“Outside of a dog…”

Posted July 19, 2017 by Kerry McFall

garden sketch

“Garden At Sylvia Beach”, mixed media by Kerry McFall

If you walk through that door (bottom left), the edge of the Nye Beach cliff is just on the other side of the lobby.  If you walk up the stairs, you’ll see a framed quote by Groucho Marx:  “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”  And that’s what relaxation is all about: watching dogs run on the beach, laughing, and reading good books.  Well, and eating, and drinking good wine!  Oh, yes, and sketching!!

We spent a lovely couple of days last week at the Sylvia Beach Hotel in Newport, Oregon.  The sketch above was made in the little garden at the entry.  The sketch below is a detail of those red flowers right by the door, and I call them that because I cannot for the life of me remember what they’re named.

“Those Red Flowers”, mixed media by Kerry McFall

Each room at the hotel is decorated around an outstanding author’s “body of work”.  We stayed in the Jane Austen room, which featured feminine Victorian details like doilies (a current theme in my life, what a coincidence!) and floral-patterned textiles, and of course a shelf full of her work.  I must confess that we really wanted the J.K. Rowling room, but it wasn’t available… just as well, the Hogwart’s decor was a bit unsettling.  Jane was much more relaxing, no need to worry about house elves showing up uninvited.
The dining experience at the hotel is both unique (family style seating, which encourages conversation) and gourmet (I have never had a souffle that really counted as a SOUFFLE before, which I didn’t even realize until I took my first bite of this one, and that was just the appetizer!)  The seating arrangement allows you to meet and talk with a fascinating array of amiable folks who know nothing about you, aren’t related, didn’t go to school with you or your kids, and have sense enough not to bring up politics.  Which makes it possible to play games like Two Truths and a Lie…  heehee!  Our table never got to game-playing, there was an instant chemistry which managed to get lively conversations going without any icebreakers.
I highly recommend a few days here when you need to unplug and calm the squirrels in your head – there are no TVs anywhere, no phones, no wifi.  There is a big library upstairs, overlooking the surf, filled with books, puzzles, games, books, and more books.  And a monstrous table of real dictionaries, which will remind you that dictionaries were leading us down the primrose paths of 30 minutes of random distractions long before the Internet was conceived of.  Heavenly.

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