This last fall Tom and I decided to drive down the coast highway to San Francisco. We’ve actually had quite a few guests that have taken this trip as they’ve come up the coast to visit the Olympic Peninsula, so we’ve spent time picking their brains for some of their favorite places.
Here are some highlights from our trip:
Our first stop was Astoria, a town that we’ve often driven through but have never really taken much time to explore. The Maritime Museum was very interesting with information about not only the Columbia River and shipping, but also information about the history of the area. We spent the night in the Hotel Elliot which was right downtown. On our way down the Oregon coast we saw lots of pelicans flying just off Boiler Point and visited the cute little coast town of Brandon which was nestled in amongst cranberry farms. The cranberry fields were beautifully colored at that time of year. Some guests told us about Arch Rocks which are at the southern end of the Oregon coast near a town called Brookings. It’s pretty amazing what nature can create.
We wanted to spend some time hiking in the Redwoods, so we spent two nights in Crescent City. We hiked in the Jedediah Smith Redwoods on the Boy Scout Trail and hiked up to the Boy Scout Tree. Living in the Olympic Rain Forest, we think we’ve got some pretty big trees here – but they’re youngsters compared to the redwoods! We almost missed the cut off on the trail to the Boy Scout Tree because it was only marked with a stick in the ground and an arrow scratched in the dirt. What a tree!
When we got to the town of Leggett, we turned off onto Highway 1. What a fun twisty roller coaster of a road that was! Tom and I had to draw straws to see who would get to drive the Mini. But you really won either way because the view was so magnificent that just looking was a treat in itself.
There aren’t many places to stay or eat along Highway 1 and we were beginning to wonder how far we’d have to drive to find a place to stay for the night. Then we came upon the little town of Westport and there was the darling Westport Hotel and the Old Abalone Pub! What a find. We were lucky enough to get a room overlooking the ocean.
We hadn’t been to San Francisco for many years, so it was fun for us to visit places we remembered as well as exploring other parts of the city. And of course riding the cable cars and trolleys. My mission was to eat crab as often as possible. Thus, crab cakes, crab salads, crab soups, and crab sandwiches were at the top of the menu selections.
We had heard about the Oregon Caves and decided to head toward them on our way back. Driving inland through the orchards, farmlands, and the Siskiyous was interesting because of the variety of plants and landscapes. We got to the Oregon Caves on the last day that they were open for the season. What should have been a 90 minute tour turned out to be two and a half hours! But truly fascinating! Bats, spiders, stalagmites, stalactites, lots of wet dripping water, and very cold. We even got to hear a ghost story. What fun!
We stayed in the town of McMinnville partly to visit the Evergreen Flight Museum and to see the Spruce Goose, which we found out was mostly made of Birch. (And also to visit more brew pubs!) With one night left, we stopped for the night in Long Beach in order to get just a little bit more ocean time and then home. But neither one of us was complaining because even though we saw so much and had so much fun, who can be unhappy to come back to Lake Quinault and Lochaerie?