Waves crashing, wind howling, rain slashing horizontally
in your face, it’s wild and wonderful stormy stuff. Wonderful
that is, if you have a warm, cozy retreat from which to watch.
What? You don’t like winter tempests? Come in summer when it’s
blissfully sunny. Doesn’t matter when you come, we’ve got 363
miles of scenic splendor to share. Sand-castles, kites, hikes, bikes, birds,
fish, critters, hidden lakes, tidepools, estuaries, old growth
forests, it’s the Pacific Northwest where kids play in the surf
and adults balk. Yes, the ocean is cold, but you can’t deny that
this coast is spectacular from its sandy beaches to its rugged
Clemente’s 1198 Commercial St. 503.325.1067 www.clementesrestaurant.com sleek, artsy hip, best fish & chips ever (fried in rice oil)
Blue Scorcher Bakery Café 1493 Duane St. 503.338.7473 www.bluescorcher.com organic, good and good for you soups, sandwiches, goodies Fair Warning: service may be on another planet
Fort George Brewery & Public House 1483 Duane St. 503.325.7468 www.fortgeorgebrewery.com
Bridgewater Bistro on the pier by Cannery Hotel 503.325.6777 www.bridgewaterbistro.com great views, warehouse bold chic, dramatic art, inventive food + drinks, wine, beer, great steaks. Cannery Café One 6th St. 503.325.8642 www.cannerycafe.com on the pier views; Drina Daisy 915 Commercial St. 503.338.2912 www.drinadaisy.com Bosnian food, eastern European beer, wine. Fair Warning: too salty for some. Fulio's Pasteria & Tuscan Steakhouse 1149 Commercial 503.325.9001 www.fulios.com, Italian twist; T. Paul's Urban Café 1119 Commercial St. 503.338.5133, seafood crepes, salads, yum desserts and T. Paul’s Supper Club, nearly same menu, but splashy, bizarre décor across from Elliot Hotel; Columbian Café 1114 Marine Drive www.columbianvoodoo.com, the place for breakfast (garlic jelly). Fair Warning: tiny, can be a wait for seating & food; no pancakes. Baked Alaska one 12th St # 1 503.325.7414 www.bakedak.com seafood on pier views; Silver Salmon Grille 1105 Commercial St. 503.338.6640 www.silversalmongrille.com; Schooner Bistro 360 12th St. 503.325.7882Fair Warning: You may hear raves about fish & chips at The Bowpicker (a real boat in a parking lot at 17th & Duane), sure it’s fun, but even the 8 and 10 year-old kids in tow didn’t like it — waaay better f & c at Clemente’s or the more casual Ship Inn Restaurant & Pub 1 2nd St. 503.325.0033, west of the bridge on the river (English pub food here, too).
Commodore Hotel www.commodoreastoria.com new renovated downtown hotel, clean, lean and cool, some rooms (er, “cabins” yeesh) have river views. Love the photos and lobby collage of 1960s artifacts (magazines, ashtrays, etc.) found in the former hotel.
Holiday Inn Express www.astoriahie.com east corner suites have fantastic under the bridge views from bed. Fair Warning: standard motel.
Hotel Elliott www.hotelelliott.com stylishly renovated five-story historic hotel centrally located in the downtown historic district. Sumptious comfort, “Wonderful Beds,” warmed stone bathroom floors, some fireplaces. The Rooftop Terrace for panoramic views and Elliot’s Cellar Wine Bar downstairs includes the enclosed leather-club-chair-plush Havana (cigar) Lounge.
Riverpark Suite www.riverparksuite.com hardly a suite, this is a 2,800 square-foot four-bedroom luxury apartment with full kitchen. Perched at the end of the former Bumble Bee cannery pier downtown, stupendous river views. My sister’s 50th birthday weekend here — cards, scrabble, eating, reading, enough room for kids and adults.
Rosebriar Inn B&B www.rosebriar.net restored, handsome-boned 1902, yet uninspired décor. Some rooms, especially 3rd floor Captain’s Suite, have river views.
http://visittheoregoncoast.com and www.traveloregon.com Astoria highlights: summer Sunday Market; walk, bike or ride the Riverfront Trolley (kids can help the conductor ring the bell) & watch for eagles perched on pilings along the waterfront; check out one of the best wine shops in the NW, The Cellar on 10th www.thecellaron10th.com; climb the 164 steps of the Astoria Column; everything ocean, boats, shipwrecks & fishing at the Columbia River Maritime Museum www.crmm.org (8 and 10 year olds spent nearly 2 hours here!); Lewis & Clark’s miserable 1805 winter quarters replica Fort Clatsop www.nps.gov; bike piney woods & dune trails and play hide ‘n scary seek in Battery Russell at Fort Stevens State Park www.oregonstateparks.org; play at the beach (dig clams)! and see the skeletal hulk of the shipwrecked Peter Iredale. Golf at 18-hole Gearhart Golf Links www.gearhartgolflinks.com or the 9-hole Highlands where even I can sometimes par or nearly hit a pheasant.
Pacific Way Cafe and Bakery in center of town, 503.738.0245, cozy café excellent lunch, dinners, seafood, bakery annex. Fair Warning: call for hours, winter especially. McMenamin’s Sand Trap at the golf course, good pub food, excellent fries & chocolate Terminator stout milkshakes!
NOTE: Long Beach, Washington has a lovely new asphalt-in-the-dunes-trail. Let me know of others… thanks, MJ firstname.lastname@example.org
Tons of motels and vacation rentals www.seasideor.com The Inn of the Four Winds www.innofthefourwinds.com tasteful, cozy lodging eight blocks north of downtown on the Promenade facing the beach and crashing surf. Gilbert Inn Bed & Breakfast www.gilbertinn.com classic Queen Ann a block from the beach and downtown. Fair Warning: Busy corner.
Newman's at 988, 988 S Hemlock St. 503.436.1151 www.newmansat988.com, simply the best (lobster ravioli! Dungeness crab cakes!); inventive NW-French cuisine; JP's 240 N Hemlock St. 503.436.0908 www.jpsatcannonbeach.com fresh NW with flair; EVOO 188 S. Hemlock 503.436.8555 www.evoo.biz NW cooking classes; wine dinners; Cannon Beach Café (former Gower St. Bistro) at Cannon Beach Hotel 1116 S Hemlock St. 503.436.2729 www.cannonbeachcafe.com tiny, French bistro; Lumberyard Rotisserie & Grill 264 3rd St. 503.436.0285 www.thelumberyardgrill.com, family friendly; Cannon Beach Thai 264 E 3rd St. 503.436.0261 Fair Warning: iffy hours;Ecola Seafoods & Market 208 N Spruce St. 503.436.9130 www.ecolaseafoods.com fresh off the boat fast food fish& chips, chowder cafeteria-style; Driftwod Inn 179 N Hemlock St. 503.436.2439 www.driftwoodcannonbeach.com, good burgers; Seasons Café 255 N Hemlock St. 503.436.1159 hidden courtyard gem good soups, sandwiches, goodies; The Bistro 263 N Hemlock St. 503.436.2661, local favorite, gets rave reviews, cozy bar; weird dining area Fair Warning: snotty dining room service; Cranky Sue’s 308 Fir St. 503.436.0301 www.cannon-beach.net fun, casual, summer music.
The Bistro at Cannon Beach. A nice warm summer’s eve. Bar looks good, lots of wood, friendly folk but no room. A step down into a dungeon of a dining room, dark, cloistered, candle-lit & romantic like some after-the-prom “grown up” restaurant. Hushed, reverent diners. A double-take back to the bar — airy, cheerful.
Sister Sue and I are hastily seated by a rushing woman, a gander at the menu, nothing jumps out that says you’ll love this. Not one red wine listed. Bistro, huh? I ask the busy (it’s not that crowded) woman (the young smiling waitress is meandering) if there are any reds available. A bold Clos du Rhone. Fine. My sister sticks to beer. The busy woman pours, rushes off. I sip. I wince. Not only the dregs, but warmer than the very warm airless room. Near vinegar. I try to catch the woman’s attention and when I do, I mention that I think the wine is off. “Too big for you,” she states. Not a question. Well, ah, it’s turned. I say. “Not for you,” she snaps, whisking my glass away. My sister and I look at each other in disbelief.
You ready to go? I say. Yep, she is.
Stephanie Inn www.stephanie-inn.com premiere oceanside luxury destination hotel. Carriage House suites for more privacy. Extravagant breakfast included. World-class gourmet dining available to outside guests (800.633.346 dinner reservations). The Ocean Lodge www.theoceanlodge.com oceanfront lodge rooms (with decks) and pet-friendly bungalows. Next door to Stephanie Inn, it could be the more casual sibling — exposed beams, hewn timber and gingham touches, it’s a more homey inn. Make no mistake though, the amenities and furnishings are first class comfort with pet baskets, cookies and deluxe continental breakfast. Inn at Cannon Beach www.atcannonbeach.com attractive timbered structures surrounding a central garden, a sister property to Ocean Lodge with the same amenities and comfortable, charming décor. Fair Warning: Across a main road two-blocks from beach access. Cannon Beach Hotel www.cannonbeachhotel.com historic hotel, original art, classy, tasteful across parking lot to beach access. Continental breakfast included. Cannon Beach Café on site. The Courtyard and pet-friendly Hearthstone Inn and McBee Cottages are the hotel’s nearby sister properties.
Inn at Arch Cape www.innatarchcape.com six restored vintage cottage guest rooms with kitchens, sister property to the Inn at Gearhart with the same attention to fresh décor and detail. Arch Cape Inn and Retreat www.archcapeinn.com romantic hillside fairy-tale chateaux with garden and ocean views. Dramatic art and antique-filled Old World elegant luxury inn. Complimentary three-course breakfast. Gourmet dinners available. Fair Warning: “Steps away from a walk on the beach” is down the hill, across busy Hwy. 101 to beach access.
Bread & Ocean bakery & deli 154 Laneda, 503.368.5823 www.breadandocean.com bread! excellent organic, local, etc. soups, salads, sandwiches, meals. Fair Warning: No credit or debit cards; checks OK. Vino Manzanita wine bar 4th St. & Laneda Ave. 503.368.8466, tiny, chic, tapas, cheeses, can’t help but talk to friendly locals and other strays. Terra Cotta Café www.terracottacafe.net 725 Manzanita Ave. 503.368.3700, not what you’re thinking — Spanish adobe, pots and tile floors. Website says terra cotta in Spanish is “little apple” referring to the fruit of the Woolyleaf Manzanita shrub. Huh? Isn’t terra cotta “baked earth?” No matter, good food.
Coast Cabins www.coastcabins.com secluded intimate cabins in a Zen-like garden setting, many blocks from the beach and town-house condos in the middle of town. More luxurious urban chic than beach bungalow heart. Fair Warning: I’ve had challenges finding anyone on site or reaching by phone. Inn at Manzanita http://innatmanzanita.com rooms and suites in a cluster of small buildings nestled amid pine trees near the beach. Prosaic style, but friendly folk and nice location. Ocean Inn at Manzanita www.oceaninnatmanzanita.com Beach bungalow comfort, lean and clean, right on the beach.
Wanda’s Café & Bakery on Hwy. 101, 503.368.8100, best breakfast on the coast. Last time I was there, return visitors from Seattle and San Francisco and local fishermen, moms with kids; eclectic, cheerful décor makes you feel like laughing with your mouth full. Benedicts, pancakes — the real deal and lunches & sweets to go. Nehalem River Inn www.nehalemriverinn.com 34910 Highway 53, 503.368.7708, fine dining, river views. Fair Warning: highly recommended, untried. Dinner reservations a must.
Wheeler Sea Shack Hwy. 101 on bay 503.368.7897, surprising quality seafood (two types of good fish & chips! battered or lightly dusted), homemade bread, bay views.
Old Wheeler Hotel www.oldwheelerhotel.com seven lovely rooms in a beautifully restored 1920s hotel (above storefronts) with Nehalem Bay views. Cheerful, colorful comfort with an artist’s eye for detail. Continental breakfast included in the common room or take a tray to your room (yes!). Wheeler on the Bay Lodge www.wheeleronthebay.com updated motel units with individual themed décor on the bay. Fair Warning: smelly plug-in “fresheners” in rooms. Info on boating, fishing, crabbing, kayaking at their Marina.
Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad www.ocsr.net 1910 Heisler Steam Locomotive hour ½ trips along Tillamook Bay plus dinner train. Board at Rockaway Beach or Garibaldi. Cheese! Tillamook Blue Heron French and Tillamook Cheese visitor centers and Tillamook Air Museum — WWII plane collection in an authentic Blimp Hangar, the largest wooden structure in the world! www.tillamookair.com.
Pelican Pub http://www.pelicanbrewery.com Cape Kiwanda, oceanside views; Award winning ales, fun family dining; Delicate Palate Bistro 35280 Brooten Rd, 503.965.6464 / 866.567.3466, bar & dinner menus Fair Warning: call for hours; Wed.- Sat. evenings only.
The Inn at Cape Kiwanda www.innatcapekiwanda.com Appealing rooms & suites with custom-built furniture, gas fireplaces and balconies facing the ocean and Haystack Rock and sophisticated condo-style rental upscale “cottages.” Art gallery, day spa, dory boat charter service, clothing store and espresso bar/book shop on site. Adjacent campground and resident bunnies. Pelican Pub (award winning beer) across parking lot. Offsite Shorepine Village vacation homes.
http://visittheoregoncoast.com and www.traveloregon.com Another Haystack Rock at Pacific City, climb sand dunes, take the Three Capes Scenic drive www.pacificcity.org; Cape Meares Lighthouse and Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge; fish from a Dory launched from the beach into the surf, Yippee! Or watch from award-winning Pelican Pub.