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Posted: May 4, 2014

Sleep’s Cabins let one unplug and relax

By Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

A determined early spring breeze had the flames of our campfire dancing.

Our drinks were cold in our hands but our knees were hot from snuggling beside the fire.

The lake relentlessly pushed into the rocky shore, eliminating the sound of traffic coming from the nearby three-kilometre-long causeway that crosses Lake Pend Oreille. The sun had set moments earlier, casting a rich purple aura that lingered long enough to reconnect heart and soul, cast asunder from the toil and turmoil of every day working life.

It was only a short stroll from our cabin to the lake front fire pit; where kindling and split firewood waited to be lit.

Avid campfire loungers, we’d been anticipating this moment for weeks. Bound to work and suffering from cabin fever, thanks to the long winter, we ventured south into Northern Idaho for a stay at Sleep’s Cabins, located on Lakeshore Drive (right at the south end of the Highway 95 causeway) at Sandpoint.

Sleep’s Cabins features six historic cabins, built 70 years ago by William and Frances Hamilton Sleep, located beside Lake Pend Oreille, the largest lake in the Idaho Panhandle. The pioneering couple purchased three 50’ waterfront lots for $225 in 1936 – a figure that would enormously depress any of the hundreds of nearby lakefront property owners – the product of a beautiful lake and area.

Sleep’s Cabins take the visitor away from the sprawl and gloss of modern getaways and reconnects one to the reason they are there – scenic, majestic peace.

The cabins range in size from snuggly/cozy (2-3) to sprawling (large family), with each cabin sporting unique rustic features around modern comfort. Each cabin has a full kitchen, something integral to our desired getaway.

Not long ago we had the supreme luck to be able to spend time now and then at a cabin (home) at Lake Cocolalla, 10 minutes south of Sandpoint. Campfires and stupendously delicious meals, prepared slowly, deliberately and with great love describe those experiences.

As we spend our working lives connected to computers and sundry devices, getaways such as this are vital to our survival! And Sleep’s Cabins allows for a good old fashioned ‘unplugging.’ However, Wi-Fi is available, as well as televisions (complete with VCRs and select tapes).

The historical element merely adds depth to it at Sleep’s Cabins, now owned by Brent and Tawnie Sleep, the third generation of the family to live on and manage the property.

Born in Sandpoint, Frances Hamilton Sleep did more than just help build and run a lakefront tourism business in the 1930s and ‘40s – she also had a strong civic mind.

“She was the first woman judge in Idaho. She was quite the woman for her time,” said Tawnie Sleep.

The era is different but the purpose remains the same for Tawnie and Brent. They offer comfortable, one-of-a-kind and affordable lakefront accommodation across the lake from Sandpoint, one of the top travel destinations in the American northwest. It was named by Rand McNally and USA Today as America’s Most Beautiful Small Town in 2011.

As Canadians make up a large section of the rubber tire tourist traffic rolling through Northern Idaho, not surprisingly Sleep’s Cabins have become a popular getaway.

Kimberley resident Janis Sawley said her family loved their experience at Sleep’s, noting it is the small touches, such as guests being welcomed with a friendly note and fresh baked goodies in their kitchen.

“We loved our quaint cabin – so clean and so cozy. Brent and Tawnie were so kind. I loved our mint chocolate brownies, too! A great stay,” she related.

“It’s amazing – you guys like to come down here,” Tawnie stated with a laugh. “There is nothing like else this on the lake,” she said, adding, “We’re so blessed and we really do love to share it.”

Sleeps Cabins is centrally located for those seeking to explore Northern Idaho.

Sandpoint is a one hour and 45 minute drive from Cranbrook, and just half an hour from Bonners Ferry and 45 minutes from Coeur d’Alene, as well as just 25 minutes from Silverwood Theme Park.

For more on what you can find in Northern Idaho – Click here.

Click on an image to enlarge and to begin self-directed slideshow. Images depict Sleep’s Cabins and nearby Northern Idaho attractions and sights.

Travel note: If planning to travel Highway 95 south through the Idaho Panhandle, be prepared for highway construction work between Sandpoint south to Hayden.

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