Tourism and hospitality looked very different in 2020 than in years past, and as hard of a hit as this industry took, no industry was safe when it came to the coronavirus. The good news – during the sluggish pace of sheltering at home and social-distancing, those hotels, restaurants and other service-related businesses that survived have had time to adjust to the new norms, allowing those of us who have gone stir-crazy to embark on safer escapes. Here are some of my suggestions and some tips and things to expect as we ease back in to traveling (safely).
As much as I miss the shows in New York, the sunshine in California, and the restaurants in Las Vegas, I’ve opted for local getaways accessible by car. For me, that has meant trips to my home away from home, The Ocean Lodge (2864 Pacific Avenue, Cannon Beach; 888-777-4047; theoceanlodge.com). With extra cleaning protocols in place, face coverings required, and a helpful concierge team, I felt as comfortable in their spotless hotel as I do at home, but with the added bonus of getting to enjoy an ocean view.
Although upon request the staff had takeout menus available for local restaurants, it’s best to know what you’re walking into, which leads me to my next tip – plan ahead. That means reading up on the ever-changing guidelines and restrictions, as well as calling restaurants ahead of time to see what’s open during your stay, and if they are offering takeout only. The lodge conveniently offers a great complimentary breakfast and mini refrigerators and microwaves for any snacks or takeout meals that you may have picked up along the way.
Make sure to bring a good book to curl up with next to their in-room gas fireplace. There’s no better spot to try and catch a storm roll in during the winter season, with minimal interference from others as this is the coasts off-season.
If you prefer something a little more exciting than storm-watching, opt for a stay at the Timberline Lodge & Ski Area (27500 E. Timberline Road, Government Camp; 503-272-3410; timberlinelodge.com). Although rules and regulations continue to evolve and change, access to this historic lodge has recently been limited to overnight guest’s only (and limited visitors as restrictions ease), assuring guests that this is the calmest you’ll likely see the lodge the entire winter season.
As an added precaution, I recommend getting cozy with room service from the Cascade Dining Room. If you enjoy skiing, another recommendation would be to avoid the usual weekend traffic with night skiing through March on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. The Ski Area capacity has transitioned into a new online reservation system, assuring that capacity will be better managed. Other updates like a new and more efficient chairlift and an outdoor food truck has also helped create a safer environment to celebrate the winter season at the slopes.
The all-new fourth edition of “Gerry Frank’s Oregon” guidebook is available through oregonguidebook.com; 503-585-8411; [email protected]; amazon.com; Macy’s; and P.O. Box 2225, Salem, OR 97308.