I have an invitation to meet for cocktails at the inn before dinner on the patio. The inn is the Mission Inn, a famous local landmark here in Riverside, southern California and beyond. It is now know for its annual Holiday Extravaganza and more. Serveral Presidents have stayed there including Teddy Roosevelt, George W Bush, Richard Nixon and John Kennedy. The Nixons married there and the Reagans honeymooned there. For a full list, see: Historical Figures Who Stayed at the Inn Not only Presidents, but dignitaries and celebrities and more have visited the Inn over its 100 year plus history.
The Inn in the jewel in the center of Riverside's historic downtown. When you walk through the doors, it is almost as if you have been transported to Europe. I'm sure its founder, Frank Miller, and current owner, Duane Roberts intended just that. I always feel like I'm not in Riverside any more.
Anyway, one can always go to the Presidential Lounge if one cares to, but I seldom do. It feels like it is so sophisticated and lush that it should be saved for special occasions. Well, that's just me, I suppose. I love the Inn. And I treasure each time I have been there for drinks with friends, a wedding, a tour or a special event. It is not Marie Callendar's or Denny's to be sure.
So tonight I am having cocktails at the Inn with a dear friend from Santa Barbara. I have to pinch myself because it seems like I am in the vortex of a Venn diagram where two worlds overlap...even if just for an evening. I'm still a northwest Detroiter at heart, of sturdy, unassuming stock. But still, when I chance to pretend I am a "sophisticat" comes up, I submerge myself completely in the experience. There'll be stimulating conversation, ideas exchanged, and perhaps a fancy drink imbibed followed by a lovely dinner on the Las Capanas patio restaurant. "High falutin' ", my grandmother would say. Then she would tell me, "Enjoy! You only live once!"