North from Newport to Manzanita Ore.

Greetings from our little treehouse high above the ocean in the small coastal town of Manzanita where we’re staying in the third floor “Starseeker suite,” of the Inn at Manzanita, all light wood, cedar shingles and windows – plus a balcony looking out over the treetops and roofs at the Pacific.

Yesterday afternoon at the Sylvia Beach Hotel was very relaxing. After several walks along the beach, we gave in to the comforts of the hotel’s third floor living room/library, curled up in worn arm chairs  in front of windows  with unfettered ocean views and read and fell asleep.

The hotel’s infamous dining experience – where you sit at communal tables and play a get-the-conversation-going game called “two truths and a lie” – turned out to be a lot of fun, in part because we were seated with a very nice group of people – a young guy celebrating his 38th birthday with his girlfriend and parents. The young folks from Portland, the parents from Eugene – and all interesting.  The game is a good icebreaker – you tell two truths and a lie and everyone else gets three questions then guesses which is the lie. Food was served family style and also was very good – more crab cakes but these were different from the previous night’s, a good salmon mousse, homemade bread and a green leaf salad with citrus and avocado, fancy mashed potatoes, berry cobbler.

We drove this morning north from Newport on our best weather day yet – sunny, even warm, with less wind than past days – stopping briefly to gawk at the Salishan Lodge, which did live up to its billing as the coast’s most elegant resort (my parents stayed there 30 years ago when, I’m told, it was a little humbler.) Then on to Three Capes loop, a spectacular 35-mile drive to Tillamook. Just before town, we found – thanks to our Fodor’s – a beautiful and empty beach, walking through waist high green brambles and vegetation atop sand dunes over a crest and onto a wide open white sand beach, all to ourselves. That was nice. You can find it about 9 miles w of Tillamook – Bay Point Split is the name on the turnoff, I think. Named after a town that fell into the Ocean during a fierce storm.

We skipped the huge cheese factory in Tillamook but did stop at the smaller Blue Heron French Cheese factory – and got some good brie and a baguette fresh out of the oven for a light picnic in a county park a little north in Garibaldi (where we watched a coast guard helicopter hovering over a cutter in what appeared to be a practice mission.)

The drive north to Manzanita and then Cannon Beach offered perhaps the most spectacular from-the-road views we’ve had, as we drove high along a mountain road with the blue ocean just below and large rocks jutting up from the water. Cannon Beach was, as advertised, a bit too much like Carmel – tasteful but still touristy. Glad we stayed here instead. We also drove quickly into and out of seaside, which had an old Jersey Shore feel to it.

In Cannon Beach, we parked near the elegant Stephanie Inn (which looked smaller and quainter in real than on its website) and walked on the beach by the classic  Haystack Rock in the late afternoon. Stunning.

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