Sleeping Lady works its magic on you almost instantaneously. The 67-acre resort, which is nestled in a forest on the banks of Icicle Creek near the town of Leavenworth, is a bucolic retreat and ideal escape from the whirling dervish existence of daily life. As soon as you set foot on the property, your heart rate slows and your stress level takes a nose dive.
It has to do with the exquisite natural setting of the place and the sense of peace it provides for those looking to unwind and recharge.
Named for the adjacent mountain’s stunning profile, Sleeping Lady is the work of noted philanthropist and ardent environmentalist Harriet Bullitt, whose family headed up Seattle’s KING broadcasting empire.
In 1991, Bullitt, owner of neighboring property across Icicle Creek, bought the land, which used to be the home of a Catholic summer camp. She wanted to preserve the space and save it from developers. Her plan involved creating an environmentally friendly conference facility and mountain retreat, which subsequently opened in 1995 with the first Icicle Creek Chamber Music Festival.
Guest rooms, 58 in total, are arranged in clusters and take their names from nearby natural features that give them their unique character. Each is well-appointed and features décor that reflects the rustic mountain elegance of the property’s architecture.
Those looking for an aquatic scene will want to head over to the Woodland Rock Pools which are picturesquely perched above the resort in the shadow of the mountain.
The swimming pool is open seasonally, but the adjoining hot pool is heated year-round. Soaking in the latter is guaranteed to soothe sore muscles and tired bodies. If you aren’t fully relaxed after that, then make your way to the Solstice Spa for a heavenly massage or body treatment.
Though most visitors opt to engage in one of the many outdoor activities available (hiking, biking, fishing, rafting, snow-shoeing, skiing, etc.) the resort also has a fitness room for gym rats who prefer to use cardio machines and weights for their workouts.
Venturing further off property, there’s always the charming Bavarian town of Leavenworth, where you’ll discover eclectic shops and an assortment of cafes and bakeries lining the picturesque old world streets.
Kids will delight in the PlayBarn with its small stage to act out puppet shows and plays or view movies.
There’s also an area for arts and crafts, as well as billiards and table tennis, so the whole family can get in on the fun.
One of my favorite activities at Sleeping Lady is the self-guided art walk.
The resort is a veritable museum of creative expression, from bronze and stone sculptures to prints and paintings of all kinds.
This extensive collection is comprised of works by professional artists, as well as local craftspeople.
Of particular note is Dale Chihuly’s "Chihuly Icicles," which sparkles amid its wooded setting. The sculpture contains 1,060 parts in the shape of icicles and is almost nine feet tall.
Another beloved work is Richard Beyer’s "Shaman Salmon." Known for his quirky creations, including the well-known "Waiting for the Interurban" near the Fremont Bridge in Seattle, Beyer admits that "Shaman Salmon" is his personal favorite, as it "depicts humanity captured by the magic of nature."
Down in Kingfisher Meadow by Icicle Creek you’ll find the colorful "Soul Salmon."
The fiberglass sculptures were created as part of a larger Puget Sound project to raise awareness of the importance of wild salmon to our ecosystem. On your walk, you’ll most likely come upon the resort’s two-acre organic garden, which provides produce, herbs and fresh flowers to the dining facilities on site, including the Kingfisher Restaurant and Wine Bar, the Grotto and O’Grady’s Pantry and Mercantile.
The main establishment, Kingfisher, serves breakfast and dinner daily and features a broad spectrum of Northwest cuisine. The focus is on fresh, organic and locally sourced ingredients, which are highlighted in noted Executive Chef Ken MacDonald’s creative menus. If a big dinner is not your style, the Grotto, an intimate pub with petroglyph-laced rock walls, serves tapas, along with local wine, microbrews and specialty drinks.
And over at O’Grady’s Pantry and Mercantile, you can enjoy soups, salads, sandwiches, desserts, espresso drinks and a good selection of beer, wine and spirits in a casual, laid back atmosphere.
All bases are covered at Sleeping Lady, whether it’s recreation, relaxation or food.
Just don’t expect to watch your favorite reality shows, as there are no televisions in the rooms.
Not to worry —you won’t miss them one bit!
If you go: Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort is a year-round destination property located in Leavenworth, Wash. For more information, call (800) 574-2123 or visit www.sleepinglady.com.