On a cold but sunny Saturday afternoon, The Fairgate Inn in Camas held its annual holiday high tea. As always, the event was beautifully decorated and the food was absolutely amazing.
This year, however, the event was marked with a tinge of nostalgia and maybe a little bit of sadness, for it would be the Christmas tea’s final appearance. In January, the former bed and breakfast will become Fairgate Estates, a senior care community.
Way back in 2000, when I first moved to Camas and started working at the Post-Record, one of my first assignments was to write an article about The Fairgate Inn. Owners Jack and Christine Foyte, who planned, designed and oversaw its construction from the ground up, were just preparing to open the grand event and wedding facility.
Sitting high atop Prune Hill, the mere sight of it took my breath away.
Walking up toward those four massive white pillars at the entrance and through the stained glass French doors of the Greek revival-style mansion for the first time was magical.
At the time I wrote: “Taking that first step onto the Brazilian cherry-wood entryway, those who enter are beckoned by a grand staircase leading to a sunny veranda. All around, a festival of deep reds accented by gold tones and contrasting colors entertains the eyes. Works of art and art in progress can be found throughout the house in the form of expansive wall murals, intricate frescos, Tiffany-style lamps, antique furniture and Italian tapestries. Either close-up or from a distance, Camas’ Fairgate Inn Bed and Breakfast is a site to behold.”
Maybe even more enchanting were the Foyts. Their passion and love for the adventure they were about to embark on was evident They put their hearts and souls into nearly every inch of the 12,000 square foot building. And after it opened, they put that same effort and care toward the many weddings and other events held there.
This Fairgate holds many wonderful memories for me personally. During the holidays, my mom and I have made it a nearly annual tradition to attend the Christmas tea. For an afternoon, we got to sip tea from fancy China, eat delectable finger foods, and enjoy spending time together.
There are other memories there for me as well.
Five years after I wrote that Post-Record article, my husband and I were married at The Fairgate Inn. On that special day, my dad held my hand as he walked me down the aisle, I married a wonderful man and was lucky enough to add a beautiful stepdaughter to my life. We celebrated with our parents, family members and friends. I treasure those memories even more now since my dad passed away in 2007. Today, whenever we drive by, my now 5-year-old son happily reminds me: “That’s where you married Daddy.”
Come January, although it will be owned and operated by the same family, its use will change dramatically. But the Fairgate will remain a dramatic landmark on Prune Hill that continues to evoke memories for those who have held their own weddings, anniversary celebrations, baby showers, and birthday parties there. And for the people who will now live at Fairgate Estates in the sunset of their lives, it has the opportunity to serve as the backdrop for a whole new set of wonderful experiences and memories to treasure.