I Went on a Babymoon With My Sister — and It Was the Most Meaningful Trip We've Taken

"It was a simple overnighter, and didn't require a long journey to get there, but it was worth every second."

View from a hammock at The Society Hotel
Photo: Molly Allen

Becoming an aunt is one of the most rewarding moments of your life. Or, at least that's what they say. When my only sister announced she was pregnant with her first child, I felt torn. Of course, I was thrilled to hear about the new addition to the family, but it also made me realize that things would never be quite the same. Thankfully, planning a babymoon with my sister — just the two of us — helped. And it ended up being the most meaningful trip we've ever taken together.

My sister and I are three years apart. Through our teenage years, we certainly didn't have a strained relationship, but it also wasn't a terribly close bond. She went off to college several hours away, and I was the only child in the house, navigating high school on my own.

I lived the entirety of my 20s five hours away from her. We were in different stages of life, and we didn't see each other often, other than the annual Christmas get-together with our parents and a few here-and-there trips in between.

Just before turning 30, I moved to Hood River, Oregon, within an hour of my sister's house. It was the first time since high school we had lived relatively close to each other, and thanks to that proximity, we began visiting just about every week. And we started taking trips together, with my brother-in-law, partner, and our dogs in tow. We did a cabin retreat for my 30th birthday celebration, and took several sisters-only trips to the Oregon coast and Leavenworth, Washington. Most importantly, we created a bond stronger than ever before.

Molly Allen and her sister at The Society Hotel
Molly Allen

My sister announcing her pregnancy felt like the end of something special that had just begun. My heart sunk as I reflected on all the spontaneous fun we had the few months prior, and it felt like it wouldn't continue.

With a few weeks left in her pregnancy, I got a text message from my sister that said, "Can we go away before the baby gets here, just the two of us?" I quickly responded, "Yes! Sissy babymoon!" And our trip planning wheels started turning.

Given my sister's very pregnant state, we didn't plan a long trip, or one that was too far from home. She met me in Hood River, and we traveled across the Hood River Bridge to the other side of the mighty Columbia River. Upon arriving at The Society Hotel in Bingen, Washington, the morning clouds parted and we were met with sunshine, just in time for our early afternoon check-in.

Exterior of The Society Hotel and the pool there
Molly Allen

The Society Hotel has two locations: one in Portland and one in Bingen, a small town with a population under 1,000. Though each location features impeccable design and a clever hotel-hostel hybrid model, they're quite different. The Society Hotel's Bingen location was constructed on the land of the Bingen School, with the main schoolhouse remaining intact. Upon construction, the 1937 building was restored and renovated. School rooms were transformed into hotel accommodations, and the original gym was preserved, along with the addition of several modern cabins, a bathhouse, a sanctuary space, and numerous fire pits. Historic-meets-modern, the property offers all the amenities you could hope for within reach, making it feel like you've arrived at a mini resort.

We checked into our cozy, double-queen cabin and made ourselves right at home. The space featured plenty of sleek surfaces. Light wood contrasted dark accent walls and countertops, with pops of color from textiles throughout. The cabin included two separate sleeping rooms, a full bath, a well-equipped kitchenette, and a lovely patio complete with a picnic table and vibrant hammocks.

We immediately dropped our bags, climbed into the hammocks, and soaked in the sunshine among the wildflowers dotted around the property.

Firepits lit up at night outside of the guest rooms
Petar Marshall

Before dinner, we changed into our swimsuits, donned our white robes, and headed over to the bathhouse. The on-site spa features a sauna and three saltwater soaking pools at varying temperatures. The outdoor hot pool, paired with the indoor warm pool and cold pool, gives visitors a cold plunge experience to awaken the senses. My sister and I spent our time relaxing and chatting in the warm pool.

Sister Babymoon note left at The Society Hotel
Molly Allen

While there are several tasty restaurant options just up the hill from Bingen in White Salmon, we opted to utilize the cabin's kitchenette to make dinner. And I'm glad we did. Dinner was a simple mix of rice, black refried beans, red pepper, avocado, cheese, and salad greens — something my family affectionally calls "fun bowls." We weren't as prepared for cooking in the cabin as we anticipated, despite it being well-equipped with tools, but we made the most of it. The bowls were delicious, and we laughed the entire time. It was a cooking experience we hadn't shared in a long time.

After dinner, we grabbed two oat milk hot chocolates from the cafe in the lobby and enjoyed the magnificent library wall and fireplace during our first few sips. We then added a drawing to the hotel's interactive guestbook before heading outside. We finished our drinks under the stars next to a large outdoor fire pit, which we had all to ourselves.

The library at The Society Hotel
Petar Marshall

The next morning, we had a simple breakfast of oatmeal and toast before walking back to the bathhouse. The way the light hit the exterior of the incredible wood architecture as we sat with our feet dangling in the hot tub was well worth the early morning arrival.

With our 11 a.m. checkout time approaching, we packed up and enjoyed every last minute we could on the hammocks outside our cabin. The view of the towering green hills behind us, with colorful flowers all around and plenty of morning sunshine, made the final part of our stay relaxing.

Planning and enjoying a babymoon with my big sister was quite possibly the most important trip I've ever taken. It was a simple overnighter, and didn't require a long journey to get there, but it was worth every second. The fact that she had asked to spend that time together reminded me that our bond as sisters is strong; it's unbreakable. It allowed us to talk through big topics and small details, to laugh, and giggle. Above all, it was time for us to enjoy each other's company before things changed. It helped me realize that things were changing for the better, and now I'm counting down the days until my nephew is old enough to enjoy a trip with all of us someday, too.

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