16 August 2010

PNW Links of Interest & Info

I know it is not obvious at all---but I LOVE the PNW!
And it may be quite surprising to you that even as much as I have traveled, there are still places I want to see that I haven't been to before--Klamath Falls, Mima Mounds, Diamond Lake, Puget Island, Nutty Narrows and others come to mind. One lifetime will never be enough to totally explore every little nook and cranny that make up the incredible place I call home:)
But what are my favorite places in the NW? Certain things are definite draws for me--the combo of water and mountains always is a biggee, just about any place with a Scandinavian heritage, forests, rural and small town areas.
Yes, I have spent time in the bigger cities of the Puget Sound as well as elsewhere ( and I have a HUGE soft spot in my heart for Seattle) but it is His gardens-the gardens God created that appeal the most to me.
Now having said that--here are some of my fav places on the northern and central Oregon coast (I am starting with them because of a special request for info on the Oregon coast). Of course I will add a little additional info on my beloved Washington too:)
I LOVE parks---and the PNW region has many good ones! Here are links to Washington state parks and one to Oregon state parks. Visitors might be surprised to find that you don't necessarily need a camper, trailer or tent either; many parks are now offering yurt and cabin rentals.

I LOVE wildlife refuges! Some you can just drive by but others allow you to actually walk into the area. I've been to a couple, but I have several more on my list for visits this autumn and winter in Oregon and Washington. Here is the link for the NWR site (you will find a map to click on for the state you want to visit).
I LOVE historical--anything. Give me some Victorian houses, old forts, pioneer cemeteries, etc and I am as happy as a clam (not that any clams I've ever seen looked happy!). Needless to say I LOVE Pt Townsend and Pt Gamble (WA) and Astoria (OR)---of course I pour over travel books and have a long, long list of places with pioneer churches, historic buildings and Victorian homes. If you also share this interest and are traveling to Oregon I would go to the Astoria-Warrenton area! Oh and this area also has totally yummy Scandinavian bakery items...and a great state park (Ft Stevens), wonderful places to photograph (filming locations, Astor Column, the waterfront, etc). Here is a link to their chamber of commerce. I think of Astoria as a little Scandinavian San Francisco on the edge of lots and lots of trees. I especially love to view it from atop Coxcomb Hill and from the Young's Bay Bridge--oh and from the area near the Goonies house!
Also, there is a bridge--a long, long one--that crosses over to WA here in case you want to continue your tour of the PNW coast on Highway 101.

I better make a little disclaimer here--I am not in any way associated with any of these chambers-I am just posting their links here as that is where I usually go if I want to see photos /videos of an area I am interested in and needing info about lodging, local attractions, etc. The same goes with restaurants, etc I may talk about.

Further south (and please understand there are some great areas in between) is Cannon Beach-home of Haystack Rock--much loved and much photographed offshore rock formation. This town reminds me -- a bit -- of Carmel, CA--at least the Carmel I remember. Lots of shops, pretty parks--haven't been here for awhile but liked it when I visited the area.

Moving south again--Tillamook! Think green pastures, dairy farming, cheese factories, blimp history, a big bay and you will have an idea of what this area looks like. Nearby is the well known Three Capes road---you will want to see it if you like rugged headlands and a good camera. North are the small communities of Garibaldi and others.

And southward again: the Lincoln City area. Here I like Siletz Bay and Gleneden Beach the best. Lots of art galleries, kites, shops, etc. Devil's Lake is nearby with a park too and the famous D River. Not too far south from here is Boiler Bay -- a good viewpoint area off the highway. You will figure out quickly why it was named that:)

On the road again--you would pass by Depoe Bay (smallest bay) with a great seawall and lots of little shops. I will let you google for their chamber. Keep in mind that all beaches in Oregon are publicly owned and that there are many, many state parks the entire length of Highway 101--the coast highway.

Newport--picturesque bridge and waterfront, lighthouse, aquariums, beaches. shops, etc.

And our final stop for this post Florence. Let's just say sand dunes, lakes and a great state park! Believe me the coast south of here is also amazing! Bays, cranberries, more parks, rock formations, etc....my advice would be to look for photos of an area that sounds interesting and then seek more information. The coast in Oregon is usually divided into three sections if that is of any help--north, central and south.

Lodging: many types available. Bed & Breakfasts, motels, hotels, resorts, rental cabins/houses, state park lodging, etc. You can start by checking out the chamber sites. Often then I check a travel book I have or one of the trip ratings sites. Personally I have stayed in rental houses, motels, resorts and camped at the parks but I am not making any recommendations here for a variety of reasons.

Food: lots available in all different price ranges. Mo's is probably the best known one and they have several locations. I've also eaten and liked Wildflower Grill (near Lincoln City), Camp 18 (Elsie, inland from the coast a bit in the forest), Salishan (a resort in the Siletz Bay area) and Side Door Cafe (Gleneden Beach area). What is also fun is just buying some fresh or smoked fish at one of the local fish markets and grilling it at one of the many parks. Or buying the makings of a picnic and eating it along a lake or at the ocean. BTW--this is not a complete list--I have eaten at various locations up and down the coast but there are just too many to list:) You can also check out various rating sites and make your own decisions. Again, I have no association with any of these establishments.

Attractions: well besides the forests and coast range which are close by...and the ocean with its rugged capes and sandy beaches, several scenic river byways, big and small bays, etc--there are aquariums (Keiko lived at one of the Newport ones for a bit), deep sea fishing, historical -- maritime and other museums, salt water taffy, art galleries, etc. Just check out the links above or do a search on google. Of course keep in mind that many places also have events going on--festivals, farmer markets, etc.

Hope that is helpful...at some point I will provide more links to sites on the WA coast also but if you are already interested you can search for info on Ilwaco, Cape Disappointment, Long Beach, Aberdeen, etc. Regarding time to visit the PNW coast--a personal choice really. Summer is the busiest time there--when I go then it is often during the week as I like less crowds, more availability. Early autumn is also great if you are traveling over the coast range to get to the coast--because of the fall colors and normally good weather. The PNW, as you all probably know, is known for its rain, fog in certain areas and storms but I have visited the coast in winter and found it warm at times and stormy-rainy at others or icy. Every year is different but the coast tends to be milder in temperature then inland areas--the southernmost coast can actually have more CA type weather. Again check with the local chamber of commerce sites.
Blessings & Peaceful Dreams,
Photo: Astor Column, Astoria
Note: all the links above have great photos or slide shows of the area they represent along with other helpful information for the visitor. You will also find more photos in my link to coastal areas, on wikipedia and on other websites. Soon I will be posting photos and info for Camp 18 and Wildflower Grill since we had great meals at both this most recent visit and since they offer other attractions besides food:) Night all!

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