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Some things never seem to change. Take Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge, for example. My husband and I stayed there years ago, taking away fond memories of its warm hospitality and sylvan setting. Now, celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary, we were heartened to find Morrison’s just as we remembered it.
Located 16 miles west of Grants Pass along a protected, unspoiled section of Southern Oregon’s Rogue River, Morrison’s opened in 1946 as a modest fishing lodge. The Hanten family purchased it in 1963, and for three generations has worked to bring the property to its present status as a full-service resort known for its culinary excellence.
The Main Lodge houses the dining room with a spacious deck overlooking the river. Upstairs there are four attractive guestrooms each with private bath, television, VCR, telephone, air conditioning/heating, refrigerator, hair dryer and coffee maker. Near the main lodge there are nine elevated river-view cottages built over carports. Our cottage had the same amenities as the main lodge rooms plus a corner fireplace and wood supply for cooler weather. All accommodations are only accessible by stairs.
Fall is the best time for fishing the Rogue’s primary sportfish, the Steelhead. Morrison’s can provide expert guides, instruction, all gear and even a fishing license. Two- to five-day guided fishing packages are available. These programs are popular and require early booking. There are also spring packages for Chinook salmon.
From spring through fall, Morrison’s sister company, Rogue River Raft Trips, arranges half-day to four-day guided whitewater rafting adventures. Some programs involve wilderness lodges; other programs have “pampered” camping. The half-day Splash and Dash offers an introduction to the sport on the recreational, or calmer, stretch of the river. Hiking a trail overlooking the Rogue, we observed groups of rafters, many children included.
There are a plethora of additional outdoor activities to enjoy at or near Morrison’s. These include bird watching, hiking, swimming in the heated pool, tennis, golf and more.
Dinner at Morrison’s is a four-course delight featuring creative hors d’oeuvres, fresh salad, a choice of entrees and dessert. Dishes are tasty and beautifully presented by executive chef Alexandra Hannah. Chef Hannah selects locally grown produce and herbs for her carefully prepared meals. My personal favorite was her impressive bouillabaisse. A well-chosen wine list compliments the meal. Bon Appetit has published two of Morrison’s longtime favorites, apple walnut torte and Oregon griddle cakes.
Small groups and families planning a reunion or special event should consider Morrison’s conference and retreat facilities. I can easily imagine the lovely riverbank glade serving as a wedding site.Leafing through the lodge’s guest book, I noted that most visitors, like us, are from Western states. Morrison’s has received many notable guests over the years, including two presidents.
The room rate at our time of travel (June 15 to Sept. 1) was $140 per person per day, based on a Modified American Plan. This included lodging, a four-course dinner and country breakfast. From September through November, the Full American Plan including lodging, dinnezr, breakfast and packed lunch is $205 per person per day.
The closest airport to Morrison’s is the Medford Rogue Valley International Airport (MFR) in Medford. It is served by AS and UA from Portland, by UA from SFO and by AS and AA from LAX. The lodge can assist with arranging private shuttle service.
Gayle Christensen is a travel consultant with Alamo World Travel in Alamo, Calif.
Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge800-826-1963www.morrisonslodge.com
Commission: 10 percent if paid by check; 8 percent by credit card
Be Aware: All accommodations, both in the main lodge and cottages, involve a flight of stairs. There are no elevators.