NEWS YOU CAN USE
Covering 160 miles of Oregon Coast: Seaside,
Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi,
Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport,
Waldport, Yachats & Florence.
Inn Provides Fun and Funky Amenities
Oregon) - Oregon's coast is known as a treasure trove of pristine
beaches - some of the cleanest in the world. Then there's the Nehalem
Bay area, on the northern coast, with its legends of buried treasure
around tiny Manzanita, possibly sequestering the real thing in its
thick envelope of slightly mysterious forest. It's an area that
seems to never cease in its revelations and hidden delights. No
matter that you may be a frequenting regular, the beaches, Neahkahnie
Mountain and the three tiny towns of Nehalem, Wheeler and Manzanita
which comprise the bay area always yield new discoveries.
The San Dune
Inn is one of those, even for addicted veterans of the area like
myself, who visit here almost every week from the metropolitan area
of Portland, some 100 miles away. While there's a lovely little
local nightlife hotspot called San Dune Pub just stumbling distance
away, the San Dune Inn - a very family-friendly motel - is one of
those lurking surprises awaiting.
many lodging spots can claim to have a vast array of freebies like
bikes, game equipment, popcorn and movies. But San Dune does. Stay
at this charming, unassuming place just steps away from Manzanita's
main drag - Laneda Avenue - and you'll find stuff for volleyball
and other games suitable for the sand, as well as beach balls, bikes
and simple sandcastle-making gear like buckets. It's a kid's dream
At 41, and a kid at heart, all these playthings
are a dream come true for me as well.
Perhaps what charmed me the most about this place
upon my first few visits was the thick London accent of owner Brian
and his down-to-Earth approach, as well as the kids' stuff available
for play. And then there was that really adorable dog: Buddy. This
tiny little pup was so fluffy and soft he felt more like a stuffed
animal. But he was the real deal, and loves greeting guests as they
On this stay, Brian's wife, Billie, hooked me up
with a lovely little room on the westward end of the motel. From
here, you could just barely hear the waves of Manzanita's beaches
in the middle of the night, lulling you to sleep. The room is immaculate,
with a color theme of blue, coming complete with a coffee machine,
VCR and TV, a blow dryer hooked into the wall, a small fridge and
even a shower cap.
The San Dune Inn has 14 such cozy rooms, all of
them with VCR's, cable TV, the small fridge, microwave and access
to all the cool freebie amenities for sand play, as well as free
movies, games and even books. Six of the rooms feature full kitchens
with separate living room and bedroom areas. Plus, the place is
pet friendly - and there's this nifty little barbecue area out back
with a tent next to it.
me, as the middle-aged kid with a surreal sense of exploration,
I was interested in playing with the bikes. After a party at a friend's
house nearby, I took one for a joyride on the beach. I'm not sure
zipping around at three in the morning is what the Hines had in
mind for these, but I was filled with a load of childlike joy. It's
been perhaps 20 years since I rode one, and I discovered the old
adage is true: you never forget how.
visits found me reveling more in the slight kookiness of this place.
Brian has quite a raucous sense of humor, and is great for a fun
spot of conversation. I've gone on late, nocturnal bike rides with
regularity now, thanks to Brian and Billie. Sometime in the last
year, they acquired a somewhat wacky statue of a heron made from
found junk. Intriguing, pretty and yet delightfully off-kilter.
I've also found myself going through their extensive
library of flicks, taking in all the M. Night Shaliman movies they
In the end,
I discover the San Dune is perfect for families with kids - or adults
who act like kids. Next time, perhaps I'll take the more grownup
route, take a friend and we'll stay in and enjoy one of their fairly
large selection of movies. Or maybe we'll both act like kids and
play with the beach toys and bikes again. You'll find it about a
block away from Laneda, at 428 Dorcas Lane. Bring your pet, look
for the big sign on Laneda pointing the way, or see www.sanduneinn.com.