Moving South Down the Coast

Sunday 10/27: From Seattle we decided to take the scenic drive down the Washington Coast into Oregon and then down through the Oregon Coast. We passed through several curious little towns including Tacoma, Olympia and Aberdeen in Washington.

As we pulled into South Bend Washington, we immediately knew we had to stop. The Oyster Capitol of the World. Located on the scenic shores of the Willapa Bay, this very small fishing town consists of the main road scattered with mom and pop seafood restaurants, a few shops and fishing docs, boats and nets and small neighborhoods in the distance.
One out of every six oysters consumed in the United States come from Willapa Bay. Cate eats one out of every six oysters in 30 seconds.
We stumbled upon The Oyster Shack and Creepy Beautiful, a hidden little gem in town.
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We were walking around the outside of this part restaurant part shop when Russ approached us to ask if we needed anything. Russ and his lovely wife moved to South Bend from Portland last year for a different quality of life and to open the store/restaurant/outdoor oyster shack. The shop is an eclectic mix of clothes, knick knacks, soaps and bath products, antiques and jewelry. Really really beautiful stuff. The front part of the space is their restaurant featuring a mouth watering menu. Outside is a little shack where they sell oysters and fresh seafood – called, The Oyster Shack (duh!).  We had a blast talking to them about their journey moving their family of five from Portland to South Bend, opening Creepy Beautiful and of course all about South Bend’s oysters.
IMG_2269IMG_2254Lucky for us, we got to taste an oyster right out of the bay. These oysters are much bigger than we were used to, salty and firm. Absolutely delicious and so fresh. Russ and his wife sent us off with a detailed list of things to see, do and eat in Portland complete with their own personal favorite insider tips. It was an absolute pleasure meeting you both and we hope to be back to South Bend again to share more stories and oysters.
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Continuing along Route 101 with the Willapa Bay to our right and then the Columbia River to our left we were quickly approaching Oregon. The sun was out, the tunes were blasting, this was a gorgeous stretch. The 4 mile bridge that connects Washington to Oregon and brought us over the Columbia River was very industrial looking (a truss bridge, for all you bridge and architectural folks) and was very very long. Thankfully for us this time, our trunk was locked and no fear of our clothes flying out.
“Heyyyyy you guuuuuyssss.” Our next stop (and first stop in Oregon) was Astoria.
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For those of you big Goonie fans, this is where the movie was filmed and based. Michelle, being a HUGE HUGE HUGE Goonie fan was overly excited for this stop. The town is small, gorgeous views of the Columbia river, seals squaking in the backround and little shops and restaurants throughout town. Off to the Goonie’s house we go! We couldn’t believe that people actually live in this house. Don’t they get annoyed with all the folks that come to see the house? Goonie’s never say die.
For those of you big Kindergarten Cop fans (Cate included), the movie was also filmed here. Don’t pretend that wasn’t the high point of Schwarzenegger’s career….
From Astoria we stayed on Route 101 to Cannon Beach (which is on the coast). Several of you have suggested visiting Cannon Beach and it was not to be missed. You were right!
We arrived 8 minutes (exactly 8 minutes) before sunset, parked Stella and dashed down to the beach. We were amazed how many other folks had the same idea we did and were on the beach to catch one of the most stunning sunsets we have seen yet on this trip. The beach is about 4 miles long but feels much much longer and is very wide and vast.
You may have heard of Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, which beyond having been featured in several movies (Goonies included), is a series of rocks that are not only beautiful to look at from the shore, but accessible to walk to when it is low tide. The beach is also known for it’s tide pools where many starfish, crabs, sand dollars and other sea creatures call home.
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We took some time to drive around town and get our barrings and find a tasty place for dinner. We ended up at Bill’s Tavern and Brewhouse or a great delicious meal of fish burgers. YUM!
The town was a bit sleepy given that it was off season, but we were taken aback how friendly all the locals were – at dinner, as we were walking around and our adventures the next morning. After wandering around, we headed to the Inn at Haystack Rock. Best part, they have a huge movie selection to choose from. Post dinner included PJs, ice cream and Goonies! Having never seen the movie (don’t judge), Cate can now finally say she has seen the Goonies.
We started our morning at Insomnia Coffee Shop in town. If you find yourself in Cannon Beach, go go go go go. Amazing lattes and beautifully decorated. Makes you feel like you are having coffee in your living room with the couches, chairs, real silverware and flowers on every table. At least, that’s what we would love for our living room to look like!
We spent several hours wandering through different roads, walking through the main town and taking a long beach walk. The weather was spectacular and the town one of our favorites. Cannon Beach is more of an older population, but it is somewhere we both very much want to come back to. And for Cate, she could so see her parents loving it here. The town was very reminiscent of the Outer Banks (in North Carolina), where we both separately grew up going every summer as kids.
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It was hard to leave Cannon Beach, so relaxing, cute and friendly. Not to mention a spectacular beach scattered with sand dollars and crashing waves. Here are some of our favorite shots:
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But, we must keep going…

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