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Into the Wilds and the Calming / Healing of Newport, Central Oregon Coast

Published 04/28/21 at 7:55 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Into the Wilds and the Calming / Healing of Newport, Central Oregon Coast

(Newport, Oregon) – From calming to chaotic, Newport has the full spectrum of repose and crazed, energetic fun that any Oregon coast town could ask for. It has its wilder sides along with parts that are not only upscale but run the complete gamut of tastes and experiences in between. It's as if the entire Oregon coast experience is summed up in one town: where you can be an elegant beach bum.

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Newport is like one big taste tester, and not just because fine wines, foods or brews are part of its basic DNA. There's international foods as well, along with catching your own dinner by crabbing and clamming along its famed Yaquina Bay. Families, younger folk interested in a slightly askew bar scene, hikers looking to tread some new paths, surfers, whale watchers, or anyone hoping for a new and interesting spot to glimpse the waves: the place is multi-layered.

Yet for some it's also a place where you go if you're in need of great healing. Portland's Gina Noell is one of those. This year she lost her husband, Michael Cubbon. Both were fixtures in Portland's music scene for decades, and her holiday parties were always the coolest, hippest things around.

Between that heavy blow and the isolation of COVID, Noell found Newport to be a sense of some relief. She also made some unique use of the town's digital foodie amenities.

“If I need a quiet getaway, I go to an Air BnB a few miles north of Newport,” she said. “After Michael passed away, I spent nearly two weeks there in a tiny little cottage with a perfect ocean view. It was just me and my two Labradors. Bonus: I was able to hire a dog-walker and ordered so much food from Fred Meyer/Instagram that I was on a first name basis with the drivers. That may sound odd, but while wanting time alone, it was great to have a few friendly faces for a minute or two at a time, as well. Also, before Covid and hopefully soon, there's nowhere better for a late lunch than Nana's Irish Pub.”

Interestingly, unlike most, Noell didn't head to the beaches, however. She has a different take on all this.

“For me, the reason to be at the Coast is to relax, reflect, rewind, renew, quietly, and in solitude,” she said. “If I didn't have the dogs (who are too strong for me to walk) I'd probably go down to the beach, but even then, would it be much fun alone?”

For some, solace and civilization overpowers the draw to the beaches, and for others a day at the beach is something manmade, certainly if the weather turns on you.

Newport's Bayfront area is the hub of activity when it comes to manmade fun in Newport, but it's where rougher-edged nature meets the tourist attractions as well as a bustling fishing port. Especially engaging is simply wandering the piers and docks without aim, just exploring the wobbly platforms and watching the kooky sea lions bellow and bounce against each other.

If you're in need of more civilization, Newport's Nye Beach is about as civilized as you can get on the Oregon coast. Calming and charming in its vibe, there's an old school Americana aesthetic that abounds in those tiled little streets and in the architecture, while those tiny shops and eateries don't run short on cajoling, even historic aspects either. This is no surprise as the place began as a tourism hub over 120 years ago, and many of the buildings have stayed over the decades.

It's where Nana's Irish Pub is, as well as uber-enamoring eateries like Coast and Vine (526 NW Coast St suite a) or the soaring Italian flavors of Sorella (526 NW Coast St suite c).

Still, it's the wilds of Newport that are the ultimate attraction in the central Oregon coast burgh. Miles and miles of beaches stretch along here, interrupted by the baymouth and craggy Yaquina Head. The massive array of fun reaches from South Beach State Park all the way to Otter Rock near Depoe Bay.

Yaquina Head is perhaps the most beautifully chaotic, where, yes, there's a lighthouse, but watching angry waves rampage against the rocks at the tip of the headland is a highlight. It doesn't take much turbulence to create that spectacle.

Nye Beach and Agate Beach form the largest chunks of Newport's sands. Nye Beach gets especially interesting as you get close to old Jump-Off Joe, the rock structure that's now crumbling ever-more quickly. Ragged slabs lie at the tideline nearby, actually remnants from another Jump-Off Joe that existed here over 100 years ago.

Right now the current Jump-Off Joe is no longer available as a viewpoint, as it too started disintegrating this past year.

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