We're on vacation in Waldport, OR. It's a little (pop. 2000) village on the south end of the central Oregon coastline. It's about 324 miles from Seattle, but not a quick drive: it took us about eight hours, factoring in picnic stops for us and rest stops for the dogs. We decided to take the coastal highway, Route 101, because it is so pretty and, well, the travelling is all part of being on holiday, isn't it?
Our dog-friendly cottage is two blocks back from the beach and, oh, the beach. There are miles and miles and miles of clean golden sand, and barely a person to be seen; we are south of the popular tourist spots, which are still within driving distance, but we have the joy of uninterrupted sands and being able to let the dogs run to their (and our) hearts' content.
The scenery here is breathtaking and far from uniform. The coastline is at turns scenic and rugged and the highway is skirted on the other side with forest and trails affording peek-a-boo views of the coast. The climate is temperate in the high 60's, but the frequent and strong winds take it down a notch or two. The bright blue skies can transition quickly to something more overcast, lending the place an other-worldly feel.
There are of course myriad beaches but also, if you are so inclined, plenty of trails. Cape Perpetua is a good place to start, with something for everyone (even me. I am not a walker).
In terms of "urban exploration," Waldport town itself is very quiet; we've made firm friends in Nancy of the Salty Dawg, which epitomises a local pub: everyone knows everyone else, folk introduce themselves (we met two other Scousers on Friday night), and the food is just great. Oh, and it closes at night when the barmaid is tired.
Next south is Yachats (pronounced "Ya-hots"); it's also very small, but with more in the way of places to eat and drink. We had an absolutely wonderful meal last night at Heidi's Italian Dinners. She embodies that Gordon Ramsay thing of a small menu, all cooked very well, with an excellent wine list. It's the first time I've seen the selection divided into a "more affordable vs. splashing out" categorization, and we liked that idea very much.
North a little bit, about 15 miles or so, is Newport. That's the busiest fishing port on the coast and it has a lovely nostalgic feel. The shops and restaurants are independents and the fishing community appears to be vibrant and thriving. I was a little unnerved by the monument to the Japanese tsunami and the impact it's occurrence made on the town: a section of one of four docks moored in Misawa, Japan (which were swept out to sea during the March 2011 tsunami) is on permanent display outside the Marine Science Center. The exhibit warns of the uncertainty of the timing of the next disaster, and evacuation routes and warnings are prolific along the coast. But don't let that put you off...
We've a few days left to go and on our list are returning to the pretty town of Florence in the south, whale watching from Depoe Bay a little north and, if time permits, a return trip to Newport. Meantime, here are my favorite images from the trip so far: