These photos are all taken along about a 30-mile stretch of the Oregon coast, from Oswald West State Park south to Netarts. We took a little belated birthday trip for Jim's birthday, and also to get a little taste of summer before buckling back down to work. We had a wonderful time. This stretch of coastline is riven with bays and sand spits and inlets and estuaries and mountains so it is always dramatic and each bend brings all new scenery, with dozens of state and county parks hither and thither -- a detour into the hills to a tucked-away river paradise, or a narrow path through scrubby dunes to a white beach, or down a long, long sand spit with ocean beaches on one side and bay beaches on the other. And this is all just an hour and a half from Portland. Look:
I LOVE Nehalem Bay, with its blue skies and its little riverside antique-store-filled towns of Wheeler and Nehalem on one side and the huge, wondrous state park on the other (a great place to ride horses on the beach).
Further south, out from the dairy settlement of Tillamook, known for its cheddar and ice cream, are Cape Meares, Oceanside, and Netarts.
Just a little ways north of Tillamook there's a small sign off the highway pointing the way to this delightful riverside county park, way off the beaten path. We were the only people there. It was so quiet, with just the shush of the creek and the splish of leaping fish. There's a great campground too, and seems like a perfect place to swim on a hot day. Bring your inner tubes!
This was the third time we've stayed in lovely Manzanita. Bit irritated to find that none of the restaurants were open mid-week, though! See, what we want is to get away to a beautiful, semi-secluded, non-touristy town, but we want there to be good cafes and wine bars such as one finds in the city! Is that too much to ask? Ha ha -- off-season, it is. And if you're out this way: for breakfast, go to Wanda's in Nehalem. YUM. For coffee: Bread & Ocean in Manzanita. It's organic and roasted in Cannon Beach, and there's a cute octopus painting on the patio.
We had plans for hiking and kayaking and various active pursuits, but unfortunately, the first time we got out of the car at Oswald West and walked the half-mile through the forest to the beach, Leroy's old doggy elbows got very sore from his arthritis and his limp was so bad for the next few days that we pretty much took it easy. There are a lot of pictures of us sitting in chairs in the sand or at the river bank, reading, drinking wine, and thinking up new story ideas for the future (and ooh, we have a good one!). I am dying to go kayaking in Nehalem Bay next time. It's so beautiful, and there are otters and seals and herons, and miles of secluded beach to paddle to, both up river and out towards the sea. Better time the tides right though, or you'll be begging a fisherman for a tow back!
Our friends Chary and Aaron came out for one night and we had a BLAST. They were foolish enough to disregard the hand-written warning label on a bottle of hot sauce at the taqueria, and they wept tears of hilarious (sorry guys, but it was!) agony for several minutes, and later we played Beyond Balderdash, to much more laughter. Below, see Chary and Aaron picking out his and hers majorette costumes at the antique store in Wheeler. VERY charming!