One of the calmest, coolest, very best escapes I was able to enjoy this past summer was a trip down south to Central Oregon’s Deschutes and Willamette forests, where my wanderings were anchored by The Suttle Lodge, a wooded 15 acre wonderland located just outside the town of Sisters.
The recently refurbished timber lodge on Suttle Lake has passed through several hands since its original construction during the Great Depression. The latest iteration – now two years old – is in the charge of The Mighty Union, the same hospitality cohort responsible (in part) for Portland’s popular Ace Hotel. Though very much a creature of the 21st century, the old bones and worn patina of the place are transportive, taking guests back to a halcyon time before cell phones and wifi. Think Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom with fewer kids, more drinks and better food, all within a day’s drive of Vancouver.
The main lodge building is surrounded by satellite cabins and comes equipped with a boathouse restaurant (menu designed by famed Portland chef/author Joshua McFadden), cocktail bar and lounge made lively by a guest-operated vinyl sound system with several shelves of records to choose from. The guest cabins range from rustic to fully equipped, and the rooms within the lodge itself (where I stayed) are like little apartments with cozy lofts and views out onto the lake. One can rent mountain bikes, canoes and stand-up paddle boards, go swimming and fishing, or just lounge around playing games (or not) on the lawn between sips of local craft beer and bites of bacon cheeseburger.
Since it’s most popular with summer vacationers (natch) and winter sports enthusiasts, shoulder season is where it’s at. There are always lots of things happening at the lodge, and this September is no exception. From women’s fly fishing workshops (with Mia Sheppard of Little Creek Outfitters) and mushroom foraging weekends to an autumn feast inspired by the British Isles (prepared by Joshua McFadden), these are good times worth looking forward to.
Here’s a closer look at some of the things I saw…