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Where 'New' Oregon Coast History Meets Old: Charms of Nye Beach

Published 08/27/21 at 4:38 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Where 'New' Oregon Coast History Meets Old: Charms of Nye Beach

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(Newport, Oregon) - One section of Newport is more than a quaint place: it's mesmerizing with its beauty and its architecture of old town America mixed with hints of old Europe in interesting ways. A refurbishing of the district, complete with lanterns and brick streets, catapulted the vibe into high gear two decades ago. Newport's Nye Beach is a rarity on the Oregon coast, with its nods to old and new living side-by-side in such a seamless manner. It's also curious in that some of the historic look is actually new: buildings were constructed to look vintage.

It's where "new" history meets old, in more ways than one. Walking through Nye Beach is a walk through a storied past.

A variety of shops both old school and newfangled occupy these small streets, bringing the charm to a boiling point. Eateries in Nye Beach have a long tradition of being absolutely scrumptious and often innovative, even if they come and go. Then there's that whole quirky, creative and grass roots vibe that pops up in numerous places, such as those arty benches plopped here and there.

Photo courtesy Lincoln County Historical Society, Newport

Yet it's nature that still rules here. Down on the beach, after parking at the lovely Turnaround, 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 this stump of an outcropping sit the spooky skeleton 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. That chunk of labyrinth-like concrete evoked castle ruins to some degree, a wild find on the Oregon coast.

Back then, Jump-Off Joe was still a small headland, a unique feature that had an arch and a long chunk that descended from it with notched edges, which actually looked like a giant dinosaur tail. But like the Jump-Off Joe before it (another promontory that was whittled away by the ‘30s), this one was falling apart quickly, and one winter in the early ‘90s it crumbled in half. What was left as an outcropping eroded more and more, until finally the soil up top cracked in numerous places in early 2021, shutting down the spot as a viewpoint. Newport's Jump-Off Joe Gets Dangerous, Oregon Coast Landmark Closed Off

Continue heading north and you'll bump into Agate Beach after a long walk, which eventually dead-ends into Yaquina Head. Agates are no longer the norm as they were over 100 years ago when this part of Newport got its name, but now it's mounds of sand, practically dune-like.

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 massive Yaquina Head Lighthouse blinks in the distance.

The beach here on the southern end has its share of wacky, undulating shapes in the cliffs as well, but mostly its soft sands until you reach the mouth of the Yaquina Bay and the famed lighthouse above it.

Where To Stay in Nye Beach

Inn at Nye Beach. Stunning views of Nye Beach, ocean. Breakfast room service, direct beach access, full balconies, an elevator (and wheelchair accessible) and complimentary on-site parking. Sundeck, fireplaces and Earth-friendly products. Each room gourmet teas and coffee, DVD (and rentals), microwave and mini-fridge, high thread count lux linens, and oversized showerheads. Fitness room. Jacuzzi suite, various other room options from large to small. Weekly wine social. 729 NW Coast St. Newport, Oregon. 541.265.2477. 800.480.2477.

Nye Beach Condos & Cottages. Adorable cottages with a somewhat historic vibe to sleek, modern – all ocean views or at least a quick beach access. Kitchen, flat screen TVs. Free wi-fi select rentals. Full patio with unobstructed ocean views. The cottages come with quite the atmosphere and cozy fee, often evoking that Oregon coast of old. All of it in Newport’s rich, diverse Nye Beach area and all with 24-hour access to staff at their sister hotel, Inn at Nye Beach. 729 NW Coast St. Newport, Oregon. 541.265.2477. Website here.

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