Further security precautions make winter getaways potential at 2 Oregon lodges: Gerry Frank’s picks

Tourism and hospitality looked very different in 2020 than in previous years, and as tough as this industry has been, no industry has been safe with regards to the coronavirus. The good news: During the sluggish pace of home accommodation and social distancing, the surviving hotels, restaurants, and other service companies have had time to adjust to the new norms so those of us who have gone mad could get upset and get excited to safer escapes. Here are some of my suggestions and some tips and things to expect when we travel (safely) again.

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 that are accessible by car. For me this meant trips to my home, the Ocean Lodge (2864 Pacific Avenue, Cannon Beach; 888-777-4047; theoceanlodge.com). With extra cleaning protocols, required face covering, and a helpful concierge team, I felt just as comfortable in their immaculate hotel as I did at home, but with the added benefit of enjoying the ocean views.

Although the staff had takeaway menus available for local restaurants upon request, it is best to know what you are going into, which leads me to my next tip – plan ahead. That means checking out the ever-changing policies and restrictions, and calling restaurants in advance to find out what will be open during your stay and if they are takeaway-only. The lodge conveniently has a great free breakfast, plus mini-fridges and microwaves for snacks or take-away meals that you may have picked up on the way.

Make sure you bring a good book to use next to the gas fireplace in the room. There is no better place to catch a storm during the winter season with minimal disruption from others as these are the off-season coastlines.

Timberline Lodge and Ski Area Timberline Lodge and Ski Area. (Oregonian / OregonLive-File Photo)Timberline Lodge and Ski Area

If you prefer something more exciting than storm watching, opt to stay at the Timberline Lodge & Ski Area (27500 E. Timberline Road, Government Camp; 503-272-3410; timberlinelodge.com). Although rules and regulations keep evolving and changing, recently access to this historic lodge has only been restricted to overnight guests (and limited visitors as restrictions are easing) to reassure guests that this is the quietest place to stay for you likely to be seen throughout the winter season.

As an extra precaution, I recommend curling up with room service from the Cascade Dining Room. If you enjoy skiing, another recommendation is to avoid the usual weekend traffic with night skiing until March on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. The ski resort’s capacity has been converted to a new online reservation system to ensure that capacity is better managed. Other updates like a new and more efficient chair lift and outdoor food truck have also helped create a safer environment to celebrate the winter season on the slopes.

The brand new fourth edition of the Gerry Franks Oregon Guide is available from oregonguidebook.com. 503-585-8411; [email protected]; amazon.com; Macy’s; and P.O. Box 2225, Salem, OR 97308.

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