Sunday brunch at the Ahwahnee Hotel

After we returned from our weekend in Yosemite, many people remarked on how much they’d like to (one day) stay at the Ahwahnee. The Ahwahnee is pretty much the pinnacle of National Park Lodges, in my opinion. It’s what many of us picture when we think of a classic mountain lodge. It’s just that it also happens to be very, very expensive.

Here’s the thing: you don’t have to be a guest to enjoy it. Just go for their lavish Sunday brunch—and spend some time looking around!

What’s especially nice is that you don’t have to dress up for brunch the way you’d have to for dinner. I packed myself a new Fair Isle Cardigan and, for Hudson, a Buffalo Plaid shirt, both from Old Navy. But even if you’re camping, just throw in a decent-looking sweater and you’re set! Such a nice way to come off of trail food.


Like most parts of Yosemite Valley, the grounds of the Awahnee are especially lovely in the early morning—before they get too crowded, and before the sun gets too high. When we arrived, a bit before our reservation, we found a herd of Mule Deer grazing (and sparring) just beyond the hotel’s “wedding lawn.”


As usual, Hudson was as interested in rocks and sticks (and mini boulders) as he was in the deer. But Aron and I thought it was all pretty wonderful.


The Ahwahnee was built in the 1920s and, while it looks like an enormous log cabin, its entire facade is actually concrete, poured into rough-hewn wooden forms and stained to look like redwood to protect it from fire. It has been named a National Historic Landmark—deservedly so.



The textiles and murals are all incredible. As are the giant fireplaces (kept lit on cooler days)—another reason to come in the fall!

And, whenever I see the bright red elevator doors and the grand hall, I can’t help but think about how the interior was the model for the interior of Kubrick’s The Overlook Hotel in The Shining and picture Jack Nicholson throwing a squash ball against the walls.

And the gift shop is my personal favorite within the park. Hudson was just happy they gave me a bag.

(See our full travelogue: a weekend in Yosemite Valley for more on visiting the park.)

On me: Old Navy Fair Isle Cardi Coat; On Hudson: Old Navy Buffalo Plaid Shirt for Baby
This post was sponsored by Old Navy. Check out Old Navy’s latest fashion lineup in store or online at

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