Oregon Coast, Beyond Wine Country

by Tamra Bolton

One of my favorite winter time activities is curling up in front of a blazing fireplace with a good glass of wine and the Rand McNally road atlas.  I love looking at all the places I have visited; it’s like taking the trips all over again from the comfort of my chair.  I also enjoy scouting out new places to visit and discovering all the things to see and do in a certain area.

This evening, I was “visiting” the Oregon coast.  My oldest sister spent a summer in 1969 at the Marine Biology Institute in Coos Bay and I’ve been fascinated with coastal Oregon ever since.  Her stories of the wild waves, quiet tidal pools, majestic cliffs and amazing trees were enough to spark my imagination and my resolve to see it for myself.

There are several spots that are on my list…all less than two hours’ drive from Portland:  Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge, Cape Lookout, Seaside and Tillamook.  Why these?  Well, they all have something that I enjoy and they all offer something different.

Take Tillamook for instance, it is the home of the Tillamook Cheese Factory and the center for dairy products in the area.  I love cheese, so it made the list!  Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge made my list because anything with “wildlife” in the name is something I’ve got to see.  Not only does this refuge have breath-taking views, but it is home to two of my favorite birds, the tufted puffin and peregrine falcon. The largest Sitka spruce in Oregon also lives here among one of the last old-growth forests still standing along the states’ coastline.  Estimated to be between 700-800 years old, this magnificent giant has a 48 ft. circumference!

Seaside has my heart because it is the official “End of the Trail” for the Lewis and Clark expedition.  The bronze statue of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark also includes Lewis’ Newfoundland dog, Seaman.  Lewis purchased the dog in 1803 for twenty dollars, these days,  a Newfoundland pup runs around twelve hundred to fourteen hundred dollars!  Seaman is credited in Lewis’ journals with saving them from bear attacks and other calamities, so I guess his twenty dollar investment paid off.

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Last on my list is Cape Lookout, a favorite place for collectors of glass floats.  While I am not a collector, one of the things on my DBID (Do Before I Die) list is to find one of those gorgeous colored glass balls.  Glass floats have been made since the 1700’s and come from Asia, Russia and the Philippines, some traveling for centuries before finally washing ashore.  There is just something magical about such a fragile looking thing tossing about in an ocean for years and still remaining intact.  After doing a little beachcombing, I think I’ll hike out to the point and see if I can spot any whales drifting by…I love daydreaming about travel…but I can’t wait to see it with my own eyes.  Why not make plans to visit somewhere you’ve daydreamed about?  Maybe I’ll see you there…