Oregon Road Trip: Summer Love in Cannon Beach
I could stop the story right there. It pretty much sums it up. I won’t leave you hanging though. I’ll tell you exactly why I feel in love with Cannon Beach, Oregon, but first, I need to start at the beginning.
The ocean crept into my blood at an early age. I grew up going to the Jersey Shore on hot summer days. In college we would head to the beach at night to hang out and cool off from the Savannah heat. My first job after graduation was in the Hamptons, where I spent lunches sitting on the beach in between photo shoots.
We never visited the coast when we first moved to Seattle. Six years later and I decided that needed to change. At dinner with a girlfriend one night I hatched a plan to road trip down to the Oregon Coast with a pit stop at Mount St. Helens and stay in Portland on the way home. What better weekend to take a last-minute trip than the Fourth of July, a national holiday here in the U.S. Yes, it was insane, but our family really needed it.
As soon as we pulled up to our hotel I wondered what had taken us so long to check out the Pacific ocean. The waft of sea air ran past my nose beckoning me to ditch the bags and check out the freezing coastal waters. Sadly we had to get the kids to bed instead, but tomorrow, tomorrow! we would squish our toes in the sand.
It’s not surprising that Dek woke up earlier than usual. That’s putting it mildly. In fact he was up at 5:30am. This was after going to bed past 10pm because our room was blasted with sunlight with no blackout curtains in our room, and the sun doesn’t set before 10pm in the Pacific Northwest in July.
I really didn’t care though. On the first day of any trip I can’t really sleep in. Mike on the other hand has no problems. I grabbed Dek, plopped a sleeping Ty in the Ergo and we headed for the beach. I just couldn’t wait any longer.
Dek found himself a hole that had been dug the night before during the 4th of July festivities and made camp. He was not moving. Well except to jump into it over and over again. Jumping is very big in our house at the moment.
Wandering through town
Once the sun had come up and started to bake my intrepid hole digger (not to mention me), we shook Mike awake and declared it was time to eat. A trip to the Pig N’ Pancake, a Cannon Beach institution I’ve been told, was definitely in order, along with a walk around town to see just what it had to offer.
Like many beach towns it had it’s usual tourist shops filled with sweatshirts, t-shirts, hats, water bottles and key chains with “Cannon Beach” splashed across them. I’m always tempted to buy a sweatshirt whenever we go to a beach town. I have no idea why. Everyone looks so cool wearing them. I on the other hand do not pull off the sweatshirt look all that well. The sleeves are always too short on the size that fits me, so I have to go at least one size up, which just makes me look frumpy; not a look I am going for right after having another baby.
More than tourist gear there was candy. And ice cream. And fudge. Saltwater taffy, which I thought only existed at the Jersey Shore, was bursting out of bins at the Picnic Basket, one of the many sweet spots on the main drag through town. I couldn’t resist buying a few hunks of fudge to take back to our room at The Courtyard either.
Don’t Miss the Sunset
We were only in town for one full day. That meant we had to see the sunset at Hay Stack, the iconic image of Cannon Beach, a mammoth rock that juts out of the sand. Maybe this doesn’t seem weird to you, but when the beach is perfectly flat and all of a sudden this sky high rock appears, it’s quite startling, and takes over the landscape. I have yet to see anything like it in my travels.
We’d been graced with clear skies our entire stay, a rarity in a spot that is known for its storm watching potential. I’d gotten a glimpse of the sunset the night before, but I really wanted to walk over to Hay Stack, something we hadn’t done yet, and take pictures. The walk would do us all some good too. Because you know, we hadn’t exhausted Dek enough after an early morning, no nap, and all play.
I don’t regret keeping Dek up and making him walk out to Hay Stack with us. I don’t regret skipping naps and having a kid who passed out on the 8-block car ride to dinner. Our time in Cannon Beach was our family at our best. It was just us, hanging out together, slowing way down so Dek could explore, getting to know our new little guy Ty a bit more as his personality continued to develop and shine through. I didn’t care that Dek was dirty and full of sand. He could hang out naked eating slices of nectarine and cheese on the patio for all I cared.
There is just something about beach life that slows me down, makes me forget my usual worries and responsibilities. I don’t get to sit back and relax very often, but that weekend I did. It was needed and even more necessary than usual after a crazy few months with a newborn in the house and a summer full of visitors. In fact, I had such an amazing time we are going back in a few weeks. I need to capture that free-spirited version of myself again. I miss her. She was fun.
Until next time Cannon Beach…until next time.
Do you have a place that helps you relax more than any other?