When I worked for The Columbian, Vancouver’s newspaper, I was called Mr. Explore and did lots of articles about the Oregon Coast, about one hour by car from Portland. Since I started the blog, I haven’t written much about it. Last weekend our buddy and traveling companion Tom visited. Ruth & I took him out there and he fell in love. Tom recently lived in Italy for 9 years. At one point he told me that The Oregon Coast was just as compelling as the Amalfi Coast.
Oregon is certainly a different experience from Italy. In an Amalfi-Oregon Coasts contest, I suspect, the latter would be judged less refined, wilder, and more diverse. Being there once again from morning to sunset reminded me what a superior travel experience it is, and I decided to explore further and write about it again.
I’d recommend at least 5 days if you plan, like most visitors, to drive the entire length of Highway 101, 364 miles of varied attractions on what some call “The Road to Paradise”. What I will write about, over time, is what I’ve personally experienced and recommend, not all that’s possible to see and do. I will generally not include its abundance of resorts, motels, restaurants, etc.
With Tom, Ruth & I stopped at almost every attraction between Cannon Beach and Cape Meares, a comfortable day’s journey down about half of what is called the North Coast. Oregon Coast magazine dubbed Cannon Beach “Oregon’s answer to California’s Carmel”, an apt description. It’s a small town full of grey-shingled buildings, art galleries, coffee shops, quiet resorts, etc. Named for a cannon that washed up in 1846, the town provides access to a wide, walkable beach with Haystack Rock, seen above, always in view.
There are 3 state parks–Arcadia, Hug Point, and Oswald West–between Cannon Beach and Manzanita. Oswald includes Cape Falcon and most of Neahkahnie Mountain, one of the highest points on the Oregon Coast and a serious travel challenge until Highway 101, also called the Pacific Coast Highway, was constructed. Far below thrilling viewpoints are hazardous rocks and several shipwreck sites. The British ship Glenesslin, for example, sank there in 1913, cause still unknown.
The town of Manzanita, the Spanish word for “little apple”, is a less developed, much smaller resort town than Cannon Beach. Some would call Manzanita too quiet. I’ll call it quaint with a 7-mile-beach. It’s the perfect place for a honeymoon if you want to stay indoors and not have a lot of attractions other than each other to deal with.
Tomorrow: crabbing, ice cream, hangars, and the 1st of Oregon’s 9 lighthouses.