Accommodations, DESTINATIONS, Road Trips, TRAVEL, United States

Restless at the Restful Nest

The Garden Room at the Restful Nest


Just a few more stops in Oregon! This past summer my husband and I spent twelve days traveling the state and I’ve been sharing the experience with you. I’ve been telling you about the attractions we visited, the meals we ate and where we stayed. Maybe you’ll decide you want to visit Oregon, too. Today, we’ll visit the Restful Nest on the Rogue.

It Started Out So Well!

If you’re a blogger, you’ll know what I mean when I say I started writing this blog when I first spoke on the phone with the hostess of the Restful Nest on the Rogue Bed & Breakfast Inn.   Bloggers are always thinking about how they’ll present something in their blog. Especially when it relates directly to their blog subject.

So I was talking to this hostess and realized that some people just have the gift of hospitality and you can feel it – even over the phone.  I knew you were going to love her inn as much as I loved her and I’d write a glowing review she’d be proud to hang on her wall.  But that’s not exactly how it turned out.

I can assure you that you’ll love the hostess, but one thing about people who have the gift of hospitality, some of them should get a refresher course on basic housekeeping and maintenance.  It’s one thing to be a free spirit who opens your door wide to guests without worrying whether absolutely every detail is in perfect order.  It’s another to be oblivious to the condition of your home, especially if other people are going to pay money to spend the night there.

The pictures on her website show a charming edifice with inviting gardens, but they were taken about ten years ago.  The place doesn’t look like that anymore.  It would be one thing if she’d redecorated and things had a different theme or color, but that’s not the case.  Ten years ago I’m sure it was amazing.  It’s not now.

She’s asked us to call her after our boat ride and let her know we were on our way – just in case she’d gotten tied up at her real job.  When we did, she gave us a few last minute instructions about entering her property and announced a new resident had been hatched at the Restful Nest just that morning – a duckling.

Then We Arrived

So we found the address and the gate looked just like she’d described.  Along with the ducks, the Restful Nest also has dogs and cats, so the visitors have to risk their lives on the edge of the road dickering with the gate so the dogs won’t get out.  OK, I have a dog and it’s at least as important to me as the people who visit me, but I don’t run a bed & breakfast.

Our hostess was waiting in the front yard for us (maybe she should have been at the gate). She couldn’t wait to introduce her to baby duckling.  So the first thing we did was go to the barn.  Do you know how bad poultry scat smells?  May you never have to find out.

Then we toured the gardens.  Whoever had taken her photos for the website is to be commended.  What had appeared to be a large water feature was instead a minuscule fountain on the side of a hill on the other side of a concrete block retaining wall.  Even if it had been as lovely as I’d hoped, the musty smelling chaise lounge made me envision mold spores rather than an idyllic snooze al fresco.

Once we entered the home we could see the collection of antiques the hostess mentions on the website and she had some really nice pieces, but she had entirely too many of them.  I bet when she opened ten years ago, her antique collection complimented the decor.  Now the antique collection is the decor and if it covers every available surface in the house – well, the antique collection thinks that’s only right.

We climbed the narrow stairway to the upper story to a second living area with a large attached patio and two doorways leading to two bedrooms.  One was our Garden Room and the other was being occupied by a more permanent tenant.  During slow seasons, the hostess took in boarders.  It must have been slow for a long time, because the one time I saw the boarder she glared at me as if I were an intruder, rather than a paying guest.


But I’m not through.  After having dinner at Applebee’s, we came home to a delicious homemade dessert and our hostess was eager to visit with us.  I must confess she broke my heart.  I knew she was a nice lady from the moment I first spoke to her over the phone.  She wasn’t a model housekeeper and everything about the property needed work, but she was genuinely nice – however, she’s also very lonely and the bed & breakfast business is not going so well.

If she had griped and moaned and complained to us, I think we’d have just laughed at her and moved on.  But that’s not how it was.  She was charming and hopeful and optimistic, in the midst of a crumbling empire.  I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and say, “Run!  Let the bank repossess the property, change your name and start over somewhere else.”  Instead, I ate more of the delicious dessert than I should have and wished that there were something I could do to make things better for this poor lady.

I didn’t sleep well in the Garden Room.  I had the creepy feeling the boarder on the other side of the wall was listening to every creak and sigh.  When we got up, Bill wanted to get the hell out of dodge and not have to deal with our hostess.  I hissed at him to behave himself, “She’s lonely and going bankrupt.  The least we can do is be kind.”

We struggled through a delicious breakfast.  She’s a remarkable cook and it was easy to imagine a table-ful of happy guests enjoying a delightful breakfast, but instead, we shared the table with a pile of junk mail that she’d never gotten around to sorting through.  Bill couldn’t wait to leave, but she wanted us to see the duckling one more time.

I really wish I could tell everyone to go stay at the Restful Nest, because I loved the hostess and recognized what a precarious position she’s in, but I can’t do that with a clear conscience.  There’s just too many red flags. By the same token, maybe travel puts you in a generous mood and you’d like to help this poor lady out a bit.  Then by all means, go!  I wish a miracle would occur and ten years of decay could be lifted off the property.  You’ll never find a nicer hostess than the Restful Nest’s and she’s an amazing cook.  But if you want a good night’s sleep on a well-maintained property, maybe it’s not the right place.

DESTINATIONS, Restaurants & Bars, Road Trips, TRAVEL, United States

Taprock Northwest in Grant’s Pass

Are we having fun yet?


Welcome to Oregon! Well, sort of. This past summer my husband and I spent twelve days traveling the state and now I’m sharing the experience with you. I’ll tell you about the attractions we visited, the meals we ate and where we stayed. Maybe you’ll decide you want to visit Oregon, too. Today, we’ll have a bite in Grant’s Pass.

Food in Oregon

I mentioned when I started this series that feeding ourselves was one of the most difficult challenges we encountered.  One big problem throughout the trip was that the restaurants just weren’t open when we wanted them to be.  The other problem is that we live in Dallas.  Dallas is one of those places where eating out and shopping are our primary entertainments.  In other words I’m spoiled.

Still, I know a good restaurant when I find it.  Andina, the Peruvian restaurant in Portland is one of the best places I’ve ever eaten.  Edgefield McMenamis in Troutdale serves a memorable breakfast.  At this point in the trip we’d been on the road for seven days.  Out of nineteen meals, we’d had two good ones.  I’m just saying this to remind you that I’m not one of those people who takes great joy in finding fault with food, accommodations or attractions, but I was having some tough days in Oregon.

Our non-refundable pre-paid admission for the jetboat had me a little worried.  Bill’s not much of a morning person and I wasn’t sure how the drive to Grant’s Pass would turn out.  I figured we might be stuffing down a Mickey D’s burger as we climbed on the boat.  Instead we got there plenty early to enjoy a meal at Taprock Northwest.  We’d gotten a glowing recommendation about the restaurant when we made our reservations with the hostess at our Grant’s Pass bed & breakfast inn.

Taprock Northwest

I’ve got to tell you it’s a gorgeous place.  From the parking lot, it appears you’re walking into a very large one-story log cabin, but on the backside are several levels of decks that offer riverside dining.  Every detail of the architecture is first class.  The hunting lodge theme pervades every surface and fixture, but its not overwhelming.  The sun was shining and it was a gorgeous day, so Bill and I took a seat on the upper deck.

We were hungry, but neither of us eats very heavily at lunch, so we opted for a salad and a sandwich.  Bill ordered a crab salad and I went for a turkey sandwich with cranberry cream cheese.  The waiter returned to us quickly with an apology, the crab salad wasn’t available.  Nothing else grabbed Bill’s fancy, so we decided to share my sandwich.  I warned him that there would be fruit on it, something he usually doesn’t want.  I even offered to change to something he’d like better, but he said to stick with the turkey.

When we got our sandwich, there were cranberries and there was cream cheese, but I wouldn’t have called it “house made cranberry cream cheese.”  In my book, “house made cranberry cream cheese” would have been cranberries blended with cream cheese and spread onto the sandwich.  Instead, a hunk of cream cheese was slathered in cranberry sauce, overwhelming everything else between the two monster pieces of foccacia.

It wasn’t the best meal we had in Oregon, but the day was gorgeous and the deck was relaxing, so it wasn’t the worst meal we had in Oregon either.  We saved that honor for the Windjammer in The Dalles.  (After the boat ride we had dinner at Applebee’s, a safe and economical option any where you find one.)

The best part of the Taprock experience was the post-meal stroll.  The jetboat launch is below the restaurant and a riverside trail connects the restaurant with the jetboat office, which is across the street from the restaurant at street level.  Along the trail are murals and gardens to enhance your experience.

I’d say that if you are in Grant’s Pass you should go to Taprock Northwest, but I wouldn’t suggest the same sandwich we shared.  I’ll tell you about the bed & breakfast inn next week.

Attractions, DESTINATIONS, Road Trips, TRAVEL, Travel Planning, United States

Grant’s Pass #1

Are we having fun yet?


Welcome to Oregon! Well, sort of. This past summer my husband and I spent twelve days traveling the state and now I’m sharing the experience with you. I’ll tell you about the attractions we visited, the meals we ate and where we stayed. Maybe you’ll decide you want to visit Oregon, too. Today, let’s talk about Grant’s Pass.

Hellgate Jetboat Excursions

Let’s start with Hellgate Jetboat Excursions.  If you asked Bill, I’m sure he’d list this as one of his favorite things on our Oregon trip.  It was a boat.  There were times we went fast.  And there were birds.  Yep, that about sums it up.  Quite frankly, I expected more.

Yes, it was a boat.  Quite a nice one, I might add; but they squeezed us like sardines.  I like people and all that, but I’m not big on rubbing thighs with people I don’t know.  On the placid Chicago River tour I took once, it was OK.  Doing three-sixties on the Rogue River, not so much.

Yes, we went fast, but we also went slow – a lot.  First you have to get away from Grant’s Pass and the river’s edge is prime real estate.  Since the residents don’t want loud jetboats tearing up and down out behind their homes all day long, the jetboats putt putt putt their way to the wilderness area.  Then there are wildlife areas where they can’t go fast and recreation areas where they can’t go fast and rapids where they can’t go fast and…well, you get the drift.

When we did go fast, it was in tight circles.  The whole point was to see how many people they could get wet and just how wet they could get them.  The first two or three circles were enough for me, but just like going slow, we went in circles a lot.  I can imagine that with a group of eight-year-old or even teenagers, this could be a blast.  My husband enjoyed it more than I did, but after a while, even he would have been happier with some seriously fast straightaways.

The Best & Worst Parts

The best part was the birds.  There was lovely foliage along the river and many birds made their homes there.  I like to imagine how gorgeous a few of those stretches along the river would have been if it had been quiet.  Whether tearing into a turn or putt putting along the boats were loud.

Not only was our boat loud, but our guide wouldn’t shut up.  I’m sure the residents of Grant’s Pass were very nice people, but I really got to know a whole lot more about them than I really wanted to know as we crawled along during the first portion of the tour.  Like some robot without volume control, the guy had something to say about every inch of the river.  I’ve got some news for him.  It wasn’t all that interesting.  He did give us a few pertinent factoids about the flora and fauna, but the information that was most frequently pressed upon us was that this guy spent way too much time on the river and he found his own habits much more entertaining than he did those of any other river wildlife.

Grant’s Pass is a really cute historical town with some great looking galleries and shops.  The surrounding area offers all kinds of activities from fly fishing to spelunking.  Given another opportunity to visit there, I’d check out The Wolf Creek Tavern  Wild Heritage Site, visit the wildlife sanctuary  or see the Museum of Art, but I wouldn’t take another Jetboat ride.

Come back next week and I’ll tell you a few other things I might have passed on in Grant’s Pass.