By CARY ORDWAY
Lake Chelan is known as a mecca for Washington’s “Westsiders,” the people who take their web feet over to North Central Washington to dry out in the hot, dry sun. When it comes to clean, clear water, spectacular mountain scenery and first-class lodging and amenities, Chelan is hard to beat.
And probably the premiere resort on Lake Chelan is Wapato Point, an impressive condo-style development that has grown with the influx of Western Washington tourists. Located near Manson just a few miles up lake from Chelan, this resort pioneered the concept of timeshare resorts in North Central Washington.
Time-sharing has become a significant part of the travel industry, particularly as people start to look at more long-range recreation needs and “invest” in their weekend and vacation accommodations. While Wapato Point doesn’t offer an outright deed to the property, it does offer use of the resort for a specified period of time.
Though Wapato Point got off to a rough start a few decades ago, the resort has grown and matured and, with the aid of a good sales organization, has built its owner base to the point that it has been able to sustain the continued development of the present resort.
Over the years, Wapato management has changed its approach to marketing the resort. Instead of “investment condos,” Wapato Point Development began selling time in each unit.
Today’s Wapato Point development includes tennis courts, outdoor and indoor swimming pools, a putt-putt golf course, trout pond, shuffleboard and basketball courts, lengthy hiking trails, a park, a restaurant and several boat docks. A kiosk has equipment available (for rent) for almost any outdoor activity you can imagine.
The living units are spacious and attractive, and seem especially well designed for resort living. On our visit to Wapato Point, we stayed in a two-bedroom unit in the “beach” condos, a second-floor unit that included complete and modern kitchen facilities, two bathrooms, fireplace, washer and dryer, television, and a comfortable lanai furnished with a barbecue and patio furniture.
Of course, a fancy condo is nothing but a fancy condo without a location to set it apart, and Wapato Point is one of the choice locations on Lake Chelan. This popular lake offers excellent swimming, boating, fishing and water skiing, and Wapato Point — which is actually a peninsula — offers magnificent views in all directions.
The lake has long been popular with residents of North Central Washington and, in particular, the Wenatchee area which is about 35 miles south. A number of Wenatchee residents own recreational property on the lake, and many more visit the lake several weekends each summer.
Lake Chelan has the dual distinction of being both a good water ski lake, and a good fishing lake. The lake is wide at the Chelan end and long — 55 miles altogether. That keeps the waves or “chop” to a minimum for water skiing and, if it’s too rough in one area of the lake, you simply move a few miles further north. Water temperature at the shallow Chelan end is comfortable during the peak summer months.
And, surprisingly, Chelan is becoming known as a great destination for salmon anglers. The Department of Fisheries regularly stocks the lake with salmon and trout.
The weather at Lake Chelan is usually sunny — the local chamber of commerce claims about 300 days of sunshine each year. And there are numerous places to launch your small boat. One of the appealing amenities at Wapato Point is an elaborate dock and beach area where you can either tie up your own boat, or take out one or the resorts many “Hobie” sailboats and other water “toys.”
It is the location on Lake Chelan that eventually sells Wapato Point. The resort regularly offers great deals to get potential timeshare buyers to book a visit. Visitors are given a brief sales presentation at which time they learn about the costs and pluses to timeshare ownership.
Like other timeshare owners across the country, Wapato Point owners can tie in with a network of other resort properties and swap their time at Wapato for someplace else. They can also rent their units if they are unable to use their time.
You are really buying at Wapato Point because you enjoy Chelan and time-sharing is really a paid-up vacation program. You’re buying now so you can take your vacations in the future at lower cost.
For more information on Wapato Point call 509-687-9511, or visit their website at www.wapatopoint.com.
Wapato Point dock, photo by Cary Ordway