After a pleasant day at the Woodward I found myself back on the road and heading to Norman, OK.
The one issue with driving through Kansas is that there is precious little scenery. Adding to that issue is one must use the Kansas Turnpike which has to be one of the most mind-numbing drives one can take. I had to take the turnpike on a trip to Texas several years ago and I seem to recall wondering if the turnpike had been sponsored by Amoco and McDonald’s as those were the only places one would see at rest areas along the way.
Well, some changes have been made in the ensuing years as Amoco seems to have been pushed out in favor of Valero and there was a Hardee’s or two to break up the McDonald’s. Sadly, that was the limit of the scenery for the drive.
A day’s worth of driving brought me to Norman, OK where once again Mapquest had failed me utterly. From the pictures I had seen for my next inn, I suspected it was outside the city, but the directions planted me right in the middle of downtown Norman. Luckily, I found the Norman Public Library where Courtney graciously Googled Mapped better directions that took me to my next inn, the Whispering Pines Bed and Breakfast.
Whispering Pines, owned and operated by Rany and Thavory Kchao, is rather secluded as it is located a bit out of town in the country. That seclusion was rather good for my writing sensibilities due to the peace and quiet. The property consists of the main house which holds several rooms and several luxury cottages located on various parts of the land.
Whispering Pines is unusual as it lacks many of the features of interest that I would expect to find at B & Bs. I’m rather fond of exploring the houses as I enjoy the various ornate rooms and history. Whispering Pines has more of the feel of a high class hotel as the lower floor consists of a check-in area and a dining room which serves as the location of Whispering Pines’ gourmet restaurant.
After checking in, I was led to the English Hunt Room which was a very comfortable room. The centerpiece of the room was a luxurious king bed. The room also has a small, but elegant bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub, and a private breakfast nook.
What Whispering Pines lacks in terms of the traditional B & B experience, it more than makes up for in its magnificent perks. As I stated earlier, the inn’s dining room serves as the eating area for Whispering Pines’ gourmet restaurant. The reservations only restaurant is actually the primary focus of Whispering Pines as it is open to both guests and non-guests.
If you find yourself in the area, make a reservation to eat here as the cuisine of French continental chefs, Chinda and Rany Kchao is a glorious experience. I was seated by the fireplace where I was brought a basket of freshly baked rolls which were served with a homemade butter which had honey and dill mixed into it. The taste was heavenly.
My meal opened with a Hungarian mushroom soup with Hungarian paprika. The rich and thick orange broth had a lovely hint of spice and was deliciously creamy.
Between the soup and main course I was served a lemon-lime sorbet which was a dandy little palate cleanser. For the main course I had an herb-potato encrusted salmon filet served with asparagus, zucchini, and scalloped potatoes. The chef also included a slightly toasted potato which was carved into the shape of a rosebud. It was both artful and tasty.
The salmon was cooked perfectly and served with a splendid champagne cream sauce. The herb-potato added just the right bit of crunch and flavor. The vegetables were fresh and crispy and the scalloped potatoes were wonderful.
After I finished the superb meal, I returned to my room where I enjoyed a nice long Jacuzzi bath. I then grabbed a soda from the complimentary treats cabinet on the first floor and sipped Coca-Cola while continuing my latest Nero Wolfe novel until I fell into slumber.
Another perk of the inn is that each room has a breakfast nook and breakfast is served directly to your room. A menu of choices is available in each room and you write your order down and place it in a box at the end of the first hallway with your preferred breakfast time.
At 9am sharp, my breakfast was delivered. I had opted for a glass of orange juice with an omelet stuffed with cheese, onions, mushrooms, ham, and green peppers. On the side was a serving of fried potatoes, mixed fruit, and a toasted roll. Normally I like to provide a picture of the fine meals provided by B & Bs, but as I sit here and write, I have just realized that I enjoyed that fantastic repast without snapping a photo.
But take my word, it was quite wonderful and it looked good, too. The fried potatoes had just the right blend of crunch, salt, and pepper. The omelet was a taster’s delight. The roll was made just so and the fruit was nice and fresh.
Now I’m just going to pack and kill a little time before beginning the final leg of my journey to Arlington, TX. And, yes, I used Google Maps to refigure my route out of Norman.