NEWS YOU CAN USE
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.
Tourists Turning to 'Living La Vida Local' on Oregon's Coast
Coast) - The Oregon coast is not just about tourism anymore.
like eco-travel, another growing trend in the tourism industry is
about visiting a locale and digging in a little bit, without doing
all the common attractions or tourist traps. While this is more
prominent among Westerners going to other countries and not staying
at fancy hotels or big cities, and instead opting for tinier villages
or more rural experiences, the idea has its counterpart among those
visiting the coast. It's not as obvious as an American drifting
through Nairobi, Jamaica, or even small-town Germany, but living
among the locals and engaging yourself in small town, coastal culture
- even if only for a day - is happening more and more.
hidden spots, like this one near Neskowin, is a favorite with
those digging deeper into coastal fun
are those that are looking for a more complete experience on the
Oregon coast, likely staying for a few days, or visiting numerous
times, and really getting to know an area in an intimate way. They
explore more of the beaches, hang out at the local bars, spend time
at the smaller, less touristy shops and restaurants, and get to
know those who live there.
about getting a serious taste of local flavor, but not necessarily
blending in - and it happens in a variety of ways.
businessman Warren Kan has noticed it. "The regulars with condos
and summer homes primarily seem to walk the prom or beach as the
primary reason they come regularly," he said. "I explain
it as the innate desire for negative ions and the peace and quiet
to get their vitamin D. They have specific restaurants they go to
often enough to be recognized by the staff. Some of them are regulars
at the small bookstore in Sand Dollar Square. They seem to attend
the promotions at the convention center judging from the questionnaires
I used to include on drawings."
Deborah Trusty, owner of Village Market & Deli, says she mostly
sees it with those who have beach homes. One Portland family she
knows comes to stay for a while and indulges in local culture. "They
shop locally, go to the Sandbar, breakfast at Panini, work out at
Newport's rec center and attend Newport Performing Arts Center performances.
Their children go to Tsunami and create ceramic art, and enjoy ice
cream from Nye Beach Scoop. If we are holding a special event, like
a wine and food pairing, they attend and mix with the locals. They
walk the Nye Beach neighborhood and know many residents, especially
the business people."
does see it with others just passing through, however. "Several
people have come through our shop that are interested in local features,"
Rockaway Beach and Manzanita
are seeing a whole new surge in homebuilding or construction of
condominiums, as part time residents begin to make up more and more
of the coastal population. These folks not only dig into local culture
and towns, they plant roots.
of this, Rockaway Beach is about to get a new look. The little town
is still kind of a secret, and not busy enough to totally support
a tourist industry. So many lodgings in the area are being torn
down or renovated into condos. Something in the vicinity of $30
million of construction is happening in the area - the majority
of which will be made into high-end condos that will transform this
town in a few short years.
of this is the Seacape
Townhomes, created by Portland developer Mike Nelson. He's creating
37 units of rowhouses along the beachfront; one of which has four
stories, an elevator and skylight, with its more than 3000 square
feet going for $1.4 million. Nelson's company is also putting together
some other smaller condo ideas.
company is planning to create a high-end restaurant and lounge near
the condos, and Nelson said he's currently working on buying up
one building to place a wine bar in there. All of these will have
isn't the only one. Brian Hemstreet, son of Shilo Inn owner Mark
Hemstreet, is creating another extravagant set of condos nearby.
Several other lodgings in the area are either being sold with the
purpose of being torn down and turned into condominiums, or they
are already in the process of transformation.
bought up the Sea Treasure Inn last year and has renovated that
there just isn't the need for motel rooms - yet. But he believes
that will come again. The town will change and create something
new with all the upcoming renovations and higher-end attractions.
so touristy now," Nelson said. "The motels aren't being
supported. But the market will adjust itself there. Eventually,
the need for motels will come. And many of these owners of high-end
condos will put their properties into the pool of vacation rentals.
There will probably be something like 100 to 200 homes coming in.
It costs more, but people will stay longer, and they'll enjoy that
aspect of having a nice beachfront home for a while."
on a tour
own columnist, Guy DiTorrice, was for years the head of the Oregon
Coast Visitors Association - and he knows local tourism. Currently,
he gives fossil tours of
central coast beaches, and this shows him how deep - quite literally
- people are willing to dig into the coast. "I turn down as
many fossil beach tours as I book, along with summer Saturday evening
fossil programs at Beverly Beach and South Beach State Campgrounds,"
DiTorrice says. "It tells me people are doing more than just
buying postcards and t-shirts when they come to the coast."
on Living "La Vida Local"
The key to enjoying
this whole aspect of the Oregon coast is hanging out long enough
to discover the local secrets. The rewards are intensely satisfying.
To find a hidden deli or restaurant tucked away somewhere, an interesting
and friendly bar or a clandestine beach spot is enough to get addicted
and keep coming back for more. Of course, making great new friends
is yet another dimension to this kind of detailed exploration.
this is done depends on what area you're in as well, but often repeat
visits or a long stay is key. If you're planning a day or simple
overnight trip, and would like try a bit of treasure hunting, here's
a list of some suggestions according to area:
Walk the length of the Promenade and check out the old, old vacation
homes. Spend time exploring shops and restaurants in areas other
than the main drag of Broadway, such as the Gilbert District (east
end of that street), Holladay Ave., or some of the cafes on 101.
Attend events at the Seaside Theater. Check out bars like Girtles,
Shilo, Lil' Bayou or Bridgetender. SITES
& SIGHTS: The deserted, northern beach which
becomes dunes and ends at the estuary. Seaside Historical Museum.
The beaches of Gearhart, just north of town. Hike just part of the
trail over Tillamook Head.
BEACH. Send time walking around downtown, carefully checking
out the shops. Live theater at the Coaster Theater. Keep your eye
out for wine tasting events at various spots. Walk the charming,
unnamed lane running between the homes and the dunes of Mid-Town
and gawk at the sites. The Warren House Pub stays open late and
is a kick in the pants. SITES & SIGHTS:
The beaches on the extreme southern end and northern end tend to
be more deserted. Play tennis at the court by the Chamber. Stop
at every beach access just south of town until you reach the tunnel.
BAY. Stop for a while at Nehalem Bay Winery, then explore
Highway 53 a bit. Walk the entire length of Nehalem Bay Spit. Hang
out by the Nehalem River. Take thirty minutes to walk briefly into
every shop in tiny Wheeler. Sit on the docks of the bay in Wheeler.
Grab food to go in Manzanita and munch on the beach or in your car
while parked by the beach. Both bars in the area are extremely friendly:
San Dune and Sea Shack. Take a boat from Jetty Fishery to tip of
Spit. SITES & SIGHTS:
Seven miles of incredible beach at Rockaway. Wild hidden spots just
north of Manzanita.
AREA. Walk the hidden beach and park at Barview, just north
of Garibaldi. Watch workers shuck oysters at Pacific Oyster in Bay
City as you dine. SITES & SIGHTS:
Bayocean Spit, where an entire ghost town once sat.
CAPES TOUR. Includes Oceanside, Netarts, Tierra Del Mar
and Pacific City, three capes, a lighthouse - with 25 miles of hidden
spots and stuff to discover. You'll need a week of 10-hour days
to explore it all (working quickly, that is).
CITY. Dally at the shops up and down 101, hang out at the
various coffee shops, tour the antique stores. Bars like Maxwell's,
the casino, Snug Harbor and Kodiak are fantastic local faves. SITES
& SIGHTS: Siletz Bay and
the beaches nearby. NW 15th St. ramp to beach. Hidden accesses around
Kyllo's. Hidden beaches of Gleneden Beach and Lincoln Beach (s.
BAY. Winetasting and exploring the shops and restaurants
are a sure way to dig deeper. Wander the area around the bay slowly.
SITES & SIGHTS: Hidden
spots abound, but you have to look carefully. Just north of Cape
Foulweather contains more secrets as well.
Loiter around Nye Beach or the Bayfront slowly, see how many kinds
of seafood you can taste test. SITES &
SIGHTS: Cracks and crevices of a secret nature all
around Yaquina Head, including above it. Parks near the jetties.
Fishing pier that juts into the bay from the South Beach side.
Attend events at the Yachats Commons or other community centers.
Stroll around the shops of downtown Yachats or Seal Rock. The Landmark
in Yachats is a wonderful, colorful lounge. SITES
& SIGHTS: This entire area is filled with deserted
beaches that will take you weeks to fully explore.
Old Town has dozens of fun shops to explore at a quiet pace. Florence
doesn't end at the bridge either, there's more on the southern end.
SITES & SIGHTS: Baker
Beach is one big expanse of usually empty sand. Hike the trails
in back of the Heceta Head Lighthouse.
shops, art galleries, delis, small mom & pop restaurants: they
all provide such opportunities for closer examination. Find the
shops along tiny, obscure side streets, drive through various beachside
neighborhoods until you find your own favorite hidden beach.
you do, look more closely and spend some time.