Win a free Suncadia family stay

As you may recall, I recently visited Suncadia Resort in Washington State.

Would you like to go, too?

Suncadia has offered our readers an exclusive one-night stay in a Lodge one-bedroom, which can be used any time in the next year – excluding all holiday weekends and weekends in July and August.

Still, that leaves you plenty of time to try one of Washington State’s newest family resorts.

Want to enter? Go visit the Suncadia page (or my previous post here about Suncadia) and tell me what you and the kids would like to do at Suncadia or in nearby Roslyn, and what time of year you’d like to visit.

The winner will be drawn at random.

You have three ways to enter this drawing:

  1. Read any of my articles on Roslyn or Suncadia or visit the Suncadia resort site and tell me what you want to do in the area. Leave a note below.
  2. Sign up for the mailing list (enter at right) and come back and tell me you did so (leave a comment.
  3. Tweet this contest. Come back and tell me you did so (leave a comment).

Please be patient when waiting for your comment to appear. I have to hand-approve all comments. If it doesn’t come up in 4-5 hours, e-mail me.

See you at Suncadia!

Contest Rules:

This contest begins today, June 30, 2010, and ends at 11:59 pm Pacific Standard Time on Tuesday, July 6, 2010. On July 6, 2010, the winner will be selected at random from all eligible entries received on this page’s comments, using The winner will be notified by e-mail on or around July 7. Please ensure that you have entered the correct e-mail address in your entry. Your e-mail will not be sold or displayed.
If no response is received from the first-drawn winner within one week (7 days), the first winner will forfeit the prize and another entrant will be selected at random using The value of the hotel stay is $215+ and the Suncadia Resort will provide a gift certificate for the giveaway.
The prize is valid for one night in a Lodge one-bedroom room. Prize is valid for one year from start of contest. Redemption is subject to availability and excludes weekends in July and August and all holiday weekends. Other restrictions may apply.
Please reserve your room as soon as possible. The prize information must be presented when making reservations. There is no cash value. There are no substitutions. The prizes are not transferable. The winner is solely responsible for any national, state, provincial or city taxes incurred.
Sweepstakes void where prohibited by law. Entrants must be age 18 and over and residing in the U.S or Canada.
If a resident of Canada is selected as a winner, they will be required to correctly answer, without assistance of any kind, whether mechanical or otherwise, a timed, mathematical skill-testing question (3*6)+(12/2)-8 to be administered by Lora Shinn by e-mail before the awarding of the prize.
By participating in the “Suncadia Giveaway” giveaway, you release and agree to hold harmless CascadiaKids subsidiaries, affiliates, directors, (collectively, the “Released Parties”) from any liability whatsoever for any claims, costs, injuries, losses, or damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the Seattle getaway or acceptance, possession, or use of any prize (including, without limitation, claims, costs, injuries and losses related to personal injuries, death, damage to or destruction of property, rights of publicity or privacy, whether intentional or unintentional), whether under a theory of contract, tort (including negligence), warranty or other theory. CascadiaKids is not liable for technical error, omissions or Internet inaccessibility.
I did not accept money, services or gratuities in exchange for this giveaway. I requested the giveaway prize, because I like the hotel and think it’s a good match for CascadiaKids readers.


Cle Elum Family Vacation

Hotel Review: Suncadia with kids

I’ve often cast a covetous eye at friends’ photos of Suncadia Resort, a lodge-style, kid-friendly stay just east of the Cascade Mountain range. About 90 minutes from Seattle, this resort offers houses, condos, suite-style rooms and hotel rooms on 6,400 acres of pine-spiked landscape.

Obviously, it’s time for a review.

We stayed in the Lodge One Bedroom, a 870-square-foot suite-style option in the main 254-room Lodge at Suncadia. The kitchen was marble-trimmed, with real wood cabinetry and stainless steel fridge, dishwasher and range.

Living room at Suncadia Resort

Open floor plan in Suncadia Resort living room. Photo courtesy of Suncadia.

The high-ceiling living room featured a gas fireplace and stunning views of the Cascade range. The bathroom was so big I could drive my Honda inside. The bedroom came with a King bed, a television, work desk and yes, even more gorgeous views.

What to do at Suncadia with kids:

Bikes are spendy at the two-hour rate, so spring for the 24-hour price or bring your own for tooling around the paved trails. Suncadia’s 10 miles of trails are also easy with strollers or baby joggers.

Deer with gourmet tastes

Deer love Suncadia’s taste in plants.

And always keep an eye out for the locals — we saw a family of eight deer mowing down the property’s native plants when we were there. Apparently quite used to humans, they didn’t budge, even when we were about nine feet away, snapping photographs.

The Fitness and Swim Center’s pool is generously sized and offers a few toys, including noodles and diving rings. You have two water tubes to choose from — the green one is slower but you’ll screech your way through pitch-black darkness, while the yellow one runs faster but offers more light. The flumes dump you into a soaker-sized tub at the end (not a pool).

Pool at Suncadia

Photo of pool courtesy of Suncadia

The tube and pool family hours vary, so call ahead to make sure you’ll arrive in time to enjoy both.

It’s an all-season sort of resort, but probably best in summer (boating, hiking, additional outdoor pool and children’s programs) or winter (cross-country skiing, snow play and a rope tow). Spring and fall offer iffy weather but dramatic vistas and migrating birds. During our spring stay, we went to Roslyn and Cle Elum for some sightseeing and shopping (recommended), and it was nice to return to Suncadia for evening storm-watching.

The on-site restaurant Fifty 6 offers a menu at well-heeled prices. Smaller portions (for small tummies) are available; the children’s menu served the standards. We did not eat in the restaurant, and instead took advantage of our Suncadia kitchen and less-expensive restaurants in Roslyn.

My only complaint: The front desk staff didn’t seem as professional or helpful as they could’ve been, with the exception of a few standout employees. And when we accidently left our swimsuits behind in the room, the suits were apparently gone for good and housekeeping staff wouldn’t call us back. It didn’t leave the best impression regarding customer care.

This experience wouldn’t stop me from returning — it’s an excellent family vacation destination and my daughter came up with a list of 20 reasons to return — but it might encourage me to look under every bed and double-check closets before leaving.

It was insanely windy when we were there. More so than usual, I was told. But friends say it’s often blustery, just because of the location. Pack a windbreaker and a hat. Don’t pack any hair products – it’s a lost cause. Just pack a hat.


If you don’t want to pay rack rate at Suncadia (And who wants to pay rack rate anywhere? Not me), sign up for the Suncadia Resort E-mail Club, so you can stay abreast of last-minute specials.

Cle Elum Family Vacation

Northern Exposure: Kid-friendly picks in Roslyn, Washington

Drive 90 minutes east of Seattle along I-90, and you’re transported into another era.

In Roslyn, Washington, two blocks of false-front wooden storefronts stand shakily across the street from one another, like cowboys frozen in a standoff since the early 1900s. Docile, fat dogs wander through town, begging for scraps from restaurants. Shacks – once houses – look like they’re ready to collapse into the earth’s embrace. Chill winds race down the mountain and wipe the smile off of your face. To live in Roslyn, Washington, you have to be a little tough. And that is awesome.

Roslyn restaurants and stores near Suncadia

False-front buildings in Roslyn, Washington

But these few blocks also yield a wine store, a natural foods shop, coffee shops, well-maintained bed and breakfasts and an art gallery.  To live here, you also have to be clever and flexible.

The name Roslyn won’t mean much to your kids, unless they’re huge fans of Northern Exposure (unlikely). Roslyn, Washington, was the backdrop for the 90’s TV show; it stood in for Alaska’s Cicely.

Roslyn is just a few miles from the popular Suncadia Resort (I’ll be writing a review of Suncadia soon), so it’s a nice excursion from the complex.

Neighboring Cle Elum — a former railroad town –- seems a little more put together, with wide streets and a tidy main street. It feels more like a suburb of the wild west. It’s OK, but no Roslyn.

Here’s how to spend an afternoon in Roslyn:

Meet a miner. In the log-cabin-sized Roslyn Museum, where you’ll discover Roslyn’s history, from mining heyday to Hollywood set. There’s no attempt to whitewash ugliness in Roslyn’s past, so be sure to read the story of how African-Americans were brought in to break a coal miners’ strike for better working conditions. Cynically set against each other for a day’s wages, it ended as you might think.


kid-friendly attraction in Roslyn like the roslyn museum

Checking out a 100-year-old 3D photo at the Roslyn Museum

Appreciate modern plumbing. No honeybuckets back in the day, hon. You’ll appreciate your tiny bathroom after viewing the maroon outhouse, right outside the Roslyn Museum, near the coal car replica.

Buy board games. The enormous inventory at Cle Elum’s Interactive Toys offers hundreds of choices for bored kids. On a budget? Clear plastic bins brim with inexpensive finger toys, crayons and animals.In the store’s rear, there’s a ceramic-painting spot; pick your hues and paint a dog or cherub.

Catch a flick. The vintage Roslyn Theatre is certainly appealing, with balcony seating and a dogs-allowed policy. But the tiny theater only shows one first-run movie. If that movie’s is rated anything over G, you probably won’t be taking the kids. Unless you’re a bad, bad parent like me (“cover your eyes!”).

Drink up. Check out The Brick, the longest-operating saloon in Washington State. The family entrance and family side offers booth seating, a giant TV and a kids’ menu; the bar side provides pool tables, beer and a running water spittoon that streams beneath the barstools. In the old days, miners didn’t want to move their aching bones from their drinkin’ seats fer a spit.

Make your condo neighbors jealous. Buy a 6-pack of maple-walnut or cinnamon-raisin rolls from Cle Elum Bakery (501 E 1st St., 509-674-2233). Stick ‘em in your Suncadia oven the next morning and let the smell waft through the building.

cheap food and souvenirs at the roslyn natural market

In the Roslyn Natural Market

Get your granola gear. The Roslyn Natural Market offers organic produce, interesting foodie imports (we tried some olive-oil-soaked tortillas from Spain), and shopping bags benefiting the nearby Chimpanzee Sanctuary NW. Everything in here appears delicious. Except the hats.

Feast on pizza. Village Pizza (105 W. Pennsylvania Ave., 509-649-2992) offers baskets of trivia cards on each table, thick-crust pizza with not-so-spiced tomato sauce and unusual toppings (we had cashew and spinach). You don’t eat on plates, but right off of the white-and-red-checked papers setting each table place. My family loved the restaurant; I thought it was so-so, and didn’t love the crust.

roslyn restaurants and cafes

Roslyn Cafe

Eat breakfast with a legend: Known as “Roslyn’s” on Northern Exposure, the hard-working, family-friendly Roslyn Café serves up the staples: burgers, sandwiches and kids’ meals. Try the parmesan-sprinkled fries. Irregular hours in the off-season, so call before arriving.

Discover more: Drop into Cle Elum’s tiny box of a visitors bureau. Helpful staff will stuff your pockets with brochures and pamphlets and offer advice on kid-friendly trails, campsites and excursions.

Stay overnight. If you’d like to sleep in a miner’s home, check out Roslyn Rooms.