I had hoped to include more travel posts on my blog these past few months, but sadly my bank account has prevented any wanderings so far this summer, and I have developed a bit of a twitch from feeling a bit stuck. Luckily, my incredible in-laws have a lovely beach condo on the Oregon Coast, so we trekked the 2 hours out of Portland to the sandy shores of Lincoln City, and ohmygod just seeing the ocean and smelling salty air, redolent with the smell of rotting fish, made my heart skip a beat. I'm very serious, I really do like the fishy smell. I should create and market a dead fish candle, and I could call it "Fish Fancy." YES.
For those of you who haven't experienced the Oregon Coast, I fear I must heed a warning - this is not your stereotypical beach experience.
Weather wise - I have visited four times (once to Astoria), all during the summer months, and never have I encountered a temperature above 68 degrees. In fact, low 50s was the norm, coupled with a cool ocean breeze. In August. Unless you have been bitten by a radioactive spider that gave you superhuman warming abilities (which is only like, the least desirable of all the superpowers), bikinis won't really be happening. I'm sure it does get warmish once in a blue moon, but you shouldn't count on it. On another note - the coastal towns can lack a certain charm that you might find in areas like Cape Cod or Key West. Quaint and weathered shingled cottages can be found along highway 101, but they are sandwiched between outlet malls and fast food. The quintessential retro beach vibe is not alive and well out here, it is a bit more derelict and damaged, with some shining spots to explore.
However, if you can overlook some of the less picturesque aspects and pack a sweater (or three) , there are some amazing things to see here. The actual beach areas are insanely gorgeous with rocky cliffs, windswept dunes and the everpresent fog. Lighthouses dot the coastline, and the antique stores are out of this world. We visited the Yaquina Head Lighthouse in Newport, and got a great view of the puffin population that inhabits the rocky shores. Yes, mother f$%^ing puffins.
The lighthouse was gorgeous, but there appeared to be an infestation of kelp flies. And by infestation, I mean that they were crawling in every bodily orifice possible. I found 7+ trapped in my hair. They were on my ears. In my ears. LOML had at least 14 of them on his back at one point. The oddest part is that NO ONE else appeared to be bothered by this. We politely informed a woman with a young child that a small mound of flies were assembling on her back for their town meeting, and it did not appear to concern her at all that their leader was making its way towards her eyeball. This distresses me greatly, so I have to stop writing about it, but just know that you have been warned.
As we fled to the car, we shut the doors to find the flies congregating on our windows in vast numbers. I honestly felt like I was the leading lady in a hitchcock film, and ordered LOML to "drive, you fool!" with a frenzy that should've earned me an Oscar nom.* I was ROBBED I tell you.
We also visited some antique shops, including the fantastic Pirates Plunder marketplace with some incredible taxidermied bats. I wanted them all. We also visited the Historic Bay Front of Newport, and I cannot for the life of me decide which was more disorienting - the barking sea lion frenemies, putrescent odor of rotting shrimp guts coating the pavement, or the local drunks. Yes yes, I'm being contrary, why does rotting fish smell lovely while rotting shrimp makes me gag? It just does. Sadly, I do not know know the answers to all of life's mysteries.
But my favorite part of the trip was Nye Beach. This little inlet may be one of the few classically quaint coastal spots, with lovely shops and adorable restaurants and a view of Yaquina Light House. We walked here to collect sea shells and abandoned crab claws (for necklaces, of course) and got a view of the sunset like I've never seen. Ended the night with drinks at Nana's, the Irish Pub, to warm up and decided that next time, we might just skip the rest and come straight here.
*This may possibly contain a hint of an exaggeration.