Oregon Coast Lodging Look: The Tides in Seaside
By Andre' Hagestedt
(Seaside, Oregon) – It’s a pretty place up against the seashore in Seaside, sitting at the seriously quiet end of the Promenade, between the surfing mecca of the nearby headland and the throngs occupying the sands to the north. But there’s much more than meets the eye here and various levels to explore: a kind of convergence point of local history and odd geologic history, and a sprawling complex with rooms of varying vibes and dozens of distractions.
There’s a lot going on at The Tides by the Sea, where over 50 units come condo-style or as envy-inducing beach cottages. The pool, the close proximity of the beach, the views and the sheer size of the place are really just the beginning. There’s different ways to explore this compound of Americana fun, both literally and figuratively.
It’s late spring on the Oregon coast, a time where you can feel the energy level building and maybe even quivering, as if a floodgate is waiting somewhere to unleash hordes of tourists upon this vacation hotspot for generations, even though at this point in May the town is nearly dead. I arrive rather late in the evening, after sunset, and have snagged a room in the oceanfront section. The following three days bring tremendous explosions of colors from this vantage point on the second floor. There are considerable advantages to coming to the coast at this time of year, beyond the savings from seasonal low prices: the getting is good on the prime rooms as well.
There are really three parts to The Tides, a result of the place having been around for nearly 100 years. These were built over the generations. It started out as a row or two of exquisite little beach cottages. The section that houses the office contains some rather ancient but quaint, smaller units. And then there’s the oceanfront section, which houses the more condo-like rooms.
Between these sit rather sizable courtyards, which almost lend the lodging a sort of English upper crust feel. Picnic tables, barbecue stuff and game equipment occupy these green grounds, along with one very giant and whimsical frog statue.
The Tides was started by a Portland mayor back in the 20’s. The ancient spires that seemingly guard the various entrances attest to that, which are then strung together by outer walls of large cobblestones that look rather stately and elderly as well. There are various historical photographs of these walls and spires hung on walls of bars and restaurants around town.
The beach cottages have exteriors that hearken back to this time, but the interiors are sleek, modern and decidedly upscale. Some have cozy upstairs areas that are like being in an a-frame. These are not oceanfront – but they used to be, and therein lies a strange geologic tale that will be soon revealed. The sound of the ocean is still a constant here, however.
A few years back, one former manager named Wayne became obsessed with the place’s history and did copious amounts of research. He’d collected photos of The Tides from the 20’s through to the 90’s, with lots of quaint shots that families had taken of their vacations there in the 70’s. When he left, that information became lost, but before that Wayne and I spent considerable time talking about how he lamented the disappearance of a large dog statue at the complex. It was a favorite among visitors, and plenty took pics of their kids next to it. Somewhere along the decades, the thing disappeared. For a few years there it became another small obsession of Wayne's to find it and bring it back to The Tides.
The first night means a trip down to Cannon Beach for dinner at the unbelievable The Bistro. It’s a six-mile drive, but the eatery is well worth it – it’s certainly among the best the entire coast has to offer. I indulged there my second night as well.
Both nights also meant bouncing around Seaside bars, which can be a handful of strangeness and surrealism, but that’s always been part of the fun for me.
By day, adventures included snooping around Seaside Aquarium and watching others feed the seals. They’ve got a wide variety of creatures to gawk at, and the place oozes history as well, having been around for over 75 years.
The third night finds me eating south, down in Nehalem at Pizza Garden, about a half hour’s drive from Seaside. This is definitely one of my favorite haunts along the coast, with eye-roll-inducing pizza and pasta in abundance. In fact, all three nights I had pasta.
As I mentioned before, the sunsets were vibrant these three days, and my broad second story window overlooking the beach let me soak in copious amounts of those reddish rays. At this time of year, sunsets can be augmented by a jumble of weather conditions that change from minute to minute during spring. Squalls switch places with rolling clouds, sunny conditions or bursts of windy moments in what appear to be half hour increments at times. This atmospheric confusion can make for cloud formations that reflect and deflect the waning sun in fascinating ways.
This sandy-meets-cobblestone beach that The Tides sits in front of is another fascinating, even weird bit of Seaside history. There were chunks of this beach that did not even exist before the 80’s. Something like 100 yards of beach were created by nature around 1987, after a landslide on Tillamook Head dropped tons of rocky material into the area known as “the cove.” Boulders and such filled the watery area, extending the dry land quite a ways.
A new spit was formed by the rocks for a time, which locals used for catching bundles of fish during its existence. Nature fairly quickly filled up that space, which wound up creating an enormous dead tide pool for a few months.
Eventually, even that was filled in by time, tide and sand and such, and that in turn lengthened a large chunk of the beach just to the north.
Seaside geologist Tom Horning said all this happened after the oceanfront section of The Tides was built, and it was in jeopardy for a time because it was too close to the ocean. In a strange twist of fate, Mother Nature may have saved that part of the Tides.
“Back when they first built this, the sea practically came right up to the building,” Horning said. “They had boulders and rip rap there to keep it away. After 1987, 100 yards of beach was created in front of that area.”The Tides by the Sea is at 2316 Beach Drive Seaside, Oregon. 1-800-548-2846 or (503) 738-6317. www.Thetidesbythesea.com.
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