Overnight Tour to Benbow - June 18-19, 2011

 Mary Neidel  by Mary Neidel, Redwood Region Member
                                        photo by Vern Rogers, Vice-President Redwood Region

The weather was wonderful for our overnight trip to the Benbow Inn in Garberville on June 18. Garberville is about a 3-hour trip north from Santa Rosa. Twenty-two of us gathered at Kal's Kaffe in Santa Rosa on Saturday morning. Before we left, Porsche trivia questions were handed out to the drivers and it was announced that a prize would be given away at dinner that night for the most correct or most creative answers to the questions. Some examples: Who was Porsche's first racing director (Fritz Huschke von Hanstein)? Where is Porsche Parade this year (Savannah, GA)?. Then we were on the road. Highway 101 is such a nice drive north from Santa Rosa that we took 101 all the way to Garberville.  

We stopped for lunch at a new restaurant in Ukiah called Branches. As members tried to guess the answers to the trivia game and talked about events both past and present, we munched on sandwiches, salads and pizza. Donovan and Rosemary Albright, Redwood Region members who live in Ukiah, met us at Branches and joined the Tour for the drive.

Most of us decided to drive the majestic "Avenue of the Giants" before checking-in to our rooms. This 31-mile scenic drive parallels Highway 101. The road is lined by the world's largest trees, and it is just 6 miles north of Garberville. We turned around at the visitor's center about halfway up the road as some had to get fuel, but plans were made to go back and drive the road again the next day. We had cocktails, dinner and jazz waiting for us back at the hotel.  

The Benbow Inn is set above the banks of the Eel River. It opened to the public in July of 1926 and soon became a popular destination resort. Hollywood elite like Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, and Alan Ladd (to name a few) and dignitaries such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover visited, as well as motoring tourists traveling up the newly completed Redwood Highway. The Benbow Inn was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 and after eighty years it remains a popular and memorable stop between San Francisco and Eureka.

After freshening up a bit, some of us met in the bar for a cocktail before going into the "Hunt Room", the private dining area reserved for us just off the bar. We were able to order from the regular menu of fine meats, seafood, salads and pastas paired with just-picked herbs and vegetables from the restaurant's very own garden. The Benbow Inn's wine selection is impressive; it has won the Wine Spectator "Award of Excellence" for ten years. Some of us enjoyed the wines from the menu while others brought a special wine from home.

There was a fair amount of dessert and wine on the table when we announced the winners of the trivia contest. Craig and Sandy Steele earned that honor with four correct answers. My husband, Rob Neidel, presented the Steeles with a piece of his very own artwork as the prize.  

After the sumptuous dinner, most enjoyed the jazz band either outside on the patio or from the lobby as we sat in comfortable antique chairs and talked excitedly about club events, family, and--of course--our Porsches. It was a late evening and fun was had by all!




benbow dinner

The group prepares for a nice dinner.