Off Topic

As the title says, this blog is off my normal topics of health and on a topic of “getaways”. Every once in awhile I like to throw something fun in to the mix of Kris’ insight and today’s subject is a getaway to the coast of Oregon, specifically the area around Depoe Bay, Oregon. One word describes what was deemed my birthday present, fabulous, simply fabulous.

It is winter in the northern hemisphere and when we chose Oregon for our winter break, aka birthday present,  everyone looked at me like I was insane to choose yet another location at the 45th parallel but I needed green grass at my feet and ocean in sight. We already knew we loved Oregon from previous visits and we had been told the winter storms coming in off the Pacific ocean were fantastic, so we stood in the security line at Minneapolis/St. Paul airport with all the Mexico bound tourists and knew we were headed for the perfect get-away.

We all know that Oregon has four months of rain, four months of clouds and four months of sunshine and we were headed in to the dead center of the four months of rain, so we packed our Scottish hiking gear and shoes that could stand the heat, well I mean, the water. The only thing we forgot, and I would recommend should you partake of winter in Oregon, is a pair of sturdy wellies. We could have done more surf dancing had we had our wellies along but alas we didn’t, so I made use of my Five Finger Vibrams on one occasion but my toes froze and I took an unexpected bum ride down one slippery slope due to their less than grippy sole, so I dried them off and put them away. After that we had to stay out of the surf, I missed splashing in the waves but we had just as much fun.

Staying out of the surf really wasn’t a problem and walking on miles and miles of sandy beaches was pure joy especially as we had them mostly to ourselves. Every day we hit a new beach and on Valentine’s Day we walked the lovely and deserted Agate Beach which was conveniently located between Depoe Bay and Newport. I am an avid beach scavenger and  remarkably that day I found three heart shaped rocks. What we didn’t find that day were the agates but honestly we might not have known what an “agate” was had we stumbled upon a pile of them. Later in the week we found our “agates”.

Where can you hang your hat, you ask? I can wholeheartedly recommend The Whaler’s Suite, a two bedroom condo in Village at North Pointe. The management company was efficient and more than willing to be helpful. The Whaler’s Suite was a true home away from home with all the accoutrements one needs. Sad to say, it was more completely equipped than my home kitchen but I don’t use Foreman Grills and electric steamer units very often. As we looked out our windows the ocean was thundering on shore right below our feet and the view from both our bedroom and the livingroom rendered me speechless. My spousal unit (SU) heard me exclaim over and over the word fabulous. I couldn’t help it it was fabulous.

What about edible delicacies?  Well the seafood is fresh as can be and it isn’t hard to find once you know where to look. That said, I had to ask the butcher in the Safeway store  in Lincoln City where to find freshly caught seafood. He kindly told us about the harbor front in Newport and he was not wrong, there freshly caught seafood was abundant.

From our condo windows we had watched the fishing boats leave what we  presumed to be the Newport harbor, which was south of our location, and head to their fishing grounds north of Depoe Bay. Occasionally through the telescope at The Whaler’s Suite you could even see them dropping crab pots making us feel like real life observers of a miniature version of  The Deadliest Catch. Thanks to the workings of the crab fishermen we knew there was seafood to be had it was just finding the spot where they were selling their catch to the eating public. It is simple all you have to do is head for Newport and as you start to leave town there is an expansive bridge. Turn right just before the bridge following the signposts for the harbor. This road will take you down to the restored harbor area where you will find, not just sea lions on their private section of dock, but numerous restaurants and stores selling fresh crab, ling cod, shrimp and shellfish like oysters and clams. We bought a cooked Dungeness crab and a small piece of Ling cod to eat back at our condo with the fabulous views. Whoops I’ve said it again!

Newport Harbor

If you are inclined to dine out the area’s menu favorite is clam chowder and probably if you want chowder Mo’s is as good as anyplace to enjoy it (one offering was chowder in a bread bowl which looked tasty) as it is reasonably priced and no reservations are necessary. I had to avoid the chowder after having a small cup of it at Gracie’s Sea Hag and realizing there was flour in there to make it thick. At home I thicken things with vegetables and never gave it a thought until my mouth erupted in sores the next day and I spent the better part of that day away from the scenery. Need I say more?

I did enjoy the Oyster’s Rockefeller at Gracie’s and I had a lovely shrimp filled avocado salad at Mo’s in Lincoln City. To tell the truth I had no great expectations from Mo’s as it is one of  those institutions, a place all the tourists go, but my salad was really  fresh and tasty. Pirate’s coffee in Depoe Bay was manned, or should I say womanned, by two friendly women who wished us a “good day” on our cold and rainy last day in town and the coffee was freshly brewed, tasty and hot.

Once we left the coast, and we did so only because we had to leave our condo to make room for the next occupants, we headed for McMinnville, Oregon. McMinnville, about midway between Portland and the coast, is home to the unbelievably large Spruce Goose, a wooden “flying boat” built by Howard Hughes during WW 2.

The Spruce Goose

Howard in his usual eccentric style, had the Spruce Goose built according to certain specifications in cooperation with Kaiser, flew it once for a brief time landed it on water and deemed it unworthy of air travel (purportedly he felt an unusual vibration or pulsating), so it was never flown again. It is housed in the Evergreen Museum along with many other well restored airplanes of the same genre and the $20 you pay to gain entry is well worthwhile. When you have had your fill of things that fly in the air you can, for $5, taste the wine produced by Evergreen, or have a bite to eat at Sip,  their own cafe.

It would be easy to go on and on, sharing more photos than anyone but the two of us wants to look at, so I will close for this week. If you are looking for tanning on the beach in February, the Oregon coast is probably not for you. If on the other hand, you want dramatic surf, green grass, crocus and daffodils blooming, friendly easy going locals and lots of walks on hard sandy beaches, Oregon is worth considering. What I can say with certainty is I think I have found the answer to “What can I get you for your birthday?” next year. Oh ya!

Until next week,

Kris

 

Cutest and loudest residents of Newport Harbor

 

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