If you feel like taking in a concert at the Columbia Gorge this summer but don’t exactly relish the long drive home afterward, you might check out an alternative.
But hurry. Once people discover the Ivy Chapel Inn, there might not be a bed to be had around concert time.
This Ephrata bed and breakfast offers a pleasant stay, from the moment you’re greeted by its genial hosts to the delicious breakfast the next morning.
And, because it’s only 25 miles from the Gorge, it won’t tax your energy getting there after a night of boogieing to your favorite band. You’ll be settling into a comfortable bed - or the hot tub - long before most concertgoers get home.
The facility was built in 1948 as the First Presbyterian Church of Ephrata. Owners Mary Ann and Gene Davis live there with a son and daughter.
The B&B;’s cheerful interior belies a sad beginning. The previous owner, Linda Kehl, opened the inn last August. Three months later she was killed in a car accident. The Davises reopened it on March 1.
Kehl spent a year refurbishing the building, says Mary Ann. “She did a nice job. I can’t take credit for it.”
The inn has six guest rooms, all non-smoking, on the first and second floors. Each has its own full, modern bath, plus there are two public restrooms. The Davises live in the lower level.
The decor of each guest room follows a theme. There’s the Eddie Bauer room, with a duck and fish motif and plenty of forest greens and wood accents. The safari room has a leopard print bed cover and bamboo shades, among other jungle touches. The Southwestern room is awash in pale peaches and light greens, and the ivy room is all green and white and painted wicker - “real feminine,” says Mary Ann.
Then there’s the bridal suite, with a view of the chapel area from the balcony. The bedroom is tucked away to ensure privacy to newlyweds or couples celebrating an anniversary.
The upstairs guest rooms once served as Sunday school rooms, says Mary Ann. On the first floor, the damask suite - perfect for couples staying with one or two children - once housed the secretary’s area and the pastor’s office. Now the space is a charming sitting room and bedroom, with a blue and white decor accented with porcelain dolls, ceramic and stuffed animals, and china teacups.
The chapel itself, now a conference area, boasts 1,800 square feet with enough room for 200 party guests or conference-goers. Other public spaces include a comfortable rec room area complete with TV and VCR, and the deck, home of the ever-popular hot tub. “The hot tub is for guests to use,” says Mary Ann. “Last night we had three couples and they all three climbed in.”
In the morning, you can eat in the cheery breakfast room or out on the adjoining deck. Mary Ann’s breakfast specialty is a tasty dish called Dutch babies, basically an egg souffle topped with fresh fruit. On a recent morning the Dutch babies were beautifully presented with strawberries on top and a piece of sour cream caramel coffee cake on the side. The meal offered just the right nourishment for the ride home to Spokane.
Price: $70 per couple; $55 for a single; $100 for the suite, which has a hide-a-bed for children. Price includes breakfast.
Amenities: queen-size beds; hot tub, TV and VCR in common room; TV in sitting room of suite. Visa and Master Card accepted.
For information: Ivy Chapel Inn, 164 D Southwest, Ephrata, WA 98823; (509) 754-0629.
MEMO: Do you have a favorite hideaway around the Inland Northwest, a secluded place for a romantic retreat that you’d like to recommend to travelers? We’d like to hear about it. Write to: Travel Editor, The SpokesmanReview, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210. Or fax (509) 459-5098.