Walk up on the porch and through the doors of this log lodge - new, but evoking a sense of the classic. Stroll into the great room, stand next to the two-story river rock fireplace, and look out to the lake. This is frontier elegance. Built on an old, 120-acre ranch on the high, arid east side of the Cascade Range, this inn offers more than just a quiet spot to disappear for a weekend - although that's tempting enough. You can also hike, mountain-bike, fly-fish, ride horseback, ski cross-country over 200 kilometers of groomed trails, or enjoy a sleigh ride and dinner. After a day in the woods, slip into one of two hot tubs: The one overlooking the 4 1/2-acre lake is roomy enough for about a dozen bone-weary soakers.
Rooms are handsomely but not ostentatiously furnished, and all have king-size beds, fireplaces, and decks that overlook the lake. The service is understated but impeccable.
Chef Todd Brown is a master with fresh herbs complementing seasonal, regional produce. His menu changes regularly, but on a crisp winter day, hope that his pork loin with plum sauce or the free-range turkey with orange-cranberry sauce is on the menu.
After dinner, walk outside, take a deep breath of the pine-scented air, and enjoy the moonlight on ponderosa trunks that peek through a layer of fresh powder snow, and the inky mountains in the distance. Then go back inside to the fragrance and crackle of the fire.
ESSENTIALS: Twenty-one rooms, 15 cabins, and a three-bedroom lakeside lodge. From $95, meals not included. 17798 State 20; (800) 639-3809 or www.freestoneinn.com. Dining Room: breakfast, dinner. - Steven R. Lorton
HASTINGS HOUSE, Salt Spring Island, B.C.
Fluffy sheep graze in a green field. A rustic board-and-batten barn comes next, then an ancient orchard and a flower and herb garden. You want to drop your bag and explore, yet you follow the curving entry path down to the waterfront Tudor manor called Hastings House. If you're lucky, you arrive at teatime, when the scent of steeping Earl Grey perfumes the parlor.
Much more than a house, this 25-acre estate combines the best of Salt Spring Island - privacy, abundance, and an easygoing, English country elegance. Lodging, you learn, is spread over the grounds - in the manor, barn, cottages, farmhouse, and in seven new cedar-clad hillside suites.
At dinnertime, the manor's yellow dining room glows in candlelight. The moon, reflecting off Ganges Harbour and seen through leaded glass, adds to the romance. But it's the fixed-price, five-course dinners featuring local lamb, succulent fresh vegetables, and quince soufflé - from preserves made by chef Marcel Kauer from fruit grown in the orchard - that are the real stuff of dreams.
ESSENTIALS: Closed Nov-Feb. Seventeen lodgings with fireplaces plus a cottage, all with garden views or water views. From $210 (U.S.), also including afternoon tea. 160 Upper Ganges Rd.; (800) 661-9255 or www.hastingshouse.com. Dining room: breakfast, dinner; (250) 537-2362. - Jena MacPherson
SHELBURNE INN, Seaview, WA
"Eat, drink, and be merry - of tomorrow take no heed." The words inscribed on a beam at Shoalwater Restaurant in the Shelburne Inn are almost as delicious to contemplate as the aromas - the cinnamon scent of baked goods destined for the inn's renowned breakfast, or dinner offerings like seafood chowder and baked oysters. For a century, the Shelburne has drawn visitors to the small beach town of Seaview, a short walk from the expansive sands of the Long Beach Peninsula. Rooms, up stairwells and charmingly tucked away, have a timeless appeal with antique armoires, floral decor, and claw-foot tubs. Some offer garden views, others overlook the street.
ESSENTIALS: Thirteen rooms and two suites. From $109. 4415 Pacific Way; (800) 466-1896 or ,a href="http://www.theshelburneinn">comwww.theshelburneinn.com. Shoalwater Restaurant: lunch, dinner; (360) 642-4142. - Jena MacPherson
TUTU'TUN LODGE, Gold Beach, OR
The setting - a wide, wild bend of the lower Rogue River, 7 miles from the sea - would be reason enough to visit this low-profile resort. The sense of place is furthered by a clean, open design that makes use of wood and stone in common areas and guest rooms, and by wide windows and private patios and balconies. All rooms and suites have a river view. Four-course meals are legendary for use of fresh, local ingredients (including, if you like, the fish you caught that day) inventively combined and artfully presented.
ESSENTIALS: Sixteen rooms, two suites, and two houses; 10 with fireplaces, six with outdoor hot tubs. From $85. 96550 North Bank Rogue; (800) 864-6357 or www.tututun.com. Dining room: breakfast, dinner; closed Nov-Apr; (541) 247-6664. - Bonnie Henderson
WINCHESTER COUNTRY INN, Ashland, OR
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival bustles just a block and a half away, but this lovingly restored grande dame sits serenely among quiet flower-filled gardens. Elegance is the byword, from the spacious rooms in the 1886 main house to ethereal cream scones at the full breakfast. Dinner in the restaurant features regional produce and wine, and special events - such as musical theater nights - showcase local talent.
ESSENTIALS: Eleven rooms, seven suites, and two cottages; some with jetted tubs or fireplaces. From $120. 35 S. Second St.; (800) 972-4991, (541) 488-1113, or www.winchesterinn.com. Winchester Country Inn restaurant: dinner, Sunday brunch; (541) 488-1115. - Elaine Johnson
PINE VALLEY LODGE, Halfway, OR
Crisp cotton sheets and eiderdown quilts on handcrafted beds signal quality that usually costs a lot more than you'll pay at this high-desert oasis in Oregon's northeast corner. The artist-owners have renovated a trio of buildings - including a 1930s Craftsman lodge and an 1870s bunkhouse--to reflect a vision of the Old West that's full of cozy, comfortable charm. Rooms are enlivened with original oil paintings and sculptures, and plenty of antiques. Halfway Supper Club, located in a century-old church, serves up thick, juicy steaks, lamb chops, fresh fish, and sinfully delicious desserts.
ESSENTIALS: Seven rooms, three with private bath, and one bunkhouse with private bath. From $60; credit cards not accepted. 163 N. Main St.; (541) 742-2027 or www.neoregon.net/pinevalleylodge. Halfway Supper Club: dinner; closed Oct-May. - Donald Olson