Need to get away for the weekend to someplace warm(er), beautiful and quiet? A couple of weeks ago Jorie (my significant other) and I felt exactly the same. It was cold and very wet in Eugene so warmer was a big deal. Ibiza was out, didn’t have the time or cash for that. Same for Mexico, Belize…Palm Springs…basically any place further than a 3 or 4 hour drive was out. I remembered that as a young kid my Grandparents used to take me to Port Orford’s cool little crescent shaped beach as a treat. Hmmm, I do love it down there, it’s always a little balmier than here, quiet – a good place to write music or just soak in the ocean views. Ok, southern Oregon Coast it was. Time to find a place to be for the weekend, at least for Saturday night since we already missed Friday.
Checked AirBnB, a logical place to start, nothing we liked available for our time – (about 6 hours after deciding we needed to go). I decided to check with TripAdvisor on what was available in the area and found a mention of the The Pacific Reef Hotel, a TripAdvisor award winner, ton of positive reviews, great prices, in Gold Beach (which I also love), Wifi (still gotta work a little). They are even pet friendly (although the cat probably wouldn’t agree to come along). This looked like our spot. Booked it, threw an overnight bag, a couple bottles of wine, the guitars and raincoats into the car and we headed out.
So a little background on Gold Beach The Pacific Reef Hotel
The average low to high temperature during the winter in Gold Beach runs between 40 and 65 degrees…all winter long. It’s part of our SO Coast “pineapple belt”. The community was originally named Ellensburg in the 1850s, but later took the name Gold Beach after a beach near the mouth of the Rogue River where hundreds of placer mines extracted gold. It’s home to around 2500 people and covers approx. 2.7 sq. miles. Oh, and Jerry’s Jet Boats are there in case you are looking for a little rowdy fun – I think I’ll wait till summer. Also Travis Rush – country singer; grew up in Gold Beach.
With our cargo loaded and a little road food for the drive we made our way down the 5 to Grant’s Pass, cut over to Coquille, out to Bandon and down to Gold Beach, made it in about 3 hours…your travel time may vary =^). Pulling into the Hotel we were a little unsure what we were in for; from the front it looked like a typical older Oregon Coast Hotel, wedged in between the Chowder House (where they give you a discount if you are staying at the PRH) and another Hotel. Too late to worry now so in we went to get settled. We made the right choice. Kind attentive staff, clean grounds and office, and a cool “sand castle” display in the lobby.
We had an ocean facing room up on the second floor. As we drove towards our building at the back of the property, it was clear that the owners and management of the hotel took great care of it; fresh paint, spotless groundskeeping – the kind of things that make you hopeful for what you’ll find when you get to your room.
Now we’ve stayed at quite a few coast hotels over the years so expectations for the amenities in the room weren’t high, but getting inside it was far far nicer that rooms we’d paid 2 and 3x’s more for in Portland.
After a couple runs back and forth to the car to unload, it was Wine:30. Which we decided would be best enjoyed on the covered patio overlooking the ocean.
In the rocking chairs.
So far so good. This place was turning out to be a hidden gem. We decided we’d check out the salt water hot tub before getting dinner.
We opted for a little steakhouse a couple blocks north of the hotel (good food, decent prices) and then back to the room so we didn’t miss the movie. Ok, it’s not a theater release movie, but it is a very nice show they’ve put together about Gold Beach and the surrounding area – kind of like the Grand Canyon IMax. This particular movie is shown on a large outdoor screen that is viewable from all the ocean view room patios.
We got back before the show started and took a little walking tour around the property. At the top of the stairs in our building we discovered a “hangout” room complete with fireplace, couches and one of the coolest wooden benches I’d ever seen.
Unlike most places we go, where smokers are relegated to standing by the dumpster or in a similarly uninviting smoking spot of shame, PRH has a lovely covered smoking area – you smokers get it.
They’ve also got a family building and apartment style suites too.
As dusk arrived we retired to the patio, drank wine in our rocking chairs, watched the movie and generally soaked in the sea air. It was both peaceful and unexpectedly romantic. We spent the evening playing guitar, drinking a little more wine and generally unwinding. By the time morning came, we were in love. Not La Jolla in-love maybe, but for a getaway destination that’s close to home, oh yeah.
Sunday morning, the sliding door to the patio open, the sound of gulls and ocean lending a peaceful audio backdrop, it was time for coffee. Being the designated coffeegod (yes, get dressed and go get it), and not interested in using the little pod brewer in the room, I walked off down the driveway to cross 101 to a little coffee stand we spotted on the way in. Crap, lights on, nobody home. The sign at the window says “Closed on Sundays”. That was the only one in town. Not giving up I walked back to the Hotel, grabbed the car and went to every single open shop I could find on my 3 passes back and forth through town. No love. Well, that’s it, clearly we had to get dressed and head for home so we could find some coffee.
As we started to head back out of town we thought maybe we’d grab a bite first. There was also a road by the bridge (and the motel 6) that I hadn’t gone down, so we decided to try it. Soo glad we did. There may not have been any good coffee in Gold Beach, but we found one of the best little breakfast stops we’d been to anywhere along the coast: The Indian Creek Cafe. Good food, well prepared and served hot. Even the coffee was drinkable. Hard to beat.
We really enjoyed our stay. This is a great getaway spot; clean, comfy, surprisingly romantic. Our room felt more like an AirBnB than a hotel room. There were families in rooms on both sides of us and we never heard a peep. Next time you need a little getaway that isn’t far from home and won’t break the bank, check out the Pacific Reef Hotel in Gold Beach. Just remember to take your own coffee pot.