Booking a room at The Lodge at St. Edward feels a bit like a practical joke. How is it that there’s a luxury resort nestled among 300-plus acres of pristine forest, with an award-winning chef — less than 20 minutes from downtown Seattle? And yet, there is.
The Lodge at St. Edward is located within the sprawling St. Edward State Park, a relatively undercover forest tucked at the north end of Lake Washington. Sporting 3,000 feet of undeveloped shoreline, towering trees, lush undergrowth, and a plethora of sprawling fields — it’s an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. Here, hiking trails and biking trails abound.
by Mikaela Judd, on Kenmore Air’s Blog
From Peeling Paint to Modern Luxury
But the jewel of the park is the historic seminary — a massive edifice that stands prominently among sprawling grass fields and a moss-heavy forest. Completed in 1931, the romanesque-style estate wasn’t always as glorious as it is today.
In fact, my first visit to the hallowed halls was in 2016, before both the property and I underwent major transformations — the former, a $57 million dollar restoration and the latter, a baby. The seminary’s potential was obvious. Though the paint was pealing from the walls and the mirrors hung chipped and cracked, it had an unmistakable mystique. A sense of elegance that comes with age and wisdom. And a sense that there might very well be ghosts floating in the basement, but I digress.
I was there as a second shooter with my dear friend and talented photographer, Rick Takagi. The day was filled with sunlight. It poured through the windows of the seminary’s former lunchroom and the long hallway that runs along its western edge. The light in those spaces felt like a peaceful blessing — an essence that was painstakingly preserved as the seminary underwent a massive restoration and upgrade.
In 2017, Daniels Real Estate undertook a three-year project that brought life back to the building’s initial charm, while upgrading its interior into a breathy, luxurious escape. Former dorm rooms and classrooms became private retreats with plush bedding and spa-esc bathrooms.
The basement traded its collection of colorfully peeling paint and broken bathroom mirrors for a high-end spa and a collection of well-appointed meeting spaces. One restaurant and two bars took up residence on the northern side of the building, offering visitors the choice of high-end dining, a swanky speak-easy-esc evening vibe, and a breezy soda-shop-type cafe.
Second Babymoon Staycation? Yes Please!
I’m not a babymoon fanatic. In fact, the idea of a ‘babymoon’ wasn’t something I prioritized with our first child. Nor was it something I really stressed about now that we’re expecting number two. But what being pregnant with my second has made me acutely aware of is how important it is to be intentional about making time with your partner.
The business of living can get in the way of life sometimes — especially when you’re pregnant and chasing after a toddler. And while the idea of a ‘date night at home’ has its appeal, the practical reality of trying to enjoy one another’s company between bedtime routines, dirty dishes, and piles of laundry leaves something to be desired.
A babymoon staycation is an ideal solution for getting out of the house, without spending a massive amount of time commuting. It allows for the sultry overnight, spent sipping cocktails and mocktails, sleeping in without a tiny human alarm clock, and exploring new sights.
Go on a Friday Night
It can be challenging to enjoy a sexy night with your partner when you’re pregnant. (Yep, I said it. Sexy night.) And I’m not just talking about some va va voom. I’m talking about some sultry laughter while bumping knees at the bar. I’m talking about the chitchat that ensues over shared plates. The delight of a well-made mocktail. The joy that comes from live music.
And the exquisite beauty of climbing into bed before 10 PM without a care in the world. Because yeah, you’re pregnant and you’re tired and sleep is downright delicious.
On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights, The Tonsorium Bar (located on The Lodge’s ground floor) becomes an early-evening speakeasy of sorts. It’s the kind of joint designed for a middle-aged crowd that fills up by five and closes at 11.
The food’s as good as the china place settings upstairs, while the ambiance is a middle-age downhome vibe you’ll wish you could call your neighborhood watering hole. (Literally, Garrett and I spent nearly half the evening plotting how we could open a bar of this sort in our neck of the woods.)
The staff is busy during the evening rush, moving like a pair of jovial sisters. And the music is spot on. At least, it is on Friday nights. Jennifer Ray is a local acoustic guitarist who plays a soulful collection of originals and covers. The selection is an eclectic mix of folk, country, and pop — with a careful nod towards those classics that make the bar sing along like it’s your own mini-festival.
Did I Mention the Mocktails?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m far from a teetotaler and I personally don’t begrudge a woman who chooses to have a small something now and again during her pregnancy. That’s just not something we choose to do.
Which is to say, I have become intimately familiar with the mocktail menu (or lack thereof) at most establishments. The Lodge was far from lacking. In fact, they had three delightfully thoughtful mocktails and a bartender who didn’t hesitate to treat me to a ‘test run’ of a mocktail to come this spring.
If you want to feel included in the sipping and toasting, this place does not disappoint.
Don’t Skip the Scenic Flight Tour
The Lodge at St. Edwards is located in Kenmore, Washington — just a 10-minute drive from Kenmore Air’s headquarters. Thanks to the close proximity, the two have partnered! You can now book a stay at The Lodge and add on a Lake Washington Scenic Flight Tour. (The package is called the Scenic Serenade.)
This 25-ish minute tour takes off from the dock at Lake Washington. It offers a bird’s-eye view of St. Edwards Park, along with The Lodge itself, and a fabulous vantage of Seattle’s downtown skyline. Throughout the narrated tour, you’ll fly over the University of Washington and the Washington State Arboretum.
The tour takes you out over the Ballard locks, past Discovery Park, and the iconic Wes Point Lighthouse. On clear days, you’ll be treated to stunning views of Mount Rainier, the Olympics, and even Mount Baker.
What is a Babymoon?
The term ‘babymoon’ appears to have been coined by Sheila Kitzinger in 1996, when her book The Year after Childbirth was released. The idea was simple — a vacation without children. The idea is a simple one: spend quality time together, as two people, before you become a party of three.
Should You Take a Second Babymoon?
From a practical point of view, a babymoon is easiest enjoyed when you’re expecting your first child. Taking a babymoon while expecting your second presents the added challenge of securing childcare (thank you Mom). And while I wouldn’t say a babymoon is essential with any pregnancy, I can attest that there are some major perks to taking one with your second:
1. Bonding Time
With a second baby right around the corner, it’s easy to be a little irritable with your partner. You’re tired. You’re likely more emotional. And, you may be a little bit nervous about what this big change means. Taking time to be just two people is a great way to focus on why you got into this thing in the first place.
Your second pregnancy is likely harder than your first. Not only are you older, but you also have another child to care for (aka you have WAY less time for yourself). A babymoon is a perfect chance to let your body rest and relax.
This may not resonate with you. You may have been fully on board with celebrating baby number two just as boldly and enthusiastically as you did baby number one. For me, this hasn’t been the case. While this pregnancy has been sweeter in many ways, I don’t have the same bandwidth. A babymoon can give you the space to do just that.
4. Daydream & Plan for the Future
When was the last time you and your partner talked about your dreams? When did you discuss your bucket list? Your hopes for the next ten, fifteen or twenty years? What do you hope to accomplish professionally? What destinations are on your bucket list? What health goals do you secretly harbor? Take some time to dream big together. The fun can be as much in the planning as it can be in the doing.
When is the best time to take a babymoon?
According to John Hopkins Medicine’s review of ‘Traveling While Pregnant or Breastfeeding,’ the second trimester, between 14 and 28 weeks, is generally the best time to travel while pregnant.
Can I fly while pregnant?
Yes, you definitely can fly while pregnant. However, it’s recommended women don’t take domestic flights after their 36th week. In all cases, if you have questions about upcoming travel, you should consult your doctor. Every pregnancy is different and there may be reasons to postpone a flying adventure.
That being said, one of the biggest ‘constraints’ I have encountered to traveling while pregnant is a small bladder. The need to use the bathroom when a tinny human is kicking you from the inside is REAL. In the case of a scenic flight tour with Kenmore, the excursions are not long, so I haven’t found it to be too difficult.
Our stay at The Lodge at St. Edwards was complimentary thanks to the work I do for Kenmore Air and Lodge’s Scenic Serenade package special being offered in partnership with the Seattle-based airline. I was in no way asked to share this post as part of my stay and ll opinions shared are my own.