A week or so before setting out for my Alaska & Northwestern US adventure, I read an article by Tom Beer, a writer who covers travel for Newsday and whose stories I enjoy. “Driving along Oregon Coast Highway 101” it was titled, and after reading it I decided to adjust my itinerary – one of the beauties of solo travel – to spend the day exploring the Oregon Coast instead of Portland.
As amazing as I’m sure Portland is (trust me, it’s still near the top of my list) I was more drawn to a picturesque, coastal Oregon experience than to a city one. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to spend all day driving the coast, as I started the day at Seattle Tacoma Airport and ended it in The Dalles, my home for the night, about a three hour drive from the coast. But I was able to spend a few wonderful hours admiring the sights and breathing the fresh, ocean air.
After passing through Astoria, Warrenton, Gearhart and Seaside, the first few towns that dot the Oregon Coast, I arrived in the town I’d been most excited to see, Cannon Beach. While known for its lovely galleries, charming village and great restaurants, Cannon Beach may be best known for Haystack Rock, a 235-foot-high basalt dome. I parked in the village and took a quick, 5-minute walk to the beach, accessible via many public beach entrances, and arrived to this spectacular sight.
A bit sleepy from the previous night’s red-eye from Anchorage – even after the amazing, 3-hr nap we took in Sea-Tac’s Delta Sky Lounge – I sat down in the sand, laid back and relaxed. Couples were strolling the beach, kids were flying kites and frolicking in the waves and dogs were playing happily in the sand.
After relaxing for a while, I took a walk on the beach. Haystack Rock sure was spectacular! I thought about how long ago it had formed (10 to 17 million years ago, thanks, Google) and how many monumental occasions had taken place in its shadows – it would be a breathtaking backdrop for a wedding!
Looking back at the coastline, I was reminded of the many summers I spent as a child in Quogue, a village on the South Shore of Long Island. Beautiful cottage-style homes sat atop dunes and I pictured kids rolling down them the way I had in Quogue.
Before getting back in my car, I stopped at Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters for a cup of Joe and a cookie. (Because doesn’t everyone need a boatload of sugar and calories before spending the next 6 hours in a car?) Both were delicious and gave me the fuel I needed to make it to The Dalles!
I continued south down the coast to Manzanita, stopping at a scenic lookout before heading inland. An incredibly expansive view, the deep, blue sea was all that I could see. The dramatic vista really was breathtaking!
Have you traveled to Oregon? I’d love to hear about your favorite Oregon spots!