Paradise Inn: Leave Your Cell Phone, TV and Internet Behind and Get Away

By Kimberly Mason / For The Chronicle
If the workaday world is getting to be too much and you’re ready for a getaway from it all, a two-day stay in the heart of the Pacific Northwest at Mount Rainier National Park’s Paradise Inn may be just what the doctor ordered. The Paradise Inn opens for the summer season on Friday, May 20.

Built in 1916 and designated as one of the “Great Lodges of the West,” the front door of the Paradise Inn opens onto miles of hiking trails, unsurpassed vistas and forests and fields teeming with wildflowers and wildlife.

But don’t expect wildflowers outside the front door just yet.

In a year where the local snowfall was 145 percent above the average and spring is taking its sweet time, don’t be surprised to see that the Paradise Inn still has snow on the steps.

Paradise, at 5,420 feet, receives an average of 680 inches of snowfall (that is almost 57 feet) every year, “making it one of the consistently snowiest places on Earth of those where snowfall is measured,” or so states the National Park Service website.

The modern amenities of television, WiFi and telephones are notably absent in Paradise, adding to the rustic charm of the historic inn, said Pam Newlun, sales manager for the inn.

The 200-seat dining room features Northwest cuisine created from local, sustainable sources, said Newlun.

“This year we’re featuring wild salmon cakes on the menu,” Newlun said. “Buffalo meatloaf is a favorite.”

This year, for the first time, visitors can reserve a room or check room availability online. But don’t let the irony of instant online reservations for the history-laden Paradise Inn keep you from clicking the link then heading for the hills.

“The inn still has the same look that it did years ago,” said Newlun. “There have been no major changes, other than structural repairs.”

If you are looking to immerse yourself in area history, the lobby is filled with photographs that tell the story.

If you’d like to look into the science and nature of the area, the Paradise Jackson Visitors Center is now open seven days a week and is filled with new exhibits, general information, a gift store and is the starting place for many guided ranger activities.
Check the Mount Rainier National Park website for more information, www.nps.gov/mora/.
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Kimberly Mason is a freelance writer based in Cinebar. She can be contacted at kz@tds.net.