Honey from Heaven. It sounds like an old-time song title, kind of like Pennies from Heaven. Just saying the words lends them a breathless quality, and summons up positive imagery. While it isn’t a song title, both the “breathless” allusion and the positive association are very true, as is the “old-time” reference.If you’ve ever stopped in at Salish Lodge & Spa, situated at the top of 276-foot Snoqualmie Falls for their famous Country Breakfast, you know what I’m talking about. It’s the lodge’s nod to history, and a celebrated part of a groaning board of brunch that gets everyone in the dining room to stop talking (maybe even texting) for a moment, breaths held, as the server raises a spoon as far as his or her arm extends, and then tips the spoon, allowing a golden strand of the sweet elixir to fall to the plate, topping house-made buttermilk biscuits. It’s one of those rare occasions when you can be certain what everyone else around you is thinking: “Will he (or she) make that shot?”
With rare exceptions, the servers are spot-on. And they should be; they and others, back into the (waterfall) mists of time, have had plenty of practice. This has been a ritual since the lodge was built a full century ago.
Half its lifetime ago, I visited the Salish Lodge in its former incarnation as Snoqualmie Falls Lodge with my dad, as we swung in for breakfast on our way to Eastern Washington. In a sepia-toned memory, I remember watching the Honey from Heaven tradition, skeptically eyed the distance from that hand on high to the plate. Grown-ups didn’t usually do such cool things.
Today, the honey that adds a swath of sweetness to those biscuits comes from the lodge’s own beehives, perched on a flower-jeweled hillside above the lodge. And those honey-draped biscuits? They’re the smallest part of the lodge’s astounding traditional Country Breakfast, which includes a trio of baked goods (a banana-chocolate chip muffin, lemon-poppy seed scone and blueberry coffeecake on my visit); buttermilk pancakes with fresh fruit; steel-cut oats and a heaping plateful of proteins (eggs, bacon, ham and pork sausage), plus hashed browns … just in case you’re still hungry. (Yeah, right.)
To celebrate its opening a century ago, Salish Lodge & Spa is offering its Country Breakfast at the price of $19.16 on Wednesdays, April 6 through June 29, 2016.
While the Country Breakfast certainly fills my stomach, what fills my soul is the sight and sound of the thundering falls, just outside. It’s always best in the spring and winter, when precipitation falling in the Cascades joins snowmelt to plump up the falls into a churning maelstrom that plunges over the cliff edge into the mist-drenched basin. I happen to be here during one of these epic rainfall-meets-snowmelt events, and the falls seem almost as broad as they are long.
I breathe in deeply, letting the dewy moisture alight on my face and coat my eyelashes like a sprinkling of pixie dust might feel, I imagine. It’s said that the mist from waterfalls carries negative ions, which offer positive physiological benefits.
While I can’t answer to that, I can definitively say that visiting the Salish Lodge & Spa for its age-old ritual of a hearty Country Breakfast and then paying homage at the falls to the travelers who wound their way here over rugged roads in Ford Model Ts a century ago feels as sweet as … Honey from Heaven.