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Post-Winter Wonders of Oregon Coast: More Agates


Covering 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.


Secrets of the Season

Post-Winter Wonders of Oregon Coast: More Agates

Fogarty Beach on the central coast, sometimes a good spot for hunting rocks

By Guy DiTorrice

Newly renovated, 30 upscale rooms, on north end of Lincoln City, close to everything. Spa-like feeling, w/ luxury linens & robes, pillow top mattresses, flat screen TV's, granite counters and more all add to pampering. Oceanfront and ocean view units w/ gas fireplace. Hot Tub units. Romance packages. Luxury Room for every budget: meeting and wedding spaces too. (Oregon Coast) - Winter brings so many changes to the Oregon Coast. Windy weather and big surf push age-old debris on-shore, while taking sand off the beaches to expose prehistoric rock piles and ancient tree stumps.

I'm always tempted to have fun with tourists on the beach when they ask about the stumps, many convinced they're akin to the petrified forests of Arizona, complete with claw marks from some primeval dino beast. "Sorry," I say, "they're not THAT ancient and the dinosaurs were really much farther inland (like Montana or Wyoming), back in those days."

Arch 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 sea.
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 866-436-1607.

You can see the absolute disappointment in their faces. Too bad; because they're ignoring the power it takes to make an 18-foot surf dance upon the beach, moving thousands of truckloads of sand with a single high tide. For just a moment, think about what land movement had to occur to push dozens of miles of forested coastal headland downhill onto a newly carved shoreline.

Agate Beach, Newport

Those ancient stumps could tell us great stories about their roller coaster ride some 4,000-plus years ago. One of the big theories about how all this happened centers around land movement many more times the size and power of the annual erosions of hills seen on our own sections of shoreline. For that matter, many more times the size of the gullies that keep moving parts of Highway 101 west, with little regard for humans' travel plans.

But, the land and sand are mere players in our own little production of the annual drama: "Agates We Seek".

Agate hunters all have our stories and our favorite sites, where those colorful crystals of translucent light catch our eyes, almost forcing us to pick them up, put them in our pocket for the trip home and further work our minds for the perfect place to show them.

DiTorrice as agate hunter and beach paleontologist


THE 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.

The Pacific watches the "disciples of the rock", daily crisscrossing the low-tide shorelines from Florence to Astoria. Eyes focused just past their feet, scanning for the sparkling glint of color, careful not to step on or over another person. To the newer visitor, not yet smitten by the lure of Oregon agate, we all look just a little Zen-like. Pre-occupied in our quest for the perfect clarity of crystal rock. Often ignoring the many species of marine birds flocking about, the kites flying above or the migrating whales passing by.

Cursing the full rays of sunlight, waiting for the improved lighting brought to us by morning mists or rain-potential clouds that help the agates jump up from basalt cobbles and clumps of sandstone.

The other irony from "Agates We Seek" is the folks who focus on seeking only the clear or the bright white and yellow stones, often stepping over and past the wide range of colored rocks that disperse light through astrophysical crystals. There's something to be said about agates in dark red, orange, blue as well as an occasional green.

Close-up of sands at Hug Point, on north coast, reveals minute treasures

Colors can be tricky, especially if the sun's too bright. Colored agates look just like plain old rock and not as vibrant on the beach as the 'clears'. But, get the right light angle or the occasional cloud cover, and these agates show just a little bit of a glint that sandstone and basalt just can't give you.

Look in the lower reaches of gravel piles on sandy beaches during lower tides. A touch of water from an out-going tide, misty fog or an early day shower will help bring a shine on agates that provides yet another hint of their presence.

A1 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.

It takes hundreds of thousands of years of flowing mineral-laden groundwater or the high temperatures of a lava flow, bringing together the ingredients to produce an agate. The Pacific provides daily movement of rocks and sand on the beaches to erode layers of rocks, encouraging agates to pop out of ancient lava flows or from the inside of a fossilized clam.

The Starfish Manor Hotel. 17 lavish suites - all beachfront - feature Jacuzzi or outdoor hot tub, gas fireplace, luxury robes & linens, TV, two-headed showers. Three large suites have kitchens. Private deck w/ BBQ available. No smoking or pets. Perfect for romantic getaway, honeymoon. 2735 NW Inlet Ave., Lincoln City, Oregon 1-800-972-6155. www.onthebeachfront.com

Daily tides toss and turn the rock and sand, creating nature's very own (and the world's largest) tumbler, working 24/7. Giving Oregon agates those rounded, smooth edges and a crystalline clarity. Allowing us to put a little bit of yesterday's sun into our pockets for that spot on the windowsill back home.

But, this story's far from complete because, as all us coasties know, Oregon beach agates just can't go home alone.

And, the "Agates We Seek" quest begins again.

Guy DiTorrice resides on Oregon's Central Coast where he often saunters on sandy beaches with his wife and their two dogs. Feel free to drop them a line at www.oregonfossilguy.com.

D 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.

Weiss' 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 St.
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

Lincoln City Vacation Homes Something for everyone: smaller homes with a view to a large house that sleeps 15. All are either oceanfront or just a few steps away – 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: 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 allowed in some homes – ask first. Each comes with complete kitchens. Most have seventh night free. Prices range from winter $85 to summer $230 per night. www.getaway2thecoast.com. 541-994-8778.

Tradewinds Motel, Rockaway Beach. All rooms are immaculate and have TV’s, VCR’s and in-room phones w/ data ports. Oceanfronts have queen bed, a double hide-a-bed, kitchen, cozy firelog fireplace and 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 pet friendly. 523 N. Pacific St., Rockaway Beach. (503) 355-2112 - 1-800-824-0938. www.tradewinds-motel.com

Inn 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. www.spanishhead.com

Inn 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.

The 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. www.theoceanlodge.com


STARFISH POINT Newport - Offers only the finest in luxury condominium lodging. Every unit is focused on the beauty of the sea and the beach.
All units boast two bedrooms, two bathrooms, designer kitchens, wireless broadband Internet, fireplaces, Jacuzzi’s and private decks. Friendly staff dedicated to high quality and superb customer service. 140 NW 48th Street, Newport. (541) 265-3751. (800) 870-7795. www.starfishpoint.com


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Feed the seals! One of the oldest aquariums in the U.S. is here in Seaside, Oregon, right on the Promenade

17 lavish suites - all beachfront - feature Jacuzzi or outdoor hot tub, gas fireplace, luxury robes & linens, TV, two-headed showers. Three large suites have kitchens. Private deck w/ BBQ available. No smoking or pets. Perfect for romantic getaway, honeymoon.