Thanksgiving 2016- Breitenbush Hot Springs

We just returned from the Best / West Coast where we spent a whirlwind holiday weekend outside in nature with my side of the family. It is best summed up by Ken’s instagram post:

 

#Truth

#YesBingeBeforeCleanse

My parents have spent the past 20 Thanksgivings at Breitenbush Hot Springs, at the base of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains.  So instead of indulging in food, turkey, booze, and football, we spent Thanksgiving off the grid in natural hot springs, rain, lush forests, and togetherness (vegetarian togetherness). My brother and his family have gone the past seven years, so this year, we decided to make the trek out to Oregon. It was quite the haul, but it was a special and joyous time for the cousins and all of us to be together.

During the weekend, we ate three VEGETARIAN meals in the lodge. Each meal, they would ring a bell, and you would gather to the vegetable-filled buffet meal and sit with your family. I love the food -- right up my alley. That said, it was a constant struggle with my kids. Not exactly kid friendly food, unless your kid is a rabbit. My kids consumed 14 hard boil eggs, and oatmeal over the course of the 3 days. Literally. They ate nothing. And then devoured 3 cheeseburgers in the span of 18 hours (#truth).

During the weekend, we ate three VEGETARIAN meals in the lodge. Each meal, they would ring a bell, and you would gather to the vegetable-filled buffet meal and sit with your family. I love the food — right up my alley. That said, it was a constant struggle with my kids. Not exactly kid friendly food, unless your kid is a rabbit. My kids consumed 14 hard boiled eggs, and oatmeal over the course of the 3 days. Literally. They ate nothing. And then devoured 3 cheeseburgers in the span of 18 hours after we left. (#truth)

 

The showers -- where I went only once. It was heavenly, and felt like an outside shower as I looked out on the river. OHHHH hippy life.

The showers — where I went only once. It was heavenly, and felt like an outside shower as I looked out on the river. OHHHH hippy life.

 

This place is in no way a Four Seasons.....it is modest, rustic, and basic. But that is the beauty in it -- it teaches my kids that they can have lavish vacations, but they can also be simple and basic, and still have the same kind of good ol fashion fun. And they surely did.

This place is in no way a Four Seasons…..it is modest, rustic, and basic. But that is the beauty — it teaches my kids that they can have lavish vacations, but can also be simple and basic, and still have the same kind of good ol fashion fun. And they surely did.

 

For size comparison, here is Ken compared to our cabin.

For size comparison, here is Ken compared to our cabin.

 

What did we do besides eat vegetarian food? We hiked, did kid art in the river yurt, soaked in the natural hot springs, played card games, ran around, drank tea, talked, and walked in the rain. Nothing like your typical Thanksgiving, but with my family, nothing really is predictable. Nonetheless, it was heavenly, and Cruzzie already asked to go back to Breitenbush next Thanksgiving as “it is the best.” Wonderful words to hear to hear for a mother struggling with fear of bringing up urban-brats!

 

labrynth

Labyrinth with the kids.

 

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In true Oregon fashion, it rained most of the time, but it didn’t stop us from long hikes in the lush Emerald Forest. Green, emerald, moss, trees, beauty! This is my brother, Giora, on one of the bridge crossings.

 

ken instagram

Signs you’re in Oregon: 4 Subaru Outbacks in a rainy hot springs parking lot ftw! #oregon #latergram #BackOnTheGrid #breitenbush #BreitenbushHotSprings (credit Ken)

 

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One day, the older kids and some of the parents went on a hike in the rain. We found a natural spring and drank the water (watch out, school nurse!). The green and colors are FOR REAL. Check out the beauty — you can NOT find this in a city, no matter how hard you try. This is the real stuff.

 

Computer screen savers are made from Oregon forests.

Computer screen savers are made from Oregon forests.

 

Cruzzie and his big cousin, Axel.

Cruzzie and his big cousin, Axel.

 

My parents. The best.

My parents. The best.

 

cousins

Despite the fact that they live on opposite sides of the country, the cousins love each other so much and know how strong and important their bond is. The weekend was worth it alone just to reinforce these bonds. The five of them are super tight and I am excited to see them continue to grow together as a clan.

 

The fabulous five.

The fab five in front of the steam of a hot spring.

 

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Not a great photo, but the only one we took of the four of us. And basically we lived in these clothes for the whole time there.

 

Thank you, Nana and Tata for a weekend off the grid. Nothing better to remind us how fortunate we are. We miss you so much already and can’t wait to see you hopefully again soon. To all of you, hope you have a great start of the week!

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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10 Comments

  1. Oh my goodness! Looks like such a fun way to celebrate the holiday. My outdoorsy father would absolutely love to travel here someday.

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