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Cornelius Family Visits Breitenbush
September 18, 2011  |  General Info./Homepage
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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.

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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?

We brought some food, but did not eat much of what we brought. All the food they served was vegetarian and wholesome. There seemed to be something for everyone, even picky kids. My daughter loved their cheesy polenta, and their beverages were delicious. They had some lightly-sweetened lemonade that I think I may have drank more than my fair share. The food was set up buffet-style 3-times a day, 15 minutes after they rang a bell that echoed throughout the camp. They had tables and chairs set up both inside and outside, and it was a very casual dining atmosphere.

5.  Many people rave about the cabins.  What was your experience?

The cabins were really cute. The beds were beyond comfortable. The mattresses were something you would expect at a spa or an expensive hotel. The cabins were close together, but you couldn’t hear your neighbors. It was very easy to sleep day or night.
6.  Any other tips that you want to give families who might want to go?
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!
A few tips, you are going to want to make sure to bring your water bottles, especially if you are going to soak in the tubs. There was no visibility on the way to the bathroom, so a flashlight was essential at night. There is also no cell service, so bring your carrier pigeons! And there are no pets, so leave your carrier pigeons at home! If you smoke, there is one smoking shelter by the entrance, with Christmas lights hanging from it. Carry something in your pocket to leave at the center of the labyrinth.
Above all, go there expecting to read a good book, do some yoga, soak in tubs, eat vegetarian food, and do some serious relaxing, because that’s what you’re going to get.

Technorati Tags: Breitenbush, hot, springs, family, friendly, Oregon

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2 Comments


  1. So, let me get this straight…bring carrier pigeons or leave them at home? Just kidding.. This sounds like an awesome retreat spot and it is high onf my list of places to visit!

  2. Wonderful piece by MY neice- but then I expected no less than absolute perfection in every detail! The interview and description made my want to get my old birthday suit from when I was 20 years old, flashlight and head for Breitenbush! My only quandry is what to do with my pup, who whispers her barks, loves warm baths and massages and meditates often!

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