Oregon Coast Travelogue: Mists, Mysteries, Culinary Adventures, Part 1
Published 11/08/2015 at 5:05 AM PDT
By Andre' Hagestedt
(Oregon Coast) – It's February of 2007, and the Oregon coast is just bulging with adventures. Hence, this travelogue from that time, Some of these food spots, bars or lodgings no longer exist, while other businesses or places are simply different. The recent history therein is part of the fun as well. (Above: an icy Jump-Off Joe in Newport).
It's a lengthy set of exploits, spread over several days and encompassing nearly the entire upper half of the Oregon coast. This is part one of three.
The month brings its interesting mix of warm, clear day surprises and the typical rainy moments the area is known for. It’s in this mishmash of weather that I begin wandering the coast on another lengthy trip that takes me from Waldport to Seaside, spread over about a week’s time. It’s another journey of abundant, brilliant sunsets, gloriously odd and comical moments at bars, unusual, natural wonders that only few get to glimpse, exceptional culinary discoveries and beaches and attractions that seem to change with every day.
It begins on a Saturday after a long trip from Portland.
In Waldport, my beautiful lady friend and I witness a wondrous sunset that shoots wild colors across the sky via all manner of cloud formations, and is then reflected in the Alsea Bay to create some remarkable shapes.
After a scrumptious pizza dinner at The Rogue brewery on Newport’s bayfront (which contains an intriguing array of spices), we take part in the Saturday night karaoke madness at Moby Dick’s – an unabashedly kooky bar that gives the term “local color” new dimensions. This place is always an adventure. We witness a myriad of barfly mating behaviors. Some wacky pair of tourists for some reason gives us a glimpse of the inner turmoil in their relationship when the woman – a total stranger - walks past me and mumbles to me some truly odd and slightly nonsensical insult about her boyfriend.
Sunday winds up fairly sunny and nice, but it’s a workday and I’m stuck doing domestic stuff at our little cottage in Nye Beach. Breakfast that morning consists of scrumptious Indian leftovers from Swagat in Beaverton – a most delicious form of cuisine you unfortunately can’t get on the coast.
Monday begins with a healthy dose of rays and an amazing breakfast at Café Stephanie in Newport’s charm-o-rama Nye Beach district. Owner Scott Doll’s special on this day is a “chicken cordon bleu” sandwich, deceptively simple with its prosciutto ham, fine chicken, Dijon mustard and gobs of delectable cheese. It’s a mini masterpiece.
By early afternoon, a billowing, rippling fog has enveloped the town, giving the place a delightful coastal vibe. Just after dark, I hit the beach at the Nye Beach Turnaround, and the lighthouse is barely visible through the thick air mass. The tide is far out there and has disappeared in the distance. On the cliffs above, the lights of the stately old Sylvia Beach Hotel glow fuzzy and large in the mists, creating a decidedly otherworldly, if not spooky, vibe.
If it’s Tuesday, it must be the north Oregon coast – and that’s just where I’m heading. The rains have come, and I embark on a more-than-two-hour drive to Cannon Beach (some 115 miles). About 100 miles later, I hit that strangely spiritual spot called Wheeler, and Neahkahnie Mountain is enshrouded in mists, looking as mystical and mysterious as ever. It keeps a watchful eye over Wheeler and the entire Nehalem Bay, but it apparently can’t control the weather.
Or maybe it just doesn’t want to.
Cannon Beach, too, is covered in misty rain and hints of fog. In the Tolovana area, at the southern end of town, you’ll find a playground of sand and beach accesses, especially in the hidden neighborhoods just south of the main park, where Mo’s and the Tolovana Inn cajole hordes of tourists year-round.
The main access here was also been attacked pretty hard by recent big storms. Last year, big waves did quite a number on the zigzagging, concrete ramp that is the handicapped access to the beach. It was half filled with logs and debris.
This year, it was totally filled up with sea junk, cramming practically every inch of the rather long ramp. It was astounding.
Part two is found here: Oregon Coast Exploits Amidst Mists and Mysteries, Travelogue Part 2
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