From the storm-lashed Pacific Northwest to perpetually sunny Southern California, winter is the perfect time for a romantic coastal getaway
DEER HARBOR, WASHINGTON
The Inn on OrcasIsland
The newest bed-and-breakfast on our list, the Inn on OrcasIsland lies in the quiet Cayou Valley at the mouth of Deer Harbor.From the porch, watch rafts of birds winter on the water below.Look for seals and river otters that sometimes come in at high tideand hawks that cruise the surrounding fields for small game.
Seaside exposure: Located less than ¼ mile north ofDeer Harbor Marina, the inn is just steps from a lakelike tidalinlet.
Unexpected pleasure: Longtime art enthusiasts, the ownersdisplay a large collection that features everything from botanicalprints to giant oils.
On the menu: Hearty breakfasts may include poppy-seed orblueberry breakfast cake, corn-and-bacon pudding, oranges inChardonnay sauce, or Dutch babies.
Nearby treat: Head for Moran State Park, whose 30-mile trailnetwork leads to several lakes and waterfalls plus views from atop2,408-foot Mt. Constitution.
Details: Seven rooms, one cottage from $145 (includesbreakfast). (888) 886-1661. ― Jim McCausland
The Inn at Langley
Perched on the edge of Puget Sound, this cedar-shake inn is soclose to the water that you can sometimes spot gray whales from thedeck that graces each room. On clear days, enjoy views to theCascade Range; pull up chairs to the fireplace if it rains; soak inyour jetted tub no matter what the weather.
Seaside exposure: At low tide, the cobbled shoreline alongSaratoga Passage reveals myriad marine creatures.
Unexpected pleasure: On-site Spa Essencia offers massage,wraps, herbals, steam baths, and aromatherapy; deep relaxation isthe goal.
On the menu: "Most ingredients come from within 20 miles ofhere," chef Matt Costello tells us. Famous six-course prix fixedinners are served Friday through Sunday nights and often includewild salmon, halibut, and plenty of Washington wines.
Nearby treat: Browse bookstores and art galleries on a shortstroll into Langley.
Details: 24 rooms, 2 cottages from $195 weekdays, from $265weekends (includes breakfast), prix fixe dinners $80 (reserve wellin advance). (360) 221-3033. ― J.M.
PORT ANGELES, WASHINGTON
Domaine Madeleine Bed &Breakfast
The first upscale B&B on the Olympic Peninsula, DomaineMadeleine is hidden in a 5-acre evergreen woodland. Most of theextra-large rooms have whirlpool baths, and all have fireplaces andeasy access to the gardens.
Seaside exposure: High-bluff site has a commanding viewacross the Strait of Juan de Fuca and clear to Victoria.
Unexpected pleasure: There are miniature bottles of Frenchperfume in all the bathrooms ― a legacy of the Frenchfounder.
On the menu: Innkeeper Jeri Weinhold prepares elaborate,brunch-style breakfasts made from fresh local ingredients likeDungeness crab and Neah Bay salmon presented with fruit, pastries,and desserts.
Nearby treat: The best beach walk is at Dungeness Spit,about 5 miles west, where the rain shadow often permits dry hikingwhen it's raining everywhere else.
Details: Three rooms and two cottages from $150 weekdays,from $180 weekends (includes five-course gourmet breakfast). (888)811-8376. ― J.M.
SOOKE, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Sooke Harbour House
Everything about this white clapboard inn overlooking the Straitof Juan de Fuca conspires to let you unwind absolutely. Enjoy thewarmth from your suite's fireplace, open your balcony doors to thesalt air, and scan the neighboring red cedars for bald eagles. Theevening's main event: dinner, a four- to seven-course prix fixeadventure served weekly in a candlelit, art-filled dining room.
Seaside exposure: A walk along Whiffen Spit, the sandbarthat curls around Sooke Harbour, turns up harlequin ducks,oystercatchers, plovers, and, if you're lucky, orca sightings.
Unexpected pleasure: Nearly 2 acres of herbs, vegetables,and edible flowers surround the inn; you'll find this fresh bountyon your plate each night.
On the menu: Chef Edward Tuson incorporates locallyharvested ingredients such as tuberous nasturtiums, grand fir,arugula greens, and chickweed in his innovative dishes.
Nearby treat:Head down the coast to Shakie's Drive In(250/646-2184) to enjoy burgers and surfer ball cookies while youwatch Canadians brave the chilly waves. The beach opposite is oneof Vancouver Island's prime surfing spots.
Details: 28 rooms from $225 (U.S.) weekdays, from $250(U.S.) weekends (includes breakfast and, on weekends, picniclunch), prix fixe dinners from $65 (U.S.); no minimum stay. (800)889-9688. ― Kimberly Brown Seely
SOOKE, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Point No Point Resort
Twenty-four charmingly rustic cabins, most with private hottubs and all with fireplaces or wood-burning stoves and kitchens,sit atop remote cliffs with wonderful views along VancouverIsland's southwest coast. Lunch, high tea, and dinner are served inthe Teahouse, a tiny, romantic, cliffside restaurant.
Details: From $77 (U.S.) weekdays, from $93 (U.S.) weekends(breakfast not included). (250) 646-2020. ― K.B.S.