Nature’s Rugged Artistry
The Beaver State’s boulder-strewn shoreline is 362 miles of perfection, with craggy, ocean-carved sandstone lining some stretches and other areas where forest runs right down to the water’s edge, sheltering peaceful farmland and picturesque towns.
Follow Route 101 for one of the most awe-inspiring drives in America, beginning at Astoria, near the Washington border at the mouth of the Columbia River, where you’ll see massive basalt sea stacks such as 235-foot Haystack Rock (on Cannon Beach). The route runs south toward Brooking Harbor, passing a wide-open, tumultuous seascape full of galloping waves and 600-foot sand dunes – some of the highest in the United States, often draped in fog and rolling mist.
One of the classiest hotels of the coast is the Salishan Lodge and Golf Resort, on Siletz Bay. Big yet environmentally sensitive to its 350-acre private pine and cedar groves, its reputation is built primarily around its championship-caliber golf course and a restaurant that knows its way around the Northwest’s specialty seafood-and-game cuisine. Its acclaimed wine cellar is so prodigious it offers guided tours.
Newport’s quirky Sylvia Beach Hotel (named for the American owner of the Shakespeare and Co. bookstore in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s) is the coastline’s most notable refuge, a gourmet treat perched on a bluff above surf-pounded beach. Its 1912 green-shingled building has twenty guest rooms decorated to evoke the spirit and work of various authors.
Ask for any of the “classic” rooms – Agatha Christie, Colette, Mark Twain – which come with fireplaces, balconies, and views of the pounding Pacific. The hotel’s Tables of Content restaurant is ranked one of the best in the state.
In the extreme south of the state, 30 miles north of the California border, Gold Beach lies at the mouth of the wild Rogue River, one of many that empty into the Pacific, creating a seacoast rich in bays and coves.
Seven miles upstream is the Tu Tu Tun Lodge, a handsomely appointed fisherman’s retreat with an acclaimed restaurant featuring the bounty of the nearby river, ocean, and forests. The Rogue River’s run of Spring Chinook salmon, one of the finest eating fish, is world famous, as is its steelhead trout season (August-October).