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Since their retirement, my parents have discovered two favorite hobbies; playing golf and spending time with their grandchildren. I’m lucky to live nearby and my daughter Brooklyn loves nothing more than crafts, reading stories and sipping countless cups of tea with her grandparents. This summer, we treated Grammys, Gramps and ourselves to a special weekend getaway at Suncadia Resort, giving them their two favorite things. I chose the massive 6,400-acre all-weather playground, nestled in the middle of Washington’s Cascade Mountains, for its plethora of family-oriented activities and three scenic championship golf courses, one of which is a private members-only club.

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Suncadia’s range of accommodations is as vast as its land, including three hotel-style properties and an impressive collection of luxury vacation homes spread across 10 uniquely themed neighborhoods. Our five-bedroom rental, 131 Maple Leaf Loop, overlooking the Prospector Golf Course, is a spectacular mountain retreat, which appears to be exquisitely furnished from the pages of a Restoration Hardware magazine. Two lavish master bedroom suites, a darling dorm that sleeps four, a kitchen so well-equipped it puts mine to shame, two outdoor spaces, a fire pit, a hot tub, and – much to my 10-year-old daughter’s delight – Brooklyn – a piano are just a few highlights of the home. We spent most evenings playing Uno on the upper deck, listening to Brooklyn learn the piano, walking around the neighborhood, seeing the amazing houses, and looking for grazing deer.

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Stay cool in the Nelson Farm family pool at Suncadia Resort.  Courtesy, Suncadia Resort
Stay cool in the Nelson Farm family pool at Suncadia Resort. Courtesy, Suncadia Resort Photo by CHARLES RACSON /.jpg

Suncadia’s biggest draw for kids is the three pool complexes. With its zero-access leisure pool, interactive paddling pool, small-scale lazy river and hot tub, Nelson Farm seems to be the most popular spot for families. We arrived shortly after opening on the first day and felt lucky to have sunbeds, although we were too late for an umbrella. Nonetheless, we really enjoyed keeping cool in the pool and our BBQ lunch was seated at a shaded table in Nellie’s Poolside Restaurant and Bar. The next day we opted for the much quieter outdoor swimming and fitness center pool, which is open all year round and heated to 32 degrees Celsius. Considering the inviting water temperature, plenty of umbrellas available, and on-site taco truck, we were surprised — and delighted — at how quiet the pool was. Beyond swimming, Suncadia has a seemingly endless network of hiking and biking trails and offers a myriad of adventure activities like guided fly fishing, rafting and ATV tours, archery archery and ax throwing, canoeing, and arts and crafts programs for children. And for my parents, the jewel in Suncadia’s crown is its championship fairways.

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The Arnold Palmer-designed Prospector Golf Course is adjacent to the 18-room Suncadia Inn, with the Jacobsen Hardy-designed Rope Rider Golf Course about a five-minute drive away. The Rope Rider route, a testament to the area’s mining history, is named after coal miners who once stood precariously on coal wagons that maneuvered the steep slopes of mine shafts. The foundations and portals of Mines Nos. 9 and 10 remain on the course, along with Tipple Hill – a 36 meter hill of coal tailings. My parents found the courses beautiful and a good test for golfers, with the greens particularly challenging, especially for visitors – like them – who lack the local knowledge of their undulations and secrets. They also enjoyed watching the deer and other wildlife in whose area they played.

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After their tour, we joined my parents for dinner at the Stovehouse, one of eight dining experiences at the resort. The menu features fine gourmet dishes including Wagyu beef brisket, deviled eggs, smoked chicken wings, beer battered fish and chips and a variety of favorites. Our meal was delicious and the Pacific Northwest Golf Course setting was equally beautiful. Although we had a fully equipped chef-inspired kitchen in our vacation home, we opted to order flatbreads and salads from Swiftwater Cellars on our last night, which were also fantastic and reasonably priced.

Charming streetscapes await in the Bavarian-style village of Leavenworth, Washington.  Postmedia files
Charming streetscapes await in the Bavarian-style village of Leavenworth, Washington. Postmedia files PROVINCE

While at Suncadia, we took a day trip to charming Leavenworth, a Bavarian-style village about an hour north of the resort. I remember visiting as a kid, and from what I remember the quaint storefronts and restaurants are virtually unchanged. Our first stop was the Nutcracker Lady gift shop, marveling at the intricate hand-carved ornaments and purchasing a festive Rat King nutcracker, carefully selected by Brooklyn. We then munched our way along Front Street, enjoying gingerbread and strudel and listening to live traditional Bavarian music played in the outdoor pavilion. I’ve heard Leavenworth’s Christmas season is even more spectacular when the village sparkles with over half a million fairy lights. Perhaps we’ll be drawn into a winter wonderland adventure of cross-country skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing and swimming in Suncadia’s heated outdoor pools.

If you are going to

Suncadia Resort is a 1.5 hour drive from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The fall season is one of the best times to visit, with Suncadia’s special vacation home pricing of booking two nights and receiving the third night free (valid September 5 through November 15).

For more information on the destination, visit @arrivals_travel.

Suncadia Resort's scenic trails and trails are perfect for exploring with the grandkids.  Courtesy of Mhairri Woodhall
Suncadia Resort’s scenic trails and trails are perfect for exploring with the grandkids. Courtesy of Mhairri Woodhall .jpg

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