Since the name of this blog is ‘Baking in Oregon’, I thought it would be a good idea, from time to time, to talk a bit about my home state. I was born here, have grown up here, and will probably spend the rest of my life here. I’ve traveled a bit, and seen some very beautiful places around North America, but when it all comes down to it, I love Oregon. I’ve been excited to see visitors to my little blog from all over the world. To those of you returning for a visit and to those visiting for the first time – welcome, I’m glad to have you stop by.
For the benefit of those outside of the United States and who those may not be familiar with the location of Oregon, we are on the west coast of the United States, immediately north of California and immediately south of Washington State. We refer to our region as the ‘Northwest’, a term you’ll probably see me use from time to time, a term which typically includes Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.
Before we get too far, let me start by saying that ‘Oregon’ is pronounced ‘or-eh-gun’, not ‘or-y-gun’ or ‘or-y-gon’ as it is sometimes heard from non-Oregonians. I thought I would highlight a few key things about Oregon for those who may not know much about us here. For this post, I’m focusing on one of my favorite areas, the Oregon Coast.
The Oregon Coast is far too big a topic to cover in one post, so I just want to give a little summary of what you’ll find, along with a few photos I’ve taken. You can find a variety of different types of features on the Oregon Coast. The Oregon Coast stretches 362 miles, from the northern tip of California to the Columbia River (which separates Oregon from Washington). Along the coastline you’ll find sandy beaches, rocky cliffs towering 100′ above the surf, low level wetlands and estuaries, and massive sand dunes. You can find just about anything on our coastline. Old growth forests line much of the coast. Thankfully, those who came before us had the foresight to protect much of this land. In 1913, the State Legislature passed a law leaving our coastline as public land, accessible by anyone, anywhere, anytime as well as placing restrictions on development. While a small amount of coastal land is privately owned (ownership that occurred prior to 1913), the rest remains public land, a ruling which was upheld by the Beach Bill of 1967. Only Hawaii provides as much protection of public beaches as does Oregon.
The towns that dot the coast host a vast array of shops and attractions from wineries, seafood restaurants (clam chowder and salmon being two foods we’re well known for here), bakeries, sweet shops (saltwater taffy, fudge, chocolates and ice cream), knick-knack shops, art galleries, kite shops, clothing stores, aquariums, museums, arcades and many others. For activities, you can try your hand at deep sea fishing, camping, hiking, sailing, horseback riding, golfing (Bandon Dunes is rated as one of the top 50 golf courses in the world), mountain biking, motorcycling (touring and off-road), swimming, surfing, beachcombing, scuba diving, dune buggy riding, climbing, bird watching, historical tours and even sun-bathing (okay, maybe not year-round, but definitely in the summer time).
You won’t find any large cities on the Oregon Coast, which gives it a more ‘rustic’ feel. There are some cities and towns (populations up to 4,000 to 10,000) that cater to the tourist trade, but sometimes the little places in-between can be some of the most interesting. You can reach the entire coast along Highway 101, which extends the entire length of the coast. NPR called the tourist traffic on Highway 101 the worst in the United States. I don’t know about that, but I can say you won’t be using Highway 101 to make ‘good time’.
There is something very peaceful about the Oregon Coast. At less than 2 hours from downtown Portland, it’s an easy day trip, but it’s isolated enough to feel like you’ve really gotten away from the hustle and bustle of the city. When I want to relax, it’s my first destination of choice.
I’ve included some photos I’ve taken of Cape Mears Lighthouse and the surrounding area. The Oregon Coast has 7 Lighthouses spread across its length. I love photography, and lighthouses, for whatever reason, are one
of my favorite subjects. The lighthouse you see here is located just 20 minutes outside of Tillamook, OR (have you ever had Tillamook Ice Cream or Cheese, that’s where it’s made) it’s an easy drive off Highway 101 along the Three Capes Loop. It’s the shortest lighthouse on the Oregon Coast at just 38 feet tall, which isn’t a problem as the lighthouse is located 217 feet above the Pacific Ocean on a rocky cliff. The location of the lighthouse is a State Park and is a great place to get some photos or relax for a nice picnic. The walk down to the lighthouse from the parking area is short and paved, but quite steep, so be prepared for a little work on the return trip. I took a series of photos this day as a storm front moved right past me (because of the questionable weather, I was the only one there at the time – big loss for everyone who didn’t see what I saw that day – beautiful). I’ve placed 2nd and 3rd in two different photo contests with photos from the series of shots I made that day.
If you’ve enjoyed this post on Oregon, please leave a comment, I’d like to know what you think. I’ve got plans for more ‘…in Oregon’ posts, so your feedback will be helpful.