A Little Beach Therapy at the Oregon Coast

When I  need a break from my daily routine my favorite place to go is Oregon’s north coast beaches.  My grandparents on both sides of my family had homes there when I was young and it still feels like home to me when I drive by the places where we used to walk and go into the little shops we used to frequent.   Many of the businesses are gone and many of the old homes torn down and replaced by very expensive summer homes, but there is plenty left to bring back lots of wonderful memories for me.  I can remember going into PHILLIP’S  CANDY STORE with my grandmother before I was tall enough to see into the glass display cases. I took my own children and grandchildren there when they were growing up and I still like to stop by for a nostalgic visit.  The store opened in 1897 and I’m sure it is still visited by almost every single one of the thousands who visit SEASIDE every year.

I wasn’t sorry to see 2012 come to an end.  It was a rough year for my family and I’m hopeful that 2013 will be better.  A lot of changes are coming up for me this year and I needed some thinking time so I headed over to Seaside for a couple of days.  I have stayed in the same place for many years and love the big picture window that overlooks the ocean, the wood burning fireplace and the big comfy rocking chair in front of the window.  It has a tiny kitchen so I always stop at the local fish market and get a bit of whatever is in season…this trip it was fresh crab (that means one day out of the ocean), halibut, salmon and razor clams.  If this sounds like foodie heaven…it is.  I was so hungry for halibut fish and chips and did go out to lunch one day for the best in town.   Large chunks of moist, tender halibut served with crispy hot fries in a wax paper lined fryer basket.  Nice presentation, don’t you think?

Even though seafood is abundant here it is still expensive.
Crab in the shell is $6.99/lb, shelled is $28/lb.

 It is at it’s best right now and I think it is worth every penny.

The Oregon crabbing season opened on Monday, about a month late because they weren’t large enough to harvest.  Crab harvested off the Washington coast was available in the market so we had our traditional crab for Christmas.
I like to buy crab that is at least 2 pounds.

Central Oregon Coastline

The day I arrived the sun was out and the ocean was a beautiful deep blue. 

Can you imagine walking out your front door onto this wonderful beach?
All beaches in Oregon are publicly owned and everyone has access to them. 
And they are meticulously taken care of.  We Oregonians love and treasure them. 

Seaside Salt Cairn

Seaside, Oregon, is the end of the Lewis and Clark Trail.  This is a replica of the salt cairn that they used to get the salt they needed to survive.  Sea water was boiled in the pots along the top of the cairn until it evaporated and the salt was left behind.  This site is right off the beach several blocks north of where I stayed.  There is a beautiful monument in Seaside that commemorates the 18 month, 4,000 mile journey from St. Louis to the Oregon Coast.
If you come to Oregon you must visit this historical site.  

The winters’ must have been brutal here.  They can be windy, freezing cold and very wet.
One of the most famous West Coast landmarks, Haystack Rock, is just a few miles south of Seaside.



  1. says

    What a lovely trip. I’ve never been to the Oregon coast but would love to go. What a beautiful place to grow up visiting. Crab is my favorite seafood. We have a tradition in our family that we eat crab bisque every Christmas Eve and after seeing this post I might just have to make it one more time. I know what you mean about 2012 being kind of a rough year, it could have been better for us too. Here’s to hoping you have a great 2013!
    Karen Harris recently posted..Something from Nothing #7: Boxing Day Broccoli SoupMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Rhonda – If you have the opportunity to try crab someday you are in for a real treat. Our Dungeness crab is very mild and sweet and is wonderful prepared many ways. Hope 2013 will be a very good year for you as well.
      Cathy recently posted..A Little Beach TherapyMy Profile

  2. says

    Did you stay right there? In one of those cottages? The sea holds me tight when I visit..We stay right on the beach too..and not in a hotel..I am not at all fond of hotels.
    I too love the presentation of that meal.
    What pretty pics Cathy:)

    It looks like a beautiful area..I ave always loved your beach pics..
    I am so happy to see 2012 come to a close:)

    I am with you on this..apart from many other things:)
    Monique recently posted..Paris ~ Cookies.My Profile

    • says

      I stayed right on the beach, Monique, not too far from those home. They all are in the multi-million dollar range and the resort hotels close by them are from $250 to $500 per night. Our rustic little coast towns have become high class getaways. Travel Magazine named Cannon Beach one of the worlds top 10 beaches a few years ago. No cheap lodging there any more.
      Cathy recently posted..A Little Beach TherapyMy Profile

  3. says

    2012 will go down as one of the worse yrs in my life. This next yr. just had to be better. The one thing tho that kept me going was living here on the Oregon coast. I am 3 blocks from the ocean…..and while this yr has made it very hard for me to go on my beaches (due to illnesses), I did manage a couple times. But I have an enclosed back deck. Rain or shine , warm or cold , Ill wrap myself up in a big thick blanket and sit in my rocker to listen to the sounds of nature. And on a good day I can hear the ocean. It often lulls me to sleep out there. Its great therapy.
    Pat recently posted..Pancakes – baked , and they are square!My Profile

  4. says

    Sounds like a perfect place to go to clear your head and do a little thinking. Sorry it was a rough 2012 and hope 2013 is much better. Next time, give me a call and we’ll fly out, shop the seafood market and cook for us – the fish looks awesome.
    Larry recently posted..Oyster-A-Thon 2012My Profile

    • says

      Sounds like a great plan, Larry! You would love shopping in a fish market on the coast right now. They are filled with the most beautiful seafood you have ever seen. I can’t think of anything that sounds better right now than being served a plate of the amazing seafood you prepare. I would love some of those fried oysters I just saw on your blog.
      Cathy recently posted..A Little Beach TherapyMy Profile

  5. Debbie says

    I cannot think of a better place to go to regroup and find your peace. My sisters and I took my mom to the Oregon coast after my dad passed away in 1993 and we have made the trip again as ofter as possible. We found great solace there among the salty air and the crashing waves and we still need it to feed our souls. Thanks so much for sharing. I love the photos.

    • says

      Thanks, Debbie. The beach is a place where I can think things through and really de-stress. I hadn’t been there in awhile and forgot how important it is to get away from time to time. Seeing that huge ocean helps me put things in perspective.
      Cathy recently posted..A Little Beach TherapyMy Profile

  6. Pondside says

    The Oregon coast is a favourite of ours too – no better place for clearing the cobwebs and doing some serious thinking while you walk on the windswept beach. I can attest to the beauty of the beaches and to the fact that one can walk for miles without feeling that one is trespassing. It’s wonderful that they are so accessible and open.
    Of course, after reading your post I long for fish and chips for lunch!

  7. says

    Cathy, I know you’ve had a tough go and am so glad to see you getting to a place you love for some relaxation. Thanks for taking the time to upload photos and share. I’m surprised halibut is that expensive. I don’t feel so bad about spending $30/lb here in Denver. I have such fond memories of the Oregon coast, even with the one brief day spent driving from wine country. Next visit we’ll spend a couple days.
    Lea Ann (Cooking on the Ranch) recently posted..Black Bean-Chicken Tostada with Tangy Romaine, A Great TostadaMy Profile

  8. Joycelyn says

    We’re in BC, near Vancouver, & have been vacationing at Cannon Beach since the 70s, long before the fancy resorts bought out & demolished the smaller more intimate spots where you could rent a cute little cabin right on the beach. One of our favorite spots was the Major Motel (never did figure out why they called it a motel) where you could step out the door and be at the waters edge in a matter of minutes. It wasn’t a fancy place at all but had all that was needed, including a full kitchen, during our stay. Now if we want to be close to Haystack Rock, ( a wonder of nature in itself) to reach the beach from the place we stay, it’s a loooong trek down what seems a gazillion stairs, then a loooong trek across the sand before you can step foot in the oceans edge. Not to complain though, we still love Cannon Beach and of course our time in Seaside as well, and will be there as always come summer!

    • says

      Hi Joycelyn –
      We LOVED The Major Motel and always stayed there. The funky little cabins with great views were right on the beach and were always cozy and warm. Some of my family’s best beach memories were created there. Even as a single mother raising 3 children I could afford to take my family there on a regular basis. I was sick when it was torn down and a fancy resort hotel constructed in it’s place. We have never stayed in the new hotel because the rates start around $275 per night. Most of the original little motels are gone now and many of us who called the beach our second home can’t afford to stay there any more. I like The Tides in Seaside, comfortable and reasonable, with great ocean views. Thanks so much for commenting.
      Cathy recently posted..A Little Beach TherapyMy Profile

  9. Aimee says

    Oh how I LOVE the northern Oregon coast too! That fish looks absolutely amazing—and I love halibut:) May I ask which restaurant you ate at?
    I’m glad you had this quiet time away Cathy…I pray that God will walk alongside you as you go through this year.

    • says

      Hi Aimee –
      I had lunch at The Wayfarer at the south end of Cannon Beach. It’s a very nice restaurant and the food was good, but a bit more expensive than I like. ($30 for fish and chips and 1 glass of wine) My favorite place is Bill’s Tavern on the main street in Cannon Beach. Great food, good beach vibes and reasonable prices. They are closed for 2 months for remodeling. Several of my other favs have gone out of business unfortunately. My favorite meal is a cooked crab that I crack myself. I paid $12 for a 2-pounder and had that for dinner one night along with a few saltines and a little melted butter.
      Cathy recently posted..A Little Beach TherapyMy Profile

      • Aimee says

        Oh yes…I am quite familiar with the Wayfarer and their good food. I will have to try Bill’s next this spring once they finish their remodel—I do love good fish!

    • says

      Hi Linda – I don’t know if I have ever tried haddock. If I was in Maine I think I would be concentrating on the lobster. That is a treat I very seldom indulge in. But it’s hard to beat good fish and chips.
      Cathy recently posted..A Little Beach TherapyMy Profile

    • says

      You would think you were in foodie heaven if you were in one of our fish markets, Sam. There was one whole case of different kinds of smoked fish. Sometimes I don’t even know where to start. I want to buy one of everything.
      Cathy recently posted..A Little Beach TherapyMy Profile

  10. says

    Wow, I always thought seafood would be cheaper there. That seems really high to me.

    Beautiful pictures.

    I imagine I would not like that cold off the water. Hate winter as it is.

    I’m glad 2012 is over too. Looking forward to getting back on track in 2013.

  11. says

    I started thinking about your post Sunday when I first read it. Chores and 2 grandsons got in my way until this morning :)

    I am so sorry that you had a rough 2012, Cathy, and I hope the changes you say that are coming won’t be too sad for you. I hate change also but I try to bend with the times. Sometimes, it is very, very hard though. 2012 was not a bad year for me, thankfully. Others have been far worse. I will hope that 2013 brings happiness and strength to you, no matter what you are facing.

    Gorgeous photos! What a marvelous place. Sad it has gotten out of reach for average people though.
    Susan recently posted..Triple Chocolate Mousse CakeMy Profile

  12. says

    What a lovely trip you made!

    Thanks for this lovely post!:) I am sorry to hear that 2012 was a difficult year for you & your family so I hope that 2013 will be better, filled with joy, laughter, good health to all of you & some great food adventures too! 😉 xxx

  13. Maral says

    Happened upon your blog and almost fell off my chair. I grew up in Hillsboro, my family also has deep roots in Oregon. My great grandfathers death certificate was the second issued in the state. My grandparents and great grandparents were truck farmers, and had walnut and filbert groves. My parents had a beach house just north of Seaside. I now live in south central Texas, a long ways from my roots. So, am looking forward to following you and revisiting my youth. Thank you.

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