I hear the cry of gulls and the pounding of surf . . . the melody of mountain streams and the buzzing of a bee. With springtime’s arrival, summer is only a dream away . . . with its long days and warm nights and destinations . . . close and far away.
I have in mind some place where the air is pure and the sky is filled with stars. Colorado, perhaps, and a ranch with the melodic name of Drowsy Water, a gentle hideaway with a stream that flows beside rustic cabins--all this in a narrow valley near Granby. On hot afternoons, guests at Drowsy Water dip into a swimming pool or wade into icy waters that rush from mountains still brushed with snow. Cattle graze and vultures wheel overhead, riding thermals in a sky so blue that one blinks.
I have in mind another guest ranch I visited only last summer, Ah Wilderness, where the meadows are carpeted with wildflowers and a river flows through a canyon as peaceful as the clouds that scud through the Colorado sky. From Durango, guests ride a narrow-gauge train along precipitous cliffs while deer peer from the forest and mists drift from waterfalls.
The ranch with its scattering of cabins is framed by ponderosa pine alongside the Animas River with its deep gorges and raging white water. Because the ranch is remote, guests do without telephones and TV; instead, one learns the pleasure of reading again and hiking in the woods, breathing in the unsullied freedom of this Colorado wilderness with its wind song and the voice of birds.
And there is Oregon’s Rogue River with Morrison’s Lodge where summer breezes blow through moss-covered forests. At Morrison’s, vacationers hike through grass that’s knee-deep and laze on the banks of the Rogue and raft downriver to a spot where Zane Grey holed up at China Gulch. Sixteen miles outside Grants Pass, Morrison’s is a turn-of-the-century hideaway with country suppers and pies dripping with blueberries that grow wild beside the Rogue.
Morrison’s turns out homemade jams and jellies, pickles and spiced figs, sourdough pancakes, baking powder biscuits, stews and chili. Meals are served family-style in the lodge’s old-fashioned kitchen and there’s a piano in a parlor with picture windows that frame the river.
A silent, haunting slice in southern Oregon, the land surrounding the lodge represents one of the few remaining expanses of unspoiled wilderness in the United States. Bald eagles soar, and black bears fish the river, and both deer and elk roam the forest.
More and more, vacationers are withdrawing to America’s wilderness regions. In Yellowstone they join Ralph Miller who leads backpack trips into the wilds of this Wyoming park. Only instead of hikers toting heavy gear, Miller carries it in by horseback--the drop packs, sleeping bags, cooking gear, food and tents.
If camping isn’t your thing, a group in Washington state suggests vacationing in a country inn. Kalaloch Lodge rises on a bluff overlooking a beach strewn with driftwood. Inland from the ocean, other vacationers cozy up at Lake Quinault Lodge in Olympic National Forest with a dining room that overlooks the lake.
For other seclusion, there is the Capt. Whidbey Inn on Whidbey Island and Hotel de Haro where Teddy Roosevelt once vacationed on San Juan Island. In Port Townsend a collection of gingerbread mansions provides other shelter for visitors. And in Mt. Rainier National Park it’s Paradise Inn with its beamed ceiling and stone fireplaces.
For the vacationer traveling to Expo, Galiano Island outside Vancouver provides other solitude along with the opportunity to fish for salmon and pick blueberries growing wild beside the road. Only 45 miles off the Canadian mainland, Galiano seems a lifetime removed from city stresses. During summer the Friday night ferry from Vancouver is crowded with weekend residents. One islander refers to it as the “refugee boat.”
He smiled. “On Sunday night I watch it leave and think, ‘You poor devils, going back to that crowded city.’ ”
If you still wish to duck out on the world, there’s the little country town of Makawao on the island of Maui, an up-country hideaway on the slopes of Haleakala. Makawao comes on like some cow town in a TV Western. There’s not a beach in sight. No palms or high-rise hotels. Only the fragrance of eucalyptus and cool mountain air. The locals gather at Kau Kau Korner, a 2-by-4 cafe that features saimin and rice, beef hekka, salted cabbage and pork tofu.
Cowpokes with faces like saddle leather crowd the bar at Club Rodeo and Gary Moore sells six shooters at Outdoor Sports. One doesn’t come to Makawao to soak rays or show off fashion bikinis. Makawao leaves that to the dudes down in Lahaina. What Makawao features is country atmosphere. Should one decide to lay over, shelter is provided at Kula Lodge: redwood chalets with wood-burning fireplaces, beam ceilings and windows on the world.
Returning to the mainland, I have a warm spot for the gentle village of New Hope, Pa., with its restaurants and inns that rise beside the Delaware River not far from the spot where George Washington paddled across while fighting the British. Should you be in the East this summer you’ll find it worth the detour to New Hope where ancient elms cast their shadows on pre-Revolutionary dwellings and lovers stroll towpaths to take shelter at Logan Inn on Ferry Street, which has hosted the likes of Tallulah Bankhead, George C. Scott, Helen Hayes and Liza Minnelli.
Others enjoy Pamela Minford’s Hacienda and the Inn at Phillips Mill, a 1700s renovated barn with five country-style guest rooms, a suite and four dining rooms, each with its own fireplace.
Four miles north of New Hope, Stephen R. DuGan operates Centre Bridge Inn, which he unabashedly describes as “the re-creation of a Colonial hostelry and one of the great romantic hideaways.” Centre Bridge Inn offers river views and candlelight during the dinner hour, and DuGan warns that reservations are necessary--what with accommodations booked up to three months in advance.
Similar charm pervades Vermont’s storybook village of Woodstock, which National Geographic named one of America’s prettiest towns. Covered bridges span the Ottauquechee River, and the town crier announces the day’s events down by the village green. In Woodstock, church bells cast by Paul Revere echo through foothills and the stately spires of New England churches rise beside ancient elms.
The Woodstock Inn
During summertime flower boxes used for collecting sap from trees spill over with lovely blooms, and old two-story brick homes rise along maple-lined streets. In Woodstock, visitors check in at Laurance Rockefeller’s Woodstock Inn, which traces its roots to 1773 and whose 120 guest rooms feature period furnishings, king-size beds and handmade quilts. While logs glow in the lobby, blueberry muffins and pancakes and other good things are served in the country-style dining room.
Woodstock is red, white and blue, a town where youngsters still chase greased pigs in summertime and puffs of smoke rise from chimneys whenever a chill blows off Vermont’s Green Mountains. Woodstock is a Norman Rockwell scene, with a musical stream that evokes memories of hot summer days, of birds and butterflies.
Meanwhile, in Connecticut there’s that special place we’ve mentioned on other occasions, the Golden Lamb Buttery at Hillandale Farm in the township of Brooklyn. Guests are accommodated in an old two-story farmhouse (circa 1740) operated by Bob and Jimmie Booth, just uphill from a 109-year-old barn that makes do as the couple’s restaurant, complete with hayloft and an old-fashioned kitchen that faces a pond and sweeping acres of pasture.
A guitarist strums romantic melodies while guests dine and hurricane lamps flicker. Couples get engaged at the Golden Lamb Buttery and return to repeat their vows, which should tell you something about this romantic slice of Connecticut.
‘Most Paintable Town’
In another corner of New England, vacationers gather in “America’s most paintable town,” Rockport, Mass., where New England spires rise above a village that’s framed by rocky shores and peaceful coves and a harbor crowded with lobster boats. One weather-beaten old shanty has been the focal point of so many pictures that it’s known as Motif No. 1. This quaint old fishing village has attracted artists since the Depression years.
Of Rockport’s curiosities, there’s the cannonball that was embedded inside the steeple of the First Congregational Church during the War of 1812. It is the sea, though, that draws Rockport’s summer crowds, with a shoreline that twists among rocky coves all the way from Eastern Point southeast of Gloucester to Essex and Ipswich. There are those who sail and others who stroll Rockport’s storm-tossed beaches, inhaling the salty air and studying tide pools that change constantly.
Gulls cry and the surf pounds in a concert that spells . . . summer.
Drowsy Water Ranch, Box 147A, Granby, Colo. 80446.
Ah Wilderness, P.O. Box 997, Durango, Colo. 81301.
Morrison’s Lodge, 8500 Galice Road, Merlin, Ore. 97532.
Washington State Tourism Division, 101 General Administration Building, Olympia, Wash. 98504, for information about Kalaloch Lodge, Lake Quinault Lodge, Capt. Whidbey Inn and Hotel de Haro.
Ralph Miller Backpack Trips, P.O. Box 1083, Cooke City, Mont. 59020.
Galiano Island, British Columbia (contact the Ministry of British Columbia, 3400 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles 90010).
Kula Lodge at Makawao, R.R. 1, Box 475, Kula, Hawaii 96790.
New Hope, Pa.: Logan Inn, 10 W. Ferry St., New Hope 18938; Hacienda Inn, 36 W. Mechanics St., New Hope 18938; Centre Bridge Inn, Box 74, Star Route, New Hope 18938.
Rockport Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 67, Rockport, Mass. 01966.