Amazing! That pretty much sums up our stay at the historic Weasku Inn in Grants Pass. Surely, it's the best kept secret on the I-5 corridor! Originally built as a fishing lodge on the banks of the Rogue River in 1924, it has had several owners and several renovations over its life span. Yet, it still captures the atmosphere of the past, and offers tales of such famous visitors as Walt Disney, Bing Crosby, and Clark Gable, who stayed here in seclusion for three weeks after the tragic death of his beloved wife, Carole Lombard, in a plane crash.
The Weasku Inn truly is a treasure. From the massive fireplace in the main lodge to the lodge's large open decks and surrounding gardens filled with rhodies, it's a feast for the eyes. It's situated on the banks of Oregon's Rogue River, traditionally one of the main draws for guests who also come to fish its justly-famous waters.
But the Weasku experience doesn't stop there. It's also a feast for the nose and mouth. The breakfast (which is available until 11:00!) includes fruit-studded scones and cinnamon rolls served hot out of the oven, along with more usual items as biscuits and gravy and huge platters of ripe fruit. We eagerly filled our breakfast plates and ate on the expansive deck in the warming morning air. Afternoon brings a selection of appetizers and generous glasses of wine. And, the day concludes with plates of the best warm chocolate chip cookies you've ever tasted, complimented by glasses of cold milk.
The legendary Clark Gable was but one of the Inn's famous guests.
We selected a river cabin, although lodge rooms are available, including the Clark Gable room. The cabin felt very private, and the deck was an ideal place to relax with a gin and tonic in the warmth of the late afternoon. Inside our cabin, we appreciated the special touches that had been included in the design, including the river rock fireplace and log beams. Surely, this was a most luxurious and welcoming accommodation.
Yes, the Inn was remarkable, but perhaps the staff was even more remarkable. For example, we learned that Nancy, the breakfast waitperson, had used her own money to purchase flowers on her way to work on Mother's Day. She generously handed out white roses to her co-workers and sprays of flowers to all the lady guests as they entered the dining room. Steven was completely charmed when he witnessed Nancy presenting 2 sprays of flowers to a young child and dutifully instructing the boy to give one to his mother and the other one to his grandmother... how sweet!
Night clerk Zackie told us about the Inn's plans for an upcoming "Flapper Party" complete with Prohibition Punch to celebrate the Weasku Inn's 90's birthday next year, and added our names to the invitation list. Another staff person diligently helped us with a computer problem. Yet another person ensured that we had a plate of freshly-baked cookies waiting for us when we returned from our late dinner at Blondies' Bistro. Every staffer, from the desk clerk to the maintenance man and everyone in between, appeared to be genuinely happy to be working there. We're not sure how the Weasku Inn can find and retain such excellent staff, but we're really glad they do!
On our way to Grants Pass, we stopped at Klamath Lake
where Steven captured these dancing Western Grebes
in the midst of their remarkable mating ritual.
Blondies' Bistro was also a great find. Lively, smart, trendy, noisy without being overwhelmingly so - these are all adjectives which properly describe the atmosphere of the restaurant on a Saturday night. In fact, probably the worst thing that you can say about Blondies' Bistro (Yes, that's where they place the apostrophe!) is that it's housed in a very mundane strip mall.
My selection of a Cowboy Pub Steak with a blue cheese-mushroom cream sauce (True, even the lowly button mushroom can be delicious when folded into such an appealing sauce) and garlic mashed potatoes arrived promptly. The meat was very tender and flavorful even though, as is my preference, I'd ordered a well-done steak. Steven's "Bistro Steak" with peppercorn cream sauce was equally well-received. The bread was so delicious we had to order a second basket. There goes our low-carbo diet!
Would we return to Blondies' Bistro? You bet! There is no question that the food was delicious and expertly prepared. The service was first-rate, even on a very busy Satuday night. However, in the future, I think that we'd make it a point to come a little earlier (They start closing earlier than we late-diners are used to!), on a quieter night and at a quieter time, when we didn't feel a little pressured by the noise and activity around us...but that's just our preference.
5560 Rogue River Highway
Grants Pass, OR 97257
226 SW G Street
Grants Pass, OR 97256
he Weasku Inn 5560 Rogue River Hwy, Grants Pass, OR 1.541.471.8000 1.800.493.2758