By CARY ORDWAY
Next time you have a family gathering, 1or just want to get away with friends, consider retreating to the woods of the Plain Valley — an incredibly beautiful mountain landscape just a half-hour’s drive from the busy tourist town of Leavenworth.
It’s a cabin-in-the-woods experience, far enough from civilization to bring you some quiet and solitude, yet close enough that it’s easy to drive into town and enjoy the restaurants, shops and attractions of the Bavarian Village.
A big part of why people love the cabin-in-the-woods experience is that feeling of remoteness. Maybe it’s something primal that conjures that feeling of Man vs. Nature, or maybe it’s all those stories of our ancestors braving the new world in primitive one-bedroom frontier cabins.
Except in this case, there’s nothing primitive about the experience. It’s closer to Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous than Grizzly Adams.
We rented one of the many beautiful summer homes available through DestinationLeavenworth.com, a Leavenworth property rental company that specializes in upscale vacation retreats. Called the Big Jim Mountain Lodge, our rental is located only four miles from the town of Plain, 12 minutes from Lake Wenatchee State Park and 30 minutes from Stevens Pass or Leavenworth.
The Big Jim Mountain Lodge is a big, fancy log home, just like those places you see in magazines and on TV encouraging you to build a log home and adopt a different lifestyle. No need in this case to make the major investment in construction — you and another couple or family could rent the place for the price of a couple of nice hotel rooms. It’s perfect for someone who’s always had a log home in the back of their mind, or for someone who just wants to pretend they can afford to own a premium vacation home that’s nicer than most primary residences.
In case you’re wondering how it got its name, Big Jim Mountain Lodge features a stunning view of Big Jim Mountain, named after the famous mountaineer, Jim Whittaker. The mountains of the Chiwaukum range are incredibly beautiful, and exploring the area around Plain will give you ample opportunity to soak up the best views that Nature has to offer.
The Big Jim Mountain Lodge is logs from top to bottom, top-quality construction that will be incredibly appealing to anyone who loves log homes. Nobody skimped when they built this place and, unlike many log homes that show logs on the outside, but then cover them up with sheetrock on the inside, Big Jim is a log home through and through. It all helps create that woodsy feel that we especially enjoy when we’re staying in the mountains.
The lodge sleeps up to eight people and there are all the comforts of home, including a full kitchen, as well as a living and dining area. The master bedroom has a king-size bed and an en suite master bath. A second bath also is located on the first floor, and upstairs are two bedrooms and a recreation room.
The house lends itself to a lot of fun family time, playing games, cooking together, enjoying movies together, soaking in the hot tub or playing lawn games. Drive the short distance into Plain and it’s fun to explore this quiet little village and browse the country store. If you don’t want to cook, you can find good food at the local restaurant.
As we mentioned, Leavenworth is just a short distance to the south and an easy drive if you want to spend part of the day in town. If you head northwest, you’ll come to Lake Wenatchee, one of North Central Washington’s most popular lakes for recreation. Fishing, hiking and boating are popular on the lake and the views from Lake Wenatchee State Park are spectacular.
But, for many, the still of the forest is enticing enough to stay at Big Jim Mountain Lodge for a good part of their getaway, an ideal place to catch up with friends or family, relax or just read a good book.