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Nye Beach: Where Historic Oregon Coast Meets Future Sands

Published 08/24/2019 at 9:43 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Nye Beach: Where Historic Oregon Coast Meets Future Sands

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(Newport, Oregon) – Along the central Oregon coast, far off the wilds of Highway 101 traffic that strains its way through Newport, sits a beachside resort within a resort town. Nye Beach is a place where history collides with post-millennia civilized amenities and prime, even primitive beaches.

This tiny section of Newport is more than a simply quaint place: it's mesmerizing with its beauty and its architecture that takes old town Americana and mixes it with touches of old Europe in interesting ways. Around the late ‘90s or so, a refurbishing of the district, complete with lanterns and brick streets, catapulted the vibe into high gear. A few spurts of growth here and there since then resulted in more modern structures taking over, but it still retains plenty of that old Oregon coast vibe. Many newer structures have architectural elements borrowed from the past. Some were downright designed to adopt that feel and imitate old world buildings.

Its history as an Oregon coast landmark is long and varied, going back over 100 years. It started out as a tourist attraction in the 1880s, about the time the two lighthouses went up (the bay lighthouse was in operation only three years before the taller Yaquina Head light took over). Nye Beach and Newport were actually two different towns, connected only by a sketchy, slippery road of mud that often had to be layered with planks to allow even a little travel.

Ironically, people living in Newport and Toledo would vacation up at Otter Rock around 1910 to 1920-something – a trek that often took all day by horse or on foot.

Around the turn of the century, tourism really began picking up along the entire Oregon coast as the automobile and train lines ushered in more people. There was a boardwalk where the turnaround is now, and down the beach a massive structure called Jump-Off Joe won the hearts of travelers for years.

It crumbled by the ‘30s, however, letting the current outcropping be called Jump-Off Joe a ways afterwards (another structure was briefly called that, by where the Memorial is now).

During these years - as it was called the “Honeymoon Capital of the World” - Nye Beach held massively popular clambakes on the beach, which apparently disappeared by wartime. They were revived on and off in the 2000s, but with food vendors, music, face painting and more, but also died by the mid 2010s.

These days, the beach is still the big attraction, no matter what charming shopping or dining opportunities exist onshore. Here, 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 ‘80's. It faltered and began crumbling just weeks before its completion. These days, this chunk of labyrinth-like concrete evokes castle ruins a bit.

To the south, 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 ground, with various benches along the way, perfect for that midnight smooch session as the huge Yaquina Head Lighthouse blinks in the distance.

Another highlight of Nye Beach is the historic vibe of Inn at Nye Beach. With a feel like an old ship captain’s mansion, the place is actually a remodeled motel that had been around for ages. Owners turned it into a dazzling boutique hotel which resonates with effervescent upscale qualities. It all sits on one of the Oregon coast’s more scenic bluffs, overlooking the lengths of Nye Beach or its charming streets.

There’s morning breakfast service to pamper you, full balconies, an elevator (and it’s wheelchair accessible), all with on-site parking. Its sundeck is its seriously jaw-dropping highlight: that outdoor hotwater spa hearkens back to the old natatorium in Nye Beach (heated salt water baths that were popular along the Oregon coast 100 years ago). While that one was indoors and a luxury by the standards of the times, this outdoor heated pool is a constant prelude to gorgeous views of the sunset. Some of the social media posts of these are simply mindnumbingly beautiful. 729 NW Coast St. Newport, Oregon. 541.265.2477. 800.480.2477. - Hotels in Newport - Where to eat - Newport Maps and Virtual Tours

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