May 15, 2012

A Sapphire Crescent

Have you ever been to a place that immediately transports you to a peaceful state as soon as you set foot on the property?  A place where you can breathe deeply and put the rest of the world behind you?  Lake Crescent is one of those places for me.  I still have vivid memories of my first visit to Lake Crescent more than twenty years ago, and I was very anxious to return on this trip.

Lake Crescent is a deep, freshwater lake that was carved by glaciers, and it is one of the prettiest lakes in the country in my humble opinion.  There are lots of beautiful lakes, but there is just something about Lake Crescent that speaks to me.  Perhaps it’s the lake’s brilliant blue color and exceptional clarity, its setting among giant fir and hemlock trees or the fact that mountains surround it on all sides.  Perhaps it’s the lake’s relative isolation and the fact that it’s not too large.  Whatever it is, I’m not the only one who feels this way.  Descriptions of Lake Crescent from the early twentieth century refer to it as the “Gem of the Olympics.”

Lake Crescent
A Peaceful Place
Lake Crescent Lodge sits directly on Lake Crescent, and this alone makes it one of my favorite national park lodges.  The lodge is not grand like many national park lodges.  The architecture here is much simpler.  It almost has a residential feel with its shingle siding, cozy sun porch and small, intimate dining room overlooking the lake.  There aren’t too many people milling around the lodge, at least this time of year, which also adds to the serene, low-key atmosphere.

Approaching Lake Crescent Lodge - The Lake Is on the Right
Lake Crescent Lodge Sits Directly on the Lake
The Cozy Sun Porch Is a Favorite Spot
Tim indulged my wishes one more time with a two-night stay at Lake Crescent Lodge.  I’ve learned over the years that you need at least two nights (and preferably many more) in any favorite spot.  By staying two nights you can enjoy one entire day at the property.  A one night stay just doesn’t cut it.  Although I love to stay at national park lodges, I have learned this past year that most are not pet-friendly.  We were therefore surprised to find that the lodges in Olympic National Park allow pets in certain rooms, so we snagged one of the Singer Cottages at Lake Crescent Lodge.

We had delicious meals in the dining room where we enjoyed talking with the young servers.  Fresh sockeye salmon, scallops and risotto with Dungeness crab more than satisfied our seafood craving.  Marionberry crumble and bread pudding satisfied our sweet tooth.  We continue to be impressed with the quality of food at most national park lodges. The dining experience has improved dramatically over the last decade, and many lodges, like this one, emphasize fresh, local products and focus on regional cuisines.

Sockeye Salmon
Scallops on a Bed of Risotto

The weather was divine, just like the food.  The skies were mostly sunny, and it was just a bit cool in the shade but warm in the sun.  We spent much of the day simply sitting in inviting chairs on the lawn next to the lake.  We also took advantage of the rocking chairs on our own porch, where we read and looked out at the lake through the trees.  We couldn’t have had a more relaxing day.

A Perfect Setting for Relaxation
We weren’t complete sloths, however.  Tim decided to rent a kayak to explore the lake, but I had to decline.  I’ve never been in a kayak, I can’t swim, and I felt it unwise for my first experience to be in a glacier-fed lake that’s 624 feet deep.  I did want to be around to finish the trip.  Tim, however, had a great time.  We even tried to entice Kitty into the kayak, but she wanted no part of it.   I think we terrorized her that afternoon - she didn’t even like being on the pier.  Kitty did have fun chasing the resident ducks and spent quite a bit of time dozing in the grass.

Tim Is Off!
How Great for Tim to be Out on the Lake
Kitty Wanted No Part of the Pier
Kitty Did Like the Ducks
Two of the Resident Ducks

I couldn’t have asked for a nicer visit and hope that I don’t have to wait another twenty years to return.


  1. What a beautiful place. The meal alone looks like it was to die for!! What is the cream on top of the salmon? I'm with Tim, a kayaking trip must have been very exciting. LV

    1. LV, The meal was divine! I can't remember exactly what was on the salmon, but I think it was an herbed butter. I agree that Tim had the right idea about kayaking. I know I'm missing out on a fun experience. Maybe if I give it a try in a place that's a bit more shallow, I'll get the hang of it. Sarah

  2. Sarah, they kayak on our river which is so shallow you can see the bottom. You come on back out here and we'll set you up! LV

    1. LV, Now that sounds like a much more reasonable option for a beginner. We just may have to take you up on that offer. Sarah