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Trip Report Oregon - Water & Wine

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DH and I own a timeshare through Hyatt in Sedona, AZ. For the first time we decided to exchange some of our points for a stay at another property which we booked through Interval. We selected a range of properties and dates and ended up with a week at the Worldmark (Wyndham) Resort in Seaside, Oregon. Our trip was last week.

The flight into Portland was 2 hrs 45 min. I was surprised (why I have no idea) at how full the flight was given the time of year. Luckily we had exit row seats so we had some extra leg room. Uneventful flight and picked up our rental car with no problem at PDX. Seaside is approximately a 2 hour drive northwest of Portland. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed the drive.

The Resort at Seaside is located right on the beach. We stayed in a two bedroom unit on the 7th floor of the resort. The building is U shaped with the open part of the U facing the ocean. The unit we were in was located in the inner portion of the U and from the balcony we could see both the pool(s) and the ocean. The unit was nice although we initially had some concerns when the first thing that greeted our eyes in walking in was a pillowcase on the floor, a cleaning rag left on the counter, and a battery under the dining room table. Humm - obviously not the best cleaning crew. Aside from that though everything appeared clean and well maintained. Both bedrooms were a decent size with the guest bedroom having twin beds, the master a king and in addition there was a murphy bed that could have been set down in the living room. We were surprised that the master bath only had 1 sink - it was a big bathroom and the counter space could have allowed for two. The guest bath was big too. Two negatives: 1) the bed in the master bedroom was like a rock; and 2) the noise that echoed up that U-shaped building. OMG I cannot imagine being here in the summer with a million kids out there!

The resort had a couple of pools, hot tubs, exercise room, and an arcade room. Check-in was easy and we weren't pressured to listen to any sales talk. Cookies offered in the lobby were a nice touch.

There is a Safeway located at the end of the block so since it was later we opted for a quick trip to buy the fixings for dinner for just that night and to relax. Opened the windows and listened to the waves. Tomorrow we would do the town.

Sunday - Seaside

The town was hosting an antique car show. It was fun to walk around the town and see all of the old cars. The town was crowded. It's apparently a popular weekend destination for people in Portland because it is so close. It's a cute town - - easy to walk around and has some sights such as an aquarium, the usual touristy shops and several restaurants. The main attraction is the beach of course. It was an easy day to just wander.

Dinner that night was at the Yummy Wine Bar & Bistro recommended by Fodor's. We made reservations and headed out. Dinner started out with an olive tapenade on crostinis that was very tasty. We moved on to a beet salad which was also very good. Then on to the entrees - - oops things went downhill here. I ordered Chicken Cordon Bleu (yes I know I should have had seafood) and DH had Pistachio Gnocchi. My chicken was not cooked. Seriously - even the server saw the breast wasn't done. On top of that the vegatables were so undercooked that they were crunchy. DH's gnocchi lacked flavor he said. So sorry Fodor's can't back you on this one. Reservations are a must at this restaurant because otherwise you will end up sitting on a chair with a TV tray (no I'm not kidding) placed in front of you to eat. Overall a disappointing experience. Oh well at least I didn't eat too much!

More exploration to come!

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    Did you happen to see the spot where members of the Corps of Discovery boiled seawater to make salt to preserve meat for the return trip? It is about 100 feet off the promenade near the south end. There seems to be an even bigger draw to Cannon Beach a few miles to the south. Did you get a chance to see or photo Haystack Rock?

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    tomfuller - Cannon Beach is a place I could certainly go back to and explore more. Yes we did see Haystack Rock. Must have missed the Corps of Discovery spot.

    vespacurves - I know - yummy should have been a clue you're right.

    Sunday - Astoria

    Today we had Oregon weather - grey, cloudy, misty and cool (remember we're from AZ). Even so we headed up to Astoria and to Ft. Clatsop to see the Lewis and Clark fort. We also went to the Columbia River Maritime Museum. Reviewing the history at both of these places was a lot of fun. The tiny fort (which was actually a reconstruction since the original burned down years ago) with the small rooms and all the surrounding woods emphasized the hardships the expedition encounted in their 18 month trek across the nation. There was a statue of Sacagawea at the fort and other exhibits of course talked about her contributions to the expedition for which she was never paid - only her husband received a payment. Figures!

    The maritime museum had a lot of information about the infamous bar in the Columbia River and the number of ships that have been lost attempting to cross the bar. I never realized that there are special Pilot Boat Bar Captains that are called in to assist in the navigation and it's actually a very small number of people that hold this title.

    We also wandered around the market that was going on and enjoyed all the street activity.

    Another Fodor's recommendation for lunch - Clemente's. Food here wasn't too bad but service was lacking. Such a shame that understaffing seems to be a more frequent practice.

    Back to Seaside where the entertainment was watching the woman across the complex bring out her steak, sit it on the table and go back inside. Boom - in comes a seagull looking like a dive bomber - it swoops in, grabs the meat, and off it goes! Woman runs out just as the bird is breezing by with meat in beak - the look on her face. I couldn't help but laugh. Then of course I reminded DH not to leave it on the table!

    Monday - Willamette Valley

    So now that we've been in the condo a couple of days - time to head off. We had made reservations in McMinnville to stay at the Youngberg Hill Inn. I first saw a recommendation for the inn in Wine Spectator Magazine. It sits up on a hill overlooking its own vineyard. What a gorgeous site!!! OMG the views were beautiful. We stayed in the Jackson room which had a separate seating area, balcony with a beautiful view and the peace and quiet were wonderful; no T.V.'s in the rooms. Who cares - - with the gorgeous view you didn't need it. The inn offers a free wine tasting of their wines that we enjoyed and includes breakfast which was also very nice. In addition, we did a little wine tasting of our own and fell in love with a Pinot Noir from Adelsheim Winery which of course is not distributed. Now we have to decide if we want to try and order some directly from them.

    I really enjoyed the rolling hills of the Valley and the vineyards. The day was beautiful and I think I could easily make this area a repeat trip.

    Back to the coast on Tuesday.

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    Love your report and your "factual" feedback. Please keep it going.

    Next time you get to the Oregon Coast - trying driving further south - as many think the prettiest section is from Lincoln City - through Depot Bay and Yachats - down to beyond Florence, to the Sand Dunes. http://www.distancebetweencities.net/depoe-bay_or_and_florence_or/route

    From Florence - you can head inland an hour or less to some nice wineries west of Eugene - and our favorites include the King Estate, Sweet Cheeks (love that name) and Hinman/Sylvan Ridge - which has a nice picnic area overlooking the vinyards. http://www.planeteugene.com/wineries.htm

    From Eugene back to Portland is about two and a half hours if you zip up I 5.

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    Tomsd - you are so right!

    Tuesday - More Coast

    McMinnville is home to the Evergreen Aviation Musuem which houses the Spruce Goose - the aircraft built by Howard Hughes and that was intended to take large volumes of troops to Europe during the war. Who would have ever thought it would end up in McMinnville? It is huge!!! Anyway - the museum not only had this artifact but lots of vintage airplanes as well as a lot about NASA's program and it was fascinating to stroll back through time in looking at the beginning of the space program forward. We spent a couple of hours there.

    From McMinnville we headed back toward the coast coming in at Newport. Along the way we stopped and saw a couple of the historic covered bridges that were in the area.

    We then drove down to the Heceta Head Lighthouse - one of the most photographed lighthouses in Oregon. Unfortunately it was being rennovated so the lighthouse was covered up. We decided to stay in Yachats for the night. Cute town. We saw a hotel called The Adobe Inn which appeared to be an average hotel but was convenient in that it had its own dining. I couldn't believe the view from our room which was very reasonably priced and right at the ocean! We opened the large picture window and you could hear the waves crashing that we could see right outside our room - we were much closer to the ocean and the surf here than the condo in Seaside. It was also a much more rocky area with the waves pounding in. We loved it! Left our window open all night. At one point, I woke up and looked out to see the moonlight on the ocean and with that pounding surf it was a breathtaking sight.

    Wednesday - Up the next morning and drove up the coast - stopping at various lighthouses along the way and making a slight detour to see another covered bridge. We took the Three Capes Scenic Loop so we could go to Cape Mears (lighthouse - DH fixated on them) before heading through Tillamook. We didn't stop at the cheese factory but the meadows were a pretty sight with all the dairy cows. We did a drive through Cannon Beach - the Carmel of Oregon - and decided we could easily come back to that area.

    Arrived back in Seaside that evening. Enjoyed our bottle of Pinot Noir with a great pasta dinner DH prepared at the condo.

    Thursday - Back up to Astoria and on past to Cape Disappointment (yep you guessed it - another lighthouse) and another Lewis & Clark museum. Beautiful views in state park.
    Out to dinner that night and Seaside at Norma's where DH said the salmon was excellent. I had opted at lunch to have Clam Chowder at a Doogers (chain) which to us had by far the best chowder out there. Of course they do - it's got cream and no fillers such as cornstarch and is not exactly on the low cal side. But hey. So for dinner I opted for the Cobb Salad which was excellent.

    Friday - we drove into Portland and went to the Rose Garden. Very pretty sight. Took a quick drive through the downtown and then on to the airport. Flight back to Phoenix was uneventful and the week was gone!

    Oregon is very diverse and beautiful state. We certainly would go back to wine country for another trip and would go back to Cannon Beach. Seaside - not so much - great I think for families who want to spend all their time on the beach (but here in AZ I see what that sun does to your skin) but for us if we hadn't taken our side trips we probably would have gone nuts to spend the entire 7 days there. Now on to Tahiti in April!

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