Now that Oregon has opened up post-Covid, locals and road-trippers looking to savor the state’s natural bounty should consider heading down to Southern Oregon. Get off the interstate for a scenic drive exploring a region of Oregon filled with cascading waterfalls and mountain lakes, historic bridges, local wineries, world-class fly fishing, white water rafting, mountain biking, hiking, and many other outdoor pursuits. Also in Southern Oregon are two of best B&B’s in the state; the Steamboat Inn and Historic Prospect Hotel.
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Steamboat Inn on the North Umpqua River
Start your journey at Steamboat Inn (42705 North Umpqua Highway, Idleyld Park, OR, 97447). This historical resort perched on a bluff overlooking the North Umpqua River traces its beginnings to Clarence Gordon’s North Umpqua Lodge in the early 1930s until 1954 when he relocated to the inn’s present site. The name “steamboat” stems from the area’s mining days when prospects for gold who did not come up to expectations were said by miners to have been “steamboated.”
Here guests can experience a full Wifi detox as phone and internet access are available only in the main lodge. In lieu of watching television, relax with a glass of wine as you enjoy a balcony view of the Umpqua River or nap to the sounds of the river.
Choose from a range of accommodations designed to meet your particular needs. Their eight River View Cabins are perfect for a couple or solo getaway. Each cabin features a king bed with a scenic river view, and a shared balcony overlooking the Umpqua River.
For an anniversary getaway or extended stay check out The Falls Suites and The Maple Ridge Suites, both of which include a complimentary bottle of wine, kitchenettes, functional fireplaces, private balconies, and soaking tubs.
Families wishing more space and those with pets can book the Hideaway Cottages and Campwater Houses both located near the main building. Each lodging comes with quality toiletries, locally made toffee, and locally roasted coffee from Takelma Roasting, owned and operated by the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians in Roseburg.
While you can explore the area’s natural offerings, consider using your time at Steamboat Inn to fully unwind. Book a massage, curl up with a book in their library, grab a drink at their bar, or cast your fly rod into the North Umpqua river. A carefully curated gift shop offers local flies, leaders, and other fly fishing accessories but you must bring your own road and obtain your fishing license in advance online.
Enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner in their indoor dining room, outside on the patio weather permitting, in your room, or to go. Led by head chef Philip Boyle, the restaurant’s locally sourced food speaks to the history of this property. Take, for example, their infamous Steamboat Potatoes, a full pound of griddled Steamboat potatoes topped with chili, cheese, and green onions. Other highlights include their Pork Street Tacos, Smoked Steelhead Hash, Grass-Fed Beef Tenderloin, Kale Caesar Salad, and the Chefs Sampler Charcuterie and Cheese Board.
Pair these offerings with a bottle of Steamboat Inn Red wine, a blend of Tempranillo, Syrah, and Merlot made exclusively for Steamboat Inn by local Copper Ridge Vineyard or choose from their curated selection of local wines and craft beers. For those who wish to savor a cocktail, they feature such delights as their house Bloody Mary and a Rose Gin cocktail made Aria Gin.
After dinner, retreat to your room and turn up the gas fireplace to warm your room as needed. Relax to the sounds of the river as you drift off to sleep. In order to achieve a complete wi-fi detox, consider booking a minimum two-day stay.
Venturing to Prospect Historic Hotel
As Crater Lake National Park is only about 70 miles from Steamboat Inn, consider adding a short visit to this national landmark before leaving Southern Oregon. After departing Steamboat Inn, travel the Volcanic Scenic Byway along the North Umpqua River towards Crater Lake National Park.
Stop off in the town of Prospect for a stay at the Prospect Historic Hotel. This 19th century B&B listed on with the National Registry of Historic Places is only 32 miles from Crater Lake, and the closest destination unless en route to Crater Lake.
Stay in one of their meticulously restored rooms replicate with antiques and handmade quilts and shared bathrooms or one of the 14 motel-style units located behind the hotel. The latter option includes kitchenette options, which work well if you wish to prepare some of your meals and keep your beverages and snacks chilled.
Breakfast is included with B&B stays or can be added for an additional charge if you choose to stay in one of the motel rooms. When checking in, be sure to make a dinner reservation at their Dinner House. Their signature Prime Rib is a local favorite, especially when paired with a local Southern Oregon red wine.
Check out reviews of the Prospect Historic Hotel on TripAdvisor.
Explore Crater Lake
Before venturing to Crater Lake, get to know this region by spending a day in and around Prospect touring the local waterfalls. In particular, check out the Avenue of the Boulders, a visual testament to the power of volcanic eruptions and the strength of water flows. Walk among boulders that were thrown all the way from Mt. Mazama more more than 20 miles away, when it erupted close to 8,000 years ago and formed the crystalline blue Crater Lake.
While Crater Lake is open year-round, check their website for the latest weather conditions. Only the south entrance is plowed to the rim in the winter, and one will likely need to don winter gear for much of the year. Save yourself considerable time waiting in line to purchase a day pass by buying your park pass online in advance.
For additional information about booking your trip to this region, check out Travel Southern Oregon’s website.
As travel today remains uncertain, please keep your safety and the safety of others in mind at all times. If you are comfortable with traveling, please travel responsibly and within regulations, as any travel is at your own risk.
If you do decide to travel at this time, here are a few recommendations:
- Wear a face mask.
- Bring hand sanitizer and wash your hands on a regular basis.
- Check official websites before your trip for the latest updates on policies, closures and status of local businesses.
- Book a hotel with free cancellation in case you need to change your plans at the last minute. I also suggest checking hotel reviews in my favorite site, TripAdvisor.
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