Emerald Get-Out-Guide

EmeraldGetOutGuide

Benbow, California 

Dana Murguia
Assistance Columnist

It’s that time of year when you are either boycotting Valentine’s Day and holing up with your own box of Partrick’s chocolates for the night, or searching feverishly for the perfect spot to take your special someone.

Since 1926 the Benbow Inn has been the place for special occasions and lover’s trysts.  Humboldt’s very own historic luxury hotel sits perched on the two forks of the Eel River amongst 50 acres of golf course and resort.

We recently stayed in the nicest room, referred to as the “cabin”, which has its own private balcony overlooking the river.  It was our 10th anniversary over Martin Luther King weekend. My husband rented us the nicest, most secluded, romantic garden cottage. My aunt, stepmother, and four of her friends came along for the ride.   Thankfully, they did not join us in the cabin overnight, but before dinner we did enjoy complimentary sherry and champagne while lounging like the Tudors on the four-poster bed.  There is plenty of seating in the cabin, a sofa and wingback chairs. It felt good to be royal for a bit.

From the website itself:  “each day between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. guests enjoy complimentary tea and scones with a beautiful fireplace as the centerpiece.  The Tudor style dining room serves breakfast lunch and dinner every day of the year.  The Inn’s restaurant has received the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for its extensive wine list for over 15 years.”

The website also claims that the Inn was a destination for the Hollywood elite back in the day, and we happen to know that one famous director, first name initial O, last name Stone, made the Benbow Inn his office this fall while decompressing alongside the redwoods.

So if you want to impress your sweetie, take advantage of the Romance in the Redwoods Valentine’s Day special and you will get preference for dining room seating.  The menu looks delectable and your total cost for two nights starts at $336 (come on, that’s practically less than a regular hotel in Eureka/Arcata) plus $65 each for dinner and that comes with Holly Yashi earrings and a free round of golf (in case you find yourself, ahem, otherwise occupied).  The yum-fest includes:

HUMBOLDT BAY KUMAMOTO OYSTERS

SHRIMP & LEEK BISQUE

FRISÉE & FIG SALAD

GRILLED BLACK ANGUS FILET

and DESSERT

If you miss the Valentine’s special or don’t fancy romance, treat yourself to a room overlooking the river some other weekend while enjoying a warm fire.  As the website claims, “the winter months are an ideal time to reflect, recharge and rejuvenate in Southern Humboldt.”

As the hotel is historic, the cabin is the best bet for wheelchair accessibility.  We called ahead and three strapping young people wheeled my husband’s manual wheelchair up the sloped path to the cabin, which is on the same level as the gorgeous patio, and first floor of the hotel with the restaurant, grand fireplace and the bar.  It is not for the faint of heart but no different than many places in Europe where people stand in for ramps and wheelchair lifts.  The food and the ambiance more than made up for everything and the bathroom in the cabin was wonderfully wheelchair accessible.  Oh, and did I mention it has a hot tub?

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