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Pinehurst Inn Bed & Breakfast

A couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend Rob and I discovered Pinehurst Inn. The historic bed and breakfast is a lovingly restored stopover on Highway 66 between Ashland and Klamath Falls — and a great place to get away and relax.

It was early afternoon when we arrived, and the large common room was quiet. There was an immediate sense of tradition and comfort in the place. Overstuffed chairs and a couch group around a stone fireplace, large area rugs over the wood floors and antique furniture create the feel of bygone days. The room was decorated from top to bottom with holiday ornaments, right down to a model train on tracks around a Christmas tree.

I spotted a Baldwin piano sitting next to the stairwell, and one plink on a key brought our hosts to the banister. Denise and Don Rowlett have operated the old inn for about three years. Though we were there only for dinner, our gracious hosts gave us a tour of the rooms upstairs. There are six rooms — two are suites and the others range from cozy to relatively large — with queen or king-sized beds.

The rooms are furnished with handmade quilts and more antiques, and they all have private baths with clawfoot tubs. It was easy to imagine waking to a snowy hillside scene outside or to the babbling sounds of Jenny Creek, which runs alongside the roadhouse.

There's also a large sunroom perfect for reading, writing or just enjoying a pleasant view. There are no TVs, Internet, phones or alarm clocks. At this inn, you are allowed to sleep late, then wander around in your jammies.

When it was time for dinner, Denise disappeared into the kitchen and left us under the care of Don, who charmed us and a few other couples in the dining room with his good manners and funny one-liners. The dining area's seating is surrounded on both sides by windows looking out on a wood pile and the creek or a flower garden on the other side. Deck seating alongside the flower garden is available during warmer weather.

Don started our meals with hot cups of coffee, a basket of Denise's homemade English muffin bread, salads of crispy head lettuce, radish, carrot and grape tomatoes, while some classy holiday instrumentals played in the background.

On this particular weekend, Denise was offering an entree of her Cherry Cola baby back ribs. So ... we both ordered the ribs, and they were excellent. Marinated in a dark, slightly sweet barbecue sauce and so tender — talk about meat falling off the bone! The veggies included roasted asparagus, red pepper and zucchini, and the mashed potatoes were definitely homemade, with a few tender lumps in them.

Regular entrees on the menu include a 10-ounce New York steak served with mashed potatoes and roasted veggies. A Parmesan and herb-crusted breast of chicken and pan-seared salmon are served with wild rice pilaf and veggies. For vegetarians, there's organic spinach and four-cheese ravioli in marinara sauce. There's also a hamburger made with ground Angus beef, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle and served with a salad. Visit the inn's Web site at

www.thepinehurstinn.com

(see correction note below) to see the weekly specials or to receive menus by e-mail.

Until the inn gets its liquor license, only soft beverages are available. If you'd like wine with dinner, bring a bottle and, for a corkage fee, Don will open it for you.

Desserts include tiramisu-toffee cake or ice cream sundaes with peanut butter, Nutella or Hershey's chocolate toppings.

Don and Denise have hit the mark by choosing to serve good, simple fare at their inn. The short, but well-rounded menu offers something for everyone, except vegans. And the Rowlett's hospitality is about the best I've experienced in a long while. We were not only sated, but also completely charmed.

When you visit Pinehurst Inn, plan to spend some time with your hosts. After dinner, Don led us back into the common room for his rousing rendition of "That Old Black Magic" at the piano.

— Laurie Heuston

Correction: This story included an incorrect Web site address for the inn. This version has been corrected.