live & stay – our picks

If you’re visiting the Columbia Pacific overnight — or, as a local, taking a well-deserved staycation — you need a place to lay your head. Reserve a room for some R&R or gather inspiration for your own home: These places are aces in our book.

Lighthouse Keeper’s Residence

Ilwaco, WA

Since 1898, the North Head lighthouse has stood its rocky ground as an active aid to navigation, helping hinder the risk faced by every ship that journeys through the Graveyard of the Pacific. Though now fully automated, for decades this steady beacon relied on a human crew to keep the blaze alive. And for the men and women who worked in service to the lighthouse, life in those early days was fraught with all the challenges of severe weather and extreme isolation — certainly not a job for the faint of heart.

Then again, it wasn’t without its perks; chief among them, a 24/7 vista of one of the most beautiful and dramatic natural scenes on Earth.

Today, all the romance and glamour of a lighthouse keeper’s life, including that incredible view, is yours for the renting — minus any of the hardship. Operated by Cape Disappointment State Park, the head lighthouse keeper’s residence, as well as two assistant keepers’ quarters, make up some of the most unique vacation rental opportunities in the region. Recently renovated and nicely appointed, these historic Victorian properties blend modern comforts with the richness of the past: Three bedrooms upstairs sleep up to six people, and downstairs a full kitchen, living room, and dining room allow for plenty of space to spread out; simple but tasteful antiques, along with hardwood floors and comfortable furniture, add warmth and coziness.

Whether you’re tucked in by the window for the storm of the century or scampering over the hillsides in a long stretch of sunshine, this slice of life on the edge is bound to be a treasured memory. — Lynette Rae McAdams

To make a reservation, call 1-888-CAMPOUT or visit stayatawashingtonlighthouse.org

Danny Miller/The Daily Astorian
The Gilbert Inn Bed and Breakfast in Seaside.

Gilbert Inn

Seaside, OR

Step into the grandeur of the late 19th century at the Gilbert Inn in Seaside. The 124-year-old Victorian home, only a block away from the Seaside Promenade, is a bed and breakfast with a colorful history.

Built first as a two-room cabin in 1885 and expanded into a larger, grander house in 1892, the home was owned by Alexandre Gilbert, a French ex-patriot who moved to the North Oregon Coast to seek his fortune. He owned businesses in Astoria and Seaside, donated land for the Promenade, and later became Seaside’s mayor. The town’s historic Gilbert District is named after him.

Used by the Gilbert family until the 1970s, the renovated Gilbert Inn is now owned by Haystack Lodgings and offers 11 bedrooms with private bathrooms, each decorated differently.

Visitors can read by the fireplace in the lobby, which retains the original tongue-and-groove old-growth fir paneling, or they may want to sip their morning coffee in the bright sun room. Browsing in the home’s library is encouraged. In the evening, guests often gather around the fire pit to swap stories about their day at the beach.

A little history, a bit of romance, some fun at the beach — the Gilbert Inn has it all. — Nancy McCarthy

Follow the Gilbert Inn on Facebook or Instagram @thegilbertinn, or call 503-738-4142 or visit gilbertinn.com to book a room.

Danny Miller/The Daily Astorian
Attendees tour John and Carol Van Ditti’s garden at 3980 South Pacific during the 13th annual Cottage and Garden Tour on Saturday, September 10, 2016, in Canon Beach.

Cannon Beach Cottage & Garden Tour

Cannon Beach, OR

Visitors to Cannon Beach who are captivated by the village’s Cape Cod-style cottages can step inside and experience several of those homes during the annual Cottage & Garden Tour.

Hosted by the Cannon Beach History Center and Museum each September, the popular tour shows off a medley of homes, ranging from historic cabins built in the early 20th century to modern dream homes, each staffed by volunteers who can point out interesting tidbits about the houses and surrounding gardens.

But the tour offers so much more than vintage cottages. The multi-day event begins with a concert on Friday night, segues into a luncheon and lecture about Cannon Beach’s history and architectural style on Saturday, followed by the visits to the homes Saturday afternoon and a reception and concert that evening.

Rounding out the weekend on Sunday is an English-style garden tea and presentation on a garden-related topic. Tickets are available for each individual event or for the entire weekend.

With the Pacific Ocean and Haystack Rock as a dramatic backdrop, the Cottage & Garden Tour acts as Cannon Beach’s own “open house,” sharing with others the experience of living by the sea. — Nancy McCarthy

The 13th annual Cottage & Garden Tour takes place Sept. 8 to 10, 2017. Get tickets at cbhistory.org

Lighthouse Oceanfront Resort and Tennis Club

Long Beach, WA

Far enough from town to offer perfect sanctuary, but close enough to everything to still be convenient, this multi-faceted property lies just north of Long Beach, beckoning world-weary travelers with an array of delightful amenities. Paying homage to its beginnings as a classic 1950s roadside motel, the resort maintains a row of original vintage cottages that line the ridge above the highway. But follow the signs around the bend and through a thriving young pine forest, and you’ll soon discover that this is a place that exists in two worlds at once: Rising up through the dunes, against a backdrop of ocean and sky, comes a 21st-century complex of luxurious one, two, and three-bedroom townhouses, most with views of the Pacific.

No matter how your needs and your budget line up — whether you land in a premium king suite or a charming, rustic cottage — count on a few fundamentals: Each unit has a fireplace, free WiFi, and fully stocked kitchen, and every guest has access to some spectacular extras unique to the Lighthouse. As though friendly staff, fine accommodations, and easy access to 28 miles of open beach weren’t enough, this property also offers a heated indoor saltwater pool and hot tub, fitness room, conference and event spaces, indoor tennis and pickleball courts (replete with on-hand professional instructor), a European coffee bar, and acres of woodland trails and dunes to explore. Pets are always welcome and so are the locals: With rentable conference rooms and annual tennis club memberships available for individuals, families, or businesses, there’s truly something here for everyone. — Lynette Rae McAdams

Learn more by visiting lighthouseresort.net or calling 877-220-7555.