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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.

Spring is here. Are you ready?

Oregon Travel Adventures with Wine, Crabs, Lost Keys and Eating Dirt

By Andre' Hagestedt

(Oregon Coast) - One weekend; one hundred adventures - or so it felt like. At least 100 miles were certainly involved.

It all began on a Friday night in June, as I squeeze into Seaside and Cannon Beach at the last minute to run some errands. Later, I'm haunting the Warren House in Cannon Beach, but I find most of the area's locals not there as they're getting lots of sleep in preparation for the crazed Sandcastle Festival the next morning.

The next day, Cannon Beach is bonkers with traffic from the Sandcastle madness. I sneak over to the chamber to chat with the gals in charge, including that adorable ambassadorial black lab, Emma. Someone there calls me "Emma's boyfriend." Too cute.

Some hot chick there gave me her phone number too.

Seaside is flooded with people and large, noisy vehicles with its Muscle Car Cruz In. One particularly boisterous monstrosity is showing off by rumbling through town with the deafening roar of a jet engine, and people are eating it up. I'm not so thrilled, and I approach the Aquarium's Keith Chandler and ask, "Who the hell does that guy think he is - Batman?" He responds by telling me that's his nephew.

Aging hipster does ice cream in Seaside - film at 11

Oops. Insert foot in mouth. I slink away and down homemade ice cream at Zinger's. This tastes much better than any appendage of mine.

Around 7 p.m., I finally make it to the beach to see nothing but a graveyard of disfigured former wonders, save for one masterpiece of Smokey the Bear that everyone was gathered around - and I mean everyone.

A trip to the San Dune Tavern in Manzanita almost rounds out the evening. I'm staying at the San Dune Inn (both in Manzanita), which has bikes for the use of guests, one of which I take for a spin in the middle of the night, zooming down to the beach, then back up just as the rain kicks in. Weeeeee!

Smokey the Bear says 'Don't leave me to die on an Oregon coast beach'

The next morning, inexplicably, my motel key is gone. I used it to get in, so there's no way this could've happened. But it did. It's a bit of the X-Files in Nehalem Bay.

It's Sunday, so it's time to head down to Newport. Before I depart, I agree to run Peg Miller's Ekahni Books on Monday (she's our shopping writer). She hands me a key to her B&B so I can stay a few doors down from the store.

Next stop: the Jetty Fishery to scope out their kooky crab derby (which often features prizes such as a vasectomy). It's here where Seaside Aquarium's Tiffany gets mischievous and tries to convince me to put a hermit crab in my mouth - whole. I vehemently decline, so she heads over to Fishery co-owner Kelly, and I'm mortified as I watch him pop the little critter in his mouth. Yikes!

She eventually tries coaxing me into doing an oyster shooter. I'm tempted, but shuddering gets the best of me and I miss that opportunity.

Bottomless wine glasses in Newport

Then it's down through the North and Central Coast and finally to Newport, where I run into my pal JT and his lovely gal pal Liz. This is where things go awry, as I get so distracted by wine tasting, gourmet ice cream at Nye Beach Scoop - and even mixing wine with my ice cream cone - that I get nothing done. It's now playtime.

11 p.m. rolls around, I realize it's two hours back to Wheeler and that I've lost my keys to Peg's B&B. This is an icky, sinking feeling, and it's the second time in 24 hours I've lost a key to a friend's hotel. JT and I search for 45 minutes in the rain, but find nothing. So, it's decided I stay at his pad, get drunk and then head up in the morning.

Sigh...my life is rough. I'm forced to drink really fine wine and learn about it - but it's a slow process of learning. So JT offers to help in an unusual way. He grabs a handful of dirt, pours some Sokol Blosser, and has me eating and sniffing dirt, and then imbibing the stuff that grew in this Oregon soil. It works. Entire new vistas opened up in my palate and I understood the elements and subtleties of a wine much more clearly.

Depoe Bay on the ride north

Even freakier - and yes, this perhaps has to do with my state of suspect sobriety - I find I enjoy nipping at the dirt while downing the vino. If you've ever had chocolate and wine and understand that experience, you'll get the picture.

About 1 a.m., those missing keys abruptly fell from some hole in my jacket: they'd been lodged in there the whole time.

In the morning, it's a quick breakfast at Café Stephanie in Nye Beach, a long ride back to Wheeler, and a goofy, slow business day in a Wheeler book shop. That night, it's nap time, a fab dinner at Marzano's Pizza in Manzanita, and then time to zip to our Portland office.

The following night, a Tuesday, I'm watching TV and the great tsunami scare causes quite the media frenzy - and frightens the pants off me. I spend a lot of time calling my coastal friends from Newport to Seaside. I was actually supposed to be in Newport at the time, it just didn't work out. Lucky me, I guess. Either way, it was a rather climactic cap to quite an adventurous weekend.


Oregon Travel Secrets: Weird Science, Spring Rarities on the Coast The 'secret season' and other spectacular oddities abound

Taste-Testing Tourism on the North Oregon Coast Numerous lodging, dining and beach secrets lurk here

'Ocean Burps' Leave Oddities on Seaside Beaches A semi-regular natural occurrance is leaving strange things on the beach

Oregon Tourism Alert: Spring Rarities in Newport Much is new in Newport, especially in the natural world




STARFISH POINT is located on the Central Oregon Coast - in Newport - and offers only the finest in luxury condominium lodging. At Starfish Point, every unit is focused on the beauty of the sea and the beach.
All of the units boast two bedrooms, two bathrooms, designer kitchens, wireless broadband Internet, fireplaces, Jacuzzi’s and private decks - surrounding you in soothing relaxation. We have a friendly staff dedicated to high quality and superb customer service. 140 NW 48th Street, Newport. (541) 265-3751. (800) 870-7795.

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In Awe of AstoriaASTORIA
Where the Columbia meets the Pacific, Land of Lewis & Clark and loads of atmosphere & history
Serenity in SeasideSEASIDE
The Promenade, Tillamook Head, family fun & broad, sandy beaches
Cavort in Cannon BeachCANNON BEACH
A mysterious lighthouse, upscale yet earthy, a huge monolith, fine eateries & an art mecca
Annihilating  Beauty of Nehalem BayNEHALEM BAY
Manzanita's beaches, Nehalem and Wheeler's quirky beauty; laid back Rockaway
Time Trip Around Tillamook BayTILLAMOOK BAY
Garibaldi, Barview, Bay City, Tillamook & an oceanfront ghost town
Triple the Pleasure in 3 CapesTHREE CAPES LOOP
The hidden secret of the coast: Cape Meares, a lighthouse, Oceanside, Netarts and Pacific City
Miles & miles of unbroken beaches, Cascade Head, Neskowin and many manmade attractions
Divine Depoe BayDEPOE BAY
A spouting horn downtown, freaky hidden cliffs and whales, whales, whales
Nature in NewportNEWPORT
Time-tripping Nye Beach, a bustling bayfront, marine science-central and two lighthouses
Staggering Seal RockWALDPORT / SEAL ROCK
Pristine, even secretive sands and wild geologic landmarks
Aargh, there's no alliteration with Yachats - but it IS unbelievableYACHATS
Constantly dramatic wave action, a mix of the rugged & upscale
Unsurpassable Upper LaneUPPER LANE COUNTY
25 miles of deserted beaches & oodles of wonders
Fine Times in FlorenceFLORENCE
A lighthouse, ancient bayfront and miles and miles of fluffy dunes


Captivating Cape Cod-Style in Cannon Beach

Ecola Creek Lodge, Cannon Beach. In a quiet neighborhood, this longtime coastal landmark boasts a koi/lily pond, spacious lawns, gardens, stained glass windows and wireless internet – all in a slightly Victorian vibe. With some rooms pet friendly, you are a couple minutes walk from town and close to the beach. Guests also get access to a full recreational and exercise facility. Wild bunnies provide an adorable addition to your stay, making for an especially serene coastal experience. 208 5th St. www.cannonbeachlodge.com. 800-873-2749.