A fun wintery hike through the along the Metolius River
A fine dining experience with a homey and intimate feel
When she’s not busy writing, reading or dreaming about becoming the world’s greatest banjo player, Mariah can be found hiking with her dog Olive.
Here in Central Oregon, we live in a frozen playground in the wintertime, and the scenic beauty of the region while the weather is frosty provides an ideal backdrop for the pursuit of romance. This winter, I ditched the quintessential date-night standard of dinner and a movie for something more adventurous––a snowshoeing expedition along the Metolius River followed by dinner at Lake Creek Lodge.
Not all couples are up for adventuring in snow-smothered forests, but snowshoeing is an incredible way to enjoy beautiful winter scenery. And what could be more romantic than trekking through the woods while a gentle snow falls around you, snuggling with your honey next to an ice-capped river? My date and I started our walk at the Camp Sherman Store, just up the road from Lake Creek Lodge. After exploring the eclectic wares of the store, we strapped on our snowshoes and embarked down a marked trail along the Metolius River. The day was clear and sunny, the trail flat and easy. Tree boughs sat heavy with snow, occasionally casting arctic white confetti in the air around us. We followed the winding river, watching the steam rise off its surface, enjoying the fresh air and good conversation. Snowshoeing summons you to slow down and tune in to nature’s gentle harmony, and the peaceful quiet of the woods amplified the picturesque setting we found ourselves in. Aside from a solitary duck floating down the river beside us, we had the area to ourselves.
We hiked around for about two hours before fatigue and the cold got the best of us. Eagerly anticipating our dinner (Snowshoeing works up an appetite!), we swapped our snowshoes for snow boots and drove the short distance back to Lake Creek Lodge. The Restaurant at Lake Creek is open year round for brunch and dinner. Dinner is served promptly at 6 p.m., requires reservations and consists of a pre-set menu. We arrived at the lodge 30 minutes before dinner service, so we killed time by exploring the grounds. The perfect combination of rustic charm and cozy comfort, the lodge is guaranteed to inspire warm feelings and get the heartstrings stirring. A roaring fire in the sitting room enhances choice cuddling real estate while the game room at the back of the lodge provides opportunities for playful (or ruthless) competition. My date and I immediately gravitated to the pool table, racking and rolling until dinnertime.
The restaurant offers a homey and intimate dining experience, with breathtaking views of sunsets dipping over snow-capped mountains––an ideal place to enjoy a romantic meal with your sweetie. Our three-course meal consisted of cranberry and pear salad, filet mignon with a caramelized onion demi-glace, sautéed broccoli, roasted mashed potatoes and a walnut apple crumble for dessert. I’m not going to lie, it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Ravenous, we devoured our salads before the other diners had even unfolded their napkins and eagerly awaited our entrées. The filet mignon was epic, melting in our mouths like the snow from our boots next to the crepitating fire. As my date put it, “It’s like eating a meaty cloud.” The dessert was warm and delicious, striking a perfect balance between sweet and tart, and the perfect conclusion to our meal. At day’s end, we found ourselves thoroughly wore out and exquisitely content.
There’s no shortage of potential date activities in Central Oregon, even in the wintertime. Treat your sugar muffin to a romantic evening snowshoeing and dining in the mountains; the scenic beauty will create wonderful memories, and the cold air will result in some extra snuggles.
Snowshoe rentals are available at Eurosports in Sisters for $12 a day. To make reservations at Lake Creek Lodge or to preview the menu, visit their website at lakecreeklodge.com.
Lake Creek Lodge
13375 S.W. Forest Service Road #1419, Camp Sherman