blueberry cheesecake ice cream was the favorite
Expansive empty beaches, huge dunes, lush forest hikes, waterfalls, quaint historical lighthouses, great beer and food....oh, and ice cream. You cannot forget the Tillamook ice cream! Returning to a place just for a particular beer or local dish is nothing new for me. Local delicacies drive me. But going back for ice cream, that's another story. Well, the ice cream was amazing but still. When driving down the Oregon Coast for the first time in 1994, I came across the Tillamook Cheese Factory. This regional maker of cheese and ice cream was hailed as a cannot miss attraction on a coast packed with scenic beauty. It was autumn and the seasonal specialty was pumpkin, and it was yum yum.
Flash forward to the summer of 2008 and I found myself driving up that very coast again with my wife who had not been to the often looked over state of Oregon. She was loving the empty expansive beaches and quaint lighthouses that dot the rugged coast but she was also looking forward to Tillamook. I had spoken with too much enthusiasm about it for it to not get under her skin too. Besides, who doesn't love ice cream?
It had grown considerably since my first visit, reaching theme park proportions. We both got three scoop samplers and by far our favorite flavor was blueberry cheesecake. Man, it just the right mix of sweet and tart, and oh so very creamy. It was getting late and with much guile we found a small RV park up the road to pitch our tent. In the morning, after a nice slow breakfast, we went back into town to check out another creamery we had seen the day previous. Of course, we knew deep down we would likely get some more ice cream at Tillamook but we figured it was worth checking out their competition. (concluded below in Fondest Memory)
Go whale watching...they have...
Go whale watching...they have tour boats that go out & you can see the Grey Whale. The captain of the boat even let my daughter 'DRIVE' the boat for awhile...so beware of 6 year olds driving whale watching boats!! haha Crabbing. Just go off a pier & throw over a crabpot, pull it up & there you go!! Fresh crab for dinner.
Second hand shopping adventure
The Eager Beaver Store in Newport, on the West side of Olive St. is a REAL SECRET TREASURE! Shop at the coolest "second hand" store ever! They sell new and used at great discount prices! Souveniers, house hold misc., furniture, appliances, clothes, antiques.........You name, It's been there! With a wide range of vintage to modern, the Eager Beaver Store has something for everybody!
Nye Beach is a funky little neighborhood in Newport. Unlike Bayfront, which is located along Yaquina Bay, Nye Beach is right along the Pacific Ocean, with miles of sandy beach extending in both directions. It's a relatively compact area, basically 2 city blocks square. There are a few restaurants, shops, art galleries, and the like. There is also a 2 story used book store in an old home. The Sylvia Beach Hotel, which was built in 1912, stands in a prominant location, on a bluff overlooking the ocean.
Cape Meares Lighthouse
The Cape Meares Lighthouse was built in 1890 and is the shortest of all Oregon lighthouses. John Meares named the area Quicksand Bay due the mucky mud found at low tide but even this was an improvement over Murderers Harbor, so deemed earlier when a crew member was killed by Native Americans in the area, no doubt trying to protect their land. While not quite as impressive as some of it southern neighbors, the area around the lighthouse offers some fine views of the coast and it is set in an interesting forest that is home to the Octopus Tree. There is a paved path to the lighthouse making it wheelchair accessible but there is also a more rugged and scenic trail along the edge of the bluff that also passes the Octopus Tree, a wild multi-branched tree that looks like, you guessed it, an octopus.
Cape Meares is free to enter.