Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all!

It's been a crazy week with all the snow, slush, hail and rain! It's still snowing in Portland, but if the weatherman is accurate, the rain will come in the next day or two and hopefully the snow will become a distant memory. We haven't had any sign of snow or ice on the coast for a few days now.

I'll make this posting short since we all should be spending time with family and friends.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Light Snow Last Night - Still Ok!

We had some snow overnight, but it looks like it might rain. The Portland Metro area freeways are all fine and the best way to get to us without using chains is to go south to Salem and then take the #22 to #18 all the way to the coast, go north on #101 towards Tillamook. When you are close to Pacific City. you will see signs that say Pacific City, Sand Lake......turn LEFT (the name of the road is Brooten Rd.) and go a approximately 2 miles. Turn LEFT at flashing red stoplight (Pacific). Cross over river and turn RIGHT at stop sign (Cape Kiwanda Dr.). Continue going straight for approximately 8 miles (there will be 1 stop sign, but just continue straight ahead). Turn LEFT at the Sandlake Store and Gas (a small store on the corner of our road). You are now on Galloway Rd.. We are located 1/2 mile on your left. Look for our small sign on left. We are BEFORE the big left curve in the road.

If you don't drive south to Salem and decide to take the shortest route, please be aware that chains are REQUIRED on #6

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Back To Just Rain

For now, the snow and ice has all disappeared and we're back to just some rain. Of course, things change quickly, but I'll try to keep you updated each day on our current weather conditions. Stay tuned!!!


Monday, December 15, 2008

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!!

If you live anywhere in the northwest, you're are experiencing the "Arctic Blast" along with us! It doesn't snow very often on the Oregon coast, but when it does, it's spectacular. This is the tree right across the road from us in front of the inn.

Sunday it started snowing and turned Sandlake Country Inn into a winter wonderland.

Our dog Sandy always loves playing in the snow! She's a lab, malamute, Australian Shepard mix, so her malamute comes out at the first sign of snow. The first time she experienced snow was a few years ago here at the Inn and she actually started making her version of snow angels! She laid down, put her nose in the snow and started pushing the snow around.

If you haven't stayed with us before, you'll have to come and meet Sandy, our official meeter and greeter. She's not allowed in any of the guest areas inside, but she loves to show you how sweet and gentle she is when you're in her favorite playground.....the grounds of our property. She can ev
en show you where the beaver dam is. Ron and Sandy take a stroll most every night in search of Mr. Beaver. There's a beaver family in the creek on the west side of our property (not the creek by the Cottage).

Unfortunately, the snow has mostly turned to ice now and we're looking forward to the temperatures rising one of these days and getting back to normal. Come and join us on the beautiful Oregon Coast in the never know what to expect!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Join Us For the Holidays

On Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, on Comet, Cupid, Donder and Blitzen......Uh oh, this little guy is so full of our wonderful homemade cookies, I don't think he's even in the running for Santa's sleigh this year! Come and help him out by lightening his load of cookies!

Sandlake Country Inn is open for the holidays. If the craziness of the season is getting to you, come and get away where things are calm and peaceful. The common areas are decorated, but you'll find th
e guest rooms as usual.

If you join us before Christmas, you may want to take a little drive to the Tangier outlet mall in Lincoln City to take advantage of the sales for those last minute gifts. If you're here AFTER Christmas you can take advantage of the extra price reductions.

Our folk art bears are ready for Christmas. These bears are very special. They were created by the chain saw artist Wibb Ward (1911-1984). Wibb Ward lived just down the road and was one of the first chain saw artists. His work is renowned and is also in the Smithsonian.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Green Lodging Certification

It's official, Sandlake Country Inn is now a certified green lodging property! What does this mean? It means that we have met the guidelines of the Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild's "Green Inspection Program". This program has been developed with a partnership with Sustainable Travel International.

Going "Green" doesn't have to mean that you can't enjoy luxury! In fact, most of our guests over the years have no idea that when they stay with us we are a "green" property.

Since we purchased the inn 7+ years ago, we have made a commitment of our business practices to promote the sustainability of our planet's natural resources. Here are a few things we have done to help

  • Compost
  • Recycle
  • Buy locally when possible
  • Use environmentally friendly cleaning products with all natural ingredients
  • Use durable products instead of throw away
  • Use e-mail for most all business communications
  • All bubble baths & lotions are environmentally chemicals, all natural products
  • Purchase our lotions & bubble bath in bulk & provide each guest room with reusable glass containers instead of disposable travel bottles
  • When an appliance breaks, we've replaced it with an energy efficient appliance.
  • Purchased a TerraPass for each of our vehicles to eliminate it's carbon footprint
  • Replaced light bulbs whenever possible with florescent or LED blubs
  • Encourage our guests to reuse their towels if they feel comfortable doing so
  • Reusable grocery bags when shopping (Costco has great ones 3 in a pack for $4.00)
We will soon make Green Tags available to our guests who want to help mitigate the carbon footprint of their trip. Sustainable Travel International is providing U.S.-based Green Tags from the portfolio of activities managed by the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. BEF is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping stabilize our rapidly changing climate by providing high-quality, Green-e certified renewable energy certificates they call Green Tags. BEF operates projects that meet strict eligibility and performance criteria based on national standards.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge

The Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge is now open to visitors! The "Cannery Hill" unit is open daily from sunrise to sunset.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife have recently created areas to view and admire this beautiful and important area. The official U.S. Fish and Wildlife website says "There are two parking lots on the Cannery Hill Unit, the Pacific View Parking Area has minimal parking so we encourage you to leave your car at the first parking lot and walk the graveled Christensen Road/Trail which is a moderately difficult, 15 minute one way trip that leads you to the Pacific View Trail. Be mindful that you will be sharing the roadway with cars. On the Pacific View Trail you will experience an easy, 10 minute walk on a paved surface with rest benches. The trail ends at an observation deck where you will be treated to a sweeping view of the Pacific Ocean, Haystack Rock, Nestucca Bay, the Coast Range, and the Little Nestucca River".

The refuge habitat includes wooded uplands, riparian wetlands, salt marsh, and open meadows. These habitats provide safe haven for waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors, mammals, anadromous fish and amphibians.

The Neskowin Marsh unit of this refuge is the southernmost coastal sphagnum bog on the Pacific Coast. It is a rare and outstanding ecosystem with exceptional biological value. In addition to bird and mammal species, the sphagnum bog is home to many unusual and beautiful plant species such as the carnivorous Round-leaved Sundew.

The refuge supports 10% of the world population of dusky Canada geese, and the world's small population of Semidi Islands Aleutian Cackling geese, a subspecies of the Aleutian Cackling Goose, and the only coastal wintering population of dusky Canada geese.

"Aleutian Canada Goose (Branta canadensis leucopareia) - This subspecies of Canada Goose breeds in the Aleutian and Semidi Islands of Alaska. The Semidi Island group winters on the Oregon coast at Nestucca Bay NWR. This rather small Canada Goose was on the US Endangered Species List until being delisted in March 2001, when the population made a dramatic recovery after having been reduced to less than 1,000 birds. The Aleutian Canada Goose feeds in the pastures at Nestucca Bay and roosts in the ocean or on Haystack Rock in Pacific City. Like other Canada geese, the Aleutian likes pastures where grass and wetlands are present and can also be found in freshwater, bays, and marshes. They will nest on the ground near water in a nest lined with their down. Clutch size is typically four to eight eggs with a month long incubation period. It can take six to ten weeks for the young to fledge. Their diet is mainly plant matter. Aleutian Canada Geese can be seen migrating in a flock from the central coast of Oregon to the Semidi Islands. At night they can be spotted flying to Haystack Rock Pacific City to roost for the evening." (source -

Directions: The Refuge is located on the west side of Highway 101 approximately six miles south of Pacific City. To visit the refuge turn west off of Highway 101 onto Christensen Road and proceed a half mile to the parking lot.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Whale Watching Spoken Here" along Oregon Coast Three Capes Scenic Route

Winter Watch Week Dec. 26, 2009 - Jan. 1, 2010

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department each year sponsors the Whale Watching Spoken Here program. The program places trained volunteers at 28 great whale-watching sites from 10 a.m.-
1 p.m. during the winter and spring watch weeks.

We are fortunate here at Sandlake Country Inn to have 3 locations close by! The Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint, Cape Lookout Trail and Cape Kiwanda.

The whales that we see here on the Oregon Coast are the Eastern Pacific Gray Whales. This population of whales move between Alaska and California each year. This is over 12,000 miles, making it one of the longest migrations known for any mammal. They all move north in the summer to feed in the cold and productive waters, and then south in the winter to the warmer waters off California to breed. They can grow to over 50 feet, weigh as much as 36 tons, and live for over 50 years. At this time of year, the whales are on their way southward to breed in Baja California. They travel both night and day and average about 80 miles per day!

A population of about 2,000 Gray Whales stay along the Oregon coast throughout the summer, not making the farther trip to Alaska waters. This means that all year around you have a pretty good chance of a whale sighting.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Now that the elections are over, and winter is fast approaching, it's time to start thinking about Thanksgiving and the holidays. For me, this is always a time to look back, be thankful for where we are and to remember that our historic house and B&B has a lot of memories and traditions.

The Sandlake Country Inn was originally established in this historic farmhouse by Margo & Chuck Underwood in 1989. Margo was quite a visionary. Yes, the inn has changed a bit over the years and updated, but Margo's original vision is still very evident. One of the reasons we have many, many guests who return over and over the past 19 years, is because Sandlake Country Inn is a place where you can come, relive your memories and be comfortable knowing that even though your life is full of stress and hassles, they all disappear once you've come back. Our style is comfortable luxury, not stuffy. This is a place where you can feel comfortable being yourself and enjoy your surroundings. You know what I mean, haven't you ever been to one of those B&Bs where it's so prissy, you're afraid to touch or sit on anything? No fear of that here.

There are a few recipes that have been staples over the years which started with Margo, like our amazing cookies, the baked apple oatmeal and our Hot Apple Cider. I thought I would share one of them with you.

You can make this cider like the recipe says, in a crock pot, but I found that it works just as well in a big pan on the stove if you don't have all day to brew it. Oh, and it makes your whole house smell amazing!!


1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1 ½ tsp. Whole Cloves

2 Quarts Apple Cider
2 Cinnamon Sticks

½ tsp. Allspice
1/4 Cup Orange Juice Concentrate

Combine all ingredients in crock pot. Cover and simmer on low for 2-4 hours. Strain before serving hot.
Serves 8

Friday, November 7, 2008

Try our Home Roast now with a French Press!

Those people who have stayed with us before at Sandlake Country Inn on the Oregon Coast in Pacific City, know we are serious about our coffee! For the last 2 years Ron has been doing our own home roast with great success.

Now for those guests who prefer their coffee strong, we're offering a large Bodum french press pot delivered each morning of your stay!

Because the coffee grounds remain in direct contact with the brewing water and the grounds are filtered from the water via a mesh instead of a paper filter, coffee brewed with the French press captures more of the coffee's flavor and essential oils, which would become trapped in a traditional drip machine's paper filters. French pressed coffee is usually stronger and thicker and has more sediment than drip-brewed coffee. We specially grind our home roasted beans in a burr mill grinder courser than our drip-brewed coffee.

Our new French Press aluminum pots will keep your coffee hot up to an hour, but French Press really should be consumed within 20 minutes after plunging.

When you check in to Sandlake Country Inn Bed and Breakfast, we'll ask you if you'd like your breakfast delivered to your door at 9:00 or 9:30 and what beverage you want. Be sure to let us know your preference of our French Press at that time. By the way, our hot beverage service is delivered to your door at least 1 hour before your breakfast time! That way, you can wake up slowly, relax in your robes and slipper socks (we provide them), and outside your door you can collect your hot coffee, tea or chocolate along with juice, cream & sugar, all on a silver tray.

If you are an early riser, we have a beverage area available to you 24 hours a day with gourmet coffee, Stash tea, and hot coco. Our famous cookies are also available to you 24 hours a day in our beverage area.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Give the Gift of Our Oregon Coast Bed and Breakfast

It's hard to believe, but it's time to start thinking about the holidays.

Do you know someone who needs to unwind, reconnect or just get away from the hustle and bustle of the city? Our Sandlake Country Inn Gift Certificates can be purchased for any dollar amount.

Share with others why the book "Best Places to Kiss in the Northwest" has rated Sandlake Country Inn their highest rating of "Simply Sublime" and why we were voted "Most Romantic Hideaway" in Arrington's Inn Traveler Magazine.

When life's stresses are abundant, it's great to know there's a place you can get away to and let someone else worry about the little details. Let us pamper you or your loved ones so your only worry is which bubble bath should you choose?

Give the gift of romance and relaxation with our Sandlake Country Inn Gift Certificate.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

On Top Of the World

The next part of our adventure took us to the highest mountain in the Bavarian Alps. The Zugspitze is 2,962 meters (9,718 feet) high. To get to the top we took a gondola all the way to the top. At the top is also the border between Germany and Austria.

This picture is Ron and I on the Austrian side (Tirol). It was snowy and cold up there but we warmed up with some great wheat beer and french fries!

The views at the top were amazing and indeed it feels like you're on the top of the world. The ride up to the top was a little scary, but it was really smooth.

The platform at the top is also used for scientific purposes and does major research in the field of air quality and pollution.

Friday, October 24, 2008

We Survived Oktoberfest!

We returned last Wednesday from our much needed vacation in Germany. What a great time we had. We traveled with our great friends Rich and Julia (on the left of the photo).

After our flight from Portland to Frankfurt and a short stay overnight, we took the high speed train to Munich where we were able to take in the last couple of days of the Oktoberfest. We didn't take any pictures at the fest, because frankly, what happens at Oktoberfest should stay at Oktoberfest!! If you've ever been to any Oktoberfest in the states, it doesn't even compare. Munich really knows how to throw a party.

After a few days it was time to pick up our rental car and head to southern Bavaria.

Our first stop was at the very charming Scholderhof Farmstay . The location was perfect for day trips to the castles and many charming Bavarian towns. Scholderhof Farmstay is also locatged next to Wieskirche which is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. We had a 2 bedroom apartment that had beautiful hand carved woodwork. For breakfast, there were farm fresh eggs, sliced meats, wonderful grain breads and delicious German cheeses. This type of breakfast is what you get at most hotels, bed and breakfasts and farmstays. No, it's not the kind of breakfast we serve at Sandlake Country Inn, but it's definitely a good way to start your day.

Wieskirche is a very unasuming looking building from the outside, but once you enter, you're in another world. This little Rococo gem was built in the mid 1700s and is a pilgramage church.

My next post will share with you our trip to the top of the tallest mountain in the Bavarian Alps! Stay tuned!

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Tillamook Treasure

No, it's not the home of the Spruce Goose, but frankly, I really prefer the Tillamook Air Museum. The Tillamook Air Museum is the largest wooden structure in the world! In 1942 & 1943, the U.S. Navy constructed 2 blimp hangers in Tillamook to house a fleet of 8 blimps. The blimps were used for anti-submarine patrol along the coast as well as convoy escorts.

Naval Air Station Tillamook was decomissioned in 1948. Only 1 of the 2 hangers is left due to a fire in 1992.

Since 1994, Hanger B has been home to one of the top 5 privately owned aircraft museums in the nation.

On your stay with us at Sandlake Country Inn, you might want to take a short drive into Tillamook to visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory and also to visit this one of a kind museum.

Naval Air Station Tillamook was decommissioned in 1948.

Naval Air Station Tillamook was decommissioned in 1948.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sandlake Country Inn Romance

Ok, picture and your sweetheart have just taken a relaxing bubble bath in your luxury double jacuzzi tub. You're wrapped up in your kimono spa robes and slipper socks and are sitting in front of your own fireplace in your very private room/suite/cottage. No kids, no worries, just total relaxation. Here at Sandlake Country Inn, no matter what room you choose, romance is in the air. We provide the bubble baths, scented lotions, candles (battery operated), robes and the "Worlds Softest" slipper socks.

Unlike most Bed and Breakfasts, we don't worry about our guests having food and drink in their rooms. In fact, we encourage it! That's why we delivery your 4 course breakfast & hot beverages to your door in the morning. When you book a room with us we know that you are here to spend quality time with your loved one, so we do everything we can to make your stay an experie
nce, not just a place to rest your head. We also honor your privacy, but we are here if you ever need us.

Another great way to enjoy your romantic evening is to order our:
HEESE FONDUE FOR TWO - Perfect for a chilly night or when you don't want to stop for dinner before your arrival. Everything you need for a romantic light dinner for two. Cheese fondue, cubed artisan bread from a local bakery and sliced Oregon apples. Pair it with a bottle of wine from our gift area (extra charge).

Whether you visit us to celebrate an Anniversary, Birthday, Honeymoon or just a night away from the stresses of everyday life, let us help you plan your special getaway on the beautiful Oregon coast and find out for yourself why "Best Places to Kiss in the Northwest" rates our Oregon Coast Bed and Breakfast "simply sublime".

Monday, September 22, 2008

North Coast Seafood Festival

Enjoy Ethnic And Regional Entrees Featuring Gourmet Seafood And Vegetarian Selections at the North Coast Seafood Festival October 4 & 5.

The event is held indoors at the Tillamook County Fairgrounds.

Enjoy the sea's bounty while listening to music from around the world. You can find out more at their website North Coast Seafood Festival

Keep in mind that it's a small community event, but if you're in the area, check it out!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

It's Been Awhile!

Well, it's been quite some time since I last posted. The summer has been amazingly busy and we thank all of our wonderful guests for their patronage this summer. We have had a record number of guests celebrating their Honeymoons and Anniversaries. We feel very honored to have played a part in your special occasions!

This summer we saw an increase in guests from abroad. Guests came from Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, England and many Canadians. I guess the decline of the US dollar has helped increase the tourism to Oregon.

Now it's our turn to travel! Ron & I are going to Germany for a couple of weeks to spend some of those Euros. The Inn will still be open and our "Innsitter" will be Annette, who was our aspiring innkeeper intern over the summer. Annette will be here the first 2 weeks of October and will take wonderful care of you.

After we return I'll post some of our photos and experiences.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Our Continuing Story of An Aspiring Innkeeper

It's now been 8 weeks since Annette, our aspiring innkeeper intern has been with us. I thought for all you folks who have met Annette or have ever said "I would love to have a B&B when I retire" it's time to catch up with her experiences so far.

This time, I'm going to ask Annette a few goes!

Q: What is the biggest surprise or misconception you had about what the life of an innkeeper is like?

A: The amount of time spent to cook, serve, and clean for a "full-house" is quite time consuming. I did not think it would take almost all day. We start early in the morning and we finish by around 2:00 p.m. and then we need to prepare with the "check-in" starting at 3:00 p.m. and the "prep" for the breakfast. Somewhere along the way, we need to bake cookies, prepare the special granola we make in-house, go shopping, do the paper work and collapse.

Q: So what time does your day actually finish?

A: I am usually done by around 7:00 p.m., but there are questions and/or issues; phone calls taking reservations; that can keep Diane and Ron busy past 8:00 or 9:00 p.m., especially if there are late arrivals (after 6:00 p.m.).

Q: Now tell us about the parts of your day you enjoy the most and why after all this work you still want to be an innkeeper?

A: I enjoy baking, cooking and communicating with the guests. The interaction is very interesting since we get people from all over, both young and mature. I have developed a good relationship with Diane and Ron and we laugh and have fun together. It would be very difficult to have this kind of schedule if they were just watching me and letting me do all the work and just criticizing. We work together!

Q: Do you have a favorite moments/interaction/experience with a guest?

A: I appreciate the thank-yous we get, particularly if the breakfast was primarily my making.

Q: Any pet peeves that might help future B&B guests?

A: We would like our guests to be comfortable, relaxed and enjoy the pampering. However, we want them to treat our suites with care and consideration and follow our simple instructions.

Q: I know that you've now looked at a couple B&Bs for sale and other properties that might be turned into a B&B. I don't think the general public is aware of how much it actually takes to get into the B&B industry. Since you've now done a lot of research, speaking generally, how much money do you think people would need to have to purchase either an existing B&B or start their own?

A: The commitment to buying or building a B&B was also a surprise to me. The cost is higher than I expected, especially at this time of recession. It is not easy to sell a B&B, so some owners choose to revert to a "house for sale" rather than a "business for sale". I cannot specify the cost since it varies by location, size, whether business (turnkey) or home, and the area of the country. I would say that a range of $1 million to $2 million would be needed for an existing 5 unit place, plus money to convert, add or change to the new owner's liking. In addition, a cushion of $100,000 to be in business for 6 months without worrying about income. Building from scratch will always be much more expensive and the style will not be as eclectic as most people expect in a B&B.

Monday, July 28, 2008

"Chippy" The Wonder Squirrel

This summer our guests have had quite an amusing time watching both the chipmunks and squirrels feast on what is supposed to be bird food! We have bird feeders in numerous trees and posts which the chipmunks and squirrels scamper up, fill their cheeks to the bursting point then run the terrifying task of bringing it back to their home without our dog Sandy laying a trap for them.

Today, a very persistent squirrel was sitting at our back door waiting for an invitation to come into the kitchen. Needless to say we shooed him off, but it reminds me of a story which happened last year.

Ron was sitting at the computer in our little office area of the kitchen, when he heard a noise. He looked up and to his surprise there was a squirrel poking his head up and over from the inside edge of one of our food buckets! He was inside the bucket of about 10 pounds of chocolate chips! I think Ron was just as startled as the little squirrel. Ron said "What are you doing here? You're not supposed to be in here....get outta here!" Well, he listened to Ron and the little guy jumped out of the bucket and ran out the back door where the screen was a little loose! We couldn't believe it....he had actually eaten his way through the thick top lid of the bucket (one of those Tillamook Ice Cream buckets you get at the cheese factory) and was eating all the chocolate chips stored inside. Now, I've heard of chocolate cravings, but this guy was hooked!

The story doesn't end here. The next day I was sitting at the same computer when I heard an unusual sound. I got up and looked at the back door and guess who was trying to get back in for another chocolate chip party! Yup, the same squirrel, but this time all he found was a tight screen that was fixed. He was scratching, trying to get in. I shooed him away and I thought it was all over. No such chance...this little guy needs a 12 step program for his chocolate addiction. About an hour later, you guessed it, I was sitting at that same computer and this time I heard a very strange noise coming from the main entry room of the inn. I got up to check, and this addicted squirrel was on his hind legs scratching at the glass on the front door!!! He wanted his chocolate and somehow figured out both doors. Well, I really chased him away and threatened him with letting Sandy catch him and we didn't see him again after that.

So...what do you think the chances are that the squirrel that appeared at our back door today was the same one from a year ago? I know it's a long shot, but sure makes for some good speculation. Personally, I'm going to name him "Chippy"!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cape Kiwanda Longboard Classic

Surf's Up for the 10th Annual Cape Kiwanda Longboard Classic August 2nd & 3rd!

Whether you're a surfer or just looking for the nostalgia of days gone by, you'll want to hit the sand on August 2nd & 3rd at Cape Kiwanda.

Longboards are surfboards that are 9 feet or longer. This family event will have about 120 participants competing. Contestants will be judged on 3 criteria: size and quality of wave, length of ride and maneuvers the rider can complete.

If you're not a surfer, just come and join the fun. It's time for a beach party!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Pacific City honors it's Dory fleet with the 49th Annual Dory Days Festival July 18-20

The Dory Fleet fishermen use this small flat-bottomed boat to crash through the surf headed for the plentiful waters of the Pacific. At day’s end, they ride the waves back to shore and slide onto the beach. The original design of the dory allows it to launch from and land on the shore.

There will be Dory rides, food vendors and arts & craft vendors.

To learn more about the Dory boats and the Dory Fleet, check out this terrific article in Northwest Magazine

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

First Hand Experience

DIANE: If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you'll remember that we've arranged for Annette to do a summer internship with us. Annette is an aspiring innkeeper and is spending June, July and August learning the ins and outs of what it takes to be an innkeeper. Hoping to have her own bed and breakfast, Annette is getting first-hand experience and has jumped in with both feet!

I thought it would be interesting for our guests and other aspiring innkeepers to hear first-hand from Annette about her experiences here. Periodically we'll have Annette log in here to share her thoughts. Here now is Annette to tell you about her first 3 weeks with us!


Hi Aspiring Inn Keeper,

Many years ago, our family discovered the American B&B on the California Coast. We knew the European kind of B&B, which is a bit simpler. The California B&B we stayed at was beautifully decorated in Early American style, comfortable, had excellent food and our kids were thrilled. This was the beginning...

More recently, a change in my life cycles brought me back to the idea of owning a B&B . I know, many of you think, "Oh what fun!" I have news for you, think very hard about it, study and prepare as much as you can, and think again. It is in the same category as having a baby. You cannot easily give up a B&B because it becomes your baby; and it takes a lot more time, effort and work than you think, like a baby.

Diane and Ron have given me the opportunity to shadow them in their B&B and have even given me some freedom to prepare food on my own. (Yes, I got licensed by the state.) Learning the ins and outs of turning a suite in the most efficient way was a challenge for me and the paper work took time to get used to also.

But, after three weeks, I feel like I have learned a great deal. I still have almost 6 weeks to go and learn more...


Thursday, June 12, 2008

The World Famous Pig-n-Ford Races

Pig n what???? Yup you read it right. It's the World Famous Pig-n-Ford races right here at the Tillamook County Fair. Ron and I really enjoy going to the Tillamook County Fair each year. It's a slice of Americana which is so rare these days.

The highlight of the fair are the preliminary heats as well as the finals of the Pig-n-Ford race. These Model T Fords aren’t buffed and shined, they’re built for speed. And carrying small pigs. Their souped-up jalopies are the stallions in the World Famous Pig-N-Ford Races, the highlight of the annual Tillamook County Fair. Aug. 6 through Aug. 9th, people from all over the state will converge on this pastureland to enjoy horse racing, talent shows, country music stars, 4-H exhibits and carnival rides. For many, it’s all just a warm-up to the Pig-N-Ford, in which competitors grab 20-pound pigs from a pen, crank up their Model T’s, jump in and race around the track, with dust, gears and laughter flying.
This crowd-favorite event has been featured on Good Morning America and KATU’s Spirit of the Northwest, and in publications like National Geographic. But the standing-room-only crowds are just part of the allure.

If the Pig-n-Ford races aren't exciting enough, hang on to your hats, because the final Saturday night has the demolition derby. Ok, so I was only able to sit through half of it! Not my cup of tea, but hey, I just couldn't sit on that hard bench for another minute. Here's a hint.....bring a stadium cushion!!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Did You Miss the Starlight Parade?

If so, never fear, there's another parade happening soon.

The 2008 June Dairy Parade, with the theme “Hooked on Tillamook” is scheduled for Saturday, June 28 at 10:30 am in downtown Tillamook. This year marks the 51st Anniversary of the Parade which is considered to the second largest parade in Oregon, averaging about 150 entries per year.

Starting at 6:00pm, it's the Tillamook County Rodeo.

The Northwest's Finest Cowboys & Cowgirls!
  • Bareback Riding
  • Steer Wrestling
  • Bull Riding
  • Team Roping
  • Wild Cow Milking
  • Saddle Bronc Riding
  • Barrel Racing
  • Calf Roping
  • Breakaway Roping
  • $500 added purse

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Coffee Anyone?

Here at Sandlake Country Inn, we take coffee seriously! Ron has been roasting our blend of coffee for about 3 years now. He uses a blend of Bolivian & Columbian peaberry. The beans are organic, AAA & free trade! Even our home roast decaf is chemical free using the Swiss water system.

Enjoy Ron's home roast which we deliver to your door before breakfast, and for the rest of your day if you ever want a great cup of coffee, just help yourself to our 24 hour beverage table. There we have a Flavia beverage system with a variety of coffees. We also have a large variety of Stash Teas which are a local Oregon company.

Whenever possible we purchase products made in Oregon. Not only does it help stimulate our state's economy, but it's a great way to lower our carbon footprint. The least distance a product has to travel the better it is for the environment.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Family Visit

Today, Ron's parents Hank & Eyla Emineth have arrived from Florida for a visit. It's been a year and a half since we last saw them. By the way, you'll never hear me cracking in-law jokes, I've been blessed with the best!

We'll hopefully get to taste some of that wonderful Tillamook ice cream tomorrow. That is if we can plow our way through the hords of tourists who are pigging out on all the free cheese samples!

If you've never been to the Tillamook Cheese Factory, it's worth a visit just for the ice cream. They also have a nice gift store and Bar & Grill. Have a stop, it's worth it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Largest Sitka

Largest Sitka is but a shadow of the old champ

Trees - The Cape Meares Sitka is striking, but smaller than the Klootchy giant was

Thursday, February 28, 2008
LORI TOBIAS The Oregonian Staff

Two months after the demise of Oregon's beloved Klootchy Creek Giant, the state has a new champion Sitka spruce.

Standing 144 feet tall, with a circumference of 48 feet and an average crown spread of 93 feet, the Sitka spruce at Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint is the largest of its species in Oregon and the third largest tree overall in the state, according to the Oregon Big Tree Registry.

Compared with the Klootchy Creek Giant, which topped out at 206 feet and a circumference of 56 feet 1 inch, the new champ is a bit on the puny side but impressive nonetheless, said Brian French, one of two arborists credited with documenting the old spruce.

"The reason it is so small is that the top blew out probably 100 years or more ago," said French, part of a group dedicated to documenting champion trees. "At one time, it was a massive, massive tree. It was very close in size to the Klootchy Creek Sitka spruce."

The new champ is less than an hour's drive from the remains of the old champ, which sits in a small Clatsop County park just off U.S. 26 east of Seaside.

The old champ was toppled by the big Dec. 3 windstorm, but its days were numbered after a 2006 storm knocked a chunk of rotted wood from its core, creating a cavity 15 feet long and 2 feet deep. Word that the giant might fall any time brought visitors by the thousands and suggestions on how to save it. In the end, state foresters agreed to let it go naturally, which it did during the December windstorm.

That spruce was believed to be between 700 and 750 years old.

No one has put an official age on the Cape Meares Sitka spruce, but French believes it could be the same age or even 100 years older that the old champ.

"This one is in pretty rough condition," said French. "We have two trees left like it in Oregon -- the other is in God's Valley in Tillamook County -- and a small handful of trees like it in Washington. There is only a small handful of these in the world."

French and Will Koomjian, who helped measure the tree, learned of the Cape Meares spruce from a friend in Tillamook County, where the tree is known among locals. The new champ is easy to spot, sitting as it does at the end of the park's Big Tree Trail.

Designation as one of Oregon's champion trees does not earn it legal protection, but people are much less likely to damage it if they know it's on the registry, said Cindy Deacon Williams, program coordinator for the Oregon Big Tree Registry.

"Keeping track of the big trees is worthwhile because it sort of sparks the public's imagination to think about the weight of history that has passed since this tree was germinated," she said. "Since these trees got tall enough to cast shade there have been a lot of storms and a lot of fires. A lot of salmon have swum by in streams and a lot of fawns have gamboled around them. And all of that provides for us a context for the world in which we live.

"It reminds us that were are part of something bigger," he said.

Lori Tobias: 541-265-9394;

Monday, May 12, 2008

Photo Contest

2007 photo contest winner

Cape Meares Lighthouse 11th Annual Photo Contest

Are you an avid photographer? On your next stay with us, take a drive to the Cape Meares lighthouse, enter your photo in their contest and you just might be the next winner of their 11th annual photo contest. Cape Meares is the northern most cape on the 3 Capes Scenic Route. The lighthouse is the shortest one on the cape and has a beautiful red Fresnel lens.

Currently, they have a camera focused on a Peregrine Falcon nest and are waiting in anticipation for the eggs to hatch. The Peregrine Falcon became an endangered species due to the use of pesticides, especially DDT. Since DDT was banned in the early 1970s, the populations recovered due to protection of nesting places and releases to the wild. Click here for current status of the nest Peregrine Update

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you! Ron & I were able to attend a lovely afternoon tea with my mother yesterday. Some of you may know that recently we moved my mother close by to a wonderful retirement community. The environment they have created is so warm and loving and I want to thank all the residents and staff of Five Rivers Retirement Community for embracing my family into their community.

Next week Ron's parents will be visiting us from Florida and we'll have a belated Mother's Day celebration. We haven't seen them since we got both of our families together for a family cruise to the Bahamas in October of 2006. What a great time we had!

Give all your Moms a big hug today!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Are You A Vegetarian?

For our non meat eater guests, we offer a large variety of vegetarian & vegan breakfasts. We also are able to accommodate those guests with dietary restrictions such as gluten, dairy & egg allergies.

If you need any special dietary needs, please let us know when you make your reservation and we'll do our best to give you a 4 course breakfast you won't soon forget!

Our local restaurants also have a large selection of vegetarian entrees to choose from. One of my favorite vegetarian dishes is at Rosanna's Cafe in Oceanside. It's certainly not our closest restaurant, but it's my favorite. A beautiful 20-25 minute drive north on the Three Capes Scenic Route will take you to Oceanside and Rosanna's. Not only does it have the best food in my opinion, but the view is spectacular. Overlooking 3 Arch Rocks, this little restaurant has about 10-12 tables with great views. Try the Gorganzola Pear Pasta.....oh my!!! If you're not a vegetarian, you can order it with either seafood or chicken. Be sure to save room for dessert because they have a huge selection.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Spring is Everywhere

Ok, even native Oregonians have been pretty grumpy lately because of the weather. Starting yesterday, everyone on the coast seems to have a smile on their face. The sun is out, the flowers are blooming and we just can't get enough of it. Even the bees are are happy. What a great time to pack your bags, take a trip to the coast and enjoy the great weather.

Our very old ornamental cherry tree is in full bloom and looks spectacular.

If you haven't stayed with us before you have missed this amazing camillia. Usually these plants are the size of bushes, but ours is over 100 years old and would tower over a one story house. It has beautiful pink flowers.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

It's Our Anniversary!

Today, Ron and I celebrate our 7th wedding Anniversary. As we were getting married, we were in escrow for the purchase of Sandlake Country Inn and getting ready for our big move and new life. It's been a great ride so far and we're looking forward to many more.

I'll make this posting short because after all, it's my anniversary!