Before Northern California’s massive redwoods were protected, back when bad ass vagabonds sought bed and breakfasts rather than by mellow, middle-class tourists, the Requa Inn was the only comfortable resting place for travelers between Orick and Crescent City, California. Built in the late 1800s, the original Inn went down in flames almost a century ago—though it’s survived by an upright grand piano built in 1897, which was carried out of the place and allegedly tickled by locals watching the fire engulf their town. Like many settlements built on the strength of a burgeoning resource economy, it’s been some time since the town of Requa was plentiful. But since purchasing the Inn in 2002, Barb and Dave Gross have recreated something you can’t find anywhere nearby: a truly comfortable resting place.
The surroundings are tough to upstage: it’s just a few clicks away from trails through old growth forest off the famous 101, perched above the Klamath River estuary and the swashbuckling Pacific Ocean. The word Requa means “where the fresh water meets the salt water” in the local native tongue of the Yurok tribe—an easy moniker to grasp after hiking up to the lookout point to admire the glassy, pie-shaped berth that meets a long, thin finger of beach with waves crashing against its opposite side.
The Inn is built of solid redwood, and insulated with redwood sawdust—meaning that sound travels, so your seclusion comes paired with the muffled sounds of others seeking the same. However, the Inn holds no more than a couple dozen folks when full, which is enough to lay claim to being the largest B&B in Del Norte County. The decor adds to the cozy atmosphere: layers upon layers of antique furnishings and fixtures, from lampshades to picture frames to claw foot tubs to velvet cushions to ornate sofas. Every guest room has its own character and colour palate, ours being marked by creamy floral wallpaper, emerald ceiling tiles, a barely escapable plush bed, and a tall, dark and handsome vanity dresser. The hallways connecting the Inn’s 13 rooms and the walls throughout the place have all sorts of interesting photos to check out, many of them relics that impart the hotel’s history and some from the owners’ past travels.
The main floor of the Inn is divided into three common rooms joined by sprawling hardwood floors. A large, red brick mantle with a small fireplace dominates one end of the house, with plenty of seating space nearby to lose yourself in the overflowing library of paperbacks, board games and well-curated current magazines. On the other end of the building is a television and music room, featuring the aforementioned piano and a few guitars for guests to pluck away at. The middle room is where the action is in the a.m., as guests build made-to-order meals from organic eggs and meat, as well as fresh vegetables and fruit (sourced from farmers from Eureka to Crescent City in season). All three rooms overlook the Klamath River through large windows, many with active hummingbird feeders outside of them.
There’s plenty of goodwill under this roof as well. Take Hillary, a German Shepherd that was abandoned and then mauled by a black bear in 2008, who is glad to accompany your meanderings and has a surefire knack for sounding the bark alarm if black bears, mountain lions or less imposing mammals emerge from the bush. Barb and Dave also buy carbon credits from a Canadian business called The Carbon Farmer, they draw energy from renewable sources via Pacific Power’s Blue Sky Program, and they solar heat a portion of their water—which comes from a spring a few hundred feet uphill from the Inn.
The icing on this antiquated cake is a hot tub tucked away behind the house. It can be reserved by guests and/or used at any hour (if noise is kept in check, of course), with bathing suits optional—“It’s a California thing” explains the Inn’s literature.
It’s true: best of luck finding something quite like the Requa Inn anywhere else in the country.
By: Eric Rumble