Sunday, March 31, 2013

There's FOOD here!

A few years ago Loon Lake lost a valued landmark, the Dinner Bell diner.  For years, folks gathered with friends, used it as a meeting place, had their favorite seats and enjoyed a sense of community.  When the Dinner Bell burned down, it was indeed a loss.  However, while making an area dining guide for our guests, I realized just how many restaurants are in this area.  As the guide came together, I was surprised to see how plentiful and diverse the options are!

The list of eateries from Loon Lake, Clayton, Springdale, Valley, Chewlah and  Deer Park is impressive.  From Thai food, to Mexican food, Pizza and BBQ, to our favorite Coffee Shop across the street, culinary choices abound!  While it was sad to say "goodbye" to a Loon Lake tradition, it is wonderful to know that there are many other establishments just waiting to become your new favorite hang-out!

I encourage you to come on up and enjoy exploring all the restaurants Loon Lake and the greater Loon Lake area has to offer.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Snow Wonderful!

I cannot think of a better way to spend a winter than swooshing down the ski slopes, building snowmen, drinking yummy hot drinks and cuddling up under blankets in front of a fire.   Maybe it's because I'm from the Southwest and the awe of real snow (that lasts for more than two hours before it melts) has not worn off yet.  Maybe, but I don't think so.  Loon Lake is just beautiful in the winter.  Waking up to sunshine and crystal trees, or deep white clouds quietly hovering over soft powdery snow, I wonder what could be more wonderful.  On top of the beauty of the season, opportunities to go and explore this charmingly altered landscape abound:

Skiing at 49 Degrees North 
Flying along on snow machines (please be careful with that one folks)
Cross Country Skiing
Snow shoeing
Warming up and snarfing down some good eats after a long day of snow fun.
And if you get enough people together.......One of my personal favorites.....at night, clear a field, light the bonfire and enjoy a good ol' fashioned game of Broom Ball!

There is one other huge distinction that should perk up any reader.  You can come and enjoy 200-300 inches of snow and go no higher than 5,500 feet in elevation!  It is exhilarating.   For those of us who have only known these kinds of outdoor activities at 7,000 feet or higher, this is amazing!  ..... and really fun.  

Each year I am here, I grow more in love with this area.  Come and discover it for yourself and you will find yourself wanting to return every winter to this beautiful, yet not overly commercialized, little gem of the Northwest.

-Robin

Monday, December 31, 2012

To be a member of the hospitality industry is a special calling.  To me, a great calling.   From the first day setting foot on the property as a new owner, I knew this was going to be something quite different and quite special.  

My husband and I started off rough as we learned the lessons all small business owners must learn.  Our teachers have been diverse, intelligent and patient.  Industry specialists, employees, neighboring business, friends and family members all have helped us grow and improve.  The very best teachers we have had, and still have, are our guests.  They have given us grace and valuable input as we learn our way along.  They are the reason we work so hard, and they are the reason we succeed.

This New Year is heading towards us with potential, fun new projects and .... some uncertainty.  As I look back to our beginnings and how far we've come, I can't help but be hopeful and excited.  I am looking forward to implementing new plans and have confidence that we will be able work though the expected and unexpected challenges to come.   All the folks along the way, who have made this such a worthwhile endeavor,  have infused us with encouragement and optimism even in these uncertain times.  For that, we are gratefully indebted and deeply appreciative.

With many thanks and fond reflections, I want to wish all of you a  
Wonderful New Year


-Robin


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Poinsettias, Snicker-doodles and Weddings

 

The snow is falling, 
      the ski hill is open, and 
              Christmas is everywhere.  




    Poinsettias in all their glory grace the counters of the grocery store, my dentist's office, the Chamber of Commerce, our front desk at the motel. Like candy canes and Christmas lights, it just wouldn't feel like a holiday without one.

 


    Last week I stopped in at Wildflower Meadows Wedding & Event Center, just 8 miles from the motel, and got a real taste of the season. A gigantic tree was being decorated, the smell of fresh cut evergreen was just right, like home for the holidays mixed with Rockefeller Center. Lovely white poinsettias on each table, a professional staff chopping away in the kitchen looked up just long enough to greet us--the whole tour made me want to go home, get out the cookie sheets and make snicker-doodles.

    We're so fortunate to have many local attractions and small business owners that truly love what
 they do. Kevin stopped what he was doing that day to show us the place; he and Tiffani, the new owners, are certainly not newcomers to this business, they're just new to us, and we wish them all the best. 

         
                                                                                                                                      -Doreen


editor's note:  To learn more about Wildflower Meadows, go to  www.thewildflowermeadows.com

                                                                                                                            

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Myth, Magic and C.S. Lewis

        "It is the pen which dreams."  
                Gaston Bachelard

   I awaken groggy after a busy weekend. . .Monday morning coffee is calling. . .it's time to meet the world. Pine trees, flocked with frozen fog, stare back at me, and in a blink I'm wide awake. Narnian in their enchantment, the atmosphere is charged with other-worldliness.  White and hazy, the late November air has a hint of Christmas in it.
 

  The glow from the neon sign across the street beckons passerbys in for a cup of coffee, a bagel, a muffin, a cookie. Fed Ex, UPS and school buses slicing through the pea-soup fog to make their early morning deliveries and I'm reminded there is a whole world out there shuffling off to work, school, and commerce.     
  
  But from where I sit, the world seems a little further away, a little less rushed, a lot more
like Sunday than Monday. In my world the beds are all made, the laundry room quiet, the dusting done, the candy dishes filled, the music on, the decorations up. My pen flies across the page in the wake of such peace. I pour another cup of coffee, enjoy that last cookie...and watch the lamp post for a glimpse of myth, magic, and C.S. Lewis.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Schoolhouse Christmas Treasures

The beds are all made, the dusting is done 
the laundry room is quiet
 I'm all caught up
relaxed and
content

A sign outside the old Loon Lake Schoolhouse caught my eye as I pulled out of the post office. I had a little time, so I popped in. Elvis was singing when I walked in, there was fresh coffee on the counter, I smelled soup.

"Hmmmm..."
I mumbled, then I hummed along with Elvis. I hadn't heard that carol in a long while. I checked my purse---I did remember my checkbook, so I poured a cup of coffee and drank in the warmth. I'd never been inside that old schoolhouse before, though I've lived in the area twenty-some years,and it had a good feel to it. I felt like I'd just discovered something.
 

An annual event, the place was brimming with Christmas. Stockings and trees, lights and ornaments, jams and jellies and every pickled vegetable you could ever want. Soaps and seasonings, blankets and quilts, jewelry and peanut brittle, and hundreds of other things I'd never be able to make in a hundred years;  it was a showcase of local talent and patience. I stayed an hour, visited with the ladies who were running it, and came home with a treasure trove of gifts. I'm going back this weekend for a few more things, (like the little mitten I can stuff with a tea bag or a gift card for my Pollyanna).

Saturday was called "Shop Small Saturday." At least that's what they call it on the television ads. I beg to differ. Shopping locally isn't small. It's big. It feels good.  It feels like Christmas...

                                                                   -Doreen

Thursday, November 15, 2012


November in Loon Lake 
One day you mow the lawn, 
the next you shovel snow.  
Like magic the mountains are blanketed in beauty, 
tree boughs laden with soft snow 
transformed into Christmas carolers in evergreen coats and fur muffs.

Everyone slows down and the morning breaks in a still quiet calm.


I drive to the Post Office to mail some cards and pass a family working in the snow. Grandpa busy shoveling, two little tykes in snowsuits and mittens are "helping." I know who's enjoying the white stuff, and it probably isn't Grandpa. The memories of playing in the snow filter through my mind as I pick up my mail and chat with the postmistress. I can still see my snowsuit by the back door, my boots with the metal buckles, the mittens Mom attached to my sleeves, and the hill that beckoned to be raced down. We kids prayed for snow, hoping for that phone call that gave us a "snow-day" off from school, stayed out til our hands froze and our cheeks were caked with ice. Hot chocolate and toast, a game of Monopoly, and 4 kids begging Dad to throw buckets and buckets of water down our hill after dinner. It's a wonder none of us ever broke a single bone, not even Dad.

The first snowfall shouldn't catch us off-guard, but it should fill us with wonder.

                                                                                                                                     -Doreen