Oregon Coast Travel Exploits Part 3: of Mists and Mysteries
Published 11/13/2015 at 5:15 PM PDT
By Andre' Hagestedt
(Oregon Coast) – Part three of this wacky and intricate Oregon coast travelogue picks up after a few days of stuffing my face in lovely culinary hideouts as well as engaging encounters with winter weather surprises. (Above: Arch Cape, where I was staying at the time).
It all takes place in February of 2007. Some businesses talked about – such as Turk's Lodgings and the Coastal Natural History Center – no longer exist. So it's a slightly bittersweet look backwards.. (See part one here, and see part two).
I then have an encounter with Middle Earth. I have a meeting with the folks who run Turk’s Lodgings, a small collection of vacation rentals hidden in a primeval forest just south of Cannon Beach. Here, you expect gnomes or naves to come rushing out to meet you. The exterior of the main house (actually a mansion) is decidedly medieval, with moss and vines growing all over this massive cedar shingled home and its quaint little covered stairway. Even the clandestine forest road leading up to this hideout screams “Frodo was here” in some way. Inside, the house is part rustic but heavy on the breathtaking.
Later in the day, I’m interviewing the people who run the Coastal Natural History Center in Seaside, which is up against the marshland neighboring the river mouth. This secret little stunner provides a bevy of outdoor information about the area which will allow you to further appreciate what you’re doing on the beaches or trails around here.
During the interview, the clouds give way to an esoteric sunset scene, which is then reflected on the water of the marsh with dazzling results (seen above).
Dinner means exploring the famous Driftwood Inn in Cannon Beach, a Tudor-like structure with bulky wood furniture reminiscent of some of the homier, more woodsy eateries I’d visited in France or Germany. Again, I opted for the fish route, with a creamy, buttery salmon that melted in your mouth, a robust rice pilaf and fresh baked bread that was simply stunning.
My jaunt into coastal nightlife meant heading down to Nehalem to The Watering Hole, where my good pal Abby-Normal (my nickname for Abby) and I gawked at the strange denizens there, including a middle-aged couple whose faces distorted in funny ways because of loads of missing teeth. Coastal nightlife is nothing if not inadvertently entertaining at times.
Thursday and Friday was a mishmash of weather conditions and workdays that were so packed they’re pretty much a blur. I visit a charming but thoroughly modern little lodging called Ocean Point Inn in Arch Cape, snap pics of that beach in various kinds of weather (including a vibrant sunset) and chow down on goodies like the exceptional, even dreamy pasta of Fultano’s in Cannon Beach.
On Thursday, another fave hangout, Cannon Beach’s The Bistro, is open again (after being closed most of the week), and I sit and inhale their wondrous pasta at the bar, while engaging in that always interesting conversation you can count on here.
Then I make a fatal mistake.
I’m now late to get to my TV set back in Portland for – yes, I’m addicted to – “The Office.” It’s a white-knuckle drive back through rainy coast range hills, and I miss all but 20 minutes of this show that I consider a religion and not mere entertainment.
But when I arrive, I discover I’ve left some important components of my laptop in Arch Cape at my friend’s house. I am absolutely inundated with work, and have no choice but to zoom back in the middle of the night, through fog, periodic rain storms, and those dark, gloomy stretches of Highway 26 that don’t usually spook me unless I’m already stressed out.
Friday morning brings better moments, however, and I take the time to stare at the beauty of the northern end of Cannon Beach, where hints of mist are trying to veil the small parade of basalt structures that march silently away from the headland.
In Seaside, on the other side of Tillamook Head, it’s largely the same look around sunset, but this time the banks of misty stuff are making a slightly eerie display of the tip of the headland.
It may be February, but it looks and feels like fall on the beach.
The edge of the continent is a dynamic place, one where things really don’t look the same from month to month, even day to day. That kind of change in scenery is one constant you can depend on.
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