Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Oregon Coast Weekend

All summer, Abe and I talked about going to the beach for a weekend, and it kept not working out. Finally, just before his summer break ended, we made it happen!

Since the trip ended with a family event in southern Oregon, we just headed southward in the first place to Newport. Along the way, we stopped in Carlton for a jam tasting at the Republic of Jam. A friend had told me about their great tastings of items made with the product - but I didn't realize until we got there that it was free! You can also just try samples of whatever flavor you jam you want, but the official tasting plate has two savory items, two sweet items, and a drink, each made with a different jam. That day it included a stromboli, a spinach salad with dressing, a shortbread cookie with apple beer jam filling, a blueberry lime cheesecake, and a ginger iced tea. I wish I'd thought to get a picture of the plate - lovely presentation.

gourmet jam
Abe's purchases on the left and my choices on the right - very indicative of our general preferences!
Spicy or savory for him - cherry blackpepper, apricot ginger, marionberry espresso.
Sweet and just a little tart for me - blueberry lime, rhubarb current, cherry cola.

While at the jam shop, a tour of some sort came in, and the guide recommended we visit their wine shop around the corner. At Carlton Cellars we tried three whites and three reds (they have a $10 tasting fee, but it's waived if you buy at least $30 worth of wine). We ended up buying a Pinot Gris and a Pinot Noir. We also stopped by the Honest Chocolates store (it's combined with a wine shop) on the way back to the car.

Continuing on towards the coast, we stopped for a late lunch at the Wildflower Grill in Lincoln City. They didn't have a lot of vegetarian options (the google "at a glance" included french toast and omelets so I had assumed they served breakfast all day, but that turned out to not be the case), but the veggie burger I had was actually one of the best I've ever tried. Abe (a flexitarian - or perhaps flegan - his choices at home are quite close to vegan) had fish and chips for his one seafood meal of the trip. The restaurant is in a house - it looks like the owners might live in the downstairs, while the restaurant is in the upstairs, and the part of the dining room we sat in was a cute little sunroom overlooking a marshy forest area. 

(How did people travel without smartphones?! Not just for maps and GPS functions, but also to find restaurants near your location that are open at the moment. I can't imagine not having that ability to plan the trip as we go.)

Oregon Coast Hwy 101

We stopped along Highway 101 at Cape Foulweather lookout and Devils Punch Bowl State Park (if you look at the official state park website, it apparently has to do with multiple devils, not belonging to a, or multiple, devils - no apostrophe). Eventually we made it to the Wilder disc golf course, where I was eaten alive by mosquitoes. It was in a highly forested area with rocky terrain - the map for the majority of the holes indicated a ravine to some degree.

By the time we finished the course it was pushing 9:00 pm, so we had the challenge of finding a restaurant that (1) was still open, (2) catered to my picky tastes and Abe's picky-in-reverse preferences (i.e., he doesn't want food that's too boring), and (3) would help us carbo-load for an intended 18 mile training run the next day. We ended up finding Cobblestone Pizza Company, "simply the best pizza on the Oregon coast". Half plain cheese for me, half Greek veggie for him.

Agate Beach - the view from our hotel room

The great thing about visiting the coast during marathon training was that the cooler weather meant we didn't have to get up absurdly early to run before it got hot. We started Saturday with a tour of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. I don't remember many of the details (other than the oil used for a long time for the light was lard, because it was cheaper than kerosene), but it is a pretty informative tour, led by the "daughter of the lightkeeper". 

Newport Lighthouse

Then we headed to the Hatfield Marine Science Center. We missed the octopus' feeding time, but they also have a tidepool touch tank and a variety of marine-related scientific exhibits. Some are interactive, such as building lego structures in a wave tank to see the impact of tsunamis. Others are just informative or visual, such as videos of deep underwater volcanic activity.


We had lunch at Noodle Cafe, an Asian fusion (honestly, I'm not 100% sure what that means, but that's what google says...) restaurant overlooking the bay. I had lo mein noodles with tofu - the tofu was done a little oddly, kind of like tempura; I would have preferred the more typical fried tofu, but it wasn't bad. Of course I also had to stop by a candy shop to buy a bag of salt water taffy while we were downtown.

Our plan for the afternoon was a 4 hour training run (18 miles for me, something more than that for Abe). Yeah, that didn't happen. We hung out on the beach for a bit, and then Abe wanted to take a short nap beforehand, which turned into about an hour and half, and by then I'd lost any momentum. We ended up planning a shorter run from Agate Beach to the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, and once there I had gained a little energy and went over the bay bridge before turning around and heading back. Awesome way to tour parts of the town we hadn't seen yet, and some beautiful views of the ocean!

Newport run

For dinner we went to Chalet Restaurant & Bakery. It always makes me nervous to patronize a business that doesn't have its own website, but the reviews were good and their sign highlighted peach pie which Abe wanted. It's your classic diner type place and serves breakfast items all day, along with good pie.

Sunday we headed home via a reunion of Abe's mom's extended family near Eugene. I think the common ancestor was his great-great-grandparents, so mostly not people he knows well, but it was nice to meet a few more of his nearer relatives as well.

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