Summer Breaks: Beware dragons at state's only 'castle' B&B

Published: Friday, Dec. 1, 2006 - 4:35 pm

A year's worth of renovations later, Brigadoon opened with two beautifully furnished guest rooms and a luxurious suite in the main house, plus a detached cottage near the entrance gate. Honeymooners and couples in search of a secluded getaway have been finding their way here ever since.

Brigadoon is for people who want to forget where the action is. For most guests, it's pleasure enough to curl up with a book in the spectacular great room, or sink into a bubbling hot tub set into a hillside garden. The setting is pure serenity, the castle a feast for the eyes.

MacCallum or her assistant, Marge Howett, walk guests through the castle upon arrival, pointing out the rich architectural details. There's the curved wooden staircase, carved to resemble a dragon's tail, with banisters modeled after those at a castle in Scotland. Cabinets throughout the house are hand-carved in a traditional linen-fold pattern. Downstairs is a wood-paneled bathroom modeled after a Pullman railroad car; upstairs are stained-glass windows featuring the castle's mascot dragon.

The castle's interior focal point is a spacious great room with wainscoted walls, a 30-foot ceiling with scissor-beam trusses and a loft library cantilevered over an antique-brick fireplace. The room takes its inspiration, MacCallum says, from the library at the University of Washington, the former owner's alma mater.

When Brigadoon first opened, MacCallum served dinner as well as the hearty gourmet breakfasts still included in the rates. But Shasta County cracked down on restaurant regulations, so she scaled back. Now guests who are on the property during the dinner hour are served a heavy "snack," usually a hearty soup or stew with homemade bread or biscuits. It works well enough as a light supper.

Those in search of more substantial fare don't have to drive all the way back to Redding to find it -- at least, not if they're here over a weekend.

Five miles down Zogg Mine Road is the Igo Inn, a place as quirkily colorful as the castle is quirkily grand. The white clapboard building, dating from 1872, sits at a crossroads, next to the Igo-Ono volunteer fire department.

How big is Igo? "I'd say about 50 if you count the dogs," deadpans Roy Maloney, a graphic designer who, with business partner Paul Williams, a contractor, opened the place as a restaurant this month.

The rambling building, which until recently served as a lodge for the International Order of the Odd Fellows (it still bears the IOOF insignia) boasts a knotty-pine-paneled dance hall with a specially constructed flexible floor -- one of only two known to exist in Northern California, Maloney says. There's not a knothole to be seen on the 20-foot lengths of clear, old-growth fir running the length of the room.

The main dining room is tinted a creamy yellow, with seating for 30 and paintings by local artists on the walls. Out back is a patio beer garden.

Neither Maloney nor Williams had previous restaurant experience, so they hired a respected local chef to run the kitchen. The inn is open for Friday and Saturday dinner, as well as Sunday brunch. Menus feature Cajun specialties -- jambalaya, housemade sausage, blackened steak, creole seafood omelet, Louisiana seafood quartet -- along with vegetarian and pasta dishes.

"The quality of the food and the presentation is pure San Francisco," Maloney says, "But this is Igo, not Atherton, so it's fine for people to come in shorts and T-shirts."

Entertainment is part of the picture at the Igo Inn, and the owners hope to keep it eclectic -- a jazz band one night, a quartet playing Brahms another.

In other words, it's best to keep an open mind and expect the unexpected. "After all," reminds Maloney, "this is Igo."

Rates at Brigadoon range from $215 to $325 on weekends; deduct 15 percent for a Sunday-Thursday stay and 20 percent off the total bill for a three-night package. For information or reservations: (888) 343-2836 or www.brigadooncastle.com.

For reservations at the Igo Inn: (530) 396-2430.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Janet Fullwood



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