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From Funky to Totally Fire: Oregon Coast 'Village' Offers Layers of Old and New

Published 05/16/23 at 6:22 AM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

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(Newport, Oregon) – One little Oregon coast locale is a bit off the beaten track and yet still a kind of hotspot. It's where old is new again, and charm and elegance meet with a certain rustic slant along with untamed beaches. (All photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection - except for historical shots)

Nye Beach – once an Oregon coast village all its own – is full of such little contradictions. Layers abound. This tiny section of Newport is more than a quaint place: it's mesmerizing with its beauty and its architecture of old town America mixed with old Europe in a myriad of ways. Quirky shops, eateries and even curious details like those whimsical art benches blend with the upscale all the way to dive hangouts at night.

Meanwhile, there's some true history all around you, sometimes beneath you. Nye Beach has more than a few tales to tell (like the natatorium that once existed at the Turnaround Nye Beach Natatorium a Distinctive Part of Newport / Oregon Coast History).

There's a wee bit of a time traveling vibe here as it seems to embrace multiple periods all at once. About 20 years ago, a refurbishing of the district, complete with lanterns and brick streets, catapulted the vibe into high gear.

Among the cool and kooky bars is The Sand Bar & Grill (722 NW Beach Dr, Newport)

Probably the most famous set of manmade arches on the Oregon coast reside here because of that project.

New little wonders are added all the time; others come and go. Some that popped up later include the funky benches. See the whole Newport Oregon Virtual Tour for dozens of photos and details.

Nye Beach is good at changing how it feels from second to second, depending on where you are. One moment you're strolling past a posh eatery and the next you may be overlooking a chunk of coastline from a bluff with some unique features.

The Turnaround is, of course, much of the centerpiece here. It's the gateway to this ultra-lovely beach. During summers, sand levels get high and it becomes dune-like.

One must-stay here is the Inn at Nye Beach.

Wait a few months and you may be looking at a flattened-out beach as Oregon coast storms can get angry, even coming up to the edges of the concrete structure.

Mostly, you'll find a long, sandy stretch in either direction that's highlighted by nooks and crannies in the cliffs, as well as the interesting remnant of Jump-Off Joe to the north. Above the structure sit the spooky remnants of a condo once naively built on this shaky sandstone foundation back in the early '80s. It faltered and began crumbling just weeks before its completion.

Jump-Off Joe in 2010

For a few decades, this chunk of labyrinth-like concrete evoked castle ruins a bit. Then, Jump-Off Joe began to totally crumble in the early 2020s – about 100 years after the last rock structure named Jump-Off began disappearing and this one inherited the name.

Old photographs of Nye Beach show a striking self-destruction of that former landmark. That's right: this now-messy mass of soil and sandstone was not the first Jump-Off Joe. The Jump-Off Joe No One Knows: Newport, Oregon Coast History

To the south of the Turnaround, there's the Vietnam Vet memorial, which features a walkway meandering up into the cliff. It's lit up at night by a host of lights embedded near the floor, with various benches along the way, perfect for that midnight smooch session as the huge, Yaquina Head Lighthouse blinks in the distance.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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