Last week we had a nice visit from Grandma Jeanette and Grandpa Gene from San Antonio. With one of our two largest fundraising events of the year on Friday night and a member magazine that was just going to press, the beginning of their visit was the height of what had been a slightly insane May at work. (And preceded by an insane summer.)
By Saturday morning I was breathing a million sighs of relief at the thought of having at least a few days of reprieve – made even better by the fact that they had kindly agreed to watch Ian and Elena Sunday evening to Monday while Jeff and I spent a night away in Cannon Beach.
We love Cannon Beach. It’s such a quaint and pretty little town, and the fact that it’s a mere 1.5 hours from Portland makes it that much better. Of course, as much as I love the whole Oregon coast for its sheer beauty, the one thing I’ve learned for sure that you can depend on is that you can never depend on the weather there. We’ve had days where it’s 90 in Portland and clear as a bell until the last two minutes of the drive into town and it instantly turns foggy and chilly. All you can do is accept that it’s part of the charm of living in the Pacific Northwest.
But when Jeff and I departed the house on our little beach adventure mid-Sunday afternoon, for once we had no weather expectations. It was just okay in Portland and in fact, we fully expected it to be overcast and chilly at the beach. Imagine our surprise when we rolled into town with the sun shining and not a cloud in the sky. Even the locals always seem pleasantly surprised when this happens!
We splurged a bit by booking a night at the Stephanie Inn – and upscale, quaint boutique hotel with no young children allowed. Just what the doctor ordered. The lobby is lovely. No check-in counter, just a couple of welcoming desks with big chairs and bowl of fresh taffy. I was definitely liking this place already. Of course, that was before the woman pointed toward the jar of freshly-baked cookies that were available 24/7. She also directed us to a table of coffee and lemonade behind us. Now I really liked this place.
Not surprisingly, the room was also lovely – complete with a new spa tub, a fireplace and a patio with chairs just beyond the sand’s edge. Gus, a stuffed bear that we were supposed to fall in love with and bring back to our children, was waiting for us on the bed with a personally signed “Happy Anniversary” welcome card. (We were also thinking of the night away as a delayed anniversary thing.) The refrigerator was stocked with water and iced tea, which was the preference I had stated at their request when I booked the room. Everything had been thought of inside the room. Outside, Mother Nature served up the sound of rolling waves and a clear blue sky just beyond our sliding door. It was so nice.
We finished a walk along the beach with a visit to the wine and cheese reception. The Stephanie hosts this event every afternoon for guests in the main lounge area with a huge bay window that overlooks the ocean. The wines included a selection of a few of Oregon’s nicest Pinot noir, some local whites, a local brew from Astoria and homemade white and red sangria. And if that wasn’t enough, there are always those cookies in the lobby. At this point I’m starting to wonder if they’d notice if we just moved in… We enjoyed our wine on our little patio so we could listen to the surf and enjoy the sun.
The one part of the brief visit we might have changed was the dining choice. We had made reservations in their small dining room where they make every effort to provide a fine dining experience, but somehow it didn’t quite live up to all we have in town. The service was nice but not stellar, and because the inn rightly devotes so much of its real estate on the beach to guest rooms, the dining room is on the mountain side…with the parking lot below. The food was good – but again – not $200 good. Ultimately, my recommendation is – when at the beach, eat like you’re at the beach. When you want a really upscale meal, stay in Portland. Just my two cents.
After dinner we retreated back to the lounge area downstairs where we met up with a family of fellow Portlanders who were enjoying some quiet time before heading back to town to host a high school graduation party for their twins, who are both about to head off to college. I imagine they were also mourning the bills they are about to take on. Ouch. At any rate, this was the complimentary liqueurs part of the stay. Seriously…when do we move in?
Then, Jeff and I walked to a little pub down the street where, I believe much to his – and okay, my – surprise, I proceeded to give him a run for his money at a few games of pool before we returned to the room after midnight. Craziness – I know! The morning brought a return to the dining room where we were treated a lovely full breakfast and homemade pastries, also included in the stay. Really, though the rooms are not on the budget-friendly list of places at the coast, you do get quite a bit included for the price, making it a good value for the caliber of lodging.
Check-out came too soon, even after some more leisurely time in the room listening to the ocean. A stroll through town to peruse the art galleries produced nothing we *had* to have – fortunately for our pocketbook. We had strolled through town several times before, but of course with children and a stroller attached, which is just never quite as relaxing. A little lunch and we were back on the road to Portland, ready again to tackle real life. Or at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.