Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Glorious Clark House on Hayden Lake, Idaho

John and I recently returned from Idaho and Montana. We flew into Spokane, WA so that we could rent a car and drive through Coeur d'Alene and Sand Point, ID on our way to Triple Creek Ranch, MT. On the way back to the airport, we drove along Flathead Lake, into Glacier National Park, and stayed a night in Whitefish, MT. In this post, I want to share our brief stay at The Clark House on Hayden Lake.

F. Lewis Clark, born June 21, 1861 in Bangor, Maine, was an American industrialist. In 1884, he established the largest flouring mill in the Pacific Northwest, C. O. Mill and Elevator.  He was also a founder of the America Cup race. In 1910, Clark constructed a mansion on Hayden Lake, Idaho as a private summer home. The "Honeysuckle Lodge" was the most expensive home in Idaho at the time. In 1914, Clark left on a business trip to Santa Barbara, California, mysteriously disappeared and was never heard from again. According to a New York Times' article published January 18, 1914, he was 'believed by police to have committed suicide by jumping from a pier' in Santa Barbara. Clark’s wife, Winifred, struggled to preserve the fortune, but in 1922 the bank took possession of all her holdings, including the mansion.

Thereafter, The Honeysuckle Lodge was home to various church groups, a boys home, the U.S. Navy, a resort, and a restaurant. Eventually, the property was abandoned. Vandals and thieves raped and pillaged the property, and the once opulent villa was scheduled to be used as a burn exercise for the County Fire Department.

Thankfully, Mark Danner discovered the property and brought his father, Monty, to Hayden Lake to see the old mansion. Monty Danner was in the process of retiring and wanted to leave the hustle and bustle of San Francisco in search of the perfect Bed and Breakfast. When Monty first laid eyes on this three story shell of a building with no windows or doors, banisters gone, burned wood floors, and plumbing ripped out of the walls, he thought his son had lost it. Mark suggested they go into town, pick up a couple sandwiches and some wine, and come back and picnic on the lawn. As they opened the second bottle of wine, Monty realized the place had potential.

In November 1989, Monty and his partner rescued the home and lovingly restored the 15,000 square foot mansion to its original glory. Today, The Clark House on Hayden Lake is one of the most elegantly restored historic homes in North Idaho, operating as a magnificent country inn, bed and breakfast, and restaurant. It's just 7 miles North of Couer d' Alene, and rests on 12 stunning acres of lake view property, adorned with rolling lawns, gardens, courtyards, Italian moss-covered stone walls, and towering pines.

John and I had the privilege of experiencing The Clark House, and the luxury of a bygone time, the first night of our recent Idaho and Montana trip. We were entertained, wined and dined by Mark, Monte’s son and Clark House’s gracious host. Mark gave us a full tour as he enthusiastically shared the history of the mansion. I could feel his passion as he spoke about his love for Clark House. He introduced us to Kevin, the executive chef, and we all chatted in the kitchen while Kevin prepared dinner for the evening. As guests of the Clark House, we were offered a three-course dinner, served by candlelight in one of the cozy private dining rooms. Gourmet three or six-course dinners are also offered to public guests with reservations.

Chef Kevin's Clark House Avgolemono was one of the most light and refreshing soups I've tasted (he gladly shared his recipe, and it appears at the bottom of this post)

Alaskan Salmon with Lemon Caper Sauce, and roasted vegetables...

Decadent Chocolate Mousse Cake...

After savoring Kevin's Chocolate Mousse Cake, we retired upstairs to the Hayden Lake Suite, eased into the oversized soaking tub, and then crawled into our cushy bed as the sound of soft rain lulled us to sleep.

One of the upstairs wings with exquisite hand-painted murals...

The next morning, we returned to our private dining room for breakfast before departing on a scenic drive to our second destination, Triple Creek Ranch, MT.

This dining room once served as Mr. Clark's office...

Granola, yogurt and fresh berries...

Fluffy scrambled eggs and sausage...

Thank you, Mark and Kevin, for such a lovely evening and morning. We will definitely return in the future!

Clark House Avgolemono
(Greek Lemon Chicken Soup)
Recipe courtesy of Clark House Executive Chef Kevin Kneisly


1/2 lb. boneless chicken breast
2 Tablespoons each butter and olive oil
1 cup long grain rice
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 large sweet onion
10 cups strong chicken stock
12 egg yolks
Salt and pepper to taste
Thinly sliced lemon and snipped scallions for garnish


Dice chicken and onion, and saute in butter and oil until soft;
Add chicken stock and rice and bring to a boil;
Turn heat down, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, until rice is just tender;
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and lemon juice together;
When rice is done, remove soup from heat and whisk 4 cups of broth into the egg/lemon mixture (to temper the yolks) and add this back into the soup pot;
Return soup to medium heat and simmer, stirring constantly, until soup is steaming.
Do not allow soup to boil, or eggs will curdle;
Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve in warm bowls with lemon slices and scallions.
This soup is also nice served chilled.



Sippity Sup said...

I have been to Hayden Lake! It was a long time ago and your grub looks better than anything I ever got. GREG

Mom said...

The Clark House is magnificent. Thanks for sharing the history. That really makes it come alive! Beautiful food photography. Will have to try their Greek Lemon Chicken Soup. Looks and sounds delicious.

Chef Dennis said...

thanks for sharing such a great post and beautiful pictures!! looks like you ad an amazing time....I had a newfie years ago she was such a sweet baby, always wanting to climb into my lap....we have Bernese Mt dogs now, what a wonderful furbaby they are....but I do have a soft spot in my heart for a newf!