West Coast Envy – Home From Our Honeymoon!

Vacation to the Oregon Coast | Will Cook For Friends

Hello, everyone!

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.

Vacation to the Oregon Coast | Will Cook For Friends
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!

Vacation to the Oregon Coast | Will Cook For Friends

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!

Vacation to the Oregon Coast | Will Cook For Friends

Web ready set 5-4

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…

Vacation to the Oregon Coast | Will Cook For Friends
Going on an adventure across the grass-covered dunes.

Vacation to the Oregon Coast | Will Cook For Friends
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?

Vacation to the Oregon Coast | Will Cook For Friends
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.

Vacation to the Oregon Coast | Will Cook For Friends
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 heart stomach, and I’m not just saying that because I was under the spell of vacationy-goodness. If you ever find yourself in a little town called Yachats Oregon, you absolutely MUST visit this restaurant.

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.

But The Green Salmon was only one of the many incredible eateries within walking distance of where we were staying. Plus there were farmer’s markets galore, and shops with locally grown produce, fresh caught seafood, and other artisanal things. By the end of our trip I was saying, “screw the ocean, I want to stay for the food!”

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.

Pan-seered salmon over risotto, with chanterelle and garlic white wine sauce

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.

Vacation to the Oregon Coast | Will Cook For Friends

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?

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10 Responses to West Coast Envy – Home From Our Honeymoon!

  1. movita beaucoup September 1, 2013 at 11:46 am #

    Perfectly idyllic! Your photos capture a mood, a feeling… and now with two photographers in the family? Watch out interwebs…

    Welcome home!

  2. shannon weber September 1, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

    I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS; AND I AM SHOUTING ABOUT IT WHICH MEANS I AM SERIOUS. :) I’m so happy you’re back!!
    who would ever give anyone funny looks about taking a honeymoon in Oregon? Oregon sounds magical to me, and obviously i am right, given your stories and photos of the trip. I would go there in a heartbeat; no wonder you didn’t miss the internets; starfish and ocean and awesome coffee shops and locally sourced meals? i wouldn’t miss it either. You look as if you had an incredible time; i’m so happy it was great. You make me want to visit Oregon now even more than I already did before.

    • Willow Arlen September 11, 2013 at 1:27 am #

      Haha — thanks, Shannon! Going to the coast was just incredible, I definitely recommend it if you ever get the chance!

  3. Melissa Sulista September 1, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

    Great post! Sounds like a wonderful trip! I’m going to have to add that destination to my vacation wish list! I’m in Phoenix, so I’m already a lot closer!Congrats on the marriage! Many more happy years and vacations ahead of you!
    Melissa

    • Willow Arlen September 11, 2013 at 1:28 am #

      Thank you! Visiting the coast was incredible, I highly recommend it if you ever have the chance to get out that way. :)

  4. carey September 2, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    Oh my goodness. This is making me want to travel to the pacific northwest so. darn. much. The photos are beautiful, and the scenery is so gorgeous! (Those starfish!!!) And the thought of being able to get fresh fish and all that amazing produce is making my heart melt. My heart home is the northeast, so I know I’d never permanently relocate to the other side of the country, but I will DEFINITELY need to make a trip out there asap.

    So happy you two had such an amazing time, and so glad you shared this with us! (:

    • Willow Arlen September 11, 2013 at 1:30 am #

      Thanks, Carey! The local produce and seafood was definitely yanking at my heart strings as we flew back home. Definitely a little tougher to find here in the middle of the country!

  5. [email protected] September 3, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

    Lovely trip and photos. I’m a Pacific Northwest transplant from Florida. I LOVE It here. I’m up a little farther in the San Juan Islands. Put it on your list for next time you’re out west. cheers, wendy

    • Willow Arlen September 11, 2013 at 1:30 am #

      Will do! Hopefully we’ll be able to make it back to the coast sometime, it really was a great way to spend our honeymoon.

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