Grants Pass, Oregon is a rafter’s paradise due to its access to the Rogue River. If water sports are not your style, perhaps theater is. Ashland is just forty-five minutes away and home to not only Shakespearean productions, but this season will offer such musicals and plays as My Fair Lady, The Music Man, and August Wilson’s Two Trains Running. Whichever appeals to you, if you plan on being in the area, don’t miss the chance to visit a very special place in nearby Wolf Creek, off Interstate 5.
The Wolf Creek Inn, operated by Mark and Margaret Quist, was built in 1883 by pioneer merchant Henry Smith. Originally a stage coach stop, it is now the oldest continuous use hotel in the state of Oregon. Step inside and you will hear floorboards creak underfoot as you enter the vintage parlor where an old-fashioned radio plays the likes of Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey as the aroma of marionberry cobbler wafts from the kitchen. The varied menu offers both seafood and comfort food like turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes and homemade potato salad.
If you book a room, you’ll be in good company. Former United States President Rutherford B. Hayes graced Wolf Creek with his presence, and writer Jack London was a guest. Upstairs you can view the latter’s room which remains furnished almost as it was when he wrote a short story, “The End of the Story” on one stay. On another, he completed his novel, Valley of the Moon.
It has also been a favorite of Hollywood legends such as Mary Pickford, Carole Lombard, Frederic March, Patrick Stewart, Robert Redford, and Sir Anthony Hopkins. Take a peek at the room in which Clark Gable often stayed when he wanted a fishing getaway from the pressures of Tinsel Town.
While in the area, you can visit the ghost town of Golden, just a few minutes’ drive from the hotel. As a Gold Rush settlement, like most towns of the era it had a church-in fact it had two-but was distinctive for a most unusual feature: it had no saloons. The general store and one of the churches still stand, evoking memories of past citizens, who in turn dare you to ignore the legend of a vampire-like apparition that haunts the surrounding woods. Sometimes it’s not out among the trees, but taking a much-needed rest at home… in residence at The Wolf Creek Inn.
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