I usually love the idea of staying at a Bed & Breakfast more than the actual stay. So many of them are way too cluttered, cutsie, chintzed and china-ed for my taste.
However, Ashland Creek Inn sets the bar at the tippy-top. If I had my way, all new B & B owners would be required to take a class from ACI’s gracious proprietor, Graham Sheldon, before they open.
He would probably teach them that:
1. A good location is paramount. His is perfect since it’s just 2 baby blocks from downtown Ashland, guaranteeing that you’ll hear nothing at night but the babbling creek ( Or is it just brooks that babble?) flowing right outside, surrounded by a forest of shade trees.
2. The rooms should be immaculate, comfy and special. A.C.I. has 10 sweet suites, each luxuriously styled out with a different theme, culled from one of his many round-the world trips where he collected bits and pieces of artifacts and antiques. I loved the exotic “Marrakech” suite (wish I could find out what souk he shopped at) or if you go for a more streamlined look you’ll be happy with the Danish modern appearance of the “Copenhagen” suite or perhaps the Asian aesthetics of the “Matsu” suite which overlooks the koi pond.
One thing they all have in common is a private entrance, kitchen facilities, sitting rooms and a private deck.
3. Make sure the staff is well –trained and love what they do since that translates into thoughtful, caring yet still professional service. Leave the guests feeling pampered but not fawned over.
4. Cook them a breakfast they’ll never forget, with a choice of dining areas. At ACI you can have brekkie overlooking the creek, in their terraced gardens, or in the elegant dining room. (I love having choices so if you don’t want to get up close and personal with the other guests first thing in the a.m. you don’t have to.) Our amazing breakfast started with a triple berry smoothie eye opener, followed by a sophisticated presentation of grilled mango sauced with a reduction rosemary and balsamic vinegar. And the duck confit and sweet potato hash, topped with poached eggs and hollandaise was a thing of beauty.
I was just sorry we couldn’t stay for the afternoon tea (or the rest of the week, for that matter) since I heard that they offer amazing home baked sweeties.
My picky NYC sis and I had absolutely no criticisms, (very rare for us) and will definitely make it our home base when we return for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival,
running until November 1, or to take in one of Ashland’s many food, wine and art festivals. I have my eye on the “Eat Your Dessert First” event.
It was a cold, drizzly night so we were glad that dinner was just steps away at
Beasy’s On The Creek. They have a lovely patio overlooking the creek for dining al fresco, but we were quite happy with our table by the fireplace. The menu runs about 50/50 meats and seafood, and offers well-prepared traditional dishes such as Alaskan Halibut, simply Grilled and topped with lemon-dill beurre blanc, as well as some creative offerings like their spicy Pacific Rim crab cakes. The menu is a bit pricey but we felt it was worth a little extra since each entrée came with a starter of homemade gumbo or a choice of salads. I thoroughly enjoyed my “Hearts of Romaine” dressed with an addictive Oregon Blue-cheese Vinaigrette, followed by the flavorful sashimi-grilled Tuna, although I was a bit underwhelmed by the rather plebian rice and broccoli sides. However, I perked right up again, sharing a generous chocolaty brownie, ice cream and fudgy topping dessert. Also loved the Trefethen Dry Riesling recommended by the friendly waitress.