The History of Anderson Lodge
Anderson Lodge is a family run facility owned by Arvid and Vicki Anderson. As you gaze on the scrolling photos. you are thinking, “How beautiful!” Anderson Lodge IS beautiful! But the photos really don’t do it justice. There is nothing like seeing the tall fir trees with moss dripping gracefully from their limbs at the Main Lodge or viewing the majestic mountains at our Hilltop House site. Please contact us for a tour. You will see for yourself how magical Anderson Lodge truly is.
This Scandinavian resort, nestled in the forest is near Mt. St. Helens, is just north of Portland and 23 miles east of I-5 at Woodland, Washington. We have 2 lodges to offer on two different properties: the Main Lodge and the HIlltop House. They are completely self-contained so two events can take place simultaneously. Or on rare occasions, both facilities can be used by one group.
The Anderson Lodge Story
The foundation for the Main Lodge was poured in 1974. Arvid worked slowly on it during breaks and summer vacation from teaching at the local Yale School. He peeled the bark off by hand and flattened the cedar logs with a chain saw and an ax. Each log was bleached to ready them for use. The large fir beams for the lodge were from the property. Everywhere you look you can see evidence of his handiwork. Notice all those oak shorts that are on the countertops and floors of the Main Lodge. Even the table in the main kitchen was made from those oak shorts. How about that countertop in the kitchen. Do you know what that is from and what those mysterious brown dots are for? The kitchen counter is made of birdseye maple from a bowling alley, complete with the dots from the alley way! When you stay at Anderson Lodge remember that it is a facility like no other. Arvid’s dream is here.
Anderson Lodge opened as a retreat center in November of 1984 but with the Main Lodge only. It is the loving creation of Arvid and Vicki Anderson. Arvid built the Lodge with his Swedish background in mind, so it is truly a labor of love. Both his parents were Swedish and thus the love of the Scandinavian culture. It is sometimes hard to believe how our small dream of a Swedish cabin has blossomed into a retreat center welcoming thousands of guests each year.
The property of the Hilltop House was purchased in 1988 and it was then that we started to create our second facility to be used for retreats and events. There were a couple buildings on the property but none were usable. Arvid enlisted the help of a local person, a “Jack” of all trades (Jack Courtway) and some local builders to help him with this site. First the sleeping house was finished, then the game room. The next big project was the magnificent conference room, followed by the pavilion. Shortly after the 3 cabins were added. We created a view wedding site that is spectacular. Until this site was constructed, the Apple Orchard with gazebo was the main ceremony area.
Our family is still very involved in the operation of the lodge. Arvid’s older brother, Richard, was our office manager for many years. For our children, Karli and Brenden, cleaning, gathering firewood, painting, folding sheets or building trolls for the forest were all part of their childhood. Now they are all grown up. Brenden works part time with maintenance, firewooding, cleaning gutters, painting and tractor work. You may call the office and Karli will answer the phone. She is now our main office employee sending estimates, billing clients and keeping track of all the groups. Kennon, one of our employees, is almost family. She was in Arvid’s classroom for many years when he taught at Yale School. Most all the people who work at Anderson Lodge, are local people of the Yale Valley.
We have many relatives in Sweden and our family has traveled there to see them. They take so much pride in their possessions and their homes. Many of our Swedish friends have cabins or guest cottages. So we just had to offer cozy cabins at Anderson Lodge too. Their skills of woodworking, their appreciation of nature and their love of famlies have had a major impact on us. It is this influence that you see when you visit our lodges. We strive to maintain the natural beauty of the environment and provide a location for families to reconnect and interact together. The cabins, the use of logs and hardwood, the many outdoor opportunities, the Swedish beds with curtains, all make Anderson Lodge an extraordinary place.
Visitors often ask us, “Why all the funny names for the cabins and spaces?” The Dalarna Cabin (pronounced: “Dollar-nuh”) is named after the province of Sweden where many of our relatives live. The Jämtland Cabin (pronounced “Yemp-lawn”) is named after the province where our daughter lived as a foreign student. The Hälsingland Cabin (pronounced “Hell-sing-lawn”) is named after the province in Sweden where Arvid’s father was born. The two pavilions have been named for our special cousins in Sweden, Anna’s Pavilion and Ulla’s Pavilion. Anna and Ulla are sisters. They have visited us and both love the outdoors. Then there is Ella’s Coffee Hus. Ella was our most special relative who loved coffee, flowers and was the happiest living in her quaint cabin by a lake in Sweden. She always had a sparkle in her eye. Each name that we have chosen has so much meaning for us. I guess it is our way of bringing a little bit of Sweden to our Lodge.
You may notice the rock walls that seem to be appearing at both the Main Lodge and the Hilltop House. Arvid has again drawn upon his Swedish heritage and decided he likes using rock to create an inviting space. Being a country with a lot of rock, Sweden has also many creative uses for it. So it is only natural that Arvid would carry out this tradition at the lodge as well. He has a rather ingenious way of building these walls, a technique that is very unique. He’d be happy to tell you all about it should you ask. He will tell you that he has used, so far, 180 ton of rock and made each wall one rock at a time. What we all note is that they are beautiful and add so much to the natural setting.
Now, what do you think? Is it brown, or burnt umber or a brick color? I’m speaking of the color of the exterior for the Main Lodge, Dalarna Cabin, Pavilions and Hilltop House and cabins. We ordered the specific paint from Sweden called Falun Red. After seeing the beautiful countryside of Sweden dotted with homes and stugas of this shade, we just had to make our lodge the authentic Falun Red. The white trim completes the hint of Scandinavia.
So, that is the story of the history of our retreat center, the reason for all this Scandinavian hoopla and the mystery of lodge’s curious paint. Hope you can come and visit us sometime. Be sure to sign our two foot guest book or the trolls will never forgive you! Have fun browsing through our web site.
Questions? Give us a call. We would love to tell you all about our lodges.
Anderson Lodge retreat center offers quality lodging for:
- Lodging for family and friends
- Spacious kitchens for your use
- China and flatware provided
- Tables and chairs (indoor & outdoor chairs)
- Exclusive use of site
- Small group meeting rooms
- 2 large group conference rooms
- Wireless Internet
- Pianos at each facility
- Scandinavian design
- Spectacular natural setting
- Game Rooms
- Children’s play area
- Pippi’s Playhouse
- Outdoor Recreation
- Covered Campfire Amphitheater
- Viking Beverage Bar at the Hilltop House
- Stockholm Beverage Bar at the Main Lodge
- Vasa BBQ Grilling Station (Hilltop site only)
- Tennis Courts (Main Lodge site)
- Saunas (Main Lodge site)
- Cozy cabins
- Outdoor dining in the trees
- RV and tent spaces
- Ample parking
AMAZING DISCOUNTS FOR THE MAIN LODGE AND HILLTOP HOUSE!
IMAGINE YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS GATHERING AT ANDERSON LODGE.
IMAGINE WHAT MEMORIES YOU CAN MAKE!
360 247 6660