Can I just say, I think this was the most beautiful week at the coast we’ve ever had? Only one day was overcast and a bit misty–the rest of the time it was just sun, sun, sun. Glorious temperatures, beautiful sunsets, and that fabulous salt-air smell. I couldn’t get enough of it…it was so hard to leave Friday afternoon.
The amazing view from Ecola Lookout.
Most of my pictures are totally screwy, light-wise. It was so gleamingly bright that they all came out overexposed, or looking like it’s overcast. Oh well. It was unbelievably gorgeous.
After Ecola (where we met my brother, quite by accident, and then saw my parents on our way out), we all headed to lunch at Dooger’s, our favorite place for chowder. That. chowder. is. crack. It’s like a pure cream soup, diluted only by a bit of steeped-in thyme and paprika, some finely chopped potatoes, and CLAMS. That broth is infused with a fantastic fresh-clam savor, mildly reminiscent of the salt air outside, and the clams themselves are mouthwateringly tender. Unbelievable. There’s a place in Cannon Beach called Mo’s that insists they have “World-Famous Clam Chowder,” and I’d like to know just what crack they’re smoking. World famous for WHAT? I’d like to ask. It’s the pastiest potato soup you’ve ever seen, and it smells like deep-fried seafood. Gak. Also, the world-famous claim makes me laugh. Oh really? Do the French know about your soup? They’re talking about it over in Hong Kong?
Anyway, enough food snobbery. We rolled ourselves, groaning, out the door after an enormous bowl of chowder and a open-faced crab sandwich, picking up some handmade caramels on the way, only to discover we were too early to check in at the hotel. So off to the grocery store we went! There’s a store in town called Mariner Market, about which we have a few inside family jokes. It’s darling, and has all the essentials, but it’s incredibly overpriced. We love it! But for this large shopping trip, we drove up to Seaside to the good ol’ mundane Safeway and stocked up. Our hotel, the Tolovana Inn, is made up of privately owned condominiums with kitchenettes and either one or two bedrooms. They can also be rented as bedroom-only, but we got a whole suite to ourselves. (Thanks, Mom!) So lots of groceries for french toast breakfasts and fresh crab dinners were in order. Not to mention marshmallows and Fudge Stripe cookies for s’mores!
We treated ourselves to a week full of eating, laying around, walking on the beach, laying around, tidepooling, taking the kids to make sandcastles, eating, swimming in the pool, and staying up late to look at the stars. Oh, and have I mentioned the eating? Fresh Tillamook ice cream, breakfast at the Pig ‘N’ Pancake (which feels like having breakfast in a giant treehouse, and also serves amazing Oregon blueberry pancakes), real saltwater taffy, desserts at Bella Espresso (with a Rav friend!), and more chowder. Also, let me just say right now that the best pizza I’ve ever had in my life is in Cannon Beach–it’s at a place called Pizza a’fetta, and just walking by the restaurant smells like satisfaction on a plate. Le sigh.
The best part of the whole trip was our bonfire on the beach. We had to stake out a fire ring waaaay before dark, and then as the sun slipped into the ocean, we lit things up. We made the aforementioned s’mores, and Mom brought down raspberry-filled ebelskiver. Yum!
But the amazing part was the stars. I don’t know what it is about the night sky near the ocean–I’ve seen many a starry night out in the woods, away from the interfering lights of the city, and it’s beautiful. Amazing, really, how many stars are up there. But for some reason, near the ocean, the stars twinkle more. They shimmer. You can see colors like you never have before. On this particular night, the stars were so jam-packed up there that there didn’t seem to be a space that wasn’t filled. I couldn’t even make out the Big Dipper–it was hidden in between thousands of stars I can’t usually see. And as we walked out toward the water, staring up at the sky in wonderment, we realized that we’d never seen the tide out so far. We just kept walking and walking, and I began to feel like I was walking out into something other-worldly. The waves seemed to never come closer, no matter how long I walked toward them. The sky loomed larger, and yet closer the longer I looked at it. I felt almost lost in a nowhere-land…a little wrinkle in space where everything seemed so much larger and more overwhelming than it ever had before.
It made me feel so small–just a tiny cog in the machine. But a part of the enormous whole. I stood there with my family and just…lost myself.
I can’t wait until next time.