Diane Simmons with the famous Ringeau and Dr. Dog.
Photo by Deborah Stone.
by Deborah Stone
Wake up to the smells of fresh scones, Belgian waffles and bacon. If that doesn't get you out of bed, then the sounds of horses gently neighing for their breakfast and the neighbors' dueling roosters will. Everything from the warmth of the wood stove to the scent of potpourri spells cozy at this newest of inns in Woodinville.
Innkeeper Diane Simmons opened the doors to Whispering Trees Farm last August, turning her own home of eight years into a licensed bed and breakfast. What is distinctive about her inn is that it's the only one on the Eastside designed for equestrians. Guests with or without their horses are welcome at Whispering Trees Farm, and both humans and animals will find their needs catered to with every amenity provided. Horses will enjoy the six-stall barn with ample portions of timothy hay, while their human counterparts are treated to the personal touches Simmons provides during their stay.
Each of the two available bedrooms (a third will be ready by next summer), the Foxes Den and the Garden Room, is decorated uniquely. The Foxes Den is done in hunter green and burgundy with a lace canopy bed; the Garden Room is awash in soft pink and green pastels. Bags of treats and stuffed animals adorn the beds. An inviting common area, sitting room, and spacious dining room where full breakfasts are served complete the country picture.
A fox hunting theme dominates throughout the inn, with photos, prints, and memorabilia lining the walls. Simmons is on the Board of Trustees of the Woodbrook Hunt club in Tacoma and is a frequent participant in "drag" hunts, a type of mock hunt in which no foxes are involved. Instead, humans lay a scent using commercially produced fox urine, and hounds and horses follow a course of up to 25 miles.
"It's the most fun you can have on a horse, and the adrenaline rush is great!" said Simmons, who has two horses of her own.
Her love of animals and the outdoors is evident at the inn. Part of the welcoming committee are her two blue-heeler dogs, Ringeau and Dr. Dog, and her cat, L.C. Guests can relish the fact that they share space with a famous movie dog. Ringeau has been seen in the TV show Northern Exposure, the movie My Private Idaho, and various other projects. He can easily be persuaded to show off his talents to visitors in exchange for a treat.
Simmons says Whispering Trees Farm has gotten off to a quick start. "I'm very pleased, as I've been busy every weekend and am booked for the holidays," she said. Referrals from other inns, in the area combined with advertising and word-of-mouth recommendations, have helped increase the inn's visibility. Since August, she has hosted guests from parts of Asia, Europe, and all over the U.S., marking their locales with pins on a map.
Whispering Trees is located on three-and-a-quarter acres off Mink Road just east of Cottage Lake and less than a half-mile from the Tolt Pipeline Trail. This is ideal for equestrians, and Simmons readily offers to take guests on trail rides which can go as far as Bridle Trails State Park or the Snoqualmie Valley.
In addition to being the sole owner and operator of the inn, Simmons is a marketing consultant and runs a mail order business. She is also a Reiki Master who treats cancer patients using an ancient healing art.
Although Simmons said she finds the business hard work, its rewards are very gratifying. "I'm very proud to bring people to Woodinville and help them experience this wonderful community," she said.
For more information about The Whispering Trees Farm, call 788-2315.