Monsters, Myths and Mysterious Noises of Hidden Oregon Coast Village
(Oceanside, Oregon) – There are, in actuality, two places named Cape Meares on the north Oregon coast. One is the more well known promontory that juts out from near Oceanside, which also hosts that wild Octopus Tree and the shortest lighthouse on the entire Oregon coast. It’s hard to miss, being a large headland and everything.
The other Cape Meares is much easier to miss, and thus one heck of a tiny secret. Or it’s a big secret, depending how you think of it. It’s barely a village – more of a neighborhood of homes that appears suddenly next to the headland, tucked away behind a small forest and around the corner from the road that zig zags past Tillamook Bay
It may be miniscule, but there's a lot of layers in here, from its ties to some remarkable coastal history to the funky noises the beach can make, to the curious sight of a freaky creature.
First and foremost: there’s hardly anyone every there. You’re often the only one around – or one of very few walking this beach. Although it seems it has become much more of an attraction these days, and that alone time seems to be waning.
It’s also not a beach entirely conducive to walking too far – except at lower tides - since the tide often laps at the cobblestones – and it’s difficult to walk very far on these.
Cape Meares is also at the foot of what is known as the Bayocean Spit – several miles of prime hiking real estate. The spit here was once – about 100 years ago – a burgeoning resort, crammed with a dance hall, movie theater, natatorium, a big hotel, several miles of roads and bundles of plots for homes – some of which were built and some that weren’t.
The resort started somewhere around 1910 - approximately - with grandiose plans to become the "Atlantic City of the West," which never quite materialized. It all ended somewhere before the close of the 20's, after a few pushes to restart it here and there. The depression and wartime finally permanently killed it off.
Parts of this resort extended to where Cape Meares is now. The current site of the beach is where Third Street of Bayocean ran along; there was once a First and Second Street where the sea is now.
Apparently, part of some old buildings can be seen at extreme low tides within Tillamook Bay.
Now, the town’s meeting hall is all that remains of the resort: it was actually moved to its present location in Cape Meares from farther inside the old resort.
Also of note is the curious sounds this area makes. All those cobblestones rattle with a mighty roar at times during bigger wave events. A hidden beach near Cannon Beach is nicknamed “Magic Rocks Beach” by some locals because of this odd noise. Other spots on the coast make this sound as well, but Bayocean is the loudest of them by far.
At one of two beach accesses here, there is another curiosity. You may find a giant worm-like creature frozen in wood, as if it was stopped in its tracks on the way to the ocean.
A local resident painted the whimsical creature. You could call it the “Monster of Meares.”
As if spotting this funky phantom wasn’t surprise enough, the artist has been known to pop out of nowhere and offer to take your picture with your head in the mouth of the creature. She’s obviously proud of her creation, and for good reason. It’s apparently made a lot of nifty memories for beachgoers here over the years.
You’ll find Cape Meares immediately after the junction to the Cape Meares headland, right near the entrance to the Bayocean Spit.
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