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Channel House
35 Ellingson Street
Depoe Bay, Oregon 97341
Channel House Web Site

July 2001

Welcome to www.weloveourlife.com. This is our page dedicated to our experiences while staying at the Channel House, Depoe Bay, Oregon. The Channel House has been awarded a "best of ..." www.weloveourlife.com award.

Accommodations Amenities Food Bar/Lounge Service Attractions Dining Nightlife Weather Tips


We must begin by stating emphatically that this is one of the best places we have ever stayed. It is simply magical and should not be missed!

We had reserved room #1 - The Admiral's Suite. As soon as we walked into the room, we felt like we were home. It was that good. It was on the top floor, on the corner facing the channel, and had a view of both the ocean and the chanel. This was the place Lori was most excited about for our Pacific Northwest trip, and it met and exceeded our expectations.
There was a separate bedroom that was ocean front with two huge windows overlooking the ocean and sliding doors that led out to the covered balcony. The living room also had sliding doors out to the balcony and windows overlooking the channel. A couch and chair were in soft, muted tones, and the room was trimmed in light wood. There was a wood-paneled gas fireplace.
On the covered balcony there was a Jacuzzi on the deck. No, not a hut tub, but a genuine Jacuzzi with running water that was refilled every time you use it.

There was a wet bar and refrigerator, which thoughtfully included bottled water. There was a bottle of both white and red wine in the room which were available for purchase. (There was also additional wine available for purchase down in the lobby, and a plate of fresh cookies that were free.) There was a tv with cable and a DVD player. There was a pedestal sink and cabinet next to it in the room, and a separate water closet that contained the toilet and shower. Little extras like shampoo, conditioner, and bath grains were provided, along with two sets of towels and two robes. The room also included a lot of local guides and information and was extremely helpful.

After bringing up our bags, we filled the tub on the deck. We sipped our champagne and relaxed out on the deck, watching the ocean. It was a windy day but beautiful and sunny. We were loving it. After dinner, we returned to our room and out on the deck - we saw several whales and they came right up to the sea wall. They were very close and it was amazing. If you have never seen whales, the experience can be very liberating and calming. What was so amazing was they we could see these wild creatures in their element while sitting in the Jacuzzi on our deck! It was simply spectacular. We sipped some red wine and watched a mother whale swimming with her calf. We stayed outside until the sun went down and we finally lost the light, and went inside at 9:30. We shut the privacy shades on the windows and slept peacefully in our cocoon of a bedroom.

Inn Amenities

Really, the main amenity of Channel House is its location. Guests simply do not want to leave their spectacular views. It wouldn't have made much sense to have a community hot tub, pool, or exercise room because we doubted guests would be able to tear themselves from their little paradises.

The lobby is stocked with gifts, snacks, and spirits available for purchase. There is always a plate of fresh-baked cookies at the main desk.

Inn Food

The inn served a continental breakfast in the downstairs oceanfront dining room for 8-10 a.m. Every morning. On our first morning, we were the first ones there, and the pastry chef greeted us and described the morning's offerings. This was the most complete continental breakfast we have ever had. There was a lot of fresh fruit, creative pastries, and a toaster for the fresh bread and muffins. There were several kinds of juice and coffee. We enjoyed the great food at a table right in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows that overlooked the ocean. This place was simply unbelievable. Our second morning, we feasted on fresh fruit, brioche, chocolate scones (sinful!), and strawberry coffee cake.

Inn Bar/Lounge

Channel House does not have a bar, but will sell bottles of wine and champagne to guests. We had ordered a chilled bottle of champagne, and there were reasonable priced, decent bottles of white and red wine in our room available for purchase. The convenience of being able to drink now and pay later was appreciated. There were additional selections available in the lobby. We had brought our own and enjoyed having a refrigerator as well as an ice machine practically overflowing with ice.

Inn People/Service

We arrived at 3:30, taking a chance that we could check in (which was generally after 4) and were greeted warmly by a smiling man behind the front desk who said of course we could check in; the only issue was that he had just placed the champagne in our room and it might not be cold yet. No problem - we were prepared with cold beverages in our handy-dandy styrofoam cooler. He took the time to show us our suite and answered our questions. He provided us with the phone numbers of a couple local whale-watching tour operators and Lori reserved an afteronoon whale-watching trip for the following day. On our first night (a Saturday) we wanted to eat at a local Italian restaurant that was apparently very popular. The front desk clerk managed to secure a table for us if we could get there right away, and we appreciated his help.


Sea Lion Caves - 91560 Hwy. 101 N., Florence, OR 97439, 541-547-3111
Sea Lion Caves Web Site
Lori's sister Judi had warned us that the sea lions were pretty stinky, and we were prepared. It took us an hour. They open at 8 a.m. (even on Sundays) and we wanted to get there early, since it was mid-summer and a weekend. We managed to get a good parking space. If one arrives later, parking is across the highway, which can be a little dangerous with children. We paid $7.50 each. Be warned that although there is an elevator, there is quite a bit of walking to get to the elevator, down a steep grade (that of course you have to go up on the return). First we walked down to a look-out point over the rocks were the sea lions were sunning themselves on the rocks. Even though we were a couple hundred feet above them, it sure was stinky! Then we hiked back up and down the other side to the elevator, which took us down to the caves. There were only a half dozen sea lions inside the caves, but we got to see one climb up a rock and dive off it into the water. If more sea lions are inside, we understand the smell can be a bit overwhelming. There are some artifacts in the caves along with a short film. We walked around a bit, then took the elevator back up. We made the walk up the incline to the main building, where there are additional stairs. We noted that even though we couldn't use our treadmill on this vacation, we were still getting our exercise. Afterwards, we stopped to take some pictures of Heceta Head Lighthouse, one of the most photographed lighthouses in the US. Unfortunately, our photos won't be gracing any magazine covers anytime soon (they weren't that great).

Joan-E Charters - Hwy 101 S. End of Bridge, Depoe Bay, OR, 97341 800-995-FUNN
We purchased our tickets and waited for our boat. Depoe Bay is the smallest navigable harbor in the world, covering only 6 acres. It is a beautiful, charming little town, reminiscent of a New England fishing port. We saw some sea otters playing in the harbor. We got onboard a boat that is also used for fishing and looked as if it could hold about 50 people. We went through the channel out into the ocean. The deck hand told us a little bit about whales and served as the official look-out. We saw whales spouting right away. No breaches or tails, but plenty of whales. We didn't have to go very far away from the harbor, since it was estimated about 60 whales had decided to forgo the annual long-distance migration and make their home in the ocean just off of Depoe Bay. Although the wind had calmed down considerably from the day before, it was a rocky ride. We don't get seasick, but this may not be a good idea for those who do.

There are a lot of unique shops along Route 101 in Depoe Bay and you can spend some time browsing, as we did on our second evening in town. We found a wine tasting room which was decorated like a cave and had a gravel floor. It was actually an outpost for Nehalem winery. The guy behind the counter was very friendly and conversational and we chatted with him for a bit. We bought yet another bottle of sparkling wine (twist our arm).


Italian Riviera Restaurant and Piano Bar - Route 101, Depoe Bay, Oregon 541-764-3479
Italian Riviera's Web Site
The mother of one of the owners greeted us warmly and showed us to our table. It didn't look very crowded (we were there at 5:30) but it filled up with people quickly. For an appetizer, we split roasted garlic, which was at least 50 cloves of garlic. It was accompanied by a huge scoop of goat cheese (more than we had ever seen), sun-dried tomatoes in a paste that tasted like a fine pizza sauce, and fresh Tuscan-style Italian bread. It was delicious, and we asked for more bread to enjoy as much of it as possible. Keith had a salad with gorgonzola cheese dressing. Lori was loving he option of chowder instead of salad offered in the Pacific Northwest, and had the Italian Riviera's version of clam chowder. Lori had the manicotti stuffed with ricotta cheese, with cream sauce and topped with mozzarella cheese and baked. Keith had the veal canelloni. The pasta was made fresh every morning and just melted in our mouths - it was wonderful. We ordered a bottle of local pinot blanc. We stopped into the piano bar, where Ric the owner was playing and singing. There were a lot of locals drinking, dancing, and enjoying themselves. We stayed for one drink, then headed back to our inn for some serious Jacuzzi time.

Spouting Horn - Highway 101, Depoe Bay, OR, 541-765-2261
Our second night in Depoe Bay, we decided we wanted to eat in town, someplace we could walk to. We had a table by a window, which overlooked the small harbor. This was a simple, casual place. But even in this unpretentious restaurant, they had Hefeweizen on tap, which Keith was enjoying. Lori had a couple glasses of local white wine. Keith got brave and tried salmon (Keith is not a big seafood eater, although he likes tuna and mahi mahi). He said it was pretty good, and added some butter and lemon. Lori had a fried clam appetizer and a half order of fried prawns, along with some great clam chowder.


You don't go to Depoe Bay for the nightlife, but if you want to party, there is always the piano bar at the Italian Riviera. Both nights we were in town, we made sure to hurry back to our room early (the sun did not set until around 9 p.m. in mid-July), as early evening is prime whale-watching time. Who needs to go out somewhere when you can sit in your own Jacuzzi, sip your favorite libation, and watch the sunset and the whales?


Our first day in Depoe Bay, it was warm and sunny but very windy, which made getting in and out of the whirlpool on the deck a little chilly (but worth it). The second day it was calmer, but a fog rolled in during the evening and there was a slight chill in the air (that's why they give you the gas fireplace).

It is the coast, and they get plenty of rain, but mid-summer is generally the best weather - that is why we chose that time of the year to visit. Apparently storm-watching in the winter is a very popular thing to do, especially at Channel House, which is sited perfectly for watching the ocean. If you are going out on the water (whale-watching or fishing or just for pleasure), be sure to take warm clothes and dress in layers.


If you are headed to Depoe Bay, splurge and get a room with a view. That is the main attraction, so why limit yourself? And if you are lucky and get to stay at the Channel House, don't plan too much. Just relax and know you are staying in one of the most special places in the world. We did not want to leave and can't wait to go back!