You might recall that last year we took you to Tabula Rasa, a regenerative farm in Yamhill County with a mission to provide chemical free produce and meat via nutrient-rich soils and plant life. They run a market garden, a farm to table restaurant in McMinnville and they operate a bed and breakfast.
But wait, there’s more.
In their quest to connect to the Earth, they recently dug deep to create luxury lodging that is underground.
This is Inn The Ground in Carlton, southwest of Portland. Do you see what they did there?
“We have nine rooms in the ground and they are there on purpose so that we can be one with nature,” said innkeeper Rachael Wescott. “Our intention is to be in the ground and teach … kind of help people realize that we are all in this together in this ecosystem.”
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Upstairs are meeting rooms, reading areas, relaxing furniture and lots and lots of quiet. Downstairs, you find the rooms very spacious, modern, high end touches. And again, peaceful.
Inn The Ground is cut into a hillside and the rooms open to their own private patios.
“A gorgeous landscape overlooking other parts of our farm, too, that has our chickens, our turkeys and our pigs. We also have views of Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson,” Wescott said. “It’s very understated but elegant. We want people to be comfortable in their stay, but also realize this just kind of coming home.”
The view from the rooms includes pastures where the daily breakfast comes from, again, connecting everything to the ground.
“We have eggs, simple scrambled eggs, but you’ll pass the hens on the way up the hill here,” said culinary director Brett Uniss. “And the ham we serve with breakfast right now is from the hogs that we raise on the property. So it’s really a representation of place. It’s something simple, though. A little bit of pastries, some good coffee.
“Melons right now are in season and there’s pears and apples coming off the trees. So we try to grab something from the surrounding orchard and the market garden and include that as well,” Uniss said. “The idea is that people can kind of disconnect and then reconnect when they’re here, reconnect with nature. And the idea that the food is right from here, you can really taste the place, be part of the surroundings and just engage and when you have something where like a pear is perfectly ripe right off a tree right here, you can’t find that in a grocery store or many other even restaurants.”\
Connecting to the ground is not just a catchphrase around here. They literally practice what they preach.
“We have the opportunity to make a shorter supply chain to reduce carbon outputs while we’re preparing breakfast,” Uniss said. “To engage with local community when we choose to source for the breakfast if it’s something from outside of the ground. So, you know, hopefully the guest enjoys it. And my favorite moment in the guests experience, kind of their arc, is when they say ‘This is really delicious. Why does this taste so good?’And you can say, well, it’s from right here.”
After your locally sourced breakfast, there are a variety of activities awaiting you.
“We actually have six miles worth of trails right next to the inn in our little private forest that people can hike,” Wescott said. “There’s a natural stream that they can drink from there. We also have our farm tours. If people are interested, they can set one of those up with us. That will be going around the farm, looking at different parts that we have at the ground and going out at the market garden and going to look at where their breakfast each morning comes from.
“People love how calming and relaxing their experience is. They tell us that they have their heart rate drop as soon as they get here,” Wescott said.
Inn The Ground fits effortlessly into its surroundings.
“We want it to look like it belongs in nature. It’s very intentional that everything is wood so that it fits in with our fir trees that are just naturally growing around us. We want to be one with the ground still, even if we’re a little bit above ground,” Wescott said.