, B.C., Canada
Open-minded adventurers will adore these three eccentric little wooden and fiberglass spheres that swing gently from trees deep in the rain forest of Vancouver Island. The smallest sphere—just 9 feet in diameter—is perfect for “me time” life pondering; the largest, at 10.5 feet, sleeps three and has a teeny sink and mini fridge. A shared composting toilet, showers and sauna are on the ground nearby. It’s a notch off of “normal,” but for serenity and novelty, it gets high marks.
Open year around. $150–$260; adults only, additional fee per person. About six hours from Seattle (not including ferry wait time) via the Anacortes ferry to Sydney, British Columbia Qualicum Beach, B.C., 420 Horne Lake Road; 250.757.9445; freespiritspheres.com —K.R.
Just try not to squeal with delight as you clamber into your childhood dream come true: a snug, lovely, luxury-laden tree house perched high in the air. Choose from five tree houses (we like the Temple of the Blue Moon for its sheer square tree-house-y perfection); each sleeps two to four people and offers sweet touches, such as cozy leather furniture, a sleeping loft or a mini dining table. Then move in and refuse to come down, or deign to explore the nearby forest and river. For extra relaxation, book a massage in your tree house or sign up for a yoga class on the grounds.
Open year around, but sells out quickly; call for rates. About 25 miles east of Seattle. Issaquah, 6922 Preston–Fall City Road SE; 425.441.8087; treehousepoint.com —K.R.
THE DESERT YURTS AT CAVE B INN AND SPA
Columbia River Gorge
“Glamp” amongst the vineyards in one of the 25 yurts at the Cave B Inn and Spa. Your canvas-sided tent is anything but rustic; with luxe touches like leather couches, a king-size bed and a clear roof for stargazing, and a winery, spa, restaurant and pool nearby, this is a far cry from camping.
Open April–October. Starting at $139. About two and a half hours from Seattle via I-90. Quincy, 344 Silica Road NW; 509.785.2283; cavebinn.com —K.R.
TEPEES AT CHERRY WOOD BED BREAKFAST AND BARN
Cross “conical” off your getaway bucket list with a stay in one of these kitschy-sweet tepees in the heart of Washington’s wine country. The 28 Rattlesnake Hills wineries nearby are known for beautiful Bordeaux wines; sample them by horseback ($210 per person; money goes to help rescue horses), then bed down in a 20-foot-tall tepee, complete with barbecue grill, mini fridge, a water closet and open-air shower.
Open April–October. $225. About three hours east of Seattle via I-90. Zillah, 3271 Roza Drive; 509.829.3500; cherrywoodbbandb.com —K.R.
Make like a hobbit for a long weekend (or get in the mood for the December release of the movie The Hobbit) in this quirky Orcas original. The timber-framed Gnome House is loaded with details sure to please your inner Bilbo (or maybe your eccentric aunt), from the carved squirrel-themed spiral staircase to the sleigh bed, to the bay windows and—yep—garden gnomes. Sleeps about six in three semiprivate sleeping areas.
Open year around. $150–$225/night, with a two-night minimum. About three hours from Seattle (not including ferry wait time) on Orcas Island via the Anacortes ferry. Deer Harbor, 704 Channel Road; 360.376.2480; orcas-island-rentals.com/gnome-house —K.R.