Before departing Southern California for an extended coastal trip, I did some random searching for possible hotels along my planned route. One in particular caught my attention—the Itty Bitty Inn in North Bend, OR.
Comprising just five rooms, this old-school roadside motel has a bizarre and infectious charm. That goes for its owner as well, who introduces himself as Innkeeper Rick and describes his establishment as a retro, non-fancy, geek chic motel. I was in.
Located on US 101 on the Oregon coast, the Itty Bitty Inn is a quarter mile south of the McCullough Memorial Bridge. The motel has been a safe harbor for travelers since 1950, although the themed rooms are a recent creation by the new owner.
Each of the Itty Bitty Inn’s five rooms has a theme. There’s the Tiki Cha Cha room, Oregon Trail, Tiki Lounge, That 70’s Room, and—the most requested—the Star Trek room. It all looked like too much fun not to experience.
Live Long, and Prosper
As luck would have it, Innkeeper Rick informed me upon my arrival that the person who’d reserved the Star Trek room had to cancel, so I would be bedding down on the USS Enterprise.
Rick has installed an active console with bridge sound effects to go with the celestial paint scheme. There are odds and ends, like a replica communicator which flips open, emitting that famous sound, with pre-recorded transmissions by Lieutenant Uhura. A few Star Trek props sit around, as well as a few Tribbles—the soft, furry creatures that procreated rapidly in the episode “The Trouble with Tribbles”.
The hotel’s façade is painted with aliens and sci-fi images and characters. Chewbacca and Princess Leia adorned the wall outside my room and kept watch over the R18 in the private parking lot right outside my window.
When it was time for bed, I figured I would watch a few episodes of the original Star Trek TV series. I’d never really been an avid fan, but they were all cued up and ready to play on the DVD.
Four hours later, I’d binged nine episodes, thoroughly absorbed in the chintzy sets, rubber monsters, and painted nymphs that were overlooked by the clever social commentary. Since my stay at the Itty Bitty Inn, I’ve taken to watching the original series at home.
The Itty Bitty Inn provides free car and bicycle parking. After you’ve safely parked your bike for the night, check out the borrow-a-growler and try the draft beer and cider taps. Yes, they have their own growler station! There are bicycle cruisers for guests to pedal to the park, the bookstore, or the pub.
House policies include no smoking, no pets, and no smoking pets. The Itty Bitty Inn was voted Yelp’s #1 BudgetHotel in the U.S. If you want the Star Trek room, you’d be well-advised to call early in planning your stay.
Facts & Information
The Itty Bitty Inn is small and quaint. It’s an easy walk (or bike ride) to North Bend’s main drag, where you’ll find several restaurants. The Inn uses Oregon-made products, such as local soaps and locally roasted coffee.
- A fridge, a coffee maker, a microwave, a flat-screen TV, and free Wi-Fi
- Room-side parking
- Locally roasted coffee
- Vintage bicycles, record players, and rebuilt Atari 2600s are available for guest use
Personally, I was fascinated by the gargantuan stacks of lumber being prepared for shipment a few blocks from the hotel. North Bend is a sleepy little town yet still has sights to see, such as the McCullough Memorial Bridge (1936) and the David Dewett Veterans Memorial.
If gambling is your thing, try The Mill Casino. Or you might want to roll some balls at North Bend Lanes bowling alley.
There’s also the Liberty Theater, known as the little theater on the bay, which hosts a wide range of plays and musicals. North Bend also has several used bookstores (a kind of Oregonian pastime given the frequent rains and gray skies) to keep you entertained, as well as a host of eateries.
The Itty Bitty Inn is on Sherman Avenue, which is ostensibly US 101. If you’re staying in the area and want to venture local roads, go south of town and pick-up SR 540 for some touring out to the coast and along the South Slough, or detour onto Seven Devil’s Rd. How can a motorcyclist resist a name like that?
This roughly 40-mile stretch of winding road takes you through scenic backwoods via twists and turns, eventually dead-ending at US 101, which will have you back in North Bend relatively quickly. You can also venture north from the hotel and follow US 101, at this point called the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, which crosses the waterways via several long bridges with exceptional views.
Rooms start at $69 per night.
Find the Itty Bitty Inn at 1504 Sherman Ave, North Bend, OR, (541) 756-6398.