North Oregon Coast Press Trip: Day 3

7 03 2012

Day three started out in a relatively leisurely fashion. Breakfast was scheduled for 8:15 kitty-corner from the Sandy Cove Inn at a place called Auntie M’s. We were treated to an array of pastries, fresh fruit, coffee, and a very memorable set of quiches. Breakfast was relaxing and full of entertaining conversation.

As breakfast was winding down, I began percolating at the chance to get outside. We had an unanticipated break in the weather that was making my feet itch. We left breakfast and took a driving tour of Seaside that lead us down to the beach, and then to the Seaside end of the Tillamook Head Trail. In all actuality, this might have just made my itchy feet worse. Maybe it was the sun breaks through the misty trees, the smell of ocean air, or the fact that we had just witnessed a juvenile bald eagle swoop down from above; whatever it was, at that moment the Tillamook Head Trail looked like the most inviting trail I had ever laid eyes upon. But alas, today it was not meant to be. Our next stop was the Seaside Aquarium; the oldest privately owned aquarium on the west coast.

The Seaside Aquarium wound up being one of the more memorable places I visited. We were again treated to a behind-the-scenes tour that included what used to be living quarters on the 2nd floor of the building. Even more fascinating, however, was the skate egg case that we were allowed to peek at in the back of the aquarium. Then the coup de gras was watching our host, Keith Chandler, feed the seals.

We then traveled back to the beach where we met up with David Posalski, owner and operator of Oregon Storm Tours. We strolled near the lip of the surf with David, looking for sand dollars and listening to the wide array of tour options his company offers. Certainly intriguing enough to warrant a trip back to Seaside for one of David’s tours. I suppose at this point I should just go ahead and label trip theme four: On this tour, there will be a ton of stuff that I need to come back and try out myself. David’s tours being one of them.

We sauntered down the Seaside Promenade to our lunch stop. David treated us to lunch at another one of his companies, the Tsunami Sandwich Company. The chili might not have been my favorite, but the turkey sandwich I had (the Lighthouse) was epic. As somebody that wears numerous occupational hats, I really enjoy watching other people do the same. David transitioned from eco-knowledgeable tour guide into counter person/sandwich maker with graceful ease. It’s not an easy thing to do and I loved watching it. Another point of interest at lunch was the wall-enveloping, Seaside-ending tsunami mural that adorned one end of the store. It depicts a shop-view perspective of an apocalypse-sized tsunami bearing down on us. This I also loved.

Then the group went to the Funland Arcade on Broadway. The place was in fact, very fun. The arcade, of course, possesses all of the paycheck reducing midway games that I’ve grown to know and love. They also have a slew of new video games. But that’s not what we were there for. No, we were there to play Fascination. “What’s Fascination?” I’m glad you asked. Fascination is an old Amusement Park game that dates back to the early 1900’s. It is part skee ball, part bingo, and all awesome. The winner of each game was awarded a small trinket as a prize by the gentleman that was officiating play. By the way, I’m sure this man possesses a variety of talents, but on this day it appeared as if though he was born to moderate midway games. We played against each other for several rounds, each increasing palpably with competitive intensity. It’s amazing what the promise of a Seaside coffee mug will do to a group of over-fed and under-rested travel writers.

We bid adieu to Seaside and made our way down the coast towards Cannon Beach, stopping first at Ecola State Park. This was another spot I had visited before, and was very much looking forward to stopping at when I saw it on the itinerary. While soaking up the postcard views, we were lucky enough to glimpse a small family of elk grazing on the hillside. I took in the views, clean air, sunshine, and wildlife, with a broad smile on my face. I always feel better when I’m outside, but at that moment I was utterly content. It was now time to leave the park and check into our hotels.

The group would again split for the evening lodging-wise, and I feel like I might have drawn the big straw. I stayed at the Surfsand Resort and I can’t imagine a better room or better location in Cannon Beach. See that picture? That’s from the deck of my room. Bam! Since this is a blog post and not an actual article for a publication, I’ll save all the details about this place for the proper forum. I will, however, share the blog-worthy little fact that they provided me with a complimentary gift basket and a nice bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir. I probably shouldn’t boast about this too vociferously, but few things put a spring in my step like a free bottle of wine.

That night’s dinner was at the Driftwood Restaurant and Lounge. I should also mention that the meal was provided for us by Escape Lodging. Some of the folks on our tour stayed at one of their fine establishments that evening. Harkening back to trip theme four; I need to come back to Cannon Beach, the Ocean Lodge looked incredible. I regret that I didn’t get the chance to check out the other digs, the Lands End Hotel, as I heard that place was pretty much amazing as well. I digress. That night I had the Dungeness Crab Casserole. After all, it is crab season on the Oregon Coast and everywhere we went it was crab, crab, crab! When in Rome I suppose. The casserole did me proper. Tons of crab (shocker) baked in a sharp cheddar and parmesan sauce.

It turns out that a Dungeness Crab Casserole and two glasses of wine make a wonderful sleep aid. Now combine that meal with a Tempur-Pedic bed. On this evening I would sleep the slumber of kings. Check out the next morning was at 8am.

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