Tag Archive | historic hotel

A Bite at the Oregon Caves Chateau

Once we had toured the Oregon Caves, it was time for lunch in the historic Oregon Caves Chateau!  The Oregon Caves Chateau was built in 1934, in order to provide the tourists visiting the cave with lodging and meals.  The Chateau was designed and built by Gust Lium, a local contractor with no formal training.  His talents were recognized by the Forest Service, and he was responsible for several projects within the Siskiyou National Forest in Southern Oregon, where the Oregon Caves are located.

The Chateau is six stories tall, built over a steep ravine.  The location makes its appearance a bit misleading, because when viewed from one direction, you can see all six stories, but from the front entrance, only the top three stories are visible.  The Chateau has 23 guest rooms, and also houses a dining room and coffee shop.  In front of one of the entrances to the coffee shop is a courtyard with a pond.

A Side View of the Oregon Caves Chateau – the Coffee Shop is the door on the bottom left

A Side View of the Oregon Caves Chateau – the Coffee Shop is the door on the bottom left

The style is considered National Park Rustic, with cedar siding on the exterior of the building, giving it a shaggy appearance.  Inside, the Chateau has the largest public collection of Mason Monterey furniture, made by the Mason Manufacturing Company in the 1930s.  Much of the furniture is in original condition, although some has been restored.  Although we didn’t stay at the Chateau this time (one day I will!), the rooms all maintain their original appearance, with steam heaters, and no telephones or televisions.  Some people would call this dated, but I appreciate the intention of making sure there are places that stay true to history.

The fireplace in the lobby of the Oregon Caves Chateau

The fireplace in the lobby of the Oregon Caves Chateau

But this post is about the coffee shop.  It was completed in 1937, with birch and maple counter tops on a counter that snakes around the dining room and vinyl stools, and it is almost entirely original!  The knotty pine paneling is original, but the oak parquet floor that was constructed in the 1930s had to be replaced with a tile floor after a 1963 flood.  We were there for a late lunch, so it wasn’t that busy when we got there and we were able to get 4 stools all together.

The Oregon Caves Chateau Coffee Shop

The Oregon Caves Chateau Coffee Shop

They serve typical diner fare with a Northwest twist, but their signature items are the milkshakes and malts!  They make them from real, hard ice cream and there is a long list of flavors that you can choose from.  I am a purist, so I went with the chocolate.  Each milkshake is huge, arriving in a full glass that is as big as the stainless steel cup it is made in.  YUM!

Delicious Chocolate Milkshake!

Delicious Chocolate Milkshake!

I ordered the bison burger, which was perfectly made (I asked for mine medium rare) and fries.  Jon had the Chef salad.  They have a variety of other burgers and sandwiches, chili, chicken strips and meatloaf.  Although the menu is pretty heavy on the meat, there are some vegetarian options, as well as a vegan burger.  And you can substitute a gluten free bun on any of the burgers or sandwiches.

My buffalo burger and fries!

My buffalo burger and fries!

I really enjoyed just sitting on the stool, eating my burger and shake and chatting with Jon and his parents.  It was a real treat to enjoy a meal in this historic setting, and it reminded me that we need to take the time to just slow down and see and experience what is right in front of you.

Have you stayed at the Oregon Caves Chateau or dined there?

 

Advertisements

The Grand Tour – Day 7 – Americus, Georgia!

After Fort Pulaski, we got on the road to our next destination – Americus, Georgia. Americus is a small town of about 17,000, which is only about 10 miles from Andersonville National Historic Site. Yes, the Andersonville of Civil War Prisoner of War camp fame, which was to be our destination the next morning. The long drive was a collection of boring freeways and picturesque back roads. We passed lots of cute brick homes with front porches, lots of singlewide trailers, a Mennonite Church, and one house that appeared to have been struck by a tornado. The entire front half of the home was sheared away, and there was furniture and debris all over. It made me glad we don’t have very many tornados in the Northwest (although we do have a few).

Once we got to Americus, we checked into our home for the night, the Best Western Windsor Hotel. The Windsor is a historic hotel, built in 1892 to attract folks from the north who wanted to winter where it was warm. It originally had 100 rooms, but after the renovation, it has 53 guest rooms, none of which are alike. The hotel has a grand 3 story lobby, and you can walk around the landing on the upper floors and look down at the lobby. Lots of famous people have stayed there over the years, including former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eugene Debs (the labor leader), Jessica Tandy and former President Jimmy Carter and his wife.  The hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places too.

Windsor Hotel – Built 1892 – Victorian (Queen Anne) Architectural Style With Moorish Elements

The Lobby of the Windsor Hotel

Rumor has it that Al Capone also stayed there, and had an armed guard posted at the base of the turret suite where he stayed. And it has some ghosts. Floyd Lowery was a doorman who worked at the hotel for over 40 years and is still around. Apparently he is a friendly ghost, still wanting to serve the guests who see him.  Although Floyd didn’t drink, the pub at the hotel is now named for him.  And a woman and her daughter were murdered in the early 1900s, pushed down the elevator shaft from the third floor. It is said that the woman’s reflection can be seen in the mirror in the hallway of the third floor, and the little girl can be heard running up and down the hallways playing. We didn’t see or hear anything in our third floor room, although it was on the opposite side of the hotel from the elevator.

The Windsor Hotel Still Has its Original Phone Booth!

The hotel is gorgeous – the renovation did a good job of preserving the historic features of the hotel, and was nicely appointed with a down duvet (actually a bit hot for the weather though!). We enjoyed our stay, having dinner in the pub restaurant, where I had the best fish burger I’ve ever eaten! The patty was made from lobster, crab and fish, and was just full of big chunks of seafood! Jon had the salmon satay with apple slaw, which was also delicious. We sat out on the pub’s second floor veranda and watched the thunderstorm from beneath the veranda roof.  The lightning was incredible – it was so close and we had an excellent vantage point!  It was a nice end to a great day.