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Covering 160 miles of Oregon coast
travel: Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway,
Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe
Bay, Newport, Wadport, Yachats & Florence.
It's Fall on the Coast: Summer is Here
Coast Travel Blog: Beginnings of the Other Summer
Joe, a Nye Beach landmark in Newport
– The “second summer” is off to a shaky start
this early part of September. The legendary phenomenon is intermittent
at best, with fog banks, clouds and drizzle moving in and out on
a consistent basis, and bouts of sun and little or no wind are interspersed
between it all.
It’s supposed to
be warmer than usual on the coast about now. But that hasn’t
quite kicked in as yet, although you can probably expect it later
in the month – anytime now. September 10, a Saturday, sees
somewhat chilly weather in the evening as I wander into Newport,
although the skies are mostly clear, and a big moon beams down on
the denizens of Nye Beach, who are wandering from place to place
during the Jazz at Newport Festival. Various venues throughout town
are hosting the musical frivolity, so there’s a sense of the
neighborhood being quite the party.
at life through wine-filled glasses at Blu Cork
diva Hallie Loren is creating a stir at the Blu Cork Wine Bar on
this night. And my date, an exquisite thing from Newport named Melissa,
is causing a stir with me. Hallie ends the eve with one of her stunning
originals, reminiscent of Tori Amos, and both Melissa and I get
the shivers over this. This helped things along in a romantic vein.
the kooky dive of Moby Dick’s for a spot of karaoke, and then
an insanely romantic interlude atop the rocky ledge known as Jump-Off
Joe, where moonlight casts this beauty in an especially lovely glow.
I’ll let you deicide if I’m talking about Melissa or
the rock structure.
and his lovely companion
On Sunday, the
fog wanders in and out, leaving a decent stretch of sun to bathe
the central coast in warmth for a few hours, while winds are decidedly
minor. These conditions manage to stay for most of the day, through
to sunset. I have breakfast not in the normal fashion, but in the
fantastical new Thai Talay in Newport’s Nye Beach.
I’m in Seal Rock
as the sun makes a spectacular last showing, ever so slowly dipping
into the sea, and turning into a shrinking sliver of light. The
rock structures of Seal Rock provide beautiful foreground shapes
for these photos.
|Sunset in Seal Rock
Yachats is my
final destination, where I experience an insanely delicious culinary
adventure at the newly created Yachats
River House. This little trip takes me to India, by way of Yachats,
with a curried carrot soup and a most perfect king salmon layered
thick with tandoori spices.
This place is
a new bit of heaven for the central coast. You'll find it right
On Monday, I
hear swells are supposed to be enormous on the coast, and you can
see this in full effect from my vantage point in northern Newport.
The waves pounding Agate Beach are indeed huge and impressive.
This means the
wave action in Depoe Bay is also quite a show. The breakers come
slamming in with great strength, compressing their power periodically
into the basalt rocks, then consequently shooting them out through
one or two holes, known as the spouting horns of Depoe Bay. They
squirt upwards, sometimes so madly the seawater shoots over the
sea wall. The air is so thick with saltwater mist your windshield
is covered in the stuff while driving through town.
Dinner is again
Thai Talay and their wild, insanely delicious silver noodles: a
kind of angel hair pasta that’s made out of something vegetable,
mixed with bits of egg, cilantro and other tasty layers that create
something so good it hurts.
From Newport, it’s
a manic two-hour drive to Manzanita in the dark, passing through
bits of drizzle and shimmering stars, along with brief glimpses
of nocturnal beaches that are intoxicating.
Bay tidal madness
I drop off my
things at our head office in Manzanita, and make a beeline for my
favorite bar in the state, Warren House, in Cannon Beach. This place
is a blast as always, as are Tim and Sajru (pronounced Sarah) of
fab restaurant Newman’s at 988 and of The Bistro. Strangely,
here, it’s overcast, really warm and quite humid, whereas
anywhere south of Arch Cape it’s a star-filled sky and slightly
chilly. Absolutely stunning in both areas.
On Tuesday morning,
it’s glorious second summer in Manzanita just before noon.
In Cannon Beach, it’s drizzling. In between, it’s intermittent
clouds, wetness and blasts of warm sun that practically beg to sunburn.
Later in the afternoon, anything south of Nehalem Bay is full of
sun and bereft of wind; but Cannon Beach and Seaside are cloudy.
It’s in Seaside
where I get the chance to tour the mysterious top floor of the Seaside
Aquarium, where apartments once teemed with tenants and activity,
back in the 1920’s. It’s like walking back in time –
or into a haunted house. The floors creak and are sometimes tilted
at slightly harsh angles, like in a carnival fun house. The mostly
empty, dusty rooms stare lifeless at the bare, lonesome hallways.
Long dead bathtubs are lined up in one part of the halls, leaning
against the walls, looking like shells of the functioning objects
they once were. If the rooms contain anything, it’s a weird
mix of administrative storage, abandoned projects and objects from
It’s eerie, creepy
and yet thoroughly engaging. Lucky me: just a handful of people
will ever get to tour this freaky place, and I’m one of them.
There are some whisperings of hauntings in these upstairs, but the
aquarium’s Tiffany Boothe said that’s probably just
all the noises the aquarium can make at night, and how surprisingly
easy it is to hear anything going on outside on the beach.
sunset in Cannon Beach
Dinner is in
Cannon Beach, sitting outdoors at Fultano’s Pizza and sucking
down their intensely delirium-inducing pasta – a homemade
concoction that is nothing but pure heaven made with tomatoes. The
beginnings of the sunset come streaming through the thick trees
on the other side of the fence at the edge of Fultano’s patio.
A few minutes later,
that sunset is exploding in a massive palette of colors across the
sky, illuminating the clouds with eye-popping intensity. It is breathtaking.
It seems half the town’s current occupants have gathered along
the high points to soak this in.
night falls, there’s more wacky frivolity at Warren House
Pub, and then a quick jaunt to the nocturnal beaches of Arch Cape.
It’s around 1 a.m., and the tide is in its own little world,
quite a ways further out than normal for this usually cozy beach.
It’s a double dose
of beachy freakzone at this point, with glowing sand making its
trademark greenish sparks beneath me, and a wild, wild sky above
doing some remarkable things. There’s a bright moon hiding
behind clouds that are alternately dark, thick and then fluffy and
light, with spaces in between that show the stars. It looks as if
the stars themselves are moving fast, although, it is, of course,
the clouds themselves that are moving – and moving swiftly.
But for some reason this optical illusion is dominant, and I have
to stare at the scene for a while to center my point of view and
bring myself back to reality.
in the morning
little glowing critters are visible, albeit faint. That’s
created by microscopic creatures called dinoflagellates, a form
of phytoplankton that is bioluminescent. As I predicted, this whole
second summer time would create great opportunities to spot these.
Finally, on Wednesday,
breakfast consists of Left Coast Siesta in Manzanita again. Yum-o-rama.
And the sea is wild and tumultuous again, which is seen well from
blocks away, near the top of Laneda Ave. in Manzanita. This is always
one of my favorite views: as you come driving into this tiny, adorable
town, the ocean is almost pointed to at the bottom of the street,
with the leading lines of the street and the parked cars bringing
your eye to rest at the end and the tussling waves. Today, they
are big and powerful – just a little scary – even at
After a day’s
work at the computer, I venture to Cannon Beach for the well renowned
The Bistro – a European-style eatery that is legendary. It
is so for good reason. In fact, I’ve had various acquaintances
in the last year actually chide me for not having been there yet
– sometimes quite rudely. (Relax, I tell them. I’m covering
180 miles of coastline mostly by myself. It may take a bit).
This is place is one
delight after another, with recipes and flavors so masterful it
is an experience that simply qualifies as soaring: a fantasia for
the senses, primarily the tongue. I had the spaghetti and meatballs
in a very authentic Euro-style marinara, which came drenched, albeit
gracefully, in shredded Parmesan. Bold, rustic flavors permeated
this beauty, where mushrooms and green peppers added an extra Old
World kick. The meatballs were little monsters that were big on
taste. It also came with a potato and leek soup that was a silken