My daughter, Emily, knows me well. For Christmas, she gifted me a night at the historical Weasku Inn on old Highway 99 in Grants Pass. Perfect for a too-short, but oh-so-sweet getaway. Here’s what happened.
Next year, the iconic inn will celebrate 100 years of providing respite along the rolling Rogue. The old lodge is best known as a favorite fishing retreat for actors Clark Gable and his wife, Carole Lombard, also Walt Disney. I’d wanted to stay there.
Kim from England checked us in, and she is a hoot. She’s also the cookie baker. More on that later.
The gift package included a roomy cabin facing the Rogue River and two $15 wine flights — six tastings of Southern Oregon wines, but the lodge amenities go further. They provide a nice afternoon spread of hors d’eouvres in their Rainbow Room, with windows that invite gazing onto their expansive and picturesque property.
The original lodge, with three rooms upstairs, has been restored and updated, while retaining all the charm and history of the bygone days. Newer cabins, built in the ‘90s, line part of the property with towering old-growth firs. Although removal of Savage Rapids Dam, riverbed changes and brush growth have eliminated a view of the river from the cabins, there’s a bridge on the property one can cross to reach a three-mile trail along the mighty Rogue. One original A-frame cabin is bi-level, with a river view from the top floor.
For dinner, we drove 99 into Grants Pass and found a table for two waiting for us at the Twisted Cork on 6th Street in the old district. Although the place was packed, our table was off to the side, and I didn’t notice the crowd noise normally prevalent in full restaurants. We could converse without using sign language.
Lane enjoyed swordfish and I found my favorite, sea scallops, nicely seared and not overcooked. Tim the excellent server brought a dessert menu, blast him. We packed chocolate flourless cake back to the cabin. When we returned to the lodge for forks, we discovered a plate of Kim’s freshly baked chocolate chip cookies in the Rainbow Room, so we snuck a couple of those into our cake boxes. I try to go easy on sweets, but when they’re staring you right in the face like that, it’s rude to ignore them.
The next morning, we took our time because breakfast is served until 11:00. I enjoyed a nice, hot shower in a roomy bathroom with nice amenities, like Aveda Spa products and terry robes. For breakfast, we got our table by a window looking onto the deck and woodsy grounds. They serve a generous buffet of hot and cold options, various juices and fresh fruit. I passed by the biscuits and gravy but couldn’t resist a gentle dollop of gravy on my fried potatoes. Good coffee and Metolius Tea from Bend are always available.
We soaked up lodge atmosphere after check out. I examined shelves of old knickknacks, duck decoys and pics of Clark and Carole while Lane sketched. Meanwhile, a warm fire crackled in the river rock wood-burning fireplace.
After saying goodbye, we headed to Caveman Bowl to throw a line or two. I grew up following Dad to his league games and bowled quite often, uh, 10 or 15 years ago. Ain’t it a fright how those years accumulate. Well, the brain was willing. I didn’t have my antique bag with me, so we had to rent shoes and hunt down the perfect strike-getter. Let’s just say, we drank cherry Coke, heaved the ball toward the pins, refrained from falling down and had fun. Later, my shoulders and left glute reminded me how long it had been.
Driving home on Hwy 234, we wandered over to Kriselle Cellars on Modoc Road for their delicious chicken sausage and mushroom pizza and a glass of Di’tani on the deck. The perfect end to 24 hours of fun and frolic. I recommend it.
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