Rogue River Lodge
Where History Never Tasted So Good
Last year’s reopening of Rogue River Lodge brought back memories of days when movie stars like Ginger Rogers and Clark Gable might have been sitting at a table across the room from you. The view out the window was enough to take your breath away, and dining was like joining a long lost friend for a delicious meal. Owners Lee and Anne Kimball have retained the beauty and warm, historic feel of the lodge while giving it a more comfortable and upscale appearance through extensive restoration.
Back in the historic lodge’s heyday, Ginger Rogers made her home just a short span down the Rogue River and was a beloved celebrity among Upper Rogue residents. She was known for her charm and grace on and off the screen. The Lodge was known as a classy place to dine, and maybe catch sight of her.
The Kimballs are both veterans of the restaurant and hospitality industries. Their goal is to surprise and delight diners with a menu that offers favorites, such as dinner entrees of pork, lamb, beef, seafood and pasta, alongside seasonal specials and unique appetizer and after-dinner selections. Their impressive wine list comes from a unique 1500-bottle wine cellar housed in the two-foot thick rock foundation of the lodge. The list includes a variety of Northwest and California wines, alongside a limited selection of imported wines from as far away as Australia, New Zealand, France, Italy and Germany.
The lodge offers a choice of dining experiences. Upstairs, the main level dining room features upscale casual dining for brunch on Sundays and lunch and dinner the rest of the week. Downstairs, The Riverview Room features a separate menu in a more casual environment where diners can watch their food prepared in the exhibition kitchen next to the bar. Here, a wide selection of beer is available, both on tap and bottled, along with the upstairs wine list. When weather permits, guests may also eat outside on the lovely veranda and lawn bordering the Rogue River.
“The lodge is our home,” Anne says. “We live on the third level, and it’s like having guests visit for a nice dinner party every day.”
The first guest to schedule a visit was a woman who had spent her twenty-first birthday at the lodge learning how to drink. To her great joy, she was able to schedule her eightieth birthday there as well.
Anne believes the lodge represents the past as well as the future. “My husband and I have joined a small line of caretakers in the continuum of time,” Anne says. “We will continue some old traditions while we create new ones.”
Some of the new traditions include a summer concert series that features live music, from jazz to folk rock and country. Reserved seating will be limited to the pavilion with dinner reservations; all other seating will be on a first-come basis and is delivered blanket-style on the lawn. The lodge also offers a once-a-month cooking class for those who sign up in advance. Taught by Sue Cary, an experienced culinary professional, the class teaches kitchen basics along with the history behind regional cuisines. Participants receive additional recipes and get to try out the foods at the end of the class.
One of the old traditions being continued is that of honoring local celebrities. On July 16, Rogue River Lodge celebrated Ginger Roger’s 100th birthday year with “An Elegant Evening on The Rogue.” No matter when they visit, each visitor will leave knowing the rich taste of history is alive and well in the Upper Rogue.
The lodge is closed on Tuesdays. Be sure to check their Web site or call for hours of operation and events.
Rogue River Lodge
24904 Oregon 62
Just north of Shady Cove and Trail on Hwy. 62
Story by Sandy Cathcart