Free Fallin’: Salish Lodge & Spa’s Traditional Country Breakfast

Country Breakfast at Salish Lodge & Spa Overlooking Snoqualmie Falls

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.

AAA rates green cars for fuel efficiency, value and performance

 Tesla Model S P85D

If you are looking for an ecologically friendly car that’s fun to drive, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better option than the 2015 Tesla Model S P85D (above)—if you can afford one. When it comes to finding a fuel-efficient car that offers great value, the 2014 Nissan Versa SV is the top choice. These are just a couple of the findings contained in AAA’s 2015 Green Car Guide.

The annual report, compiled by AAA Washington’s colleagues at the Automobile Club of Southern California Automotive Research Center, features reviews and ratings of 88 electric, hybrid, alternative-fuel, clean-diesel and gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs. In addition to vehicles from the 2015 model year, those seeing no significant power-train upgrades since being released in either 2013 or 2014 are also included. The auto club’s evaluators weighed 13 factors, including handling, crashworthiness, comfort, braking, handling, fuel economy and emissions to determine each vehicle’s overall score. A second set of ratings was created by dividing each vehicle’s price by its score to determine value.

In addition to receiving high marks for comfort and handling, the 2015 Tesla P85D had the best acceleration time—0 to 60 mph in just over 3 seconds—of all the vehicles in the study. With a price tag of $133,320 (as tested, before incentives), it was also the third most expensive vehicle in the group, behind the 2014 BMW i8 ($136,219) and the 2014 Lexus LS 600h L ($135,025).

The Tesla’s overall score of 94.87 led the rankings by a wide margin. It was followed by two other electric cars: the 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium (85.50 points) and the 2014 BMW i3 (85.40 points).

Priced at just $16,050, the 2014 Nissan Versa SV, with a gasoline-powered engine offering 35 mpg, had the lowest cost-per-point score ($249), representing the best value. The 2014 Nissan Versa Note SV ($260) and the 2013 Hyundai Accent GLS ($269), both also powered by gasoline, earned the second and third best cost-per-point scores.

The 2015 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium (priced at $31,535 as tested), the 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI SE ($27,010), and the 2013 Nissan Leaf ($29,650) placed fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, in the overall rankings, further demonstrating that you don’t have to break the bank to go green.

In addition to the rankings, the Green Car Guide provides a review of every car in the study and updates on recent advances in alternative fuels and vehicle technology. Among the report’s other interesting findings: Even with recent dips in gasoline prices, a person spending $31,840 on a Ford Fusion Hybrid Titanium instead of $30,290 on a non-hybrid Fusion FWD Titanium (4-cylinder) would recoup the price difference through savings on fuel in about three years (based on fuel prices of $2.50 per gallon and 15,000 miles of driving per year).

The Auto Club began producing the annual guide in 2011 to help consumers in the market for an eco-friendly car, truck or SUV learn more about their options. Visit AAA.com/greencar to find the report online.