The day after it was advertised on the Internet July 30, a one-bedroom rental cottage in Junction City was booked for the entire U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, which will be in Eugene next June 27 to July 6.
A couple from the Midwest snapped it up for $1,750, or $175 a night - about twice the regular rate for a 10-day stay, said Patti Gaut, co-owner of the cottage.
The Midwest couple, Leah and Tom, who asked that their last name not be used, started looking for a hotel room months ago, when their Trials ticket order was confirmed. But their top seven or eight hotel choices were sold out, Leah said, and she started to get nervous.
"We have to stay somewhere, and I know there's a lot of people coming in," she said.
When she came across the ad for the Gaut's cottage, Leah pounced on it.
The Trials, which are expected to draw 1,000 athletes, 1,000 members of the media and daily crowds of 15,000 fans to Hayward Field, will test the limits of lodging in Lane County.
The local organizing committee's housing bureau has reserved rooms at area hotels/motels and at University of Oregon dorms for credentialed guests, such as athletes, coaches, officials and media. The Convention & Visitors Association of Lane County Oregon is helping spectators find lodging.
The big question mark is how many fans will stay overnight, and - in the absence of plentiful hotel rooms nearby - will they flock to university dorms, stay in lodging outside Eugene, or seek private lodging?
The visitors association estimates that 3,000 rooms are needed to lodge spectators each night of the 10-day Trials. (Each room typically accommodates more than one guest.)
At least one property - little Kalmia Cottage in Junction City - has been booked already, however. And it's 12 miles away from the action.
That didn't deter Leah and Tom, the Midwestern couple who reserved the cottage.
"In our travels, we're used to driving around, and the distance ... is not a problem at all," Leah said. "Even if we took an outlying hotel in Eugene, we'd have to drive into town or to catch a shuttle.
"I do like the idea of a private cottage all to ourselves," Leah said. "You can wake up and make breakfast. You can have your oatmeal and leave for the day. And at the end of the day, you can get away from all the hype."
The couple, both age 53, Master's athletes and avid track fans, have been to Eugene about eight times to compete and to visit relatives in Florence, Leah said.
"We have gone to the Olympics in Atlanta and L.A., and in both those cases, there was a huge amount of hype that you'll have to stay in a private home, or you'll have to stay 50 miles away, and at the last minute, rooms became available," Leah said.
"But I didn't want to wait and try that tactic, even though we suspect that's what might occur," she said. "Eugene is smaller, so they might just fill up everything and not release (more rooms) at the last moment."
A new way to stay for Junction City
By MEGHAN HILLIARD Of the News
JUNCTION CITY— Patti Gaut glides back and forth on a breezy spring day in the
same rocking chair where she once rocked her infant son. As she describes the
wood of the chair, her soft Kansas accent introduces itself. “It’s an old chair,”
says Gaut. “My son is now 35.”
Gaut, an antique collector, along with her husband Hank, have added the title of
new business owners to their laundry list of activities. The Gaut’s have opened
a bed and breakfast with a twist called Kalmia Cottage, which is located on the
corner of Sixth Avenue and Kalmia Street. Kalmia Cottage has a “self-catered”
atmosphere Gaut says. Consisting of a living area, a kitchen, bedroom and
bathroom, patrons do not have to share any of the amenities with other guests,
because the cottage can only hold one party at a time.
“It’s a place where you wouldn’t feel bad about putting your relatives in while
they’re visiting,” said Gaut. “When we visit our family in Oklahoma and Kansas,
we’re caught —do we stay with one family member or another and with a motel
you’re stuck in a place where people can’t really visit you.”
The cottage, located as a separate wing off the Gaut’s home, used to house
Hank’s mother. After her passing in November 2006, the wife-and-husband team
decided to turn it into a bed and breakfast. Being time-share holders, they built
their idea around their experiences elsewhere. “The condos where we’ve stayed
have all been furnished,” said Gaut. “So we modeled this after that.”
Furnished is an understatement. The cottage is fully packed to accommodate any
living need. From fully stocked kitchen appliances and dishware to fluffy towels
and bedspreads, the cottage can comfortably sleep four.
“This is something needed in Junction City,” said Gaut. “Junction City is growing,
and our business will grow with it.” Because the cottage once housed Gaut’s
mother-in-law, transforming it into a bed and breakfest didn’t require a huge
investment. “The bright colors of the rooms were at her request,” said Gaut.
“We made sure we kept it really nice for her.”
Each room is decorated with antiques the Gaut’s have collected over the years
from everywhere, from the Internet to local shows. Their brightly painted yellow
kitchen is adorned in vintage-looking red tins with matching red dishware.
The inclusiveness of the Kalmia Cottage doesn’t just start and stop indoors.
Patrons have their own yard with an outdoor fireplace and chair set. Patti has
been working on an herb garden available for guests to use as well.
Find more information and view inside pictures of the Kalmia Cottage by visiting its Web site at http://www.kalmiacottage.com.
For a tour of Kalmia Cottage and the Carriage House, please call Patti at 541 998-5873.