Want to be treated to luxury in a small Oregon town? This is the place for a great getaway.

Have you ever been somewhere and realized it had a hold on you? Until a trip to Oregon, our favorite beaches were in Washington State. The small coastal town of Cannon Beach, the Carmel, California, of Oregon changed that. Little did I realize that we’d be so drawn to this town.

Cannon Beach is located on the Oregon Coast south of Seaside, a young-at-heart mecca for tourists who like the boardwalk beaches of yesteryear and the touristy atmosphere. Cannon Beach is more of a small-town atmosphere with some unique downtown shops and galleries winding through an up-and-down town.

It’s home to Haystack Rock, the third largest monolith in the world. Listed as a Marine Garden, a protected area, it towers at 235 feet above sea level. Haystack Rock Awareness Program was formed to educate people about the fragility of the area. Guided tours are planned if you’re interested in seeing the marine life there; obtain copies of tour times and information at the Chamber of Commerce or businesses in the area. You’ll be treated to an eye-feast of anemones, starfish, nudibranches and chitons, for example.

The monolith attracts birds. Tufted Puffins nest on the rock in the summer, as do Pelagic Cormorants. Western Gulls and Pigeon Guillemots reside in the area, so it’s a great birding opportunity for birdwatchers of photographers.

Our greatest experience here was the European-style Stephanie Inn where we stayed. Tucked below a hill south of town, the only four-star Inn in the area caters to every need. This smoke-free, pet-free Inn does not allow children under 12, it’s also a quiet place to relax and enjoy the area.

The cookie jar is always full and coffee is on 24-hours-a-day, so you may partake of the goodies while you wait to be checked in (they are usually busy around 4:00 p.m. check-in time). There are 46 rooms at the Inn and four one-bedroom Suites at the Carriage House nearby. Most rooms include a Jacuzzi tub (ours was heart-shaped), fireplace, air conditioning, a VCR with free movie rentals, a wet bar stocked with complementary soft drinks and bottled water, silk-terry robes and turndown service.

Dinner is a gourmet four-course affair if you choose to eat at the Inn. We didn’t make reservations and by the time we realized we made a mistake, there were no tables available.

A complementary late afternoon Oregon wine and Tillamook cheese tasting is part of the experience in the library and chart room. Get comfortable in leather and wicker furniture overlooking the ocean. Since this was a vacation I didn’t write down the wines we tasted, but they were supreme. We enjoyed talking with other folks from all over the world. Most come back yearly (at least).

The Inn has a lot of different packages, like a honeymoon package with champagne, flower petals in your bed, a keepsake heart box of chocolates, a candle, confetti bubble bath, balloons and a bow on your door. An anniversary package is similar with two Stephanie Inn keepsake wine glasses in a Stephanie Inn wine box, etc.

The Inn has birthday packages, a romance package and a coastal comfort package which includes a one-hour body massage (there is a massage therapist on site – make reservations ahead so you won’t be disappointed) and other delights. You may obtain a complimentary pass to Cannon Beach Athletic Club if you desire. There is bell service, a masseuse and downtown shuttle service if needed. Though hilly, we found it a pleasant walk to town. Our town dinner included a tasty calamari steak and fish and chips, then a pleasant sunrise walk back to the Inn.

In the morning enjoy a satisfying, complementary gourmet breakfast. It’s served in the private dining room where supper is also served. We ate heartily on an egg dish, potatoes or pancakes, fresh fruit of every sort, hot full-grain oatmeal, pastries (usually there may even be some dessert left from the dinner the night before – I got to taste their wonderful cheesecake I missed when we couldn’t get dinner reservations). It’s served buffet style.

We hated to check out, but when the time came we were given more cookies for the trip home and some snacks, along with two bottles of water. We came for the beach but ended up staying for the accommodations; they’ll bring us back next year. If you’re interested, don’t wait to make reservations for a room and dinner; they’re often booked months ahead.

Oh, and do enjoy the lovely beach while there.

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