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a “stay-cation” day in Dayton…

January 24, 2012

Last week Jill had a three-day weekend and we thought about what options we might have for a few days together.  I always like the Oregon Coast but driving for a day to get there and a day to get back didn’t seem to leave much of a three-day weekend… one day if my math is correct.

We decided to stay home and just do some things that we normally wouldn’t do – a “stay-cation”?  Sunday we decided to drive thirty miles north to visit Dayton, Washington.

When we drove through Dayton our choice of options for things to do and/or explore appeared to be little or none.  I parked on a side street and we began to walk down the main street.  When we got to the Weinhard Hotel I noticed that Amy, a Shady Lawn Antiques customer/friend, was standing just inside the door.

It took Jill by surprise when I burst through the door and announced to Amy that we had driven up to Dayton just to see what was going on.  She invited us to sit down and have a cup of coffee with her.

the Elk in the Weinhard lobby

Amy is a Pharmacist by trade but her passion is definitely living life in the small town of Dayton.  The population of Dayton is only about 2,700 but it is actually the largest town in Columbia County.  You can’t get too much smaller than that… and still have interesting things going on.

We talked about life, business and her dream of opening a book store with some type of coffee option.  Amy has a warehouse full of books that she is sorting through and has several potential buildings that she is looking at — perhaps one day I’ll have the opportunity to review a new book store…

Amy introduced us to Shellie and Gary McLeod, the owners of the Weinhard Hotel.  Soon we were on a tour of the historic hotel and its’ period (antique) furnishings.  How great was this opportunity for us?  After all we own an antique shop… I was on the hunt for several antiques that the previous owner, Ginnie, purchased from us during her original remodeling.  That was probably fifteen years ago, but I still recognized a couple of pieces.

This Weinhard Hotel bed would be too tall for the average house!

It was clearly evident that both Shellie and Gary truly love their hotel and the antique furnishings.  They were both excited and enthusiastic to give us a tour and to show off their rooms.  While you go into business to make money, it seems to me that they are just plain happy to share their hotel with the public.

Gary and a close-up view of the decoration on the tall bed.

The hotel and the rooms are clean and are well maintained.  I was surprised that the  120 year old beds were solid, tight and were in great shape.  Then Gary explained to me that he used to teach antique restoration classes and that he had restored every piece after they bought the hotel four years ago…

After the tour Amy suggested that we walk up the street to the Manila Bay Cafe.  It is owned by her friends Justin and Roger.  Roger Tumbocon is the chef and he is from the Philippines which influenced the name of the Cafe, the decor, and the menu.

Chef Roger Tumbocon and Amy at Manila Bay Cafe.

Amy insisted on treating us to appetizers —  ‘you really need to try all of these so that you know how good their food is.’  Each beautifully plated appetizer featured layers of distinct flavors and textures that worked extremely well with each other.  We will definitely return for a full meal.

This appetizer was as good as it looks....

It was late afternoon when we walked out of the Manila Bay Cafe.  Amy said well that’s my version of the Chamber of Commerce tour of Dayton… and I don’t even work for them.  We think that the Chamber is missing out on a great resource.

What could have been a bit of a disappointing afternoon turned out to be a great experience.   Amy, thank you for the delightful afternoon!

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