While recently planning a getaway for our wedding anniversary, my husband and I started looking for a one-night retreat. Something nearby and reasonably priced. Somewhere we could just enjoy each other’s company without the distraction of the must see landmark or must try hot spot. And we found it in Wellspring Spa and Retreat at Mount Rainier.
Wellspring was not a destination I had previously heard of but it came highly recommended from several friends. As a reasonably priced, unique getaway not too far from home, Wellspring met all my criteria. Nestled at the foot of Mount Rainier, Wellspring boasted lush forest scenery, cabin accommodations, and even a spa and hot tub. We were off on an adventure.
Check-in directions were provided in advance via email, parking was easy to find (and aplenty), and the entrance featured a welcome board that housed info sheets, a whimsical map with all of the retreat’s cabins and accommodations, and — of course — our keys.
Because we went midweek, the grounds were fairly quiet. This, however, can change during weekends and during high season in mid-summer.
We had opted for the most adventurous of the lodging options, the Treehouse. Yes, literally, a treehouse perched about 15 feet from the ground that boasted cozy accommodations. And the Treehouse itself is only accessible the good old-fashioned way — by ladder. Once inside, we were greeted by a spacious queen sized bed, nightstand, lamp and small archaic television and DVD player.
Below the Treehouse our accommodations continued. Patio furniture equipped with twinkly lights resided by an outdoor cupboard that housed plates, silverware, a coffeemaker, cups, coffee, tea, and a mini fridge. A hammock large enough for two was also available for lounging.
Many of the cabins are equipped with kitchen and kitchenettes, while others are not. A gazebo outfitted with both wood fired and gas grills provide a shared space for visitors without kitchen accommodations to prepare their meals if they so choose. The same goes for the bathroom. Most cabins feature private, fully equipped restrooms, but some — like the Treehouse — are detached.
After settling in, we roamed the grounds and marveled at the ambiance. Each of the cabins held a quiet charm. We spied a tether ball post stationed by the Wellspring garden and sunroom, then strolled past the gazebo and through the forest trail pausing to admire benched areas here and there.
The Woodland Labyrinth lies at the center and provides opportunities for peaceful reflection. The sounds of a nearby creek and small critters are the only sounds — other than the earth crunching beneath our feet — that accompanied our journey. We took a slight detour to check out Wellspring’s outdoor wedding altar, a must for anyone planning a special event or not.
After our detour, we visited one of the two hot tubs on site. Reservations can be made during your stay between 11:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. via email before your stay or by picking up a bright red phone located by the welcome board. We had made our reservation in advance. The tub did not disappoint.
Located under an outdoor gazebo behind the spa locale, the tub was clean and toasty and offered an overlook of a small pond. The hot tub was the perfect way to cap off our Wellspring adventure before heading back to our cabin for a glass of wine and a good night’s rest under the stars.
In the morning, we woke to the chatter of birds and other woodland critters before clambering down the ladder to prepare a cup of coffee and a bite to eat. (Note: The website says a continental style breakfast if provided with their stay, but this practice has been abandoned due to an increase of dietary restrictions that were hard to accommodate.)
Other accommodations at Wellspring vary from cabin to cabin. Their three Deluxe cabins ($195) entice for a fancy rustic getaway with a full-on kitchen including a gas stove, king size feather beds, Jacuzzi tubs for two, and river rock fireplaces. The Classic cabins ($155) downsize to a mini fridge, queen-sized bed and glass fronted fireplace. As you walk the grounds eying each of these cabins without knowing what lies inside, you’re transported to another time. These log cabins with their wreath-adorned doors and A-frame roofs inspire images of gnomes and fairies dining by candlelight rather than visitors more reminiscent of yourself.
The Tatoosh Lodge boasts larger accommodations that can be rented out bit by bit (The Nest, The Loft, Tatoosh Room) or in its entirety for large family gatherings, wedding parties, and retreat getaways. The perks of this space include rustic luxury at its finest with loads of room for you to lounge around or enjoy the company of others. It’s even said that Vice President Al Gore chose this very suite to lay his head in 1999 before he set off to climb Mount Rainier.
There are a few more cabins nestled deeper into the forest just a 3- to 4-minute walk through the woods. These Camper Cabins ($95) are huts equipped with all you need and are among the only accommodations that also come complete with extra bedding for little ones to visit Wellspring as well (as most accommodations specify “no children”). There’s no private bathroom for these three but just a hop away there’s a shared bathroom that also houses a communal mini fridge.
Wellspring Spa and Retreat is indeed a retreat, not so far from home but a world away. The ambiance and accommodations include all of our modern day luxuries — minus a cell signal. That’s right, Wellspring requires you to completely disconnect to connect. No cell, no Wi-Fi, just the forest to journey through, hot tubs to unwind in, and Mount Rainier just a short drive away.
Wellspring Spa and Retreat is located at 54922 Kernahan Road East, Ashford, WA 98304. Check out Wellspringspa.com for special events and lodging details.