|My Obligatory Cannon Beach Haystack Rock @ Sunset Photograph|
A quick long weekend getaway down to Cannon Beach.
This is the first time that we have visited the Oregon Coast and we are finding it spectacular. Cannon Beach itself is a rather nice place, all the more pleasant by the fact that the summer crowds (or the Spring Break ones) have yet to materialize.
We left Seattle on a brilliantly sunny morning and headed down to Portland where we spent some time in the Portland Art Museum as a bit of a break but also to see the Rothko exhibit they are hosting. We had just seen the play "Red" at Seattle Rep and were rather keen on seeing the real paintings. It was neat to see the progression of his earliest of works to his more mature pieces, many of which were discussed in the play. They also have an exhibit by John Frame whose work is kind of eerie and disturbing and, at the same time, fascinatingly compelling. I am still thinking about some of the pieces and scenes.
The weather on the way from Portland to Cannon Beach turned nasty and I thought "Uh Oh! Here goes the weekend" especially as partly sunny skies became drizzly, the drizzle turned to steady rain, which became quite heavy, which and finally morphed into snow coming out of deep, ominously grey clouds. The temperature dropped from the mid'50's to the mid'30's in the space of ten miles. This made driving a bit dicey and I was more than glad of the Subaru's ability to stick to the road.
We dodged a bullet.
Still grey when we pulled into the Cannon Beach Hotel parking lot but to the West it looked as if the sun was going to push through. This is a nice place. Our room is small, cozy, and comfortable but lacks a view so it is not a place we'd likely spend much time in unless confined there during a storm. There is an inviting lobby and common dining area, a good place to sit an read a book. But, though we have a great many books with us, we are not here to read books per se but to see the beach and explore the coast. So that is what we did, taking the first of our beach walks to see the sunset (the first in a week apparently) and to chat with a volunteer from the Haystack Rock Awareness Program, whom I stumped momentarily by asking if the rock was a sea stack or a volcanic plug (it is the former and now I know the difference).
Something on the light side for dinner so our front desk person suggested Sweet Basil's Cafe (about a .7 mile walk from the hotel) and, boy, are we glad she did. Kind of a funky beach shack conversion interior whose food reflects that feel too, and in a very good way. I had a chicken pot pie deconstruction that hit the spot after all this driving and walking around. Chicken and veggies in a medium gravy flavored just right with a rather large puff pastry placed on the top. M had a Crab Salad which she enjoyed hugely. I know this because she ate the whole thing and was making yummy sounds throughout. Everything is cooked to order by one guy. Our server was great. Suggested wine pairings for each entree. But here is the best part. As we were dining so late he let us finish the bottles of wine and also gave us a wonderful dessert wine to go with the homemade chocolate cake (OMG!) we had after. Neither of us are used to treatment like this and it was really, really nice.
Needless to say, our walk back to the hotel was a bit wobbly.
Woke up this morning to blue skies and frost on the cars. It was 35 degrees with a windchill down to 29 and all I had to run in was shorts and shirts. Hmm. But it was sunny and the wind wasn't bad so I headed out for what I thought would be a very short jaunt but which turned out to be 5.3 miles of sheer bliss. It was cold to be sure but the sun felt oh-so-good on my face, legs, hands, and (eventually) my arms. Spent some time playing with form and actually managed to stop my shoulders down a bit and found myself running more comfortably. connect.garmin.com/activity/160821937
Walked back into town after negotiating a rather interesting shower (this is one of those small circular curtain showers that I have trouble fitting into but which lend a certain old fashioned charm). Should we eat at Pig and Pancake from which many bacony smells emanated? Nah! We found Crepe Neptune where I ate this and M ate that as we chatted with the owner who was surrounded by containers of Nutella (very popular with the kiddies). The owners had been making crepes at the Farmer's Market since 2008 as a hobby and decided they liked it well enough to open a restaurant. I am glad that he did.
It was he who suggested that we head south and, perhaps, climb Neahkahnie Mountain as it was such a nice day. Yep! Let's make the most of it as it is such a nice day. Quick stop at the visitor's center for a map and some advice and we were off, down the 101 to the appropriate parking area. Or would have been had the signs been at all relevant. Drove way past, turned around, and guessed. We opted for the route on the Oregon Coast Trail that leads along to the mountain trail. This would add 1.3 mile or so to the trek but was really quite pretty.
There was a suspension bridge to play on, a tree to walk through, lots of climbing, and spectacular views of the coastline. Devil's Cauldron was amazing to see:
We went out and back in about 2.5 hours and I kept on thinking about how challenging and spectacular a trail run this would be. Any of my readers game to take this on?
So, let's summarize thus far: 5.3 miles + 1.4 miles + 3 miles = 9.7 miles (and all before lunch)
We decided to see something more of the coast and headed south and ended up having tacos while sitting in the sun at Left Coast Siesta in Manzanita. Pretty substantial and very, very tasty. So far I have not been disappointed in anything I have experienced or eaten this trip.
Going further down coast, enjoying the sunshine and the views, and all the small towns (Garibaldi?) we aimed for the Tillamook Air Museum which is contained in a former WWII blimp hanger. An impressive collection, many of which I had never seen AND which are airworthy. We even got to sit in a trainer for an F8-Crusader fighter. Quite comfortable but also very, very complicated. However do pilots keep track of all these gauges and switches? I had enough trouble in a Mazda 3. The blimp hanger could hold 9 airships and is just an amazing feat of construction. Very, very chilly in there though.
On the way back up-coast M wanted to stop at the Tillamook Cheese Factory visitor's center. A nice break for some ice cream samples and we were away back up to Cannon Beach.
Out of the car. Quick stop in the room and then off for another beach walk which turned into going out to dinner. So add another 5-6 miles to the day for 14-15 miles of walking, climbing, hiking, and running.
Subtle sunset (see above).
Dinner at Bill's Tavern Brew House (Hippies go to the side door) where we both had a pint of their Cherry Porter (smooth and kind of light for a Porter but very, very tasty), listened to the top-10 countdown from 1981 on the radio (!!!!), and otherwise tried to take stock of the day over a nice repast. It is Friday now and the town is filling up for the weekend. Even so, getting a table was not a problem. Then back to Sweet Basil's Cafe for a nice dessert (mixed berry pie home made by a 78 year old grand ma) before wandering the .7 miles back to the hotel.
Tomorrow is supposed to be even warmer than today but overcast and with a 20% chance of rain. We'll see what we manage to do.
Feet don't fail me now!