Archive for September, 2010

Washington State Resort with a Story

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Maybe it’s the change in seasons which just became official, or maybe it’s the nostalgia and romance left in the air after last weekend’s SageCliffe wedding, but whatever the reason, it feels like a good time to reflect.

Often guests looking for a great Washington State resort get just the basics:  a click here, a click there, a quick look at the prices and amenities, and then they’re off to the next website.  Comparison shopping is not only necessary, it’s smart.  But we can tell you that from the resort side of things, we do hope that first-time guests looking for a great Washington lodging experience can somehow glean a bit more from their searches.  A getaway is a time and money commitment, and it’s also an expectation risk–you’re never quite sure you’ll get what you really want. 

So how can you get beneath the surface information and get a feel for the soul of a place?  How can you grasp its spirit?  One way may be for us to simply give you more of SageCliffe’s story.  For SageCliffe certainly is a Washington resort with a rich history and many stories to tell. 

Did you know that Dr. Vince Bryan and his wife Carol purchased the land SageCliffe Resort spans back in 1980?  They had spent the greater part of a year driving all over Washington State, looking for a property with the absolute best conditions for growing wine grapes.  The station wagon they drove upped its odometer numbers, that’s for sure.  The search began on the westside of the mountains but eventually moved across the Cascades into Central Washington….and there they found an extraordinary piece of land.  This 500+ acre property (which has now grown to 700 acres) encompassed what we now call The Gorge Amphitheater, Cave B Inn, The Spa at SageCliffe, Tendrils Vineyard Restaurant, Chiwana Village at SageCliffe’s luxury yurts, and Cave B Estate Winery, along with over 100 acres of vineyards and 50 of apples and cherries. But in 1980 the land held an alfalfa field, a mobile home,  a shed…and spectacular beauty on the edge of the Columbia River Gorge.  The Bryans had found what they were looking for.  They didn’t know it then, but they had also found much more.  More story-posts from SageCliffe coming soon.

Yurt Lodging in Washington: Who Are these People?

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Chiwana Village at SageCliffe opened its 25 yurt doors this summer, and in walked…an amazing array of individuals.  Although the adjacent Cave B Inn at SageCliffe has been up and running for nearly five years, with a constantly-wonderful flow of new and returning guests–we didn’t know, and were curious about–who would choose to stay in Chiwana Village.  Our research had indicated some of our Cave B Inn guests would be fans.  We knew from years of having to turn Gorge Concert attendees away from the sold-out Inn that these Gorge fans would be probably yurt lodging guests as well.  But there was also a big, wide-open space with a question mark in it…ultimately, would yurt guests be notably different?  Would they represent a different population base?  Different lifestyles and interests?  Or would the Chiwana Village yurt guests be like a representative coalition of the general populace–with people of all ages, income levels, interests and the rest?

Running a resort is an opportunity to provide experiences for all who come, and we strive to tailor the experience each guest has with the experience they desire.  Chiwana Village yurt guests have all the access to the same SageCliffe amenities as Cave B Inn guests:  the cliffside pool, Tendrils Vineyard restaurant, wine tasting at Cave B Estate Winery, and treatments at The Spa at SageCliffe.  They have access to the amazing views and hikes down through the vineyards, into the gorge, and on down to the Columbia River.  So there was that commonality there.  But when they return to their “room,” they would be walking down rugged paths, through old and brand-new vineyards, to a round, canvas-covered dwelling–their personal yurt.   A luxurious yurt, mind you, but a noteable different sort of lodging than they’d get elsewhere…including at Cave B Inn.  So, what did we find?  Thus far in this first season, we’ve been amazed at the diversity of Chiwana Village guests…they are young and Gorge-concert going; they are retired and from the nearby region.  They are professionals from the greater Seattle area come to wine taste and have time with their girlfriends.  They are team-building groups from high-profile Washington corporations.  They are families with young children and infants; they are ardent environmentalists and they are individuals who have either never stayed in a yurt (and have always wanted to), or are die-hard yurt-goers who know of what they speak.

 In a nutshell:  The guests at Chiwana Village truly have been a coalition….of everyone.  Perhaps over time certain characteristics or patterns will emerge…we do our research, after all.  But for now it’s clear there is one noticeable characteristic all of the Chiwana Village guests have shared:  a love of SageCliffe’s particular location and view.  A love of the land.  And a desire for a new and different experience.  We will continue to strive to deliver….to everyone.

Do Grapevines Turn Colors in the Fall?

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010


The answer is:  At Cave B, we hope not.  This is because grapevines only turn vibrant shades of red, yellow and orange if they are sick…if they are suffering with a virus.  So, although we’ve all seen beautiful photos of long lines of sunset-hued vines stretching into the distance in the hills of France or Tuscany, say, just know those vines may very well have been suffering underneath all their beautiful colors.  For a healthy wine grape vine, Autumn brings with it the heavy cluster of ripening grapes, a gradual drying out of grape vine leaves, and, after the first frost descends and the cold temperatures hit, ultimately a loss of the leaves altogether.    So, if you’re out for an autumn drive to look at the changing leaves, hit Snoqualmie or Stevens Pass for the vibrant splendor…but come to Cave B for the hefty, plush and lush clusters of red and white grapes, the woody, sculptural-like supporting vines, and for the delicious result of those vines…the Cave B wines.