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Displaying items by tag: Oregon

Monday, 23 April 2012

Yachats, Oregon

"There is not a lot to do in Yachats, Oregon, but that is what makes this seaside hamlet such a great destination." -

Perfect, I thought.  This was what I needed.  After ending a six year relationship only three short months ago, I yearned to go somewhere to heal my broken heart and rejuvenate my spirit. The remote coastal town of Yachats, Oregon  (pop. 749) sounded perfect. 

I flew into Portland, taking an early flight from Denver, and rented a car. There are a couple of different routes to the coast.  I had chosen a route through the wine country, taking I-5S to OR-99W then to OR-18 W/OR-223 S/SE before heading south on US-101, the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).  Although a bit longer time-wise, the picturesque views made it well worth it.  There was something about the symmetry of the vineyards that calmed me; the rolling hills of the fertile land put my mind at ease. I felt connected to the earth.

As I made the left onto OR-18/OR-223 S/SE, I noticed a produce market.  I stopped in, anticipating all the yummy fruits and vegetables that I could see growing.  My arms filled with a couple of bags of Oregon tomatoes, berries and hazelnuts, I returned to the road, anticipating the roar of the sea and the salty scent of the air.

After about 3 hours, I turned left onto US-101, the Pacific Coast Highway.  There it was, the Pacific Ocean:  a voracious wild beast, its waves mercilessly  pounding the shore.  I drove south to Yachats, eager to see the quiet town that had captured my imagination.

When I pulled into the parking lot at the Overleaf Lodge, I knew I had chosen wisely.  The hotel was lovely and my room was beautiful and cozy.  The bed was huge, but kitted out with comfy bedding.  The fireplace was an added touch. The best part, however, was the balcony with a killer view of the Pacific, it was superb. 

But, the ocean was calling me, so I grabbed my rain jacket and camera, and fled the warmth of my comfortable room.  I was in search of tide pools.

The 804 Trail runs just outside the hotel, along the rocky coast.  I followed it north and there they were: the sea creatures I had dreamed of.  Starfish of red, orange and purple perilously clung to the craggy rocks.  Bright green sea anemone waved hello to me from under the shallow depths of the salty sea.  My wish was fulfilled.

After a filling breakfast of fresh fruit, eggs and muffins at the Overleaf the next morning, I drove 3 miles south to Cape Perpetua Scenic Area for a much needed hike.  The drive was gorgeous, winding close to the ocean; sometimes high above it, other times eye level to the impressive waves.  Turning left at the Cape Perpetua sign, I checked in at the visitors' center, then found my way to the trail.  There are 26 miles of trails at Cape Perpetua offering everything from old growth forest, to amazing ocean vistas, to colorful tide pools. 

I had settled on a 6 mile loop route, taking the Cook's Ridge Trail to the Gwynn Creek Trail.  The trek was eerie at first, stepping into this dense world alone, but the forest opened its arms to me.  The pine needles that covered the path had turned an earthy brown over time; the moisture had made them as soft as the comforter on my hotel bed.  My footsteps went unheard.

Little mushrooms sprouted up in the fertile, wet ground.  Tree trunks were dressed in bright green, fuzzy moss.  Grass green ferns grew at their feet.  I had this shadowy, wonderous woodland all to myself.    

As I rounded the bend, I saw the rolling Pacific again.  The frothy waves were blindingly white from the sun shining on them.  The ocean always made me feel like I had come home.

There was one more stop though. 

The Heceta Head Lighthouse sits 14 miles south of Yachats.  Built in 1894, it stands 205 feet above the Pacific.  Heceta Head is the brightest lighthouse on the Oregon Coast, beaming its bright light 21 miles out to sea.  Perched on a cliff keeping watch over the sea, it is beautiful.

As I snapped images of the lighthouse, I looked down at the surf below me, wondering if that was what I thought it was.  Yes!  Seals were frolicking in the waves.  My day was complete… well, almost.

I drove north, back to Yachats.  Stopping in town, I picked up a few food items at C & K Market to go with all of my fresh produce.  The Wine Place provided me with the perfect bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir to round out the 'gourmet' dinner I was planning.

Back at the Overleaf, I settled onto my balcony with my food and glass of wine.  I had the best seat in the house for the show that unfolded before me.

The sun sank lower, touching the sea, the sky turning a yellow-orange.  I felt the warmth of the light on my face and in my heart.  The ocean had brought me peace, had brought me back to me.

(c)Lynne Nieman


Best time to go - August and September provide the best weather. Go in September for fewer crowds.

Overleaf Lodge - - 280 Overleaf Lodge Lane, Yachats, Oregon 97498 - Phone: 541-547-4880 or Toll-Free 800-338-0507 - Rates start at $130 and go up to $499 depending on season and room.  There is also a spa on the 3rd floor of the hotel. for more information.

The Drift Inn - Historic Pub and Cafe - - 124 Highway 101, Yachats, Oregon 97498 - Phone: 541-547-4477 - Open 7 days a week: 8am to 9pm in winter, 10pm in summer

The Wine Place - - Highway 101 & W. 4th Street, PO Box 305, Yachats, Oregon 97498 - Phone: 541-547-5275 - Open Thursday thru Monday, 10-5, and open by chance on Tuesday and Wednesday

For more information on Yachats, visit

Cape Perpetua Scenic Area - Just 3 miles south of Yachats, this area is part of the Siuslaw National Forest. 

Information on the visitors' center: 

Information on hiking, camping and other activities:!ut/p/c5/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gDfxMDT8MwRydLA1cj72DTgBAjAwgAykeaxcN4jhYG_h4eYX5hPgYwefy6w0H24dcPNgEHcDTQ9_PIz03VL8iNMMgycVQEAObEnGA!/dl3/d3/L2dJQSEvUUt3QS9ZQnZ3LzZfME80MEkxVkFCOTBFMktTNUJIMjAwMDAwMDA!/?navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&recid=42265&actid=&navid=110000000000000&pnavid=&ss=110612&position=&ttype=recarea&pname=Siuslaw%20National%20Forest%20-%20Cape%20Perpetua%20Scenic%20Area

Heceta Head Lighthouse - - 92072 Hwy. 101, Yachats, OR 97498 - Phone: Toll Free 1-866-547-3696; from Hawaii please call 541-547-3696

There is a Bed and Breakfast at the Lighthouse called the Heceta Head Keeper's House.  For more information:

Map of Yachats area:

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