Thank you to Jessica Cornelius who agreed to visit Breitenbush Hot Springs with her family and grant us an interview. Breitenbush is a bit off the beaten path (and the grid!) and perhaps, misunderstood as a family-friendly destination. Take a look through Jessica’s pictures and read her interview in its entirety at Portland Family Adventures.
1. First, please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your family.
My name is Jessica Cornelius and I live in SE Portland with a vivacious 4-year old daughter named Claire, our lovable pooch Dusty, and my wonderful husband James.
2. What were some of your favorite experiences as a family visiting Breitenbush?
My favorite experience by far was the soaking pools. There were many to choose from, and my 4-year old felt it very liberating to be able to bathe nude in nature. The absolute icing on the cake was the 4 tubs of varying degrees. If one was too hot, move on to the next cooler one. Perfect for kids to choose the temperature they like best, just like Goldilocks. They also refill the tubs after every meal. It’s fun to sit in the tubs and watch the water rise. There are some more natural-looking hot spring areas around, as well as a sauna, and yurts for various activities such as yoga and other holistic workshops. My favorite structure by far was Buddha’s Playground, a delightful meditation room made out of clay and straw. There were odd-shaped windows that revealed some of the gorgeous nature that surrounded the hut.
3. I’ve heard Breitenbush described in so many ways: Intentional Community, Hippie Commune, Healing Resort, Nudist Resort, etc. Many of these descriptions evoke stereotypes that may not sound “family-friendly” to some folks. In what ways did you find Breitenbush to be “family-friendly?” Were there any concerns?
We met a lot of really nice people, and they all contributed in keeping the atmosphere peaceful and serene. There were quite a few kids, from babies to teens, and I was informed the some of the kids who live here were actually born here. Most of the kids played ball on the lawn and hung out in the tubs during the day. I could not tell the difference between the people who lived and worked there and those who were visiting. They generate their own electricity and heat from the river, which even allows them to even heat their outdoor bathrooms.
4. How was the food? Did you eat there or bring your own food? Were there some good options for kids?
5. Many people rave about the cabins. What was your experience?
It’s not your traditional “campground”. There are no campfires, and no rowdy neighbors. There were more kids than I expected, but for the most part, people seemed pretty serious about keeping the place calm and quiet. We enjoyed a few walks at night to look at all of the stars that we can’t normally see living in the city. There were no vehicles or noises, so it was a nice activity for my family and I to enjoy. We also hiked down to Devil’s Creek, and found it to be beautiful and secluded. There are a few hiking trails at Breitenbush, so bring some appropriate shoes!
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