Oregon Coast travelogue

We spent the weekend on the Coast, and while I don’t feel like writing a 2000+ word recap like I did for our Ashland trip last year, I wanted to highlight some of it—the (shall we say) less obvious things. So I thought I’d present it more travel guide style.

(Inspired largely by the Fodor’s Pacific Northwest guidebook I picked up from the library for ideas. It covers a lot of ground but is still frustratingly sparse.)

Tillamook, Oregon

First thing to note: Tillamook smells like cows. Lots of cows. To me it’s not at all unpleasant since I grew up around cows; to others, it depends. Sometimes it smells only like cows, sometimes there’s also a bit of cow manure in there too.

The Tillamook Cheese Factory – This is the thing to see when in Tillamook. Open seven days a week, from 8 until 8 during the summer (8 until 6 the rest of the year), tours are self-guided and best of all, free. Kids will love it, as you get great views of the vats, production, and packaging lines—but note, the packaging line (the biggest part with the most moving parts) only operates from Monday through Friday. So if you come on a weekend (like we did), you’ll just see a lot of inactive machinery.

There are two gift shops, a café and, of course, a full range of flavors of Tillamook ice cream for sale. You can’t stop here and not get a cone.

Blue Heron French Cheese Company – Down Highway 101 a ways from the Tillamook Cheese Factory, Blue Heron specializes in French cheeses: Bries, Camemberts, blue cheeses, and the like. The have a charming gift shop/deli/wine bar with lots of samples of all sorts of foods: cheeses (naturally), dips, sauces, jams and jellies, wine tastings, and more. They also have a very decent beer selection by the bottle (not that I’m an expert for the area, but it could be the best in Tillamook for all I know).

There is also a "petting farm" for the kids; for 75 cents you can buy a small bag of animal food and feed it to the goats, donkeys, and miniature horses on the property.

Oceanside, Oregon (9 miles west of Tillamook)

This beachfront community strikes me as being almost entirely a vacation rental "town." Aside from a couple of restaurants (one of which was closed) and a gift shop, it looked like there were only vacation rentals and very nice houses. Odd, that.

Down on the beach, there’s a great find: a tunnel cut through the cliffside that juts out into the water, leading to a very secluded rocky beach on the other side. Great adventure for kids.

Roseanna’s Cafe – The only restaurant of note in Oceanside. It overlooks the beach and occupies a creaky old building built in 1915 or something. It was pretty good food, but we had a bit of a wait—they don’t take reservations. Other than that, it was worth the visit.

Newport, Oregon

Newport is my favorite city on the Oregon Coast (though Lincoln City and Pacific City are tied for a close second). There’s just so much to like about it: their Historic Bayfront, the Nye Beach district, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, good food, and of course, Rogue Ales.

Prepare for chillier weather than you’ll get elsewhere on the coast, though. Lincoln City was in the 70s (and maybe 80s) during the weekend, and Newport barely broke the 50s and low 60s.

Fishtails Café – This has to be the best-kept secret in Newport, because in my opinion it’s the best breakfast place in town. Though I had their excellent salmon hash, the breakfast they’re known for is their marionberry French toast. Check this out:

A favorite at Fishtails Café, we take our homemade bread rounds and stuff a slightly sweetened Cream Cheese mixture between two slices, dip it in Cream and Eggs and sautee it to a delicate golden and top it with our homemade Marionberry sauce.

It’s a steal at only $6.95 (I’m not kidding), and this thing is huge and freaking delicious. The restaurant itself is homey and charming and over in the South Beach section of town (across the bridge).

Port Dock One – This restaurant is located on the Historic Bayfront and overlooks, er, Port Dock One. The food is decent, but the real draw is the view. Not only of the Bay, but also of the sea lions that tend to sun themselves and nap on the piers below the main dock. It’s like every visit comes with a show.

Rogue – Being the only brewery in Newport, Rogue is of course big in the area. Most restaurants have Dead Guy Ale on tap, but you’ll definitely want to visit their Public House, also on the Bayfront. Not only are all the Rogue beers on tap (along with several from their Eugene and Issaquah breweries), but they also have their full line of Rogue Spirits, and good food. Plus, there’s an adults only section of the place decked out with video poker and pool tables, so they’re covering all the bases.

You can visit the actual Brewery itself in South Beach, where they also have a tasting room and restaurant and gift shop. Tours are available, as well.

And across the lot from the Brewery, in the South Beach marina area, is the Rogue Spirits Distillery (though their main one is in Portland). You can pop in here to check out their distilling operation (three years old) and get a drink from the bar. Beers and gift shop breweriana are also available.

Ugh, did I say I didn’t want to write 2000-plus words? I’m already approaching the halfway point for that with this post. So I’ll wrap it up for tonight, but I’ll probably have a bit more to write about Newport before all is said and done. And of course, I have some pictures, but I don’t have them on the computer yet so those will have to wait for a later post as well.

4 thoughts on “Oregon Coast travelogue”

  1. "Tillamook smells like cows." That is hillarious!

    Do you suppose it is because the Tillamook area was settled by a large number of people from Switzerland? Parts of Switzerland smells like cows also. Oh, I don’t want to give the wrong impression here. I love Switzerland.

  2. It’s because there ARE so many cows in Tillamook; it’s dairy country. The area is fertile and richly ideal for pasture and dairy farming– which is why it’s such a big cheese production area.

  3. Tillamook County- home of more cattle than people… Literally 🙂 Last I knew, 20,000 people and 22,000 cows, calves, beef, etc.

  4. Hi, Thank you for your recent visit and vote of confidence for our little cafe—It means a lot to us, especially during this time of "semi-recession." We purposely haven’t raised our prices even though it is costing us more to operate, electing instead to provide good food at decent prices hoping to make vacation time a little less dear for people who still want to travel. Thanks again.

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