T-Hubs and I just returned from our honeymoon (and our first real vacation together) on the coast of Oregon. I would say it's good to be back, but to be honest with you, I would've been happy to just stay there. Waking up to that cool ocean air is definitely something I could get used to!
We had the incredibly good fortune of a friend offering for us to stay in their vacation house, perched right on the side of a mountain overlooking the ocean. There are very few hard-and-fast rules in life, but when someone offers you something like that, you just don't say no.
This was the first time either of us had been to the west coast, and there was so much to explore. Along the coast runs a scenic highway -- on one side, the ocean, and on the other, the mountains. You could be walking the beach one minute, and hiking the hills through old growth forests the next.
I was a little concerned that going more than a week without internet would drive me up the wall, but with all the sights to see and things to do, I didn't miss it at all. Like, not even a little. I maybe even considered faking my own death just so I could stay out there and not be bothered, but then T-Hubs pointed out we might be in trouble when our friends decided to return to their house on the coast. Him and his technicalities...
Since I couldn't freeze time and make our vacation last forever (or fake my own death), I took lots and lots of pictures instead.
The coastline, seen from a lookout on one of the many trails running through the mountains.
Before we left, I got a lot of funny looks when I told people where we were going. "Oh, you're taking your honeymoon on the coast of Oregon? Well that sounds... nice." was the reaction I got. Clearly none of these people had been there, because it turned out to be a pretty incredible place. If you ever have the chance to go out west, or if you live around the Portland area, I highly recommend taking a drive along the coast on highway 101. Oregon has public access all along its coastline, so everyone can enjoy its beauty. In some places you can walk the beach for miles!
Standing at the edge of the ocean feels a lot like standing at the edge of the world. On a foggy day, which many of them are, it seems to stretch forever -- water, into fog, into sky. It is humbling, and at the same time invigorating to feel the waves splashing at your feet.
This being our honeymoon, T-Hubs had the awesome idea of writing our wedding date in the sand and watching the tide come in and wash it away. It's been three months since we had our big day, and we still think of each other more as best friends than "husband-and-wife." I hope we always do!
When I was a kid, I made up a word for the feeling of squishing sand between one's toe. I believe the word was "moilamidge", because it sounded like such a squishy word to say. It seems silly now, but oh how I love that feeling!
Something about our trip made me feel like I was seven years old again, and I don't just mean because I got to walk barefoot in the sand... maybe the altitude change from the flight was going to my head, but somehow everything felt bigger and more magical than ever.
Maybe I need to get out more...
Going on an adventure across the grass-covered dunes.
When the tide was low, we ventured out onto a cluster of rocks and found hundreds upon hundreds of starfish and sea anemone clinging to them. All the starfish were orange and purple -- who knew?
Photographer in training -- look at him leaning to get the perfect angle. He's a natural!
Of course, all that adventuring worked up quite an appetite. I mean, this is me we're talking about, after all.
To be honest with you, we didn't know that much about the area before we arrived, so I had carefully planned ahead with a stock-pile of energy bars and trail mix in the event pickings were slim. Fortunately, we were able to save those for the flight back home, because one of the best parts of the entire trip was the food.
Ye Olde Green Salmon Coffee Shoppe - you can check out their website here: TheGreenSalmon.com
At the bottom of the hill from the house we were staying in was a small coffee shop / bakery called The Green Salmon. This place became our go-to watering hole during our stay, and the more we found out about it the more we came to love it -- we ate there every day, sometimes twice a day, in an effort to try everything on the menu. Every single thing we ordered was fantastic. This place will forever hold a special place in my
They call themselves a coffee shop, but as soon as you step inside you know it's so much more than that. From their huge selection of loose-leaf teas and unique in-house-roasted coffees, to their fresh-baked pastries and extensive menu of hot foods, every single thing was out of this world. This place was clearly a labor of love for all involved, and their high standards showed in everything they did. They even offered gluten-free and vegan options for many of their items!
Basically, I cannot sing their praises highly enough.
Chatting with them as we ordered our drinks in the morning quickly became something we looked forward to each day, and by the end of our vacation they knew us by name. We learned that not only was their food delicious, but they made a point of using locally sourced, organic, and fair-trade ingredients. Not to mention the many other green practices they followed, like composting, recycling, and using solar power, just to name a few. As if I wasn't already impressed!
One of our favorite things was their bearclaw -- a giant pocket of flaky pastry, filled with a mix of not-too-sweet berries and topped with cinnamon sugar and a drizzle of icing. Basically a toaster strudel the size of your face, only a million times better -- especially with one of their signature coffees. On the day we left we took one for the road, and ate it in the airport as a kind of last hurrah.
On one of our quieter evenings, I walked down to the shops to make a meal of my own. I came back with my arms full of chanterelle mushrooms ("they were harvested just this morning", the woman behind the counter told me), elephant garlic (grown by a couple just a mile or two up the road), and a fillet of fresh salmon, caught that very morning (from The Luna Sea Fish House, both a restaurant and the town's local fish monger). To a midwesterner like me, this was basically a fairy-tale come true.
Besides the rice I used to make the risotto, the entire meal came from within just a few miles, and everything was as fresh as could be. Even the wine was local. With ingredients this good, it's basically impossible to mess up a meal.
For dessert, we shared a handful of the freshest figs I have ever had the pleasure of biting into. Here in Michigan, I'm lucky to find any that aren't battered and bruised from being shipped across the country, and even luckier if they're actually ripe.
My mouth is watering just remembering the taste of all that great food. We ate like kings, and if it weren't for all the hiking I'm not sure how I would've handled it all. T-Hubs has a saying he likes to use to describe how he feels when life is good, and that is "fat, dumb, and happy". That's exactly what we were on this vacation -- fat, dumb, and very, very happy.
Taking our first trip together made me really excited about doing more traveling in the future. What are some of your favorite places you've been to, and what did you enjoy most about being there?