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NPS was coming to the Cowper Inn in Palo Alto, CA well before there was even an NPS. Over twenty years and two owners! An lo and behold, repairs are underway this trip with all newly refinished floors, a completely reworked kitchen, and lots of ongoing repair work to the outside shingles. Things are looking good!

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We did (apparently) have some trouble securing room 31, but in the end it all worked out. 31 has a new lighter feel with the refinished floor.

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And it also has the best shower in the place in a spacious bathroom.

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The facelift looks great so far!

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But it is not done yet.

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In any case, after 20+ years of staying here, it really feels like home. Five showerheads for the Cowper and its new look.

Umami burger on University serves up a mean truffle burger and truffled fries. Just do it!

Tamarine remains an outstanding restaurant. Great wine list and fabulous food. They have been so good for so long, that they’re likely to remain good indefinitely.

Lure+Till has a pretty good bar (but not as good as they think they are) which can conjur up a CR2 if necessary. Their drinks run on the sweet side. Sadly, the whole shebang seems to be owned by Larry Ellison.

Joanie’s Cafe is a great breakfast place in Palo Alto. Surprisingly, NPS has only just discovered it.

If you’re stuck in Mt View, Doppio Zero is a very good pizza place. The only amusing aspect is the Spanish speaking staff who pretend they speak Italian. For a nightcap, the Eureka! bar has a great bourbon selection (Gearge T Stagg and William Larue Weller 2015 for example), but you have to ignore the TVs and the noise.

Virgin America was packed to the gills and felt way too much like United. Hmm.

This go ’round at the Cowper is much better than my previous visit. More time to relax; a better room (number 31); some time to visit with Joji.

Here is the spectacular mission style living room where breakfast is served every morning.

Cowper Inn breakfast room high style.

Cowper Inn breakfast room high style.

Room 31.

Room 31.

Room 31.

The non-plastic shower in 31 through a big mirror.

Cowper shower in 31 (needs a new showerhead).

Cowper shower in 31 (needs a new showerhead).

A quest for mixology in Palo Alto was met with very limited success. Downtown has zero mixology as far as I can tell. There are some nice outdoor bars associate with restaurants, but you won’t find concoctions worth noting. Dinner nearby in Menlo Park at Flea Street Cafe was workaday and OK. Their bar makes drinks that are too sweet. Their approach to a Sazerac was interesting to say the least. After dinner we hit the Rosewood Sand Hill, which though very gorgeous has a remarkably mundane high end bar.

Four showerheads for the Cowper. All they need is a nearby bar that’s good.