Friday, April 17, 2009

Vacation - Oregon Coast - Day Six

Turns out, Tourism easily trumps Religion in a tourist town like Newport. Not only were most shops open on an Easter Sunday, the place we were planning for breakfast was packed to the gills. Also, Easter Sunday in a tourist town apparently brings huge storms, with sheets of wind, 12 foot waves and lots and lots of rain. Huh, so a tourist town that doesn't shut down for a religious holiday gets slammed by storms from the heaven....

Undeterred by the weather and lack of brunch, we decided to check out a couple of little used bookstores in the Nye Beach area, and tour the majestic and awesome Sylvia Beach Hotel. We absolutely love this 4 story blue hotel on the beach. It's extremely book and reading focused, with Author Themed rooms, a gift shop of primarily book and writing nature, cats roaming the property, a third and fourth floor that gives the ocean view to the library rather than the rooms, and a lot of old school charm. We've always wanted to stay at Sylvia Beach, but their website is pretty poorly designed, and gives no sense of the rooms, just a literary, but kind of cheesy drawing of each, and when you're shelling out $130 for something, you want to see what you're getting. We'd toured part on our last visit to Newport, and luckily they were mostly open for viewing while were there this time.

Most of the rooms are great. There's no phones in Sylvia Beach, no TVs, just comfy beds, eclectic decor and lots of books. We even saw the maids reading before their shifts in the gorgeous dining room. Nearly all of the rooms have a great view, and a private bath, and while none are large or feature the latest amenities, you get a sense of comfort. There were a few people lounging in the library, reading and watching the stormy ocean, and we envied them greatly.

Then we got lost. Unintentionally, of course. I decided to see if there were any restaurants on the far side of the bay, and ended up driving around 13 miles, the long way to Toledo, a little logging town on the extreme far side of the bay. We ate at a pretty good and almost completely empty diner, where our only competition for our waitress's attention was a strangely shaped gentleman that looked for all the wold like Charlie Brown made flesh, down to the spit curl on his brow. Good Grief! Then, on the way out of town, we noticed a green Cemetery sign, and detoured.

The Toledo Cemetery is the most amazing cemetery ever. Through a combination of poor upkeep (whether intentional or not, we're unsure) and Oregon's weather, the entire thing was overgrown and sunken. We found headstones buried under feet of vines, moss coating graves from 1918, and headstones buried deep into what had become jungle. We were enchanted, and wandered in the storm, trees whipping overhead for over an hour.
On the way back, the short, easy way back, we stopped and drove around a second one, but it was modern and boring in comparison. Back in Newport, we stopped into the Aquarium, but they were closing, which was too bad. The Aquarium there is spectacular, clean and well organized and a lot of great rotating displays. We looked around the gift shop, then took off.

On the way back to veg at the Motel, I stopped and wandered around the otherwise vacant beach, fighting the wind and pelting rain, chatted with a seagull, and almost sunk into the sand.

For dinner, we ate at the Thai Elephant, where we had some great Thai. Not too shabby, though I never found any eggs, apart from the creepy tapioca balls in my dessert.

1 comment:

Steve at Random said...

Your mother-in-law and I went to New Port Beach in the early 1970s with our parents. We, too, were amazed at the aquarium, but what really caught my eye was an amusement park as we headed back toward Salem. One of the great rides was a log ride in chutes filled with water. They also sold salt water taffy, which was more of a treat then than it is now. I was back there years later only to find the amusement park had been boarded up. Later it was torn down altogether. All that remained was the blacktopped parking lot filled with weeds.