Secrets of the Oregon Coast-Revealed

By Henderson, Bonnie | Sunset, October 1999 | Go to article overview

Secrets of the Oregon Coast-Revealed


Henderson, Bonnie, Sunset


Follow our map to one of the West's best road trips, and explore surprises most guidebooks miss

Who discovered the Oregon coast first is still debated, though Captain Bruno Heceta is generally credited, having sailed along its shores in 1775-with Captain James Cook close on his stern, arriving three years later. It's quite likely, however, that both Europeans would have spotted cooking fires, the smoke curling above the dense blue-green forest, so perhaps the whole point is a bit moot? The reality is that the coast has been discovered many times. Your chance will come the first time your car crests U.S. 101 just north of Cannon Researh ant you glimpse the great Pacific, or when you first step out from your motel room in Lincoln City and feel that fine alchemy of ground rock and shell between your toes. You could say we've mapped out for you a voyage of personal discovery. Or, more simply, that we're just going to show you a good time: charming beach towns and grand ocean views, good beers and fine fish and chips, carnivorous plants and buried treasure, historic trinkets and modern art. Use our map to plan a day trip or a journey down the coast. But keep your eyesand other sense-on alert: We've left plenty for you to discover on your own on the Oregon coast.

EXPLORERS OF OLD. In 1999 an Oregon anthropologist stumbled across a 148-year-old map defining the location of Lewis and Clark's winter quartersnot far, it turns out, from where the 1955 replica stands today, at Fort Clatsop National Memorial. Off U.S. 101 near WarrentOn; (503) 861-2471.

COASTAL HIDEAWAY. Manzanita is where Cannon Beach residents go to escape the crowds. It has a few notable restaurants and cafes, a handful of memorable inns and motels, a beach stretching from Neahkahnie Mountain to Nehalem Spit, plus legends of buried treasure from a Spanish galleon, waiting to be discovered. Nehalem Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, 495 Nehalem Blvd., Wheeler; (877) 368-5100 or (503) 368-5100.

BOHEMIA BAY. ArtSpace isn't the only art gallery-cum-cafe on the coast, but it is the one with the most unlikely location: the tiny Tillamook County town of Bay City. Both the art and the eats are distinctly regional in flavor. 9120 Fifth St.; (503) 377-2782.

BREAKING THE WAVES. Ever watched the dory fleet launch from the beach at the foot of Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City, crashing through the breakers? Now you can join it. Joe Hay of Haystack Fishing Club is the only licensed dory outfitter in the world. Troll for salmon or lingcod, or just enjoy the ride. (888) 965-7555 or (503) 965-7555.

GET UNCORKED. The proprietors of the wine cellar at Westin Salishan Lodge & Golf Resort, Gleneden Beach, claim it holds the world's largest collection of Oregon Pinot Noir, and we don't doubt it. In summer, join scheduled tastings and special dinners among some 12,000 bottles; offseason, call ahead to arrange a tasting. 7760 U.S. 101 N.; (888) 7254742.

WiLD THINGS. Boiler Bay State Wayside, north of Depoe Bay, looks like just another oceanside view point, but naturalists know it offers stellar bird- and whale-watching. A mile north of Depoe Bay on U.S. 101. CRUISE FOR WHALES. Just try to spot a whale faster than Don Mathews, a veteran Alaskan crabber who now pursues bigger quarries from the 65-foot Discovery, naturalist-staffed and customized for educational sea life- and whale-watching cruises. Marine Discovery Tours, Newport; $18, $10 ages 4-12. (800) 903-2628 or (541) 265-6200.

GET TANKED. Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport is where visitors went before the Oregon Coast Aquarium was built next door. But here you can dive a little deeper into the mysteries of the wet wilderness offshore, and a major renovation was completed two years ago. (541) 86?-0100.

HEAVEN IN A BASKET. Some say Lighthouse Deli & Fish Co. in South Beach has the best fish and chips on the coast. No argument here. 3640 U.S. 101, south of the aquarium and science center; (541) 867-6800. …

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