First time to OR, last week in July

Oct 2nd, 2009, 06:05 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 40
Okay, so we checked out and headed north. We just drove without stopping for a while since we had driven down the same US 101 the other day that we were driving up today. We took the First place we stopped was Pacific City to see the Haystack Rock there -- but it was so hazy, we saw nothing, or so we thought. We continued on to Cape Kiwanda -- and there we believe we did see Haystack Rock -- I think our guide book pretty much was talking about driving south, but we were going north, so where we thought it should be, there was nothing. when we did see it, it was pretty impressive, as were the dory boats coming in and essentially skidding up on the beach.

Next we stopped at not exactly Cape Lookout State Park, but just along the road near there for the views. Gorgeous! And we continue on...

... to Cape Meares. More gorgeous views. We also saw the Octopus Tree here -- really interesting (funny) looking.

Next we figured we'd head to Tillamook and tour the cheese factory and get some along with some bread for lunch. Now, we hit Blue Heron Cheese Company first. I had heard from several outlets that it was basically a tourist trap and not worth time, but my friend wanted to go once she heard that they supposed specialize in brie. I do have to agree that it is a major tourist trap, but I will say that we tasted several of the different bries they had and enjoyed the smoked one enough to buy it. We also did a wine tasting here as well. If I'm remembering correctly, I think you got 4 tastes for $2. Again, most of the wines were very ordinary. But there was one Pinot Gris that was quite good, and they had it chilled, so it would go with our cheese for lunch.

On to Tillamook Cheese Factory. Oh my, this place is huge. And mobbed. It is also most definitely a worthwhile place to stop. We did not do any official tour (we were too hungry at this point for lunch, as it was around 2:00), but we walked through the "observatory hallway" and looked over the production operations, tasted what was available, decided what we liked (medium and extra sharp cheddars were our favorites of what we had), bought a package (very reasonably-priced -- if I remember correctly, it was $3.99 a pound, and I just bought some last week here in NJ for $9.99 a pound), and headed out to find someplace for our picnic lunch. We ended up stopping just somewhere on the side of the road north of Garibaldi, I think, where we saw a picnic table and could look out onto the water. It may even have been as far as Nehalem. We were hungry before we left Tillamook, so by the time we found a place to stop, we were REALLY hungry. Our cheese and bread and wine picnic tasted great.

Then we made our way to Cannon Beach where we were spending our last two nights. We stopped at one more scenic viewpoint on the way: one of the side-of-the road lookouts at the top of Neahkahnie Mountain. Are there any bad viewpoints along the Oregon Coast? We sure didn't find any.

We got to the Ecola Creek Lodge late afternoon, checked in, and wandered through the town of Cannon Beach. Very cute hotel, very homey, our room was essentially two big bedrooms, with a bathroom. The hotel is a about a quarter-mile walk from "downtown." We wandered around the two main streets for a bit, heading into some of the shops and just meandering around.

Headed back and got cleaned up and ready for dinner. Because of our late lunch, we made late reservations for dinner -- something like 8:30 at a place that the bartender at the Hotel deLuxe had recommended but that we hadn't heard anything about either here or on Chowhound or in the guidebook I had (Moon Handbooks' Oregon): JP's. We were a little unsure since we hadn't heard anything about it elsewhere, but we stopped off someplace for a drink beforehand (I don't recall the name of it, and it isn't mentioned in the guidebook) and started chatting with someone at the bar. Turns out he owns Webb's Scenic Surf Motel and also thoroughly recommended JP's. Well, when we had dinner, we were not at all disappointed. Sophisticated food in a nice setting with really friendly service. Again, the problem with my taking so long to do this trip report and not taking great notes has me forgetting exactly what we had -- no recollection of the appetizers but we both had, I'm pretty sure, salmon cordon bleu for our mains. Wow! Yes, it was rich, but not ridiculously so that we were in a food coma. We shared a special dessert that had lime and chili and chocolate in it (we were full enough that we weren't ready for it then, and they offered to send it back to our room with us as take-out). Also seriously tasty.

Last full day next (I'll try not to take too long to get it done -- I know how frustrating it is when you're reading a report and there are long gaps between posts -- but everyday life does find a way of getting in the way).
CAB226 is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2009, 06:16 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Thanks for posting. We love Oregon and have lots of favorite spots. Your post brought back many fond memories of several past visits and made me wish I'd posted trip reports from them.
saige is offline  
Oct 5th, 2009, 05:37 PM
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Okay, I'm back, and without too long a break between my last post and this one.

Day 7

Headed to Astoria this day. We stopped on the way in Seaside. We had heard about a really good restaurant (Yummy Wine Bar and Bistro) and thought we would have dinner there tonight and figured we'd do a drive-by and find it early on before the town got going. Well, we didn't find it that morning (although when we went later for dinner, we wondered how we missed it in the morning) -- we did drive/wander about a little and were not impressed -- the only place we felt reminded us of the Jersey Shore. Now, the Shore is great, but it is fairly commercial and not, for the most part, a gorgeous coastline. I will admit that we didn't spend any real amount of time there, so may easily missed the greater charms of the town; but it didn't do a whole lot for us.

Next stop was Fort Clatsop. Very interesting! I thought it would be much bigger than it was. The rangers are so knowledgeable -- it seemed like they could go on for hours about Lewis & Clark. Idefinitely recommend a stop here.

So coming to Astoria, we made our first stop at the Astoria Column. Really beautiful building with the friezes all over the outside. And the views from the top were spectacular.

So then we headed into town and walked around all over the place. All along the river, took a ton of pictures of the bridge, lunch at Baked Alaska (very tasty marinated mushroom and fennel salad and a half dozen Willapa Bay oysters -- I just had them raw on the halfshell, although the menu preparation was actually to broil them with shallots, butter, and fresh basil -- even better than the food, though, was the view: looking out on the river, it almost seemed like we were on a boat), walking along the streets in from the river, and a visit to Flavel House. That's another place I'd recommend -- very interesting story (and home) of the first millionaire of the town and all he did for the town.

At this point, we head back to our car parked by the river and it's the first chance I get to taste Tillamook ice cream (wasn't really hungry for it, but couldn't leave the state the next day without having tried it) -- don't recall the flavor I had, but it was very good.

So we head back to Cannon Beach and spend the rest of the afternoon on the beach. We found a spot near the north end of the beach and while my friend just relaxed and read, I walked down to Haystack Rock. Very nice walk and very impressive rock, for not only its size but everything going on around it -- all the birds and the tidepools and the people and folks flying kites. Just a great afternoon. After I got back to the other end of the beach, we just relaxed there for a bit longer, then headed to the hotel to get ready for dinner at the aforementioned Yummy.

Great restaurant. I had a flight of rose wines with my salad -- really nice mixed green salad with goat cheese and nuts and peaches, then an OR Pinot Noir with my main course -- got the fish of the day, simply prepared in parchment with capers. Excellent service, wines, food, and atmosphere. Definitely gets a recommendation.

Next day, August 1st, we headed back to Portland to the airport to turn in the car and come home. Stopped along the way for breakfast at a place called Shari's that we had seen pretty much all over the place. Nothing amazing, but tasty omelettes with very good hash browns (my friend had the stuffed ones, which I tasted -- while they were very good, the cheese and such they were stuffed with would have been over the top for me). No problems turning the car in, no flight delays, and we were home at about 9:30 that night.

I would go back again in a heartbeat -- was not really disappointed with anything, and there is so much that I still didn't see. (Of course, there are only three places I've been that I have no real interest in returning to; but I rarely get back to the places I would go back to -- so many places till to see in this world.)

Hope folks enjoyed the report.
CAB226 is offline  
Oct 5th, 2009, 08:43 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Absolutely loved it and think you write a terrific trip report. You missed the maritime museum though. Great story about the Coast Guard patrol boat.
You must have written a nice diary to keep all these memories so fresh from August until October. I wish I would do that.
pdx is offline  
Oct 6th, 2009, 04:19 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 40
Thanks, PDX. And yes, I know I missed seeing a whole bunch of things. If I'm lucky, I'll have another chance at some point to get back and see some of what I missed. And no, I didn't keep any sort of diary -- I do remember a lot of what we did -- that sort of stuff sticks in my mind; but I mostly recreated the trip by looking through my guidebook (I highlighted before the trip the various things I wanted to do, and thought I'd reasonably be able to fit in, and luckily was able to get to most of that) and some of the receipts/brochures I saved.
CAB226 is offline  

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