180 miles of Oregon coast travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita,
Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City,
Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Wadport, Yachats & Florence.
Research Expedition Digs Up Oregon Coast Surrealism
By Andre’ Hagestedt
sands of Patterson
(Oregon Coast) – One research trip, some 25 miles
of manic exploration. My obsession with coastal details, and the need
for some more information on one certain stretch of Oregon coast, leads
me on a frenzied tour of the area between Yachats and Florence, rooting
out the hidden spots, documenting the minutiae and digging deeper and
deeper into this area than I’ve ever been in some spots. New secret
accesses are unearthed, new beaches are explored, startling discoveries
are made – and then I apparently spooked a couple in the throes
of passion on one clandestine beach.
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It’s the summer of 2006, and there’s a heat
wave in the valley. I’m more than glad to be away from our Portland
office, which is sweltering in 100-degree temps. So, bummer, it’s
time to play on the coast for a few days, catch up on some work on the
central coast, and do a lot of exploration.
Starting in out in Newport, I make my to Waldport, where
Alsea Bay is a deep blue, with the sun beating down on the placid waters
and a boat buzzing about. Just up the road, Governor Patterson State Park
is the center of attention with a smattering of beachcombers, where the
bright white, fluffy sands and blue sky make the place look a little tropical.
Cove Beach, w/ the backside of Cape Perpetua
Zipping through Yachats and past Cape Perpetua and the
Devil’s Churn just below it, I spot a trailhead I’d never
seen before, perhaps 100 feet north of Cook’s Chasm (which is relatively
quiet today, in spite of heavy winds in some spots here which are creating
a surly sea and big waves). This clifftop reveals interesting new views
of the southern side of Cape Perpetua, where a labyrinth of rocky slabs
dots the wet sands, providing a few hundred feet of beach at a place I
discover is called Cape Cove Beach. A mostly paved path winds its way
Ocean Lodge. There will not be another property built
like this in Cannon Beach in our lifetimes. Rare, premiere ocean
front location; handsome, dramatic architecture and tasteful, fun
(nostalgic) beach interiors. Overlooks Haystack Rock. 100 percent
smoke free. Imaginative special occasion packages. Massive wood
burning lobby fireplace. Library w/ fireplace, stocked with impressive
book collection. Pet and family friendly. Lavish continental buffet
breakfast. In-room fireplaces, mini-kitchens. Jacuzzi tubs in select
rooms. DVD players, complimentary movies. Morning paper. Warm cookies.
888-777-4047. 503-436-2241. 2864 Pacific Street. Cannon Beach, Oregon.
This little cove runs a ways into the cliffs, ending at
a stream that pours from the earth. The tide has recently been very close
to the inside end of this cove, as evidence of tiny sea creatures in great
numbers still remains. But in the past, powerful storms have obviously
deposited enormous logs right up to the edge of the mouth of the stream,
some 100 feet from the tide line on this day. The frightening supremacy
of the sea is clear here.
Today, the tide is out pretty far, and you can see bundles
of sea life at the foot of Cape Perpetua that’s normally underwater.
Even among the rocky slabs at the southern end of the beach, many of these
are usually beneath the tide line. Strange geologic features dot this
place everywhere. I can’t wait to talk to my geologist sources on
life at bottom of Cape Perpetua
The ocean is rather warm in spots on this beach. While
occasionally wading in the water, loitering around one of these rock structures,
I’m photographing various objects and sea life. From somewhere among
these blobs, a young couple emerges, looking a little sheepish, brushing
sand off themselves, and the girl is adjusting her skirt.
Apparently, they thought this beach was more unpopulated
than it was, and they must have somehow spotted me wandering around the
waves nearby, although I didn’t see them – or whatever it
was they were doing.
Cape Property Services.
Dozens of homes in that dreamy,
rugged stretch between Cannon Beach and Manzanita known as Arch
Cape. Oceanfront and ocean view , or just a short walk from the
All homes are immaculate and smoke free; some pet friendly (with
a fee). Some with broadband, indoor or outdoor hot tubs, fireplaces,
decks, and fire pits or barbecues. Call about tempting winter specials
that go until March (not valid holidays, however). www.archcaperentals.com
Ah, to be young again.
Cape Perpetua, as seen from below
I make the remarkable discovery I can see the top of Cape
Perpetua and its stone viewpoints from here, where I’ve been numerous
times before, looking down on miles and miles of coastline. I zoom in
with my camera and take a snapshot of this spot – from the vantage
point of being below it.
Back on the road, Strawberry Hill in the sunlight reveals
more of the intriguing stone features that dot the landscape, interspersed
with the tracts of hard sand and soothing surf. From here, I follow 101
south and the beaches below, trying to figure out where the next beach
access is. More of these rocky slabs cover the landscape, especially as
I photograph the beaches from above at an overlook called Bray’s
Point, and it’s hard to say if all these basalt structures are completely
traversable. It’s my job to find out if one can walk this entire
way from one beach access to the next, but it looks likely the beaches
can’t be reached from the southern end of Strawberry Hill, though
I am not positive.
Hill and the vastness to the south
The nearest access appears to be a good mile down the road,
south of here, at Ten Mile Creek. Everything else is private beach access,
it seems. Yet the beach in this stretch is one gem of a walk, with lots
of empty sandy spots, interspersed with the basalt chunks and boulder-like
objects, where tide pools with little critters far outnumber the humans
in the neighborhood.
Beach Rentals, Lincoln City. Perfect for large family
vacations all the way down to a getaway lodging for two - with
over 25 vacation rental homes to choose from. A breathtaking collection
of craftsman or traditional beachfront homes, or oceanview houses
– from one to seven bedrooms. In various areas of Lincoln
City and overlooking the beach, with some in Depoe Bay. All kinds
of amenities are available, like hot tubs, decks, BBQ, rock fireplaces,
beamed ceilings and more. Some are new, some are historic charmers.
Lincoln City, Oregon. 1-(503)-232-5984. www.a1beachrentals.com.
Then it’s time to explore Ten Mile Creek and its
accesses. On the southern side of the creek lies the dunesy-yet-rocky
Stonefield Beach. This is one interesting spot, where wispy dunes and
drifts are encroaching on the parking lot, giving way to more hard packed
sand near the tide line, and then at its southern end sit a tract of basalt
structures where the character of the sand changes drastically into large,
coarse granules mixed with a host of other ground-down sea debris, like
tiny bits of shells. Crossing the creek isn’t advisable, however,
as even the current is extremely strong – or it’s too deep
in other spots.
side of Ten Mile Creek
So, on the northern side lies this unreachable mile worth
of beach, unless you’re staying at one of the lodgings along there
or the RV park. Except there is a secret access on the north side of the
Ten Mile Creek bridge. This I bump into, having documented it ten years
ago, but I had loads of trouble finding it this time. It takes you on
a long, winding path through brush, eventually giving way to a more manicured,
grassy walk, snaking past a wild little lodging called The Ziggurat, which
looks like a giant Rubik’s Cube twisted at odd angles.
Down on the beach, there are bubbly basalt structures dotting the landscape,
and that creek gurgles away nearby, deceptively quiet for all the power
Down the road, Rock Creek Campground and the beach there
provide more clandestine fun in the sand, with one long stretch of strand
apparently unreachable by anything but the campground, or a hidden access
on the north side of Big Creek, about a mile down.
At Spanish Head, Lincoln City. Lincoln City’s only resort
hotel built right on the beach with all oceanfront rooms - nestled
against a rugged cliffside overlooking a soft, sandy beach. Dine
in penthouse restaurant and bar, for casual meal or candlelight
dinner. An array of seafood specialties, juicy steaks and other
Northwest favorites, including decadent Sunday buffet. Rooms range
from bedrooms to studios to 1-bedroom suites with microwaves and
refrigerators to full kitchens. Also, wi-fi, spa, saunas, exercise
room and year-round heated swimming pool. Kids will love the game
room and easy beach access. Full-service conference/meeting rooms
for that inspirational retreat; extensive wedding possibilities.
4009 SW Highway 101, Lincoln City. 1-800-452-8127 or 541-996-2161.
However, I discovered a small hidden access in between,
set inside a tiny little gravel pullout, where you have to snake through
a narrow slit in the bushes to find yourself on the pastoral fore dune,
which then takes you to the glittering, pristine sands of this area. It’s
trippy and a little claustrophobic, but worth it, especially as you emerge
from the bushes and the coastal vista explodes out in front of you.
Across Big Creek and bridge is another chunk of coastline,
but no access to the southern beach is apparent. Yet the beautifully sculpted
– albeit neglected – Muriel O. Ponsler Wayside is about a
quarter mile south, so it’s not a long walk from there to the south
side of Big Creek. Here, at Ponsler, the landscape begins to turn to that
sandy, flat makeup, without the rocky interruptions, that’s indicative
of the beaches of Florence – some 10 miles away now.
The sun is waning at this point, turning the landscape
and sky to various shades of orange and red. The rounded sandstone cliff
structure visible from both Ponsler and Big Creek has a cast to it now.
There is sizable construction going on now between Yachats
and Strawberry Hill after 7 p.m., causing all sorts of backups after that
hour, so it’s a slow drive back to a packed Yachats – so full
of hungry diners I can’t find a restaurant available within the
next 40 minutes.
The day ends with a frantic zip to Waldport, grabbing some
spaghetti to go, and downing it in a face-slapping wind at Governor Patterson
State Park, as the sun dips slowly into oblivion, and the howling winds
drop sand into my Italian grub.
Whatever, I think to myself: It gives the spaghetti
a seafood vibe.
Sands Condominium Motel, Lincoln City. Free, fresh baked
cookie upon check-in is just the start. All rooms beachfront and
up against Lincoln City's most famous stretch of beach: the D River.
Each room comes as a suite or mini-suite, and has a kitchen and
balcony or patio. Some w/ gas fireplaces, while all have a DVD Players;
movies to rent come with free popcorn. Heated indoor pool, a spa,
and this fabulous beach is lit at night. Rooms sleep from two, four
to six - including a deluxe fireplace suite. Gift certificates orspecial
occasion packages. www.dsandsmotel.com.
171 S.W. Highway 101. 800-527-3925.
Paradise Suites & Vacation Rentals - Seaside
Unique Luxury Accommodations in Seaside. 1BR Suites,
1BR & 2BR Duplex Units and 3BR Houses, units for 2-8 people.
Rent entire property for 20-26. Close to beach, river and Broadway
Suites are designed for two adults; vacation rental units for families.
All units have kitchen and many have fireplace, deck and jetted
tub. Comfy robes, slippers, luxury bath amenities, quality linens
and more. 741 S. Downing St., Seaside. 800-738-6691. www.SeasideSuites.com
City Vacation Homes
There’s something for everyone
among this selection of wondrous homes: smaller homes with a view
to a large house that sleeps 15. All the homes are either oceanfront
or just a few steps away from the sand – all with a low
bank access and fantastic views. Most are in the Nelscott area;
one is close to the casino. You’ll find a variety of goodies,
depending on the home: fireplaces, multiple bedrooms, dishwashers,
Jacuzzis, washer/dryers, hot tubs, cable TV, VCR, barbecues; there’s
a loft in one, and another sprawling home has two apartments.
Pets are allowed in some homes – ask ahead. Each comes with
complete kitchens so you’ll have a home away from home.
Most have the seventh night free. Prices range from winter $85
to summer $230 per night. www.getaway2thecoast.com.
Rockaway Beach. All rooms are immaculate and have TV’s, VCR’s
and in-room phones with data ports. Oceanfronts all have a queen
bed, a double hide-a-bed, kitchen, cozy firelog fireplace and a
private deck. Both types sleep up to four people. Others are appointed
for a two-person romantic getaway, yet still perfect for those on
a budget. Elaborate oceanfront Jacuzzi suite has two bedrooms, kitchen,
double hide-a-bed, fireplace and private deck, sleeping as many
as six. For family reunions or large gatherings such as weddings,
some rooms can connect to create two-room and three-room suites.
Some rooms are pet friendly.523 N. Pacific St., Rockaway Beach.
(503) 355-2112 - 1-800-824-0938. www.tradewinds-motel.com
at Cannon Beach. Beautifully wooded natural setting at quiet south
end of Cannon Beach. Great during winter storms with a new book by
the fireplace – or when the sun is out for family fun and beach
strolling. Handsome beach cottage-style architecture. Lush flowering
gardens and naturalized courtyard pond. Warm, inviting guest rooms.
Continental buffet breakfast. Warm Cookies. Family and Pet Friendly.
Welcome gifts. Smoke-free. Complimentary Wireless Connectivity. Wine
and book signing events. 800-321-6304 or 503-436-9085. Hemlock At
Surfcrest, Cannon Beach, Oregon. www.atcannonbeach.com.
Than 20 Reasons for a Late Spring Oregon Coast Jaunt From
lonely beaches, live music pleasures, weird storms sights to lodging
Transformations of Oregon Coast Beaches Seasons change
and so do beaches, revealing different sides and a variety of eye-popping
Found on Oregon Beach May Be 80,000 Years Old - They
are the remnants of a forest apparently 80,000 years old, found at Hug
or Night Mysteries and Merriment on Oregon Coast It's
more than just nightlife that comes to life, but the beaches offer major
Wines and Wine Bars on the Oregon Coast Wine shops
and wine bars are a growing part of coastal tourism
coast mileage chart & map
trips, suggested itineraries
Coast Lodging Specials
BeachConnection.net's 1,000 pages
Coast Real Estate
TAKE THE VIRTUAL TOUR
Where the Columbia
meets the Pacific, Land of Lewis & Clark and loads of
atmosphere & history
Tillamook Head, family fun & broad, sandy beaches
lighthouse, upscale yet earthy, a huge monolith, fine eateries
& an art mecca
beaches, Nehalem and Wheeler's quirky beauty; laid back Rockaway
Barview, Bay City, Tillamook & an oceanfront ghost town
secret of the coast: Cape Meares, a lighthouse, Oceanside,
Netarts and Pacific City
A spouting horn
downtown, freaky hidden cliffs and whales, whales, whales
Time-tripping Nye Beach, a bustling
bayfront, marine science-central and two lighthouses
Constantly dramatic wave action, a mix
of the rugged & upscale
A lighthouse, ancient bayfront and miles
and miles of fluffy dunes
INTO LUXURY, HISTORY AT THE TIDES
TIDES BY THE SEA, Seaside. For over 80 years a favorite of Seaside
visitors. 51 oceanfront condos, individually owned and decorated.
Suites for couples, small apartments with fireplaces and kitchenettes,
one or two bed family units with fireplaces, kitchens and dining
rooms. Oceanview cottages sleep anywhere from two to eight, w/ two
bedrooms, some with lofts, fireplaces and kitchens. Heated outdoor
pool, enormous grounds w/ picnic tables - all at quiet southern
end of Seaside. 2316 Beach Drive. 800-548-2846. www.thetidesbythesea.com.
weekly updated info on lodgings and accomodation reviews, see
the Travel News section