Blue Heron Creamery was a bit more upscale and their specialty was brie cheese. We had bought a fair amount of Tillamook cheddar cheeses the day before but Blue Heron had a tasting area so we lined up for a sample. Their regular brie was quite good but a mesquite smoked version was too good to pass up. Despite having a cooler full of cheese I was ready to buy more. I looked around and my wife who normally loves samples too was nowhere to be seen.
I went to look for her and she came out of the beverage area of the shop beaming. She said I would never believe what they had. She walked me back and pointed excitedly in the beer cooler. Much to my amazement there were bottles of Alaskan Smoked Porter. True to its name, this beer is from Alaska. Juneau to be exact. I had a small taste of the much coveted porter at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver in 1995 but when visiting Alaska in 1998, my stop at the brewery was ill-timed. The smoked wonder is a seasonal winter brew and I was there in summer. So, as you can imagine I was ecstatic to find it. Well, ironically my wife had found it while I was tasting cheese! It seemed we had done a bit of a role reversal but not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I quickly bought some cheese, a baguette, and all five bottles of the Smoked Porter they had.
Sitting outside, we spread out a nice lunch of smoked brie and bread, and of course cracked open one of our bottles of treasure. The air was fresh and cool as is typical of the Oregon Coast. Our senses were flooded with creamy smoothness and smoked bitterness. It all went so well together it would have been easy to forget the ice cream. Well, that wasn't likely. My wife might have become a pretty good beer hunter but she would never forget her sweet tooth. Besides, Tillamook was just next door and blueberry cheesecake ice cream was even sounding pretty good to me just about then.
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!
Fondest memory: 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)
If you are traveling with kids and the weather turns to oregon sunshine(rain) take some time and walk under some sharks learn alot and have a blast !
Fondest memory: Getting to go places in the world where you kids will have fun and be safe and learn something. with great food!
Favorite thing: You can catch your own dinner from the Public Pier. I've not seen a fishing pier like this before, but I wondered how many tourists knew of its existence? I was the only person there, LOL! (Well, there was actually another guy there too - Thanks Phil!).
This is Rogue Brewery. The wording on the tower reads:
Established 1988; Brewery; Pub; Family Dining; Gift Shop; Tours; Conference Center.
I didn't go in, so I can't tell you what it's like inside. I should imagine that it would be interesting, to say the least.
Try to arrange several days in the area, you'll need it just to hit all the local beaches and find your favorite. Of course, you have to deal with high tides, which gives you an excellent excuse to go back to your favorite spots to investigate the new gifts from the sea.
Fondest memory: Buckets and buckets of freshly 'picked' beach agates. Wind blown cheeks like sun burn in the evening either sitting around a fire or hiding in the shelter of the trailer when it rains (and it DOES do that, here!!). Sitting and talking, for hours, with people I've never met before but who will tell you everything they did living around here for so long.
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
Fondest memory: Crabbing. Just go off a pier & throw over a crabpot, pull it up & there you go!! Fresh crab for dinner.
Favorite thing: A vierw of Newport's commercial/fishing harbor. Newport is a smallish town, mainly catering for the fishing industry.
Favorite thing: Here's a photo of Newport Marina. Looks like a neat little place. A few fishing boats going about their business. I guess you could hire a boat from here if you had an interest.
Favorite thing: A view of the impressive Yaquina Bay Bridge, spanning the picturesque Yaquina River. The city of Newport lies to the left.