When thinking about travel favorites and lodging, certain places evoke joyous feelings and memories long after the trip is over. In fact, many lodgings can be a destination in themselves and not just a place to hang out for the night so you can get up the next day and be off to the true travel destination. I would say that most of the places Mark and I have stayed have been the kind of place I last mentioned above, just a means to an end; a place to stay for a night or two with the hope that the room is comfortable and big enough, the price not too high and the location good for the attractions we are hoping to see. Most of the time I am happy to clear out the next morning and head off to see the sights. I generally am not one to linger at the hotel or lodge and take it easy or soak in the atmosphere there. Three lodges come to my mind when I think of favorites and I want to start with Crater Lake Lodge located in Oregon. Crater Lake holds a very special place in my heart. I will never forget my first sight of the lake when we pulled the car over and I walked up a short hill and saw the impossibly blue lake located in a crater and surrounded by steep cliffs. Crater Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes I have ever seen – no, it is the most beautiful lake. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and due to the great depth and water clarity, sunlight is able to penetrate deep into the water which accounts for the color. The Crater Lake Lodge, owned by the National Park Service was built in 1915 and is located on the southwest rim of the lake which is 1,000 feet below.
Crater Lake is one of the snowiest places in the United States and therefore the lodge is only open for a limited time; usually from the end of May to the end of October. We have stayed at this lodge twice. During the last time in May 2014, we were there the first week of opening and heavy snow still encircled the lake. A scenic loop road goes around the whole lake and almost all of the road was still closed due to the snowfall. Walking around the lodge felt like a winter experience as I sunk a foot or so into the snow and struggled to keep my footing. The first time we stayed at the Lodge was in October 2004 and the lake had received a light snowfall prior to our stay. We sat on this deck with huge icicles hanging above our heads and watched the stars at night while rocking. We also watched the sunrise sitting in these rockers one morning and that is unusual for Mark and I as we are not morning people and getting up before sunrise does not usually happen. Sitting in these rockers is a favorite pastime at Crater Lake because of the views right out onto the lake. The setting is gorgeous. It does not matter if it is very cold as the lake, the starry sky and sunrise (seen below) just beckon.
The great thing about Crater Lake Lodge is that not only is it fabulous outside near the lake but also pretty nice inside as well. The lodge is beautifully finished inside with a few large stone fireplaces to sit beside and tables next to the windows to view the scenery outside. The last time we visited in 2014, we sat at a table for several hours, ordering appetizers, lunch and hot drinks and just enjoying being in this special place. Throughout the afternoon I would periodically venture outside to enjoy the snow, cold and marvelous lake scenery before returning back inside for another cup of hot tea.