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 Orcas Island
The newest bed-and-breakfast on our list, the Inn on Orcas Island 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 tide and hawks that cruise the surrounding fields for small game.
Seaside exposure: Located less than ¼ mile north of Deer Harbor Marina, the inn is just steps from a lakelike tidal inlet.
Unexpected pleasure: Longtime art enthusiasts, the owners display a large collection that features everything from botanical prints to giant oils.
On the menu: Hearty breakfasts may include poppy-seed or blueberry breakfast cake, corn-and-bacon pudding, oranges in Chardonnay sauce, or Dutch babies.
Nearby treat: Head for Moran State Park, whose 30-mile trail network leads to several lakes and waterfalls plus views from atop 2,408-foot Mt. Constitution.
Details: Seven rooms, one cottage from $145 (includes breakfast). (888) 886-1661. ―Jim McCausland
The Inn at Langley
Perched on the edge of Puget Sound, this cedar-shake inn is so close to the water that you can sometimes spot gray whales from the deck that graces each room. On clear days, enjoy views to the Cascade Range; pull up chairs to the fireplace if it rains; soak in your jetted tub no matter what the weather.
Seaside exposure: At low tide, the cobbled shoreline along Saratoga Passage reveals myriad marine creatures.
Unexpected pleasure: On-site Spa Essencia offers massage, wraps, herbals, steam baths, and aromatherapy; deep relaxation is the goal.
On the menu: “Most ingredients come from within 20 miles of here,” chef Matt Costello tells us. Famous six-course prix fixe dinners are served Friday through Sunday nights and often include wild salmon, halibut, and plenty of Washington wines.
Nearby treat: Browse bookstores and art galleries on a short stroll into Langley.
Details: 24 rooms, 2 cottages from $195 weekdays, from $265 weekends (includes breakfast), prix fixe dinners $80 (reserve well in advance). (360) 221-3033. ―J.M.
PORT ANGELES, WASHINGTON
Domaine Madeleine Bed & Breakfast
The first upscale B&B on the Olympic Peninsula, Domaine Madeleine is hidden in a 5-acre evergreen woodland. Most of the extra-large rooms have whirlpool baths, and all have fireplaces and easy access to the gardens.
Seaside exposure: High-bluff site has a commanding view across the Strait of Juan de Fuca and clear to Victoria.
Unexpected pleasure: There are miniature bottles of French perfume in all the bathrooms―a legacy of the French founder.
On the menu: Innkeeper Jeri Weinhold prepares elaborate, brunch-style breakfasts made from fresh local ingredients like Dungeness 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 hiking when 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 Strait of Juan de Fuca conspires to let you unwind absolutely. Enjoy the warmth from your suite's fireplace, open your balcony doors to the salt air, and scan the neighboring red cedars for bald eagles. The evening’s main event: dinner, a four- to seven-course prix fixe adventure served weekly in a candlelit, art-filled dining room.
Seaside exposure: A walk along Whiffen Spit, the sandbar that 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 bounty on your plate each night.
On the menu: Chef Edward Tuson incorporates locally harvested 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 you watch Canadians brave the chilly waves. The beach opposite is one of Vancouver Island’s prime surfing spots.
Details: 28 rooms from $225 (U.S.) weekdays, from $250 (U.S.) weekends (includes breakfast and, on weekends, picnic lunch), 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 hot tubs and all with fireplaces or wood-burning stoves and kitchens, sit atop remote cliffs with wonderful views along Vancouver Island's southwest coast. Lunch, high tea, and dinner are served in the 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.