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Oregon Coast Weekend of Weird Weather, the Muse and Meanderings


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, Waldport, Yachats & Florence.


Secrets of the Season

Oregon Coast Weekend of Weird Weather, the Muse and Meanderings

Rick's Roadhouse & Grill

By Andre' Hagestedt

(Oregon Coast) – It’s late July, and the Oregon coast is up to some unusual tricks. One weekend in particular showed the region doing some odd things, meteorologically – stuff I’ve never been able to quite figure out. It was acting like summer and winter all at the same time, and with a few other surprises thrown in.

It’s also a weekend where I get to play manic tour guide to some friends from Portland, and I wind up seeing a few new sights as well. That’s quite rare, since I’ve literally mapped every single beach access between Florence and Astoria – about 180 miles worth of Oregon coastline.

Friday begins with a jaunt into Rockaway Beach, where it’s all cloud cover, but a strange mugginess is pervasive over the whole north coast – normally an area known for its breezes and slightly chilly temps, even in summer. But here, I’m sitting in a quaint little watering hole named Rick’s Roadhouse and Grille, gazing out at thick clouds and sweating.


Thick clouds normally mean cool temperatures. But not today.

Manzanita's Farmers Market

My current surroundings are not so mystifying. At Rick’s, the staff and the locals are super friendly, I immediately notice. It’s a new place, with a cozy feel that’s classy without being snooty. I down an exceptional meatball sandwich while chatting with the jolly owner Rick, and it’s enough of a handful of major marinara and meatballs that I’m a little embarrassed to be talking to someone while attempting to stuff my face with such a culinary monstrosity. But then it’s only Rick, who created the thing, and he’s probably just giggling inside at my food antics. He’s probably a little pleased with himself, actually.

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.

A little while later, I’m back home in Manzanita, where the Friday night Farmer’s Market is in full swing. I take advantage of one of their legendary free range beef hamburgers and some wild fruit drink concoction that had a wacky hybrid fruit in it, which I can’t exactly remember. Something like a cantaloupe fused with a strawberry, or something freaky like that. It was delicious, but I still nicknamed this genetic experiment “Frankenberry.”

Sarah and Allison at Watering Hole

Late that night meant hopping around Manzanita’s insane bar scene – all two of them. I kept darting back and forth between The Watering Hole and San Dune Pub, where I managed to meet a couple hot young thangs.

None, however, matched the stunning eye candy of Sarah and Allison behind the bar at the Watering Hole. Yow.

On Saturday, the heat is really on. Yet it’s raining. I’m driving down Highway 53, towards Manzanita, and I have the air conditioning on – in the rain. It’s quite surreal. Over the last 24 hours I kept thinking how conditions felt like a dream, especially for the coast.

My destination of the day is called Day of the Muse. This quirky little funfest is held at the Nehalem Bay Winery, stuffed with a lot of different kinds of artists – a day dedicated to the creative spirit. To add to the quirkiness of it, it’s not necessarily held every year. Sometimes, they skip a year, or two or more.

Pilar performs at Nehalem Bay Winery

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The spirit of “whatever” runs rampant at this ultra laidback establishment. As if that approach wasn’t enough, the event was actually kickstarted with a visit by Ken Kesey and his Further bus back in the 90’s. So there’s kind of a blueblood lineage to this happenstance-ruled happenin’.

Part of this delirious mish mash is Portlander Pilar French, whose subtle bluesy, folksy Americana graces the winery’s stage for about an hour. I sit and take it all in with her manager and good friend, Stacey.

A couple hours later, it’s time for me to play my favorite role of all: crazed tour guide. I first drag the two lovely ladies to a wacky secret spot near Manzanita, where the hike begins to Short Sands Beach. However, instead of heading down that long and winding path, I try to take them to a bizarre set of hidden cliffs I’ve found in the past. These are like something out of Planet of the Apes, with angular, craggy rock structures stretching up from the ocean, looking a bit post-apocalyptic.

Cliffs peering down into Treasure Cove

However, the brush had grown so high there was no means to get to that area. Instead, however, we made our way to the stunning overlooks that soar above the ocean not far away – all part of Cape Falcon. A high, green-covered hill ascends towards the sky here, with various jagged, basalt openings and sheer cliffs closeby. A trail leads to the top, where you can see what I later discovered was called Treasure Cove: a boiling, oceanic caldron of death that churns with unimaginable ferocity below. You look down through a set of cliffs so tightly placed together it’s as if you’re looking down a chute.

Cube Rock

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

Pilar was particularly intrigued by an enormous sea cave below, which caused the sea to make quite a raucous there. Enormous crashes emitted from the massive hole, muffled by distance and the basalt enclosure, but loud nonetheless, as the waves slammed hard inside the interior of the cave and smashed large pockets of air.

This is one of the very few spots on the entire coast I’ve never been. It was an astounding feeling to explore here.

I’d always been intrigued by the strange basalt column that jutted up from the sea in this cove, but only seen it from a distance. Now, I got to see it closer. It was indeed curious, looking like something left over from an ancient civilization of giants. It turns out this structure is called Cube Rock.

Pulpit Rock

Not far from it lies another bit of basalt sticking up out of the ocean – this one called Pulpit Rock. One 100-year-old description I found of it talked about the spectacular sights to be seen when heavy waves crashed over, making one heck of a splash.

Next up was a quick trip to see probably the only real castle on the Oregon coast: the B&B called Arch Cape House. This grand structure looks a bit like a Swiss ski lodge as well, and it’s always a kick to watch people’s reactions when I take them round to this place. Their eyes light up as well, just like mine did when I first found it years ago.

Arch Cape House - a real castle

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.

We go inside, meeting Barbara the proprietor, and she’s pleased to meet a couple of lovely friends of mine from P-town. They’re conversely impressed by the surroundings: antiques everywhere, including a gorgeous chandelier. It is truly regal.

I can’t stay inside very long, however. Something is quite bizarre with the weather. It is unbelievably humid. I’m sweating more than I do on 90-degree days in Portland, and I’m extremely uncomfortable. I actually rush us out of there, as it’s become unbearably hot.

It’s quite surreal. I’ve never encountered anything like it. The dewpoint index is surely well over 100, if that’s possible. The ocean must be causing an extra shot of humidity the likes of which the area has never seen before.

Pilar plays in the surf

Outside, it’s much cooler – mostly. We head a bit north, to a secret spot just above Hug Point: a small, forested bluff overlooking the ocean with a 180-degree view of the ocean. Someone has set up a camping site here. A tent sits by the fire pit. We’re a little worried someone is in there getting’ it on, but we never heard a peep out of them, if they were there.

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

We notice the waves have greatly increased in size, as the wind has suddenly kicked in. It’s summer, yet the waves have a stormy quality to them. It’s downright odd.

So, like the “smart” tourists we are, we descend to Hug Point and decide to practically jump in the maniacal waves.

Actually, it’s me that prompts this first. I start wading in the water, begging the girls to join me. It’s really quite warm (which turned out to be a problem much of the summer, coaxing people in and getting them sucked away by riptides). Pilar shrieks at the water at first, claiming it’s too cold. But she eventually becomes acclimated, and Stacey soon after follows suit.

Big waves at Hug Point

We spend quite a while wading fairly deeply into these massive waves. It’s really quite odd. They make a storm-like display on the nearby rocks and out on the ocean, but they dissipate somewhat quickly on land. Most of the time, that is. Quite a few of them were monster sneaker waves, causing us to run for it. Still, I let myself get wet up to my thighs. I never wade out that far. It was extremely exhilarating.

For a couple of hot chicks from Portland, I suppose I’ll do anything to show off.

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20 gorgeous homes sleep up to 18; doubled that with some side-by-side homes. Some pet friendly. Cottages to massive homes; new oceanfront to renovated historic beach houses. All over central coast w/ Lincoln City, Otter Rock, Boiler Bay and Nye Beach. Long list of features, including barbecues, large decks, antique furnishings, wood stoves, gas fireplaces, hardwood floors, Jacuzzis and hot tubs. Most have movies, music, books. Gift basket w/ goodies in each

Next up was a stop at Bill’s Tavern in Cannon Beach, where we stuffed our faces and drank a fair amount of fine beer. I took them to Seaside, where we downed gourmet ice cream at Zinger’s Homemade Ice Cream – one of the few sweets I ever eat.

Left to right: Pilar, Stacey and some goofball from BeachConnection.net

I then toured them around Seaside’s cove area, at the southern end, where surfers abounded, and we watched them fight the wild waves. Someone’s adorable big black lab was trying to swim out to join his master, which also greatly amused us.

The evening ended with even more drinking back in Manzanita, and me darting back and forth again between the San Dune Pub and the Watering Hole.

On Sunday morning, I snag a stunning breakfast at Bread and Ocean Deli. This place was apparently the talk of the town all weekend, as I overheard a couple tourists going on about it, and Pilar and Stacey raved about it all day on Saturday.

Bread and Ocean Deli

They have an out-of-this-world antipasto sandwich, made of salami, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, and seemingly a dozen other goodies all crammed between a delicately toasted paninni.

Feed the seals! One of the oldest aquariums in the U.S. is here in Seaside, Oregon, right on the PromenadeMy sense of exploration doesn’t end. The mugginess isn’t quite as bad, but it’s still pretty rough. It’s colder, however, at least on the beaches, and there is a lot of atmospheric fog enveloping headlands and such. This is when the coast seems quite literary – like something out of a classic novel.

I spot something unusual on the beaches of Manzanita while driving through town. It can’t be. This is so out of context, my brain is ready to explode.

Lost axle and wheels on Manzanita's beach

Sure enough, as if it were the annual Beach Cleanup from SOLV – where dozens of truly oddball items are found – there is part of a car on the beach. A lone pair of wheels and axle sits on the beach, probably dumped here by yesterday’s wild waves and storm-like action. Or it was scoured out of the sand by the waves.

Either way, it’s a delightfully freaky object.

Thus, I begin to explore the north coast, thinking there will likely be more oddities washed up on the beaches.

Wheel oddity at Arch Cape

It doesn’t take long. The next beach north of Manzanita is Arch Cape, and it yields an interesting bit of flotsam from the sea. Embedded in a creek spilling out of the upscale neighborhood of Arch Cape is a large wooden wheel of sorts, looking like something from an old mill. My guess is that storm waves from the day before brought it here as well.

Meanwhile, the stony beach of Arch Cape disappears to the north and to the south, swallowed up by that moody mass of fuzzy gray. Northward, the bluffs of the village and other features are completely gone after a ways, invisible behind the fog. Normally, you can see Cannon Beach in the distance. Something about this scene reminds me of an old English detective novel. It could’ve been straight out of Charles Dickens or Sherlock Holmes.

Misty Arch Cape

To the south, the rocks of Arch Cape look foreboding and slightly alien in this mist. A large chunk of a small tree sits embedded in the sand, along with black streaks on the beach that are indicative of lots of phytoplankton in the area. It must be a combination of major blooms of the little critters and of the sea churning so many of them up and out onto the land. Their microscopic bodies leave oily residue, as well as make for major amounts of sea foam, and often brown goo on the waves if there’s enough of them.

Black streaks left by lots of phytoplankton

I check Seaside’s beaches for flotsam, walking almost a mile, but I find nothing.

It’s a striking, crazy landscape, the Oregon coast. There’s nothing like it. If you know what you’re looking at, then it’s even more amazing. Sure, there’s the beach. And there’s the great food, nice hotels, interesting events and some truly amusing moments to be found at local watering holes. I got to explore all of these.

To really enjoy this place, however, you’ve got to spend a while, be willing to learn a few things, and just carefully explore while keeping your mind and eyes open.

This is when the true sense of wonder can begin.

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.

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.

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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Watching Transformations of Oregon Coast Beaches Seasons change and so do beaches, revealing different sides and a variety of eye-popping sights

Structures 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 Point

Day or Night Mysteries and Merriment on Oregon Coast It's more than just nightlife that comes to life, but the beaches offer major opportunities

Oregon Coast Travel Site Goes Wireless Provides Lodging Reports - Oregon Coast Beach Connection now has mobile lodging and dining listings, along with weekly lodging availability reports

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Where the Columbia meets the Pacific, Land of Lewis & Clark and loads of atmosphere & history

The Promenade, Tillamook Head, family fun & broad, sandy beaches

A mysterious lighthouse, upscale yet earthy, a huge monolith, fine eateries & an art mecca

Manzanita's beaches, Nehalem and Wheeler's quirky beauty; laid back Rockaway

Garibaldi, Barview, Bay City, Tillamook & an oceanfront ghost town

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
A spouting horn downtown, freaky hidden cliffs and whales, whales, whales
Time-tripping Nye Beach, a bustling bayfront, marine science-central and two lighthouses

Pristine, even secretive sands and wild geologic landmarks

Constantly dramatic wave action, a mix of the rugged & upscale

25 miles of deserted beaches & oodles of wonders

A lighthouse, ancient bayfront and miles and miles of fluffy dunes

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.


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.


oregon coast lighthouses on dvd

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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.

17 lavish, beachfront suites 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.

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.