The Simple Beauty of Timberline Lodge

by Katy on April 21, 2017 · 32 comments

I’m currently staying at Timberline Lodge, as my husband has a work conference, and I’m nothing if not an unabashed freeloader. As a history geek, I am deeply appreciative for the privilege to stay here.

For those not in the know, Timberline Lodge was built in 1939 the midst of the great depression, as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) program that put artisans and unemployed Americans back to work. And for that reason, the lodge is rich with awe inspiring artistic elements.

Everywhere you look is a museum worthy piece of art.

I call these “Newel Post Porn.” These original carved animals are on every newel post, and they’re straight up adorable!

Fun fact: They’re made from recycled telephone poles.

I took the time to watch a looping documentary about Timberline, and learned a thing or two, including that Douglas Lynch was one of the original WPA artists, and he happens to be my friend’s grandfather! I texted his wife and she directed me to the room where his carved and painted linoleum panels are featured.

I learned that he was the last surviving artist from the initial construction, and that he snuck both himself and his wife into this artwork. His carved and painted linoleum panels are an important part of this historic landmark, and I’m not going to lie. I got a bit teary when I realized the connection.

Grandpa Doug Lynch:

And grandma Margaret Lynch:

His artwork is pure perfection!


This photo gives you a sense of the scale.

I’ve been giving some thought as to how this relates to non-consumerism, and it boils down to this. It doesn’t cost a thing to make the most of where you are or what you have in life. Whether I’m in NYC taking a free tour of the historic Fifth Ave Library or simply cooking inexpensive meals from scratch while my social media friends post about their delicious restaurant meals.

$28 entrees be damned! I’m content to eat the food I brought from home. As long as I get to wander about the facilities.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

yvette from down under April 21, 2017 at 9:15 am

I agree ,it’s all about having contentment with where you are and what you’ve got AND having an attitude of gratitude. There are so many in worse situations, if we can help another and share what we have then we can have the joy of being ‘givers’ and not just ‘users’.


Amy April 21, 2017 at 9:28 am

Oh, my that place is beautiful!


Madeline April 21, 2017 at 9:34 am

So glad to see you enjoying a well deserved vacation with your husband! Enjoy!!!!!


Jenny April 21, 2017 at 10:11 am

i really want to google ‘newel post porn’ now because these are amazing. but i am afraid and will refrain.


Katy April 21, 2017 at 10:18 am

Probably a smart move.


Maryanne April 22, 2017 at 12:52 pm



K D April 21, 2017 at 11:41 am

I’m so happy you’re able to be there and able to enjoy the lodge (and thank you for sharing).

I too am low maintenance (most of the time), appreciative of what I do have and not worrying about what I don’t and appalled at restaurant prices).


Beth April 21, 2017 at 11:48 am

How beautiful!

Good point, and way to tie it in to non-consumerism 🙂


A. Marie April 21, 2017 at 11:54 am

Margaret Lynch looks just like me in the garden. Can’t help loving that carving for that reason alone. And I’m glad you’re getting a weekend break, in your own unique way.


Jill April 21, 2017 at 12:11 pm

Exactly how I feel about travel – and thankfully my husband does, too.


janine April 21, 2017 at 12:58 pm

I visited Timberline Lodge as a child and while appreciating it’s grandeur and the fantastic setting, I didn’t remember the wonderful details (newel posts and nook with desk) Thank you for sharing your adventures at this national treasure.


Dianne April 21, 2017 at 1:06 pm

Isn’t it wonderful to be able to look around us and so enjoy where we are? We went to the Everglades last weekend, a first-ever trip there for us, and we thoroughly enjoyed the amazing beauty of the area. We camped and took most of our food with us. It was a delightful trip. Of course, we just scratched the surface of what to see and do there, so we will return some other time.

Today I published a post on my new blog Writing the post cost me nothing but some time, but it makes me feel that I’m taking part in the political process–in a very small way–in addition to my calls, letters, and working together with other progressive people.


Mand01 April 21, 2017 at 2:04 pm

Linoleum panels! I’ve never seen art like that. How beautiful.


Marcia April 21, 2017 at 2:51 pm

We have visited some of the national parks around the country and always go into the buildings if they are open. Most of them are real works of art in one way or another. We’ve even had lunch in a couple of them. National parks are treasures, and I’m over 65 so we have the Golden Passport–free forever and it cost either $10 or $20 when I bought it. Used it many times and hope to use it even more!


Karen April 21, 2017 at 3:08 pm

This artwork is a gorgeous connection to our history. Thank you for the mini tour, Katy. I visited Timberline about 20 years ago but had two young children along so I missed some of this art. You are so right that the value of life comes from observing beauty wherever we can find it. My beloved late brother-in-law was a history professor who taught us all that when visiting a city street or building, get in the habit of looking up: by doing so, you will see wonderful and historic sculptures and murals that are all around us on these old buildings that you’d otherwise miss.


Katy April 21, 2017 at 4:40 pm

I try to practice this whenever I visit NYC as the most amazing building can house the dullest street level business.


Marilyn April 21, 2017 at 4:04 pm

I love Timberline Lodge too. Since I’ve lived in the Northwest, I’be often taken visitors on a day trip to Timberline (Never did have the opportunity to stay overnight). I took my parents there many years ago and they loved it. They told me that a good friend of theirs worked on building the lodge. He was not an artist or a craftsman. He, like many others, was a laborer. But he considered his work on that project to be the great adventure of his life.


Jenny April 25, 2017 at 9:58 am

My husband and his father worked in construction also, as workmen, in the Chicago area, and they felt a part of every building, road, tunnel, etc. I loved when they would tell a story about the project, the guys, etc. I don’t know if people still feel the same about their work.


susanna d April 22, 2017 at 4:58 am

The newel post carvings are amazing! And I love this post!

I just got back from a tag-along mini-vacation myself. My husband had continuing ed to keep up his certifications (which he maintains despite being retired because you just never know what the future might bring) and the organization paid for his room and some meals (because he’s a retired officer of the organization). My friend (who also tagged along with her retired officer husband) and I indulged in two days of walking, sight-seeing, people-watching, and hours of hanging out around the pool/hot tub area. All for free. In-room coffee may be crappy, but again – it’s free. Nuts and dried fruit don’t require refrigerators and make a healthier, bring-from-home breakfast than the $12 breakfasts offered at the hotel.

No, I don’t feel deprived by not eating restaurant meals three times a day or shopping in the overpriced gift shops. The fun, the joy, is in drinking in all the sights, enjoying the company of my husband, and spending time with friends who I don’t get to see nearly often enough.


Katy April 22, 2017 at 9:24 am

They have a pool here, but a quick inspection of my one and only swim suit confirmed that it had gone see-through over the bum. NO ONE wants to see that.


celina April 24, 2017 at 3:05 am

Can’t wait to hear the story of how you end up scoring a new one.

I really hope the lodge contacts him for some statements and insights on his work and his time there. Seems like a really big deal to me.


Jenny April 25, 2017 at 9:59 am

Yes, for sure!


Tracy April 22, 2017 at 5:39 am

I love Timberline too, and am lucky enough to have stayed there a time or two myself, as well as having skied there many times. It must have been absolutely gorgeous yesterday! I also agree with you Katy that sometimes people miss the point of travel, and think that you have to spend a lot when the point is to experience the place itself. I have to admit, though, that I love food and eating out when I travel (especially in cities, although the restaurant at Timberline used to be excellent, but I haven’t been in ages). I consider sampling the food in local establishments to be part of the travel experience. However, I usually only eat one meal/day out in restaurants and tend to gravitate to neighborhood places and ethnic restaurants which are much less expensive than “fine dining.” And when I go someplace like Hawaii, which is not at all about the food (and where the food is incredibly expensive) I do mostly eat in with maybe one lunch or dinner out over the vacation. Then, it’s fun to hit the local farmer’s markets to make delicious meals “at home”! For a city vacation though, it’s all about wandering the streets, people watching, seeing the parks and museums, window shopping etc. Which is mostly free!


Katy April 22, 2017 at 9:23 am

I agree about enjoying the local food when traveling. However, there are usually choices for all price ranges. Here, there are limited choices, so I’m filling up on the conferences included meals and then enjoying the fruit from home the rest of the day.


Tracy April 23, 2017 at 3:24 am

You are getting the best of both worlds! (Catered conference food and economy!)


Ruby April 22, 2017 at 6:37 am

Oh, how lovely it all is! The carved lino panels are so wonderfully joyful.

In reading the components of those high-priced dinner entrees, I notice that it’s basically — once you get past the meat — not expensive ingredients: potatoes, cornmeal, carrots and apples, and then just a little bit fancier with parsnips, mushrooms and apples. I read menus to glean ideas for frugal home-cooked meals, so there’s some good stuff there. 🙂


Ruby April 22, 2017 at 6:38 am

Whoops, I meant to say “walnuts,” not apples a second time. Walnuts are definitely pricier than apples.


Lorilee Amos April 22, 2017 at 12:05 pm

Moma Hood is my home and Timberline Lodge is my ski shredd playyard, I could of lived anywhere in the America after my husband retired from 20 years active duty Air Force and his 20 year career was all overseas. I have skied and hiked all over the world and I Adore and Love Moma Hood. Timberline Lodge is a unique place with an abundance of American western history, A treasure we all should visit and enjoy our National Forest.
Please visit my website at


Krystal April 22, 2017 at 2:26 pm

Simple pleasures are truly the best.


Vickie April 23, 2017 at 1:21 pm

Wow, that place is gorgeous!
How cool is that? I love it. Thanks for sharing with us and posting pictures. Absolutely amazing.


Amanda April 23, 2017 at 3:26 pm

What a great experience! I’m so happy for you. And I completely agree. Frugality is about living life to the fullest, without breaking the bank.


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