Oregon (Newport & Bend)
Updated: Jul 10, 2021
In the beginning of June Dave and I headed to the West Coast, the Pacific North West Coast that is. We took 12 nights and split them between Oregon and Washington. We started by flying into Eugene and since we arrived after midnight we decided to spend our first night there.
Eugene is home to the University of Oregon and the U.S. Track and Field Olympic trials and also to a great breakfast spot called Off the Waffle. Here, all dishes are made on top of a Liege waffle which is slightly sweeter then the Belgian waffle. We both had the Goat in Headlights and I added a side of bacon to mine. To add to the college hippy vibe there was a guy named Rooster playing the Blues on a guitar while we ate.
From Eugene we traveled 1hr and 45mins to the seaside town of Newport where we spent the next three nights on The Newport Belle, a paddleboat bed and breakfast. The Newport Belle is beautiful and cozy with only five rooms. It is permanently moored in the South Beach Marina and overlooks the Yaquina Bay Bridge. The owners, Randy and Paige were wonderful hosts and offered a nightly happy hour in the sunroom where drinks and an appetizer of the night were served. There, we got to meet the other guests. Some were Oregon locals on a staycation and others celebrating birthdays or anniversaries and even a college graduation all on longer vacations like us. We started each morning with a homemade three course breakfast made by Paige. For the main course she always offered a sweet or savory option that we decided on the night before.
What brought us to Newport was the Newport Half Marathon which we ran on our first morning there. After we got that out of the way it was time to explore the area. But first, we walked over to Rogue Brewery which was located in the same marina as our bed and breakfast where we had our customary after-the-race flight of beer.
After a short nap we traveled about a half hour south to the town of Yachats to look for Thor's Well. Thor's Well is also know as the "Drainpipe of the Pacific". It is an old sea cave that collapsed and appears to look like a well. As the wave crash into it the water sprays out and then drains back into the "well". You can see it in action from the video that I took.
After exploring some more we headed into the town where we had the best clam chowder of our trip at Luna Sea Fish House. They were serving take out only so we ordered two bowls and something to drink and sat outside on some picnic benches.
The next day after breakfast we drove North on the Oregon Coast Highway to the Devil's Punchbowl State Natural Area. To get to the beach area you had to walk down a bunch of steps where we found a beautiful beach with only one other person walking around beside a handful of surfers taking on the giant waves. Before going down to the beach you can go to the end of the street and look down from the cliff and you are looking into the Devil's Punchbowl, a hallow rock formation that resembles a giant punch bowl. As waves hit the formation the water enters and swirls around the "bowl" before draining in preparation for the next wave.
From there we continued some more North to Depoe Bay. Known as the World's Smallest Harbor and the Whale Watching Capital of the Oregon Coast. The waves were so strong that after they crashed onto the high seawall the water sprayed on the parked cars along the street. We were told that the Coast Guard often does training in that area due to the 25 plus foot waves.
On our trip back to Newport we stopped at the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area to visit the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, Oregon's tallest lighthouse at 93'. Not to be confused with the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, Newport's oldest structure and the only existing lighthouse in Oregon with the living quarters still attached. The Yaquina Bay Lighthouse is also the only existing wooden lighthouse still standing in Oregon. To visit the Yaquina Head Lighthouse we had to pay a $7 fee per vehicle and the actual tours of the building were closed due to Covid. As soon as we entered the park a deer hopped across our path. We then drove to the lighthouse where we were able to take pictures and walk along the trails. The area is known for their seabird nesting area but I was more interested in the harbor seals sun bathing at the shoreline. Scroll through the pictures below to see a photo recap.
On our last evening in Newport we went across the bay from our bed and breakfast to the Newport Marina, home of the largest commercial fishing fleet in Oregon. It is also home to the U.S. Coast Guard Station Yaquina Bay where the first U.S. Lifesaving Service Station was. This historic Bayfront had many quaint local shops to include the Newport Bay Candle Co and Latta's Fused Glass where we bought some souvenirs. There were plenty of locally owned restaurants serving delicious seafood. One of our favorites was Local Ocean where I learned that local Oregon shrimp are really tiny!
After enjoying our 4 days on the Oregon Coast it was off to Bend, Oregon to where we spent the next two days on the Bend Ale Trail. With over 20 craft breweries most within a 2 mile radius we were able to visit and try 7! They were:
Boneyard Beer and,
We also visited
Crater Lake Spirits Distillery and picked up a couple of bottles after sampling a variety of their finest whiskey and vodka.
We stayed in the heart of downtown Bend at an old converted Catholic school built in 1936 and converted into a hotel in 2004 called McMenamins Old St. Francis School Hotel. All of the rooms were named after Bend and church locals that had a significant impact to the town. Our room was named Klondike Kate, after a vaudeville singer/dancer who resided in Bend for some time during the first part of the 1900's. The hotel also had a soaking pool available to guests on a reservation only basis which we enjoyed. We were told to arrive at the front desk a few minutes before our reserved time in our bathrobes to check in. We did as we were told and then were given directions to the soaking pool which was actually in another building. As we exited the main building we found ourselves in the middle of the outdoor seating restaurant! Everyone looked up at us as we were the only ones in bathrobes and it was about 50 degrees outside. So we walked through the tables and then through the parking lot into the next building were we found the most majestic soaking pool. We had it all to ourselves for about 10 minutes until another couple came in. But that gave us enough time to take some good pictures. The hot water felt amazing since our legs were still sore from our half marathon just a few days prior.
There were many restaurants in Bend and in the nearby town of Sisters. Sisters was about a 20 minutes drive with many small locally owned shops. There I found an antique store where I bought a book on Klondike Kate. We had a delicious steak dinner at Tumalo Feed Co. Steakhouse just outside of downtown Bend. Followed by their marionberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream. (Marionberry is a type of blackberry developed by Oregon State University). The morning before we left we enjoyed breakfast at The Victorian Cafe where they specialize in eggs benedict serving over 10 different varieties.
From Bend we took Rt. 26 North to Washington. Just before leaving the state of Oregon we saw Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson, the #1 and #2 tallest mountains in Oregon. (This picture is of Mt. Jefferson.) We had a great time in Oregon with so much diverse nature to explore as well as history and different climates everywhere we went.