Hip and new, yet historic? How can that be? Well, the beloved Shelburne Inn located on the Long Beach Peninsula of Washington has undergone a transformation. While the history has been lovingly preserved, the result—the new Shelburne Hotel—is bright, airy and hip. I traveled the two and a half hours from the Portland area along the Columbia River to see the results and I have to say I was pleased with the change.
Forty Years as a Long Beach Peninsula Destination
I’ve been coming to the Long Beach Peninsula for a number of years. I come mostly to write about the rugged coast, the opportunities for hiking, the excellent food, and family fun. At the center of it all has stood the 120-year-old Shelburne Inn with its cozy pub, artsy dining room, and antique-filled guest rooms. It has been the kind of place people return to year after year, perhaps for an anniversary or a getaway to the beach.
Chefs came and went but co-owner David Campeche always kept the kitchen running and the customers smiling. His wife, Laurie Anderson, did a lot of the baking and they both curated a collection of beautiful art, antiques, and oddities that filled the halls and walls of the inn. Their personalities were part of why people returned. They brought much to the community and to the Shelburne.
Historic properties don’t run themselves. It’s a tremendous amount of work. The duo lovingly restored the Shelburne after buying it in 1977. They found all the stained glass windows from a demolished church in England and found just the right place for each one at the inn. And they personally curated the collections that filled the Shelburne.
Forty years is a long time even for a couple devoted to bringing the best hospitality possible to the Long Beach Peninsula. So I wasn’t surprised when, at the end of last year, Campeche and Anderson announced an upcoming change of ownership on the Shelburne’s Facebook page. As did everyone else, I felt a twinge of sadness and immediately wrote a note of appreciation and support. And I wondered what would happen.
I understood that an entrepreneurial young couple, the same ones responsible for such exciting renovations on the coast as the Adrift Hotel and Spa, Pickled Fish Restaurant, and the Ashore Hotel in Seaside, were the ones who would take the helm. It was Tiffany and Brady Turner who would attempt the seemingly insurmountable task of preserving the hotel and moving it forward to appeal to an even broader group of beach lovers.
The Big Reveal—The New Shelburne Hotel
The name was changed back to the original—the Shelburne Hotel—as a strong nod to the past. As I parked in front of the hotel, I noticed that the color (a memorable green) was still the same. The usually overgrown English garden had been given a loving trim and replanting by local gardeners of Tangly Cottage Gardening. It looked good.
I walked into a spacious lobby lounge where tables from the adjoining pub flowed into the newly opened space. The fire warmed the room on this rainy day as it had for years. But what was different was that so much of what had decorated the Shelburne was gone. There was little on the walls save some new wallpaper. The color palette had changed. Dark blue carpeting set the tone giving a hint of nautical influence.
The suede settee in front of the fireplace and mid-century modern chairs lightened up the once-Victorian themed room. The Harry Potter-like narrow staircase to the rooms remained, but a lighter carpet made the steps more visible.
I was early so Juan, the new bartender, greeted me and gave me my room key. As I climbed up the stairs and wandered down the sometimes-creaking hallway, I noticed the stunning stained glass more than ever. There wasn’t much on the walls to compete with the early Art Deco glass.
I turned the key to my room, Number 3. I walked in and immediately knew I’d enjoy my stay.
The room was simply furnished with a modern comfortable bed, grey striped comforter, mid-century modern chairs (more cool suede) and tables and bright yellow drapes that let in the light and a view of the sky.
One framed print, chosen from the many that belonged to the Shelburne, adorned the wall. Over the bed and on the opposing wall were geometric mirrors that reflected the light. The vibe was “beach chic.” The original bead-boarded walls were newly painted with dark blue, white and grey. Original lighting fixtures remained but trendy replica Edison light bulbs gave the room a hip look. A flat-screen TV and plenty of outlets including USB ports were there to please those who need to connect while traveling.
A door with a large antique stained glass window opened to a beautifully tiled bathroom with a window and, what made the stay for me, a claw footed soaking tub, plenty of white towels and upscale toiletries. Ahhh… I was home at the beach!
But Wait… There’s More!
Later that day I met with Tiffany Turner who was there working in the dining room. Turner recounted their journey from growing up on the Long Beach Peninsula to returning and making their first investment after graduating from college. She and her husband had their wedding reception at the Shelburne. They and their family had deep roots on the peninsula and were already making an impact with their ventures… hotels, restaurant, new distillery.
In a short number of months, the couple had moved out all the antiques and décor, putting much of the collections in storage, had the entire hotel upgraded, re-carpeted and painted. New furniture was ordered and decisions were made about how to create a space that preserved the past while attracting those who were interested in a comfortable, hip place to enjoy a vacation or getaway.
She showed me the progress in the dining room. I could tell it would be a fun and casual place. While there would be weekend fine dining and catered events in the room, what I saw when I walked in was the beauty of the huge stained glass windows, a new billiards table and—her husband’s creation—a shuffleboard game. She pointed out that a top could be placed over the long game making a table for diners in what once was the “Inglenook.”
Dining at the Shelburne Hotel
An “expanded continental breakfast” will be included with your room. You’ll head down to the quiet lounge for some French press coffee and then enjoy a breakfast board of house-made bread, cheeses, fruit, egg and sliced cold meat. Add a tall glass of orange juice and you have a breakfast to please.
Things liven up at lunchtime. The adjacent pub opens, serving an eclectic menu of locally influenced cuisine with a dash of world influence.
Try the avocado toast—house-made bread spread with fresh guacamole, thinly sliced radish and topped with a dash of Jacobsen Sea Salt.
Or warm up with their smoked oyster chowder made with local oysters and filled with an herby broth. The meals can be hearty pleasing the avid hiker or light, like a freshly made Cobb salad. Enjoy classic cocktails, Washington wines and rotating taps of local beers. The pub is open 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
When you go, be sure and check out the Adrift Cranberry Liqueur using local Starvation Cranberry Farms organic berries. Their cranberry juice can be put in bubbles or a glass of sparkling water for a tart, fresh taste.
And, during your stay, stop by the Adrift Distillers on the Adrift Hotel property for a tasting and to pick up some local craft spirits to take home.
The night we dined there, the pub was rocking with the release of a new brew from North Jetty Brewing down the street. Families, who can be seated in the adjacent lounge, enjoyed dinner. The adults sipped a brew while their children played. Kids are also allowed in the Inglenook area with shuffleboard and billiards.
And what about the dining room? Well, it’s a work in progress. Soon they will be open on weekends with a fine dining menu that you must check out. The dining room, too, feels more spacious and has those gorgeous signature stained glass windows that guests, old and new, will admire.
The Shelburne Hotel—Always a Part of Long Beach Peninsula Community
David Campeche and Laurie Anderson made the Shelburne a community gathering place and a historic treasure for all to enjoy. And, the Turners are continuing that legacy while making some surprising changes. And where are Campeche and Anderson? Well, they remain an important part of the arts and hospitality community and are managing the beautiful China Beach Retreat and Audubon Cottage in nearby Ilwaco.
When You Go to the Shelburne Hotel
Be sure and check the Shelburne Facebook page for events and discounts. The hotel has 15 guest rooms, with similar décor yet all different in the quirky way that the Shelburne has always been.
The Shelburne Hotel, at 4415 Pacific Way in Seaview, WA, offers free parking with two EV charging stations. There are currently no pet-friendly rooms. Call 360.642.4150 or visit online at shelburnehotelwa.com for reservations. Read more articles from Wander writers about the Long Beach Peninsula of Washington.
Note: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary accommodations and meals for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.