Sleep it off in a silo B&B
FREE Catholic Classes
Chicago Tribune (MCT) - Used to be folks wondered how to get the boys back on the farm after they'd seen Par-ee. Given these hectic urbanized times, it's a wonder anyone living on or visiting a farm would be willing to leave all those bucolic charms behind. Oregon's Abbey Road Farm bed-and-breakfast certainly does its darndest to make it hard to say adieu.
Located in the rolling hills of Willamette Valley about 32 miles from Portland, this 82-acre farm is a working enterprise with its own farm-made goat cheese and a menagerie of other farm animals in residence. Guests stay in a striking setting: Three shiny metal farm silos converted into luxury rooms with views of the farm.
Abbey Road Farm is in a rural area of Carlton, but don't think there's not life in the beautiful boonies. This is Oregon wine country, and some of the state's _ no, the nation's _ best wineries are a short distance away. Across the street is a Trappist abbey, Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose bookstore sells the monks' own fruitcake. To the southwest, in McMinnville, is the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, home to Howard Hughes' giant "Spruce Goose" flying boat. Fifty miles to the west you'll reach the Pacific Ocean.
CHECKING IN: A friendly desk clerk called my cell phone to make sure I wasn't lost out in the Willamette countryside. When I arrived, she gave me a quick tour and led me to the Alpine Suite.
ROOMS: The curving exterior wall is the only real giveway that you're sleeping in a giant silo, with the windows looking out onto the farm. The cathedral-ceilinged Alpine Suite is warmly decorated and quietly sumptuous. New Age music plays softly on the in-room CD player. Other musical choices include two CDs by Kenny Rankin.
The closet is wide and nearly 6 feet long but very shallow at one end because of the curvature of the wall. Inside you'll find an iron, ironing board, luggage rack, 10 wood hangers and extra pillows.
My queen-size bed was sheathed in sheets of soft Egyptian cotton. There were plenty of pillows to cushion the metal headboard. I didn't need the alarm clock on the nightstand; the rooster crowing out in the barnyard the next morning was enough.
Opposite the bed were two wicker chairs and a small table.
There's no television in the room but plenty of reading material. Magazines ranged from Martha Stewart Living to Gray's Sporting Journal to Beer Northwest. Interestingly, the most frequently thumbed mag was an old Cosmopolitan with its trademark lurid headlines. Well, whatever floats your boat.
I preferred stretching out in the bathroom's Jacuzzi tub and letting the water jets loosen travel-knotted muscles. There was a separate shower. The bathroom was well stocked with plenty of towels, a heated towel rack, water glasses, cotton swabs, tissues and a range of Vykasa's Tea Tree shampoos, soaps and lotion. There was a blow-dryer, too.
The silo complex holds five guest suites arranged on two floors, fronted by a grand-entry foyer; there's where you find a thick packet of menus for nearby restaurants. To the rear is a roomy parlor with sofas and chairs, a wine refrigerator and wine glasses. Don't worry if you forgot to pick up a bottle or two at a nearby winery. Wine and farm-made goat cheese may be purchased at the front desk.
KID-FRIENDLY: The farm animals would enchant the children, but this B&B is strictly for grown-ups and children 12 and over.
ROOM SERVICE: None.
PERKS AND PEEVES: The sights and sounds of a working farm make for some memorable moments. The animals, which include goats, sheep, chickens and a llama, are all right there for you to see. Ask if you can take part in some of the farming chores, if you wish. Otherwise, just enjoy the farm fields and the rose garden when in bloom.
Sleep amid all this rural quiet comes easily, but one of the controls on the portable air conditioner (used only in warmer months) cast an eerie blue glow when the lights are out. It was like dozing off in front of a television.
Breakfast is at 8:15 a.m. Note to late-risers: This time seems pretty much fixed; no dawdling. Guests walk over to the old farmhouse and sit down at one of three communal tables in the dining room. John and Judi Stuart, the farm's owners, were doing the cooking, serving and chatting during my stay. Breakfast was typically hearty B&B fare with some special touches. The goat cheese for your English muffin and the eggs come from the farm, as do the grapes served with the opening melon wedge. The bacon, memorably good bacon, hailed from nearby Carlton Farms.
BOTTOM LINE: I paid $195 for one night in the Alpine suite. This is the standard rate for all rooms and includes breakfast. Prices rise to $225 a night three times a year, Memorial Day weekend, Thanksgiving and the International Pinot Noir Celebration in July. The rooms are non-smoking, and pets are not allowed. Check-in time also is limited to between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.; they'll leave keys and instructions for late arrivals.
ABBEY ROAD FARM
10501 NE Abbey Rd., Carlton, Ore. 97111
503-852-6278; fax 503-852-9566
© 2009, Chicago Tribune.