A Vision In The Clearing: St Orres

We recently stumbled upon a gem just three hours north of San Francisco. St. Orres is a gorgeous coastal getaway that embodies everything we love about vintage restoration. The owner and executive chef, Rosemary Campiformio, sat down with us to answer all of our questions about this amazing getaway.

St-Orres-dining room

Will you share with us some of the background of St. Orres?
Built in 1929, St. Orres was originally a boarding house for loggers and fishermen. The roads at the time were pretty rough, so these travelers needed a place to recoup after grueling trips. Our dining room was initially used as the general store back in the early 1900’s.

We’ve had several friends rave about your cuisine. What is it that makes the dining experience so unique?
Our goal was not just amazing food, but a dining experience that reflects the land. Forty years ago when Alice Waters was starting the organic food movement down in Berkeley, we grabbed onto the concept and put our own “northcoast” spin on it. The movement was a reassessment of the processed and frozen items typical to restaurant fare, focusing on natural products and pulling from your environment. “From the land to the table” is how we refer to it. Most of the items on our menu- huckleberries, mushrooms, abalone, mussels, scallops, wild salmon, and even teas that we brew here- are foods of the land and sea. We’re a restaurant that still cooks, and it shows. Our speciality is all things wild and delicious.

With the distinct features of this beautifully crafted establishment, we have to talk design! How much of what we see today is the original design?
The style today is totally different. My business partner Erik Black, is responsible for the design and architecture. The design of old California hotels used to be basically two-level, square blocks. He took all the material from the old hotel and used it in the remodel.  That meant reclaiming the wood and stripping the paint to restore its natural glory. He also bought an abandoned sawmill and dismantled it so he could use that beautiful, aged wood as well. The domes of the building were handmade from recycled copper sheeting.

People travel differently and seek out hidden gems. You seem to have the perfect balance of off-the-beaten-path, yet easily accessible. What type of experience would you say guests can expect while staying at St. Orres?
We strive to give guests a really light, open experience. There’s a connotation that old structures rich with history are automatically dark, haunted, something for an adrenaline rush. At St. Orres, the stay here is actually about de-stressing and healing. We hang crystals for their healing properties and generally try to provide a soothing experience. The word we hear most often from guests is “magical.” This is a space where people can renew, have their energies lifted, and be embraced by the land. Sometimes when they’re leaving after a stay here, guests just feel better and can’t quite put their finger on the reason. That’s our goal.

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Written by Beth Caster

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