Thanks to Wilde Moon Retreat owners, Jonathan and Carlye, for sharing the story of the restoration of this property and their effort to turn it into a thriving small business. Read on…
This story begins nearly 100-years ago, on land out past Reinig Road, down toward Ernie’s Grove. It’s where in 1919, the Riley family began to build their homestead.
Back in the 1920’s, Seattleites would come to this area to stay in a cabin by the river, venturing down wild and rough dirt roads, over rickety wooden bridges, and passing beneath a large wooden archway carved with the words “Ernie’s Grove.” As they drove past the Riley homestead, they would spot Lee Riley, treading up and down the gravel driveway, working hard on his land and tree farm. Locals still tell stories about the Rileys and their name has been immortalized in the neighborhood of Riley’s Addition.
Now, 100-years later, the Wilde family has made this land their life’s work, opening up a yoga studio and two 5-star vacation rentals.
“Of course, that’s easier said than done,” says Jonathan G. Nelson, a 38 year Snoqualmie resident. He and his partner Carlye Wilde and their family moved to the old property during a rainy and muddy winter in early 2018. “We knew this place was special,” says Carlye Wilde. “When you pull down the driveway and see Mount Si this close, it is like being in nature’s cathedral.”
When Wilde and Nelson found the property, it was run-down and overgrown. “I won’t even go into great detail.” says Nelson. “But let’s just say that although things were in a terrible state, we could see the beauty underneath.”
When the family moved in, all the buildings had old peeling paint, with roofs in need of replacement and mature grounds just waiting to be dug out and brought back to life. The two dedicated their time and money to restoring the three buildings on property and landscaping the overgrown land – mostly by themselves.
“I worked outside from sunset to sundown all of the spring and summer, getting the grounds restored.” says Jonathan. “Carlye worked inside and out, fixing, building and repairing things. Mr. K Construction helped on the yoga studio as well. Those guys are awesome.”
Now, nearly two years after the couple acquired the land, the Wilde family is excited to share all their hard work. There are beautiful decorative gardens, a vegetable garden with fruit trees, and three restored buildings at beautiful Wilde Moon Retreat: two vacation homes and an on-site yoga studio where Carlye Wilde, a highly certified and well-established yoga instructor, teaches group and private lessons.
Mountain House is the original Riley Homestead built in 1920, it sleeps up to seven people and is decorated with a little vintage beauty and lots of modern charm. Hiker themes are apparent – such as wood-burned maps of local trails and an aqua-colored deer head above a picnic-style dining room table. One of the only kid-friendly and dog-friendly vacation homes in the area, Mountain House even has a “Pet Palace” filled with dog toys and treats, crates and beds, perfect for four-legged furry friends.
Moon House is a romantic retreat for couples wanting to get away from it all. This little cottage has heated floors, a beautifully modern kitchen, and the “best view of Mount Si in the valley.” Wilde and Nelson even offer a romance package with locally made Blue Streak chocolates, Prosecco, and a dozen red roses. “We get a lot of honeymooners,” says Wilde. The couple describes it as a perfect place for a vacation (or staycation), Moon House is R&R central at Wilde Moon Retreat.
Wilde Moon Studios is where Carlye shares her life’s passion and primary area of expertise. She says, “Wilde Moon is non-judgmental and welcomes everyone, from all walks of life, to join us for yoga and fitness in the Valley of the Moon.”
The studio keeps some of the original building’s interior structure, Lee Riley’s old workshop is now Carlye’s shop where she sells local teas, candles, books, and also rings up students when they come for lessons.
Wilde and Nelson, who sold their homes and spent their life savings to buy and restore the old property, plan on someday retiring and living out the last of their days here. In the meantime, they’d like to share this gift with the world, saying they offer the highest level of local hospitality to their guests.
To book a vacation or staycation in the shadows of Mount Si at Wilde Moon Retreat or to find out more visit www.wildemoonretreat.com