If you’re overdue for a peaceful weekend getaway, consider booking a stay at The Willows Lodge in Woodinville. This cozy escape is located just over an hour away from Bellingham, but it feels a world apart.
According to their website, The Willows was opened in 2000 with a simple goal in mind: To keep visitors “in touch with the heritage and informality of the NW while experiencing the highest level of refinement in food, comfort, aesthetics and service.” As such, the lodge strikes a careful balance between rustic and luxurious.
Nods to this heritage– both subtle and distinctive– are immediately apparent. Upon arrival, visitor’s eyes are sure to be drawn to the immense 1,500-year-old Cedar snag that serves as the entry drive’s centerpiece. The lodge itself is constructed from reclaimed Douglas fir timber originally used in the Port of Portland, Oregon. Even the guest room tables are made from pool table tops reclaimed from bars in British Columbia.
Since I had never been to Woodinville prior to this stay, I wasn’t sure what to expect. My partner and I were coming off of two out-of-state trips to see family for Thanksgiving, and although I normally love to travel, to say that we were tired was an understatement.
Luckily our stay in Woodinville was exactly what we needed to recharge. We spent the night in The Herb Garden Suite, one of the two suites connected to The Herbfarm restaurant. It features a roaring fireplace, views of The Herbfarm’s kitchen gardens, and a private deck on which I enjoyed my morning coffee. Best of all was the two-person tub (and generous selection of bath salts).
We took care to keep the pace of our trip as low-key as possible, but if you’re in a more adventurous spirit, know that Woodinville offers plenty of options for shopping, dining, and wine tasting. The area features around 120 wineries plus several breweries.
Though wine may be the area’s most famous offering, whiskey lovers should also take note: The Woodinville Whiskey Company was described as one of the best craft distilleries in America by Forbes in Sept. 2020.
In terms of dining, the internationally acclaimed Herbfarm Restaurant (reviewed in our Feb. 2021 issue) is located just across the street from The Willows. The lodge also features two on-site restaurants: The Fireside Lounge and The Barking Frog. The Barking Frog serves brunch and dinner, and their brunch is particularly noteworthy. On our last morning, I enjoyed a next-level Northwest Bagel ($20) with salmon before heading back to Bellingham.
Outdoor adventurers should know that The Willows is bordered by the Burke Gilman trail, a 26-mile paved trail ideal for walking, running, or biking. The lodge even offers complimentary bicycles for those who’d like to get outside.
No matter how you decide to spend your time, The Willows Lodge makes an excellent home base for a weekend in wine country. There’s no wrong way to enjoy Woodinville– as long as you remember to bring back a few bottles to share with friends.