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Photo by Jo-Hanna Wienert

Table of Contents Pacific City Cape Kiwanda Tillamook Quilt Trail Lincoln City Salishan at 50 Depoe Bay Whale Watching Newport Tide Pools Toledo Arts Scene Waldport Alsea Bay Yachats Eat Out in Yachats Florence Sea Lion Caves

4-8 5 10-14 11 15-17 16 18-20 19 22-26 24 28-32 30 33-36 34 37-40 38 42-46 43

A Publication of the

Publisher James Rand

Advertising Contacts

Barbara Moore Teresa Barnes John Anderson Kathy Wyatt Sandee Beare

Editor Nancy Steinberg

Contributors Nancy Steinberg Nathan Howard Calley Hair Luke Whittaker Jo-Hanna Wienert


Nathan Howard Central Oregon Coast Passport is published once a year by the News-Times. All rights reserved, material may not be reprinted without written consent from the publisher. Central Oregon Coast Passport makes every effort to maintain the accuracy of information presented in the magazine, but assumes no responsibility for errors, changes or omissions.

Contact Us 831 NE Avery St. Newport, OR 97365 • 541.265.8571

The Best Breakfast on the Coast! Ever ything is homemade!

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Photo by Nathan Howard

Wander at Kiwanda The Pelican Pub and the Inn at Cape Kiwanda are the icing on the cake at one of the most spectacular parks on the coast By Nancy Steinberg

Photo by Nathan Howard

Pulling up to Cape Kiwanda State Park in Pacific City, it’s perfectly natural for you to feel a bit overwhelmed. Where to look first? At Haystack Rock towering offshore, pummeled by waves and circled by birds? At the sand dune at the north end of the beach, the views from the top of which are unparalleled on the coast? At the dory boats gunning their engines and beaching themselves at the end of their fishing trips? Or maybe you stare with longing at the Pelican Pub, dreaming of a Kiwanda Cream Ale and a tower of their famous onion rings. Don’t worry – there is time for all of this and more, especially if you stay overnight just across the street at the world-class Inn at Cape Kiwanda, as some friends and I were lucky enough to do on a gorgeous spring weekend. My husband and I checked in, marveled at our beautiful room overlooking the beach and the pub (as all rooms at the inn do), and promptly took off across the street to get sandy. Cape Kiwanda State Park is a mecca for all kinds of beachgoers, including families building sand castles and flying

kites, anglers heading out on fishing trips on dory boats, surfers, tide pool peekers, hikers, and more. Beach access is easy, with a large parking lot that borders directly on the beach. You can even drive right onto the beach and park closer to the surf if you’d like. Once on the beach, you must hike up the towering dune at the north end of the beach. Yes, it’s steep. Yes, it’s high. But you must go all the way to the top, no cheating. On the north side of the dune is a landscape of narrow inlets, rocky shores, and sea caves that are gorgeous to behold. You will also catch a breathtaking view of Haystack Rock and the beaches to the north and south of the cape. It’s great fun to run, roll, or slide back down the dune face to the beach. For every arduous trip up the dune, you burn enough calories to earn one pint at the Pelican Pub (OK, I made that up. Sounds good, though, doesn’t it?). Back at the bottom of the dune you’ll find tide pools to explore at low tide at the base of the cliff, and plenty more to do at the beach, including watching beginner hang

Safety First!

When hiking the dune at Cape Kiwanda, please heed all signs and fences at the top of the dune – it is truly hazardous and reckless to disregard them. Multiple deaths have occurred here in the past few years when people have slipped and fallen after bypassing the posted signs and fences.

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gliding students (see sidebar – why not try it yourself?), dodging dory boats, and just gazing at the ocean. By now you’re thirsty. Time to head to the Pelican Pub, and if it’s close to sunset, you’re in for a particular treat. A coveted seat on the outdoor deck might involve a bit of a wait, but it’s worth it. (Most tables inside the pub have a similar view of the beach and Haystack Rock.) Pelican brews the beers served at the pub on-site in the coast’s only oceanfront brewery. Their signature brews, available year-round, include Kiwanda Cream Ale, Silverspot IPA, and Tsunami Stout. These brews and their others have won too many awards to list them all, but notably the Silverspot took silver and the Cream Ale took gold at the 2014 World Beer Cup, one of the most prestigious beer

competitions in the world. They also offer a wide range of seasonal and specialty beers, including a number of IPAs and a line of Belgianstyle brews. I fell in love with the Dirty Bird seasonal IPA. As described by the brewery, “Popping with citrusy hop aromas and zesty tropical fruit flavors, this ale is trailed by a fresh, slightly toasty and spicy climax.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. While at most brew pubs the beer takes center stage, at the Pelican Pub they care just as much about the food, resulting in a diverse Northwestinspired menu that pairs perfectly with their beers. I’ve never had a bad meal there – it’s literally all good. On this trip my table of friends started with the aforementioned tower of onion rings, enormous banglebracelet-sized rings of sweet onion

perfectly fried and accompanied by three dipping sauces. Our table was also laden down with a juicy burger served on their house-made spent grain roll, their famous fish and chips, a crisp and fresh flatbread with chicken and arugula, and incredible fish tacos. Beer pairings are recommended for all menu items. In true pub cuisine style, many of the dishes are made with Pelican products: Tsunami Stout BBQ sauce, Silverspot IPA-cured salmon, MacPelican's Ale cheese sauce on the mac and cheese, and who could resist a Tsunami Stout float, made with a scoop of Tillamook vanilla bean ice cream. If you really want to explore food and beer pairings, make sure to try one of the three annual Brewers Dinners offered at the pub, at which Brewmaster Darron Welch pairs beers with each of Photos by Nathan Howard

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Play safe... ... but when you need us, visit the Samaritan Walk-In Clinic nearest you for urgent care.

Depoe Bay

Samaritan Depoe Bay Clinic a department of Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital 531 NW Hwy. 101, Suite A 541-765-3265

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Samaritan Pacific Walk-In Clinic a department of Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital 930 SW Abbey St., Suite F 541-574-4860

Open weekdays and Saturdays

When You Go

Get more information about both the inn and the pub at Inn at Cape Kiwanda 33105 Cape Kiwanda Drive Pacific City (888) 965-7001 Pelican Pub 33180 Cape Kiwanda Drive Pacific City (503) 965-7007

five courses, offering commentary on the pairings along the way. After dinner and a bonfire on the beach, accompanied by another Pelican beer or two that we bought to go, it was a joy to return to our beautiful room at the Inn at Cape Kiwanda. The rooms are all light and bright, decorated in a beachy style with blonde wood and tile accents. All have a private balcony and view of the ocean and Haystack Rock, a gas fireplace, LCD TV, and in-room Starbucks coffee. For a truly luxurious treat, stay in one of the Nestucca Jacuzzi Rooms, which feature a twoperson Jacuzzi tub with an ocean view. Families will feel right at home at the inn – check out the Family Suite rooms with bunkbeds in a semi-private sleeping area for the kids. The Surf Suite is also designed for families, featuring an adjacent kids’ room with twin surf-themed bunk beds and an Xbox 360, as well as custom art work by surf artist Todd Fischer. Many of the

inn’s rooms are dog-friendly, so don’t leave Fido behind! The inn offers a number of packages and special rates, and hosts cool events throughout the year. I love the Coastal Creature Package: stay at least two nights and add on a package that includes Tillamook ice cream milkshakes from the Stimulus Café (in the same building as the inn), tickets to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, and a sand bucket with magnifying glass for budding marine biologists to use at the beach. On Friday and Saturday nights, enjoy the Fireside Manager's Reception, which features Pelican brews, Oregon wines, sparkling cider, fruit & cheese trays, and fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. Add to all of this the oceanview workout room, mini-spa on site, and the incredibly friendly service, and you may not want to leave. What else do you need on vacation besides the very best beer, beach, and bedroom around?

Photos by Nathan Howard

Three to See

More Fun in Pacific City


One of the greatest adventures you can have anywhere is hang-gliding. Take a one-day intro class (you don’t get very far off the ground) or get fully certified at the Oregon Hang Gliding School. Practice flights take place on the tiny dune right in front of the Pelican Pub. 8 oregon coast passport


A great way to see the dunes and beaches of Pacific City is by horseback. Take a guided ride at Green Acres Beach & Trail Rides near Bob Straub State Park, just to the south of Cape Kiwanda State Park.


There’s no better way to start your day in Pacific City than at the Grateful Bread bakery, where you can get a quick (and always-amazing) scone and coffee or linger over one of their scrambles, pancake plates, or omelets. They serve fresh, wholesome food for breakfast and lunch, and offer dinners a couple of nights a week in the summer.

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Photo by Nathan Howard 10 oregon coast passport

Sew Beautiful Follow the Tillamook County Quilt Trail By Nancy Steinberg

Photos by Nathan Howard

If you drive around Tillamook County, or walk through the city of Tillamook itself, you might notice some enormous traditional (and notso-traditional) quilt squares scattered across the landscape. They adorn the sides of dairy barns, community institutions, businesses, and homes, as if some sleeping giant had awoken and left shreds of his bedding all over the county. These spectacular handpainted quilt squares are pieces of the Tillamook County Quilt Trail, a historic attraction and treasure hunt rolled into one. The quilt trail was inspired by the barn quilt trails that snake across counties and communities of the Midwest. The first was in Adams County, Ohio, where eight-foot-byeight-foot quilt squares were painted directly onto barns in the region as a way to express pride in the rural community and to attract tourism. The idea spread throughout the Midwest and East, but only as far west as Nebraska. In 2009, Marti Rhea and other Tillamook residents first started discussing the possibility of having a quilt trail in their community, a renowned dairy production region full of local rural pride. A coalition was assembled of representatives of the Tillamook Farm Bureau

and Dairy Women, Tillamook City Council, Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce, Tillamook County Historical Society, 4-H, and the Latimer Quilt & Textile Center in Tillamook, and the Tillamook County Quilt Trail was born. It was the first such trail on the West Coast. “We wanted to celebrate our coastal and dairy farming heritage, quilting in particular, and at the same time attract some of the million visitors that come to the cheese factory every year,” explained Diane Colcord of the Tillamook County Historical Society, Secretary of the Tillamook County Quilt Trail Coalition. The project team started by approaching local dairy farmers to ask if they’d agree to have the eightby-eight plywood squares mounted on their barns. To their delight, farmers were only too happy to have the adornments and 13 were mounted that first year. The initial traditional designs came from a book of historic quilt designs. The coalition printed brochures to informing visitors about the buildings and farms that on the trail and local history and heritage more generally. The following year the trail extended into Tillamook’s downtown, with 35 new quilt squares (and a waiting list!) added to buildings from a dental oregon coast passport 11

practice to a car dealership to a church, most of which were smaller, four-by-four-foot squares. Because these new squares were located in the downtown blocks, the “trail” connecting them was easily walkable. A separate map of the self-guided downtown trail, called “Walk our Blocks,” was produced. As the scope of the project broadened, the designs for the squares did as well. Mixed in with the traditional quilt squares are more modern designs, many of which reflect the type of business or building on which they are hung. For example, the quilt block hung on the Tillamook Police Department headquarters was originally supposed to depict balloons, but the balloons morphed into whimsical donuts. More squares were added in the north and south portions of the county in the next three years. The Port of Garibaldi and the Old Mill Marina hung squares, both of which feature geometric crab designs. The Pelican

Pub’s square incorporates hops and wheat into its design. More farms and businesses joined the fun, as did some private homeowners. Currently there are well over 100 squares in all, every one unique, mounted from Manzanita to Cloverdale. “The squares are a mixture of traditional and offbeat,”

says Colcord. The project has hooked a range of community partners. Volunteers from the Chamber of Commerce, the City Council, and other local institutions built, painted, and mounted the

squares (new squares must be mounted by the entity looking to display the square). A local geocaching enthusiast created multiple geocache treasure hunts that follow the quilt trail. A class at Tillamook High School built several of the squares, and a math lesson was designed around the project. And a local youth recently earned his Eagle Scout certification by undertaking a project to inventory the status and maintenance needs of all of the squares. Whether you’re an expert quilter, a history enthusiast, or you just want to have an excuse to enjoy the gorgeous scenery of Tillamook and Tillamook County, pick up a quilt trail brochure and start your treasure hunt this summer. Brochures are available at a number of community locations, including the Latimer Quilt and Textile Center (see sidebar), the Chamber of Commerce, Creative Fabrics in Wheeler, and other spots. For more information, go to

Photos by Nathan Howard 12 oregon coast passport

• Unique shopping and learning experience • Showcasing the finest minerals, fossils & meteorites • Kids activities like break your own geode machine • Group tours & lectures for all ages free of charge 1425 NW Hwy 101 • Lincoln City, OR 97367 • (541) 614-1294 •

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Fabric of the Community: The Latimer Quilt & Textile Center If you’re in love with the Tillamook County Quilt Trail and want to learn more about quilts, textiles, and fiber arts, head to the Latimer Quilt and Textile Center in Tillamook. This lovely museum and heritage center houses exhibits of vintage textiles and contemporary fiber and textile art by local and nationally recognized artists. It also has a research library, a gift shop, and an archive of historic textiles that can be viewed by appointment. Exhibits rotate, and special events are always on the calendar, so be sure to check their web site or swing by while in Tillamook. Latimer Quilt & Textile Center 2105 Wilson River Loop Rd, Tillamook

Photos by Nathan Howard

Three to See More Fun in Tillamook

Say “Cheese!”

The Tillamook Cheese Factory is a must-see attraction right on Hwy 101, where you can watch Tillamook cheeses being packaged for distribution far and wide. Sample the wares, from cheese curds to ice cream, while you’re learning about the history of the dairy industry in the county. index.html

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Sample Beers

Pelican Brewery in Pacific City opened a production facility, tasting room, and great casual restaurant in downtown Tillamook a few years ago.

Paddle Power

Kayak Tillamook offers guided kayaking tours at sites from Lincoln City to Cannon Beach, including the Tillamook River. Observe wildlife from water level in pristine Pacific Northwest ecosystems.


Photo by Jo-Hanna Wienert oregon coast passport 15

Salishan at 50

Oregon’s premier coastal resort celebrates its golden anniversary By Nancy Steinberg All who come here will be renewed by the experience of being in the midst of giant spruces, hemlocks, firs and pines, by the sound and smell of the surf, by the sight of the cranes in the marshes and of the sandpipers on the beach. Barbara Fealy, Salishan landscape architect Fifty years ago, visionary Oregon developer and philanthropist John D. Gray and his partners built that place of your dreams nestled into the central Oregon coast’s magnificent forest and overlooking Siletz Bay – Salishan Spa & Golf Resort, located in Gleneden Beach just south of Lincoln City. The resort has hosted generations of Oregonians as they’ve celebrated the special events in their lives – weddings, family reunions, business retreats, and just plain fun vacations. Even if you’re not staying in one of Salishan’s newly-remodeled rooms, you can explore much of what the resort has to offer and use some of their renowned facilities. You’re sure to want to make plans to stay there on your next trip to the coast. Salishan’s 250-acre property includes more than 200 luxurious guest rooms, an award-winning 18-hole golf course, a world-class spa, indoor tennis facilities, and four outstanding restaurants where you can dine on anything from sandwiches to prime rib. Looking for 16 oregon coast passport

Photos by Jo-Hanna Wienert

It’s like stumbling into your dreams. A place you know exists but you can’t find. John Storrs, Salishan architect

a quiet stretch of beach for a stroll or a bonfire? Salishan’s private beach access awaits. Interested in live music and creative cocktails? Salishan’s Attic Lounge fits the bill. For many, the Salishan experience begins at the golf course. Surrounded by towering fir and spruce of the Oregon coastal forest and the tranquil waters of Siletz bay, the topcaliber Salishan course re-designed by legend Peter Jacobsen is as magnificent as it is challenging. Start on the front nine, surrounded by oldgrowth trees, and play through to the links-style back nine with spectacular

pond and bay views. Relax with a meal or drink at The Grill in the clubhouse after your game, or browse the pro shop, featuring Nike apparel. Salishan’s spa is second to none. Overlooking Siletz Bay, you can feel your stress melt away as soon as you walk in the front doors. Soothing elements of wood, water, and stone surround you, both in the gorgeous interior of the spa and in the natural environment surrounding it. Whether you come for a restorative body wrap, an expert massage, or a salon treatment, you’ll feel renewed, relaxed, and pampered. Be sure to

arrive early for your appointment so that you can enjoy the spa’s amenities, including the newlyrefurbished outdoor infinity whirlpool overlooking the bay. Guests are also invited to relax in the spa’s Hearth Room where a cozy fire always blazes and the activities of eagles, herons, seals, and fishing boats punctuate the panoramic bay view.

Tennis anyone? While the weather on the Oregon coast has been known to be, let’s say, damp, it’s always court time at Salishan, where you can pick up a racquet, play a friendly match, or work with a PTA-certified pro on your game at the Salishan indoor tennis center. With three Plexipave courts and indirect lighting, you’ll have ideal conditions for tennis year-round. The Tennis Center’s indoor viewing area is perfect for watching the action below, as well as for social gatherings of all kinds. If you’ve worked up an appetite with all of these activities, Salishan’s got you covered: choose from one of their four restaurants to satisfy every craving. The Grill in the golf pro shop, open to the public, offers casual dining for breakfast and lunch, as well as a full-

service bar. Watch a sporting event on the big-screen TV near the fireplace, indulge in some of their famous guacamole, or have a drink after a round of golf. Another casual option is the Sun Room, open for three meals a day. Soups, salads, sandwiches, and Salishan’s signature wine collection are all available here, plus a hearty breakfast menu to start the day. Don’t miss anything on the menu made with their incredible smoked salmon! In Salishan’s signature dining room you can cozy up to the fireplace or get a window seat for a spectacular view of Siletz Bay – either way, you’ll be treated to creative Northwest cuisine using the finest regional ingredients. Fresh, local seafood and prime steaks are the specialties here, and many patrons can’t get enough of the famous pot pies. Finally, visitors and locals love the Attic Lounge. The light bites and hand tossed pizzas are just the beginning here – throw in dazzling sunsets viewed from the deck, live music on the weekends, creative cocktails, and themed happy hours (M-F 4pm – 6pm), and you’ve got a recipe for a perfect hang-out spot.

Photos by Jo-Hanna Wienert

Once you’ve sampled all that Salishan has to offer, you’ll want to book one of their gorgeous guest rooms for your next trip. With all-new furnishings, expansive golf course and bay views from private balconies, and traditional Northwest interiors featuring homey fireplaces, you’ll be surrounded by the authentic Oregon coast. Check out Salishan’s room specials and package deals on their web site, and visit this iconic Oregon resort.

When You Go

Salishan Spa & Golf Resort 7760 N. Hwy. 101, Gleneden Beach (800) 452-2300 Golf Pro Shop (541) 764-3632 Spa (541) 764-4300

Three to See

More fun in Lincoln City

Devil’s Lake

While the Oregon coast is all about the beach, we have a number of freshwater lakes to play in as well. Devil’s Lake in the heart of Lincoln City offers lots of opportunities for recreation, including fishing, paddle boat rentals, camping, and an annual power boat race. (search for Devils Lake),

Taft District

Blow your own glass float, eat famous Mo’s chowder, or build a sand castle on the shore of Siletz Bay in this historic neighborhood.

Kite Festivals

With lots of wide beaches and no shortage of wind, it’s no wonder that kite flying is so popular in Lincoln City. This high-flying pastime is celebrated at two annual kite festivals held at the D River Wayside, one in the summer and one in the fall.

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Photo by Nathan Howard oregon coast passport 18

Encounter a huge animal from a tiny boat By Calley Hair

Photos by Nathan Howard

Biologist Carrie Newell spent 23 years studying whales off the coast of Depoe Bay. She’s the leading expert on the area’s gray whales, and the head researcher responsible for discovering their primary food source. She knows the name of every summer resident whale by just a glimpse of a tail. But based on her giddy reaction, you’d think it was her first time. “A whale!” she exclaims, as her dog and first mate Kida barks up a storm and she shifts the Zodiac boat into high gear during a March excursion. “Good eye!” With Newell, each sighting feels like its own minor miracle. Each trip is a culmination of the resources that help make Depoe Bay the whale watching capital of the continental United States — from the eyes at the Whale Watching Center and Cape Foulweather, to the fishing boats that keep excursions apprised of any specimen that pass by. “We all work together,” Newell said. “It’s hard to spot a whale. You have to be at the right place at the right time.” Newell owns Whale Research EcoExcursions, one of several whalewatching providers in Depoe Bay. She said the charters all work together

to maximize the chances of a whale encounter for the passengers. The process is cooperative, not competitive. “I always let the other boats know,” Newell said. “I make it a point to say, ‘hey, we got whales over here.’” Each group is armed with certain advantages. For Newell, her not-sosecret weapon is Kida. The 15-year-old

golden retriever-malamute mix has served as a professional whale-sniffer since she was a puppy. She weaves around the knees of the passengers, hanging off the side of the boat and twitching her nose in the air. “I need to always trust her, because she’s never hardly ever wrong. She was smelling the breath, she knew that whale was here,” Newell said. During excursions Newell is active on her radio, contacting the various resources that help track the mammals to check for and provide updates. The viewing sites at Cape Foulweather and the Whale Watching Center may not come with a hunting dog, but they do enjoy a literal leg up from the boats on the water. “The advantages of Cape Foulweather and the Whale Center is they’re up higher, they have a better overall view,” Newell said. That eagle eye is valuable to the boats, which can only monitor tiny chunks of the ocean at a time. The viewing sites are also always armed with vigilant eyes, unlike the excursions that last just one or two hours. Constant attention is especially important when looking for gray whales. The elusive mammals can dive for up to five minutes with just a quick break at the surface. “The Whale oregon coast passport 19

Watching Center here in Depoe Bay, that’s all we do. Either park rangers or volunteer staff are here every week,” said Luke Parsons, a park ranger with Beverly Beach State Park at the Depoe Bay Whale Watching Center. Newell and the other whale watch boats get lots of extra help during the twice-annual Whale Watch Weeks, when volunteers from up and down the northern Pacific coast gather at 24 different viewing locations to help visitors find a migrating whale on the horizon. The influx of information helps researchers like Newell track the patterns of migrating gray whales year to year. But she emphasized that Whale Watch Week doesn’t encompass the entire time people can look for whales in Depoe Bay. “Everyone comes for one week, thinking that’s the one and only week they’re going to see whales,” Newell said. “We have whales 11 or 12 months out of the year.”

From mid-March to May, Newell studies the 20,000 gray whales travelling past in their annual migration to Alaskan waters. In the summer, a small population peels off from the pack and stays in Depoe Bay through October feeding on mysid shrimp. These are the whales Newell’s worked most closely with, the ones that have developed a relationship with her and Kida. “I can call some of the whales right to the boat. I have them all named,” Newell said. December through March, the whales are southbound, headed toward their warm breeding waters off of Mexico. November is typically the only quiet time — but last year a warmer-thanusual off shore blob of water attracted grays, humpbacks and orcas through the month, Newell said. As an atypical phenomenon for the region, Parsons said the charter boats kept the Whale Watching Center updated on the uncommon visitors. “They’ll give

us a heads up if they see anything unusual,” Parsons said. “It’s a neat little relationship that’s formed over the past several years.” The coordination between eyes in the sky and on the water is mutually beneficial for the charters and the research centers. But ultimately, Newell said, their relationship results in a more memorable experience for the visitors who travel to Depoe Bay. “We wouldn’t have nearly as good of encounters, that’s for sure,” Newell said.

When You Go

Sign up for Newell’s cruises at the Whale, Sea Life & Shark Museum in Depoe Bay 234 SE Hwy 101 (541) 912-6734

Three to See

More fun in Depoe Bay

Rave about a meal

Tidal Raves in Depoe Bay is, hands down, one of the best restaurants on the Oregon coast. Bonus: an incredible view, often complete with whales dining right outside the window. Try the Pasta Rave and a creative cocktail.

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Great view in fair or foul weather

Just south of Depoe Bay is Cape Foulweather, so-named by Captain James Cook in 1778 (can you guess why?) – his very first sighting of the North American mainland. Don’t miss the incredible view from the pull-off, 500 feet above the ocean. The gift shop here is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Catch your own

Whether you’re a fishing newbie or an old salt, book a fishing charter with one of the companies that runs trips out of Depoe Bay, the World’s Smallest Harbor.

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h yeah! Whether you’re coming on business, pleasure or just to play in the sand, The Holiday Inn Express & Suites is the perfect place to relax. Come & enjoy our complimentary “Express Start” Hot Breakfast Buffet featuring our signature warm cinnamon rolls, free high-speed internet, indoor heated pool & hot tub, business center, fitness center and guest laundry. Included are: • Complimentary full hot breakfast buffet daily • Indoor heated pool & hot tub • Well equpped fitness center • 24 hour business center

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NEWPORT Photo by Luke Whittaker

oregon coast passport 22

Cool Pools

Poke around local tide pools and discover some of Newport’s hidden critters By Nancy Steinberg Before moving to Oregon from the East Coast, I had a totally warped mental picture of Oregon’s beaches. The Pacific Northwest’s tide pools are so famous that I thought the entire coastline must be rocky, cratered with tide pools everywhere you looked. It wasn’t until I visited, and then moved here, that I realized that most of the beaches are sandy, and tide pools are special gems indeed. Tide pools form along rocky shores when the tide recedes and leaves seawater in depressions in the rocks. Many animals and plants have evolved to survive and even thrive in the harsh environment of the tide pools, where they can be exposed to intense waves, sun, and wind, and variable temperatures and salinity on a daily basis. Rocky shorelines are striped – animals and plants colonize them in vertical zones defined by how long and how often they remain submerged. Animals and plants that are most resistant to being left high and dry colonize the highest places in the intertidal zone, and less hardy critters stay at the lower elevations where they are submerged most of the time.

Photos by Luke Whittaker

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The animals and plants that live in the intertidal are diverse and sometimes bizarre. While most people are familiar with sea stars and barnacles, fewer have come nose to nose with a nudibranch or a sculpin. Here are a few of the tide pool residents you might meet in Oregon:

Sea Stars

Because they’re not fish, these invertebrates are not referred to as “starfish” any more, but they are still the stars of the intertidal. In Oregon multiple colorful species of sea star are found in tide pools, including the common sea star (also called the purple or ochre sea star, it comes in a range of colors from purple to orange), sunflower star, and Pacific blood star.

Sea Urchins

These spiny orbs are actually closely related to sea stars. We’ve got purple, green, and red species in regional tide pools.

Sea Anemones

Sea anemones of multiple species are abundant in Oregon tide pools. When underwater, they look like flowers with tentacle-like petals; the tentacles are lined with “nematocysts,” stinging cells that immobilize small fish and other prey (don’t worry – they can’t hurt a person). When the water recedes and the anemones are exposed, or if they are threatened, they pull their tentacles in and resemble rocks with a dent in the middle. Look

for giant green anemones, aggregating anemones, and the delicate pink strawberry anemones.


You have to be patient to see these less-common tide pool denizens. Nudibranchs, also called sea slugs, are basically snails without shells, but much more beautiful than you’d expect from such a description. While there are nearly 200 species in Northwest tide pools, the most common is the opalescent nudibranch, which has a translucent white body with an orange stripe running down its center.

Hermit crabs

These delightful tide pool residents can be seen meandering from rock to rock in most tide pools, hunkering down into their shell if disturbed. Without a shell of their own, hermit crabs scavenge shells from dead snails, moving into bigger and bigger homes as they grow. Go ahead and pick them up – they won’t hurt you – but make sure to put them back quickly where you found them.


If you sit quietly by the edge of a single tide pool, you’ll almost certainly catch a tiny, darting shape out of the corner of your eye, and you’ll almost think you imagined it. Tiny tide pool sculpins are the most common fish found in the pools. This bottomdwelling fish grows to be only about three inches long, and can change color to blend into its background.

Before we discuss where to go to see tide pools, the more important question is when to go. The best time for tide pooling is about one to two hours before low tide to give yourself the maximum amount of time with the pools exposed. Be aware that all low tides are not created equal: the height of high and low tides varies over the lunar cycle. Tide pooling is best conducted on a minus tide (lower than the average low tide); many tide tables will indicate “how low” the low tide is. Tides for Newport can be found at www.tides. net/oregon/1794/. Look for negative numbers, which indicate minus tides. Where should you go? Wonderful tide pools can be found at the Marine Garden at Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area in Otter Rock north of Newport – take the beach access to the north of the punchbowl itself. Just north of town there are fantastic tide pools at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. Seal Rock State Park, ten miles south of Newport, has some of the best tide pools around, especially at minus tides. If you head even further south, you’ll find lots

of tide pools at the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area near Yachats. Tide pool etiquette is important to understand before you go. Be aware that the barnacles, mussels, and anemones underfoot are living creatures – try not to step on them. It’s also important to watch your step because algae-covered rocks can be very slippery. Do not pry animals off of rocks. Leave animals in their tide pools; if you pick up a hermit crab or sculpin, be sure to put it back just where you found it. If you’re lucky, you may see seals hauled out on rocks or shore birds poking along the tide pool edges – keep a distance from these sensitive animals. When you go, make sure to wear sturdy shoes that you don’t mind dunking in seawater (accidents happen!), and be prepared for our famous changeable coastal weather. A magnifying lens and a field guide would be helpful for observing and identifying the animals and plants you find. But most of all, bring your sense of curiosity and wonder, and you’ll never be disappointed at the tide pool’s edge.

Photos by Luke Whittaker

Three to See More fun in Newport

Have a fishy close encounter Roll over the sand

Don’t miss an excursion to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, where the world-class indoor and outdoor exhibits have earned the facility consistent recognition as one of the top ten aquariums in the country. Their current special exhibit, “Secrets of Shipwrecks: Part History. Part Mystery” is a fantastic voyage through the science of discovering and exploring shipwrecks. 26 oregon coast passport

A great way for the whole family to enjoy Newport’s amazing beaches is by renting fat tire bikes at Bike Newport and riding on the hard-packed sand. Of course, if road riding or mountain biking is more your speed, ask at the shop and they’ll help you find the ride for you.

Lighten up

Newport is lucky enough to have two historic lighthouses, both open (during certain hours) to visitors. Make sure to visit both the Yaquina Head Lighthouse at the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area and the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse in Yaquina Bay State Park.


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Art and Soul

The thriving arts scene in Toledo By Nancy Steinberg

Maybe it’s the light: there’s no with the Gibbonses revealed one question that the sun shines more wonder after another. The Vicarage, in Toledo than it does on the coast lovingly restored, is now the Gibbons’ seven miles away. Maybe it’s the home and gallery. Incredible art – Yaquina River, which wends its way Michael’s own as well as a lovinglythrough town, a gorgeous natural curated collection from all over the muse. Or maybe it’s the relatively world – is everywhere. The inviting low cost of living in this small mill/ garden, which Judy tends herself, is fishing/logging town. Something full of charming nooks and crannies, about Toledo, Oregon nurtures art as well as spectacular flowers and and attracts artists, more of whom other plantings. seem to move to town and set up Toledo is muse to Gibbons as well their easels and studios every year. as home. Many of his rich, evocative, It all started with landscape oil light-filled oils take Toledo as their painter Michael Gibbons. Asked by subject. “We who are fortunate a friend to look over the bones of the vicarage of the Episcopal Church in Toledo, which had been burned in a fire, to determine if it was worth remodeling, he surveyed the building, fell in love, and bought it himself that day. It was 1981 and Toledo was still mainly a logging and mill town; Gibbons was definitely a horse of a different color. That was the germ of the Toledo Arts District not far from downtown that now includes Gibbons’ gallery and studio, the Yaquina River Art Museum, painter Ivan Kelly’s studio, rental spaces for artists, and Photo by Nathan Howard much more. A recent visit 30 oregon coast passport

Photo by Nathan Howard

enough to live in the Pacific Northwest, one of the most beautiful places on Earth, are blessed beyond measure,” he has written. “The light, the palette of colors and the mystery are distinctive here.” Gibbons founded and curates the Yaquina River Museum of Art, also across the street from The Vicarage. The museum has a small permanent collection which features a number of Gibbons’ works as well as works of Ivan Kelly, Bill Kucha, Marion Moir, Edward Young, Dee Boyles, and others. The thread that ties the works together is a connection to the land, water, and industry of the Yaquina River watershed. Rotating exhibits highlight pieces from the permanent collection as well as works of outside artists. A few houses away from The Vicarage is the studio and gallery of Ivan Kelly, who came to Toledo in the mid-1990s from Canada. Kelly’s subjects include western and Pacific Northwest landscapes, as well as big game portraits. He is particularly drawn to the interplay of light and shadow which create the spectrum of moods found in the inspiring natural areas he loves so much. Kelly exhibits nationwide,

Courtesy of Michael Gibbons

Photo by Nancy Steinberg

and has won numerous awards for his works. His works have been included in an exhibit at the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center in Newport and a touring exhibit sponsored by the American Society of Marine Artists, and hung in state Representative David Gomberg’s office in the Oregon State Capitol. The third founder of the Toledo arts scene is Douglas Haga, a painter, photographer, and printmaker. Haga came to the artist’s life via a circuitous route that included stints as a fisherman, soldier, logger, graphic designer, and short-order cook. He finds inspiration in the vistas of the Pacific Northwest, but also in surprising places like the vitriolic passion of a street preacher in San Francisco. His Black and Gold Series, painted with oversize brushes he makes himself, is particularly striking. The result is a stunning series of large pieces that resemble Zen calligraphy in shades of black, gold, and white. Haga now exhibits and sells his work at a number of spots in the county, including Ozone Gallery in nearby Newport. You’ll find creativity bursting out of a number of doors in Toledo’s downtown area as well. Be sure to check out Gallery Briseño, the home gallery of renowned sculptor Sam Briseño, who passed away in November of 2015, leaving a tremendous hole in the Lincoln County community. Sam’s

gorgeous steel sculptures live on: his work ranges from graceful depictions of local marine life to more abstract sculptural pieces reminiscent of his roots as an industrial millwright. His artwork is not confined to the gallery: look for his benches scattered throughout Toledo, his twenty-onefoot-tall sculpture “The Ambassador” across from the Newport Performing Arts Center, and his large and lifelike octopus gracing the entryway at the Hatfield Marine Science Center Visitor Center in South Beach. Down the street is Toledo Clayworks, which is under new management by the talented and energetic Chasse Davidson. Davidson is a clay artist herself, who creates delicate pottery with gorgeous glazes, including magnificent raku pieces. Her work can be seen at Roger Yost Gallery in Newport, Michael Parsons Fine Art in Portland, and at Toledo Clayworks. Toledo Clayworks is an open pottery studio where artists can find space, equipment, and materials to create all kinds of clay masterpieces, from wheel-thrown pots to hand-built sculptures. Artists can pay either by the day or the month for use of the studio, and they pay a small firing fee to use the studio’s multiple kilns. A resident glaze technician mixes glazes in a vast array of colors and finishes. Davidson requires new members to take a series of classes to ensure that they are proficient with the studio’s

Photo by Nancy Steinberg

Photo by Nancy Steinberg

Courtesy of Michael Gibbons oregon coast passport 31

equipment and understand studio etiquette. Classes are also offered in a range of clay techniques, and Davidson has big plans for special events and additional educational programs. Toledo Clayworks, located in a former gallery space, will soon be a gallery again (it is on its way already, with works by a number of local artists, Davidson included, on sale inside). Davidson serves as the President of the Toledo Arts Guild, an umbrella organization that supports and promotes all types of arts in east Lincoln County. The guild offers a way for Toledo-based artists to come together to respond to community projects and to offer educational programs. At the guild’s monthly meetings, which are open to the public, one member presents a workshop or seminar that ranges from introducing members to a new technique to providing guidance on how to build a web site. Check for event announcements and additional information. A map and brochure, “Art in Toledo, Oregon,” available at the venues mentioned and elsewhere, points the way to the numerous other studios, galleries, and public art in Toledo. In addition to visiting any of these galleries and studios during their regular open hours, visitors have multiple opportunities to experience the entire Toledo arts scene at once with monthly “First Weekend” art walks and the annual Art Walk on Labor Day Weekend. On the first weekend of every month, galleries and studios throw open their doors

Photo by Nancy Steinberg

with receptions and openings, usually organized around a theme or featuring particular artists. During the annual Art Walk, the town explodes with art on every street corner and in every possible venue. This year, the third annual Plein Air Competition will be held the same weekend; maps, schedules, and participant lists will be available during the summer. Keep an eye on for more information. Toledo’s artists have a range of reasons for coming to and staying in this small town. Gibbons says, “People who love the arts love an adventure,” leading them off the beaten path. Sarah Gayle, another Toledo-based artist, cites the “unbelievably kind and generous people” she’s met in Toledo. Every time I leave the sunny and warm Toledo downtown to head back into the fog bank enveloping Newport, I still think it could be the light.

When You Go:

Gallery Michael Gibbons/The Vicarage 140 NE Alder St., Toledo (541) 336-2797 Yaquina River Museum of Art 151 NE Alder St., Toledo (541) 336-1907 Ivan Kelly Gallery 207 E. Graham St., Toledo (541) 336-1124 Gallery Briseño 359 N. Main St., Toledo (541) 336-1315 Toledo Clayworks 305 N. Main St., Toledo (503) 999-5278

Three to See More fun in Toledo

Twisted Snout Brewery Olalla Lake

As if the excellent microbrews weren’t enough reason to come to this great spot, it’s also the home of award-winning Pigfeathers Barbecue. The pork belly sandwich is to die for, and the wings and ribs come with a range of sauces, from Smoky Sweet (mild) to Stu-icidal Tendencies. 32 oregon coast passport

In a place that’s all about the ocean, it’s easy to forget the pleasure of playing in a lake. Toledo is home to the lovely, wooded Olalla Lake, actually a reservoir owned by Georgia-Pacific but open for public use. Bring a picnic, a fishing pole, a kayak, a mountain bike, a stand-up paddle board, or just a good book and bake in the sun here. Take Olalla Road off of Rt. 20 (east of the Dairy Queen turnoff to Toledo) to the end.

Railroad Museum

The Yaquina Pacific Railroad Historical Society runs a small museum dedicated to the extensive and fascinating train history of Toledo and the county. The museum displays a range of artifacts, historical train cars, a wooden caboose, and a steam locomotive. There is even a 1923 Southern Pacific Railroad Post Office (RPO) car that you can tour.


Photo by Nathan Howard oregon coast passport 33

Come Play on Alsea Bay Kayak, fish, dig for clams, or just gaze at Waldport’s beautiful bay By Nancy Steinberg

To the Alsi tribe, who lived along the Oregon coast between Seal Rock and Yachats as long as 8,000 years ago, the word “alsi” meant “peace.” Peace still pervades the small coastal town of Waldport, 16 miles south of Newport, where the Alsi used to live. It weaves its way through the town and dominates its landscape in the form of the clear, cool, gorgeous, fishladen Alsea River and pristine Alsea Bay, the centerpiece of the town. Much of life in Waldport revolves around Alsea Bay and the critters that dwell there. Alsea Bay is an 34 oregon coast passport

estuary, a place where the fresh water of a river meets and mixes with the salty sea. Estuaries are one of the most productive ecosystems on Earth, containing a vast diversity of plants and animals that are uniquely adapted to the brackish conditions there. The young life stages of many species, including most of the ones we love to eat, use estuaries as nursery areas, where the food is abundant, the conditions calm, and the hiding places plentiful. The wetlands that often fringe the shores of estuaries serve to filter out contaminants

before they reach the ocean and protect the shoreline from flooding. So estuaries are important wherever they are found. Alsea Bay, one of the most pristine estuaries on the Oregon coast, is no exception. Its habitats include extensive wetlands, mud flats, sandy shores, and even some rocky areas. The bay teems with life, much of it tasty and fun to harvest. Adult Chinook, coho, and chum salmon pass through on their way to upriver spawning sites, and the resultant babies use the estuary as a rest stop on their journey

Photos by Nathan Howard

to the sea. Dungeness crab creep and crawl across the bottom, while clams burrow into the sediment. River otters frolic upriver, and seals haul out on sandy spits in the bay itself. Bald eagles soar overhead. In fact, the bird life in Alsea Bay is so diverse and abundant that the bay has been designated by the National Audubon Society as an Important Bird Area, so make sure to bring your binoculars when you come. One way to get an excellent introduction to some of the denizens of the bay, as well as instructions

on how to harvest, clean, and cook them, is by attending a ranger talk at the Alsea Bay Historic Interpretive Center at the north end of the bridge in Waldport. State Parks naturalist Cameron Rauenhorst, otherwise known as “Ranger Clameron,� demonstrates clamming, crabbing, and shrimping techniques at a very entertaining presentation on summertime Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. He explains the ins and outs of crabbing, clamming, collecting mussels, and shrimping (forget visions of a peel-

and-eat dinner: ghost shrimp burrow in the sediments of the bay, and are used as bait). Then participants can follow him down to the shore and practice their clamming and shrimping techniques (adults need a shellfish license to keep their quarry - $9 for an annual permit for Oregon residents, $17.00 for a three-day license for out-of-staters and $26.00 for an out-of-state annual license. Youths age 12-17 can now get a $10 annual license that covers shellfishing, angling, and hunting.). July 2-4 will see the return of Clam-a-Rama, oregon coast passport 35

Photo by Nathan Howard

three days of clamming on the bay led by Ranger Clameron, complete with custom-made trophies for all kinds of clamming contests. Call Ranger Clameron with questions at (541) 270-8480. The Interpretive Center itself serves up the fascinating history of the Alsea Bay Bridge as well as other aspects of life in this part of Lincoln County. The building also doubles as the Chamber of Commerce for the town, and the staff are very friendly and knowledgeable about everything Waldportian – go ahead, ask them anything! Fishing in Alsea Bay is top-notch, particularly for Chinook salmon in the fall. Typically the salmon will congregate in the bay in late summer and early fall, moving upriver to begin their spawning migration with the first big rainfalls of the season. Bay fishing is best in September and October. Most bay fishermen find

success trolling, while bait fishing and fly fishing are used more in the tidewater sections of the river. Sportfishing regulations for Alsea Bay (and everywhere else in the state) can be found on the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s web site (www. index.asp). If you want to try your hand at crabbing in one of the premiere spots in the state for catching these leggy critters, you can rent all the necessary equipment, including a boat, at Dock of the Bay Marina near the Port of Alsea. A 15-ft. boat, three crab rings, bait, and a crab measurer will run you $80 for the day. They’ll even cook your crabs for you. You can launch your own boat, motored or motorless, at the Port of Alsea’s boat launch. Just be cautious when boating in the bay: watch the tides so you don’t get stuck on a sand bar, and stay away from the turbulent

“jaws” at the mouth of the bay. With so much to do in Alsea Bay, it might be tempting to cram it all in. Better to take it slow, spend a few days, and find that peace that the bay promises.

When you go:

Alsea Bay Historic Interpretive Center 620 NW Spring St., Waldport (541) 563-2002 index.cfm?do=parkPage.dsp_ parkPage&parkId=143 Port of Alsea Picnic tables, boat launches 365-A Port St., Waldport (541) 563-3872 Dock of the Bay Marina 1245 Mill St., Waldport (541) 563-2003

Three to See More fun in Waldport

Up the River

Alsea Bay is the end of the line for the beautiful Alsea River, which is popular for salmon and steelhead fishing, camping, catching crawfish, and swimming in the hot summer months. Take a leisurely drive up the river on Rt. 34 and stop at the parks and campgrounds that dot the shores. 36 oregon coast passport

Reach the Beach

Like the rest of the coast, each of Waldport’s beaches is unique, so you’ll have to walk them all. Make sure to check out Governor Patterson State Recreation Site, Driftwood Beach, and Beachside State Recreation Site (a great place to camp).

Great Gravel

The Oregon Coast Gravel Epic is a 70-mile endurance bike ride on the back gravel roads between Waldport and Yachats. If 70 miles (and 8,600 feet of climbing) sounds like a lot, you can register for shorter 37- or 10-mile versions. Challenging but beautiful! September 24, 2016.


Photo by Nathan Howard oregon coast passport 37

Eat Out in Yachats Pastries to pasta, cocktails to crab cakes, Yachats restaurants have something for everyone By Nancy Steinberg

Photos by Nathan Howard

For a tiny town, Yachats has a lot of great places to eat. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks, snacks – you never have to leave town to get a great meal. Try these scrumptious spots, but branch out as well -- more culinary treasures await in this gem of a town. Bon appetit!

Green Salmon Coffee House

I’m always excited to start my day with breakfast at the Green Salmon, where the food is top-notch and the ethos is all about living lightly on the Earth. Their range of fair trade, organic coffees, teas, and cocoas are just the thing to get you moving. My

38 oregon coast passport

personal favorite on their extensive drink menu is the Coconut Crackout Mocha made with steamed coconut milk, but I’ve got a list I’m waiting to try, including the Kopi Jahe (ginger coffee with steamed light cream) and the Earl Grey Cocoa (cocoa infused with black tea and bergamot). All the food is also organic, and many of the ingredients are local. The pastries are flaky and sublime, from the cheese Danish to the marionberry blueberry bear claws. If you come back for lunch, the options include the Sacred Cow, a vegan answer to the Reuben sandwich (tempeh!); soup specials; Caesar salad; the ALT (another

vegan option: avocado, lettuce, and tomato); and more. You can also purchase loose teas here from their extensive offerings. 220 Hwy 101 N.

Drift Inn

One of the best eateries in town is the historic Drift Inn, which offers a wide range of Northwest cuisine, some with an international twist, as well as live music every night. Perennial favorites here include the spicy yam empanadas appetizer served with a chimichurri sauce; the wild salmon served with a sorrel cream sauce; their twist on a seafood stew with a base of coconut broth, and the Persian rice bowl (caramelized onions, spinach, eggplant, pears, almonds, coconut and raisins in a mild curry sauce) with a choice of tempeh, chicken, halibut, shrimp, or steak. Another amazing choice is the wood-fired pizza served at dinner time. The menu includes many vegetarian, vegan, and glutenfree options. Drift Inn has a full bar, and whatever you do, do NOT skip dessert! 124 Hwy 101 N.

Adobe Resort

Unless you’ve packed a picnic and are eating it on the beach, you can’t get closer to a waterfront meal than the wood-paneled dining room at the lovely Adobe Resort. No more than 50 feet from the surging surf, you may find yourself eating lunch practically alongside a grey whale, as I did at a recent lunch there. While the whale sucked down masses of tiny invertebrates, I had the delicious salmon BLT on a light brioche-style roll and crispy french fries while my dining companion opted for the grilled turkey ciabatta melt. Other popular lunch choices include the fried Alaskan cod sandwich and huge Caesar salads offered with toppings of chicken breast, pink shrimp, or smoked salmon. Dinner focuses on seafood, including grilled scallops, seafood fettuccine, and a nightly preparation of salmon; the menu is rounded out with pork, steak, chicken, and vegetarian options. The dining room serves breakfast as well, featuring yummy options such as a seafood omelet, apple gingerbread griddle cakes, and crab cake Benedict. The Sunday brunch buffet is a great deal. 1555 Hwy 101

Photos by Nathan Howard



A Family Destination

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Alder Bistro

Open since spring 2014, Alder Bistro is garnering rave reviews for its Northwest cuisine with a southern flair, which graces the menu at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Like most places in Yachats, the emphasis is on locally-sourced, seasonal, organic ingredients. Start your day with the Alder Bistro’s Yachats omelet (house-smoked salmon, dill cream cheese, onion, scallion, diced tomato), crème brulee-battered french toast, or the ever-changing quiche of the day. I loved a recent lunch of creamy seafood mac and cheese and garlicky Caesar salad. Next time I’ll try the spinach, arugula, and roasted beet salad with the handrolled pizza of the day or perhaps the low country shrimp and grits. Dinner delights include small plates like clams in puff pastry and a spinach, artichoke, and roasted poblano dip, and creative entrees like the coastal version of a pot pie, containing salmon, rockfish, shrimp, crab, and vegetables. 160 W. 2nd St.


Ona is right at the mouth of the tiny estuary where the Yachats River meets the ocean. The outdoor deck is a gorgeous spot to enjoy their Northwest cuisine on their seasonallyrotating menu. Ona prides itself on working with local food purveyors and serving dishes based on whatever’s in season on the coast and across Oregon. Their diverse menu includes seafood, sandwiches, steaks, chicken, a bit of pasta … in other words, something for everyone. A recent Northwest seafood sampler appetizer special of crab and shrimp cocktails and ceviche served with housemade potato chips was an incredible taste of the ocean. I loved the pink shrimp-stuffed sole with a wonderful rose cream sauce, but also couldn’t stop sampling my husband’s gata, a Filipino coconut ginger seafood stew. One of the best deals in town is Ona’s Happier Hours in the lounge, 4-6 pm Sunday-Thursday. If you buy a happy hour drink at $4 ($4!), you can order off their happy hour discount food menu, which includes a range of grilled items with choice of grill sauces (flat iron steak or fish of the day for $7,

chicken for $5, and more), Dungeness crab cakes for $6, falafel puppies for $5, and other great choices. 131 Highway 101 N

Outta Gas Pizza

Outta Gas Pizza, in the building at the north end of town that looks like a defunct gas station (because it is a defunct gas station), is a great place to get pizza, play shuffleboard, drink a beer, and meet the locals. They serve excellent pizza with fresh toppings as well as a few other breakfast (egg sandwich, biscuits and gravy, eggs & meat) and lunch items (BLT, burgers, tamales). Outta Gas’s story is as colorful as the Yachats regulars that hang out there: a few years ago, three Yachats buddies bought a lottery ticket together … and won a million dollars. With part of their pot of gold, they achieved a dream of opening a pizza place together. They’ve made Outta Gas into a great eatery, community hang-out, and venue for gatherings like family reunions. Make sure to fill up before you leave Yachats! 1685 Highway 101 N.

Photos by Nathan Howard

Three to See

More fun in Yachats

Cape Perpetua

One place I take every new visitor to the coast is the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area just south of Yachats. Start at the Visitor Center to get an overview of the miles of trails and vast resources of the area, then hike or drive to the top of the Cape for an unparalleled view of the coast. Don’t miss the spouting horn and Thor’s Well! recarea/?recid=42265 40 oregon coast passport

Yachats River Road

The bucolic Yachats River Valley is an unsung scenic site of the central coast, with its rolling hills, picturesque farms, covered bridge, and a resident elk herd that shouldn’t be too hard to find. A particularly good time to go is during the annual Yachats River Valley Farm Tour in August. yachats-river-valley-farm-tour/

Downtown shops

The eclectic shops of Yachats’ tiny downtown provide hours of fun for souvenir seekers. Be sure to check out Toad Hall (237 W. 3rd St.), Touchstone Gallery (2118 Hwy 101 N.), and Planet Yachats (281 Hwy 101 N.).


Photo by Nathan Howard

Stellar Stellers

Come commune with Steller sea lions in Sea Lion Caves, American’s largest sea cave By Nancy Steinberg

Photo by Nathan Howard oregon coast passport 43

Exiting the 20-story elevator below ground into the dim interior of the enormous sea cave, it takes a minute for your eyes to get used to the dark, so you will probably hear them before you seen them. But they’re nearly always there: hundreds of roaring Steller sea lions, hauled out in a spectacular sea cave, the largest in the Americas. As your eyes adjust, you may have to rub them to believe what you’re seeing: hundreds of sea lions draped on ledges, rocks, and each other, and more swimming in the waters leading to the ocean. Young but huge males, mommas with babies, rambunctious teenagers, all seemingly in motion. Most of these are Steller sea lions, not the California sea lions that haul out on the docks in Newport’s Yaquina Bay. Stellers are much larger than California sea lions, generally lighter in color, and speak with more of a roar than a bark. While the western population of the species is listed as endangered, the eastern population, to which the Sea Lion Caves animals belong, seems to be thriving, and was delisted in 2013. About 200 individuals make up the Sea Lion Caves clan.

Photo by Nathan Howard 44 oregon coast passport

Since its opening as a private wildlife preserve in 1932, Sea Lion Caves just north of Florence has been a huge draw for visitors as well as for the sea lions. While the sea lions live in the cave and nearby areas year-round, they spend more time inside the cave in the fall and winter, which is the best time to see them inside the cave itself. In the spring and summer they are more often seen on the rocky ledges outside the cave, an area that serves as their rookery where mating and birthing take place. Even if you are visiting at a time when the sea lions are not in the cave (you can call ahead to ensure sightings), there is plenty to see at the caves. First and foremost is the cave itself, a massive, magnificent amphitheater that echoes with every wave that crashes at the entrance. To access the cave, visitors go through the Sea Lion Caves building, down some stairs and on a paved trail along the ocean, and down the aforementioned elevator. The view itself from the site is spectacular – make sure to take in the vista, which includes the Heceta Head Lighthouse, before heading down the elevator.

The cave is as long as a football field, covers a two-acre area, and is as tall inside as a 12-story building. The walls and ceiling are stained with gorgeous patchworks of algae, minerals, and lichens in every hue. Look for the patterns called Lincoln's Head, the Indian Maiden, and Goddess of Liberty on the cave’s walls. Educational displays, including the fully-assembled skeleton of an adult sea lion, are installed in the cave viewing area. The caves host all kinds of wildlife in addition to their obvious residents. A number of sea bird species can be found in and around the cave and in the ocean nearby, including common murres, cormorants, and pigeon guillemots. Other bird species frequently spotted at the caves include bald eagle, osprey, owls, and shorebirds like oystercatchers and sandpipers. Bats are common in the area, as are deer and elk. The nearby coastal forest provides a home for black bear, cougar, and a wide range of other animals. No visit to Sea Lion Caves is complete without two other stops: a visit to the life-size sea lion sculpture in back of the building overlooking the ocean, and a tour through the excellent gift shop. Sea Lion Caves is open 363 days a year (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day), weather permitting, 9 am to 5 pm. Stairs and downhill/ uphill paved climbs are necessary to reach the cave. Because the sea lions that frequent the cave are wild animals, there is no guarantee that they’ll be hanging out in the cave on a given day, so a call ahead might be a good idea, although the cave itself is worth the trip!

When You Go:

Sea Lion Caves 11 miles north of Florence on Hwy 101 541-547-3111

oregon coast passport 45

Photos by Nathan Howard

Three to See More fun in Florence

Dune buggy rides

Take a scenic but adrenalinepumping ride through the Oregon Dunes with Sandland Adventures.

46 oregon coast passport

Shop, walk, and eat

Stroll around historic Old Town and check out the range of great restaurants and eclectic shops.

Explore Honeyman State Park

Honeyman State Park three miles south of Florence boasts one of the largest campgrounds in the state. Two lakes, sand dunes, beaches, a boat ramp, picnic areas, and other amenities also make it a fabulous destination. Rent sand boards or kayaks nearby.

So much to do!    Learn more @

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Visit our other great coastal locations: 1740 N. Coast Hwy. Newport, OR 97365 541-265-8355

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Passport 2016 to Central Oregon Coast  

Passport to the Central Oregon Coast: Pacific City, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Toledo, Waldport, Yachats, Florence.

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