Sunday, February 6, 2011

What a Gift!

Much is said these days about the value of giving experiences instead of material items as gifts. It takes imagination and heartfelt interest in the personalities involved to be able to organize and execute a gift as memorable as one we received for Christmas and our January wedding anniversary. Nearly two weeks after the experience we are still reminiscing about what a wonderful experience it was, and how perfectly suited to my spouse and I it turned out to be. Our children discovered the Whale Cove Inn and Restaurant Beck on an anniversary excursion of their own last year, and thought their aging parents might enjoy an overnight and gourmet meal in this lovely setting. 

Each of the eight suites of the Whale Cove Inn opens onto a private balcony which looks out over the cove.
  We arrived in Depoe Bay, (which is located South of Lincoln City and North of Newport, OR)  mid-afternoon on January 27. Although the weather forecast was favorable, we didn't hold out much hope for sunshine- let alone 60° temperatures. Mother Nature must surely have known this was a special occasion for us however, and smiled sweetly on our day. Dozens of harbor seals were sunning themselves on the rocks just at the head of cove at low tide, while sea otters frolicked in the gentle surf amid the bobbing heads of giant kelp.  

Sylvia was minding the desk when we checked in, helped with our luggage and graciously gave us a tour of the Inn and an orientation to our high tech quarters.  The Whale Cove Inn is built on the site of an old motel and restaurant. Redesigned and built with the idea of rest and relaxation in mind, this specialty boutique hotel offers the ultimate in design, comfort and decor. Understatedly elegant, with a slightly Asian flair, the soft colors, mixed textures and tasteful artwork offer visitors a comfortable, peaceful respite from the rigors of everyday life.

Entering the lobby, visitors are greeted by this beautiful orhid display
 Hubby napped while yours truly explored the premises, camera in hand, trying to capture the magic of this most magnificent day, and this lovely, peaceful place. Sylvia and I  visited for a little bit, sharing whale stories, and while we did not exchange names and contact information, I found in her a kindred spirit.
As the winter sun began to sink toward the horizon, it was time to take our seats at our reserved table in Restaurant Beck,  the gourmet restaurant located within the Inn. Beck is owned by Justin and Stormee Wills, and offers the freshest, most creative and  delicious food imaginable. Chef Justin is CIA trained and sources his ingredients from local farms, foragers and fishermen whenever possible. Energetic Stormee manages the dining room and looks after guests with explanations of the descriptions on the menu, and suggestions for course choices and wine pairing.

Our deckside window at Restaurant Beck (photo courtesy of Beck)
We doddled over a bottle of wine while the sky turned from blue to pink and finally to amethyst, while the surf roared below.
  Next came the challenge of making choices from Becks enticing menu. The mouthwatering fragrances  emanating from the kitchen all afternoon, gave us a preview of delectable flavors to come. The solution to indecision was that we would each choose different items from the menu, and share tastes of each. as you can see below, the choices were difficult to make!

Needless to say, every bite was beyond delicious, perfectly executed and presented. What would I recommend from this menu? Anything that strikes your fancy! No diner could possibly leave Beck disappointed. Chef Wills serves the sort of cuisine that is so beautiful you almost hate to put a fork into it, but once the first morsel is in the mouth, it should be savored ever so slowly, to make the experience last as long as possible.
Retiring to our suite after dinner, we relaxed in the comfortable furnishing of the sitting area, and yours truly could not resist the jacuzzi on the balcony, complete with sea salts provided by the Inn. Sitting out of doors, listening to the waves crashing on the rocks below, catching a glimpse of stars between wafts of steam rising from the hot water, was an ethereal experience this writer would like to repeat very soon. Sinking into a kingsized temperpedic mattress dressed in the most perfectly pressed Egyption cotton linens brought us to the end of a most wonderful day.

Our heartfelt thanks to all who helped make this lovely celebration happen for us: Cathyn & Michael and Family, JC & CJ, the propritors and staff at the Whale Cove Inn, and Restaurant Beck! 

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