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A History of Whale Cove Inn

As early as the 1930s, a hotel has sat where the now prestigious Whale Cove Inn sits. In fact, our general manager, Sarah, has a tie to the hotel dating back to 1948 when her grandparents eloped and honeymooned here – it seems our setting on the stunning Oregon Coast has been the backdrop for romance since before we opened as Whale Cove Inn.

Whale Cove Inn as it is today opened in December 2007, after two years of construction and demolition to comply with new building codes, post-purchase by Viking Holdings in 2005. When we first opened there were six people on staff, and today we’re still a small operation with nine amazing staff members. Our staff works hard at creating that romantic ambiance and providing privacy our guests are seeking - and it seems to be working, with guests celebrating about 100 anniversaries with us and other guests just beginning their matrimonial journey with more than 25 proposals each year.

Before Restaurant Beck joined us as our premier on-site restaurant in June 2009, there was a lounge called the Grey Whale Bar serving drinks and food to locals and visitors back when it was the Whale Cove Motel. Restaurant Beck is renowned thanks to chef Justin Wills. Operated with his wife Stormee, Wills brings his training from the Culinary Institute of America in New York to the Oregon Coast where he serves only the freshest ingredients and finest selections of meat and seafood. You will have to try to save room for a dish from the impressive dessert menu. The dining room today is also used for serving breakfast so guests can take in the impressive water views with their coffee in the morning, and again at night with a glass of wine.

Whale Cove Inn has undergone a few changes with paint colors and renovations since 2007, and there is the idea of adding a fitness room in the future. Some things that will never change about Whale Cove Inn include its unparalleled views of the Oregon Coast and passing whales, luxurious suites and amenities, and an enchanting atmosphere.

For more information, check out our Wikipedia page.

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How Whale Cove got its name

Whale Cove’s naming stemmed from discovery by the Indians in 1903 of an 80 foot whale on the beach.  Whales still swim into the cove occasionally and are often to be seen just outside the Whale Cove entrance spouting.

Bootlegger Bay is the cove’s alias, for during the prohibition rum running vessels ran down the coast from Canadian ports with fortunes in Canadian booze.  They’d sneak into the cove at night, anchor and transfer the hootch to the beach in skiffs for distribution throughout the country by shore gangs.

The last rum runner to enter, shortly before Prohibitions repeal in 1932, was the 50 foot “Sea Island” out of Victoria, B.C.  Attempting to enter at night in stormy seas, it crashed into the breaker-bashed rock in the cove’s south entrance, knocked a hole in the hull and sank.  The hull buster has since been known as Rum Runner Rock.

- Written by Stan Allyn

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