Please assess our itinerary (Oregon, Washington) with alacrity
We're leaving for a two-week driving trip on Friday: Bay Area to Crescent City (Calif.), thence to Yachats (2 nights), Lake Quinault (3 nights), Olympic coast/Port Angeles (overnight), Orcas Island/Deer Harbor (4 nights -- travel to neighboring islands, esp. for food, seriously contemplated); Mt. Rainier/Ashford (2 nights), Portland (overnight), Eugene (overnight), Arcata/Eureka (overnight).
Dining/noshing are goals unto themselves when we travel -- anything from high-end hotel eats (we'll try for offal at the Heathman our one night there) to sand-specked deep-fried whatevers.
I've been keeping loose track of this board for awhile, but may have missed some key recs. Our target areas don't seem to have come in for as much attention as the Seattle/Portland regions get in any case, I gather.
So, please -- have at us. I'll be checking closely till we leave...
ON several fronts, I would fine tune. Don't know whether you've done this trip before, but to start: We've spent several weeks over the years in yachats and it's wonderful, but I'd spend 1 night there, then head upwards to newport to do the waterfront & aquarium, have some rogue ale and chowder, make a stop at tillamook for cheese and ice cream, then on to astoria for a night.Astoria is like SF
must have been when it had 20,000 people. Ship's inn is an acclaimed place to have a good dinner. I have several times. There are several good canning and smoking places from here north all along the coast. Long Beach is worth a look and then it's up the washington coast. The Indian reservation at the very NW tip of Washington is a unique environment to see and experience. Consider a day in Victoria, taking the ferry across from port angeles. It's only 11 miles. As cool a place as I've ever been. You can ride without your car, or take it along. From Mt. Ranier I would come down to the maryhill museum, a unique place ,http://www.maryhillmuseum.org/, and then come down the columbia gorge,crossing at hood river, check out the waterfalls all along the old historic highway, then back to portland. Don't know how you can ignore a day or two in the rogue valley. Shakespeare's in full swing, 100 cool eateries in Ashland+jacksonville and crater lake beckons. The Lithia Springs hotel, recently restored to grand glory, and the peerless hotel and restaurant, are 2 luscious places to stay in ashland. Morning glory for breakfast, then I'd drive through the siskiyous with a stop at Dunsmuir to eat at Senthong's thai cafe, a stop in corning for a Bartel's hamburger and olives at the olive pit, on to williams to stop for olives and drinks at Granzella's, then take Cal 20 over to Calistoga and the top of the napa valley on your way home
re: billy 52
I agree about the 1 night in Yachats and spending the next in Newport idea...or exploring Yachats and staying 2 nights in Newport...there's just soooo much more to do and see in Newport. About 5 years ago I had Sunday brunch at the Adobe Resort in Yachats and it was good...the view, was great - it's right on the water.
Lots of info about places to eat in Newport (and yes, GO TO THE AQUARIUM!!) around this board, search 'em out including Chowder Bowl (Nye Beach, Newport) and Whale's Tale and Canyon Way (both at or near the Harbor front) and the Rogue (never been, partner HATES beer/ale and I'm lukewarm on it...maybe someday).
I also agree about Tillamook. It's a nice pit stop and the ice cream and grilled cheese sandwiches are tasty! If you're lactose intolerant, keep on driving...
I agree about Astoria, though it is a bit of a drive from Tillamook, scenic as all hell though. I was in Astoria for the first time over Memorial Day weekend when plans in Seaside fell through. I want to go back (am thinking of doing so for July 4th weekend or so) and explore more of it, lots of things seemed interesting and worth checking out.
A day in Victoria is a beautiful thing, indeed. Have to be careful about ferry schedules and the like, though and those ferries always seem more expensive than you originally thought...still, it's worth it - especially if you like being out on the water. But if you're going to be tooling around the San Juans, maybe Victoria next trip?
I was just at the waterfalls on Saturday, to get out of the city for a few hours and clear my head. Definitely drive the Columbia River Gorge Historic Scenic Highway and get out and look at the amazing falls along the way. They are really accessible, most require no real hiking, and some have nice paths to walk and explore around them. There's always lots of picnic tables around to stop and have a bite if you plan ahead.
Tim, I hear you, when are you and Billy and I leaving for our trip??! ;o)
Jonathan, as you can tell, there's just so much to see and do...you'll have to pick and choose. I NEVER feel I get enough time at the coast - no matter how many times I go, no matter how many days I stay at a time - never enough! Plan another trip as you go along, noting what you want to see next time and where you want to stay longer...it's really all you can do!
And PLEASE, please, post after you get back. We want to know where you went, what you ate, what you did and any other details you care to share. I'd love to see more info on the San Juans and the Mt. Rainier area (what a truly massive and beautiful mountain - I like Hood, but it seems like a baby compared to Rainier!), especially.
Have a great, safe trip!
re: billy 52
Sorry to be contrary but I think 2 nights in yachats is just fine---we did that trip last year and found yachats to be quite relaxing because it was quiet and not very built up. Newport is not that charming and lots more expensive---coming from California, I wouldn't bother to stay there. Stay in Yachats as planned and then drive to Newport for the aquarium trip and a visit to Mo's for chowder etc.The drive from yachats to Newport is nothing with regard to distance and its pretty.
My only other thought is that I got tired just reading billy52's itinerary. We found that it took us more time to drive from Yachats to Seattle than expected because we wanted to stop and look at stuff. We left Yachats early, had breakfast somewhere north of newport, stopped in Tillamook for the cheese & ice cream, stopped in Astoria at the pig n'whistle for dinner and didn't get to our final destination until almost 10 pm [family in Bremerton]. We were zonked and we had to cancel a lot of the places I planned to stop. I would put in more breaks and less goals.
Jenn, be contrary! It's OK!
Let me just say why I suggested it. Though first, let me wholeheartedly agree that it's all probably too much - too much ground to cover with too much to see in a short time! That's also why I suggested taking notes for the next trip.
So, why Newport instead of Yachats? I thought that they wouldn't want to stay south of Newport while generally heading north, even though, I agree, it is not that far a drive from Yachats to Newport. Also, there are more places to eat in Newport and more things to do...and I do think that the Aquarium is one of the best in the country - certainly the best I have ever seen. Because I thought exactly what you did (wow, that's too much!) I thought getting them a bit up the coast after a day would help move them along on the trip, too.
It really depends on what they want at that point, I suppose, more relaxing or more stuff to see and do.
Oh, I forgot to add, Seal Rock is a "must see" between Yachats and Newport - try to go there at the lowest tide possible - the tide pools are awesome!! (http://www.oregonstateparks.org/park_...)
re: billy 52
I just returned from a similar trip. I'm about halfway done typing up a detailed chow debrief. But here are my highlights:
Lost Coast Brewery, Eureka
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for their excellent burger (done medium rare, of course) and beer sampler: all 10 beers, about 2 pints total, for $7. Fries were very potatoey but limp, quesedilla was disappointing.
Los Bagels, Arcata
RECOMMENDED for their fresh smoked salmon bagels in a sunny dining area. Hummus was too herbal. Empanada de calabaza was not Mexican at all, but a pretty good pumpkin turnover anyway.
Blue Heron Cafe, Coos Bay
RECOMMEND for their fascinating collection of WWII propaganda, both Axis and Allies. Food is okay, nothing special but nothing bad either.
Panini, Newport (Nye Beach)
HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION, #1 FOOD EXPERIENCE OF TRIP were their marionberry scones and sweet potato muffins for breakfast. Very dense, chewy, lightly sour baguette; good if you like that style. Go there.
Rogue Brewery, Newport
NOT RECOMMENDED Some beers were liked, others were hated. Problem is, sampling program is poor: only 4 beers for $5. Food mediocre. Nice view from restaurant side, but have strange policy of not serving beer samplers in restaurant so you must eat in the cavernous bar. This was at the location on the south side of the river inside the actual brewery, I think there is another pub-only in the historic/tourist zone on the north side of the river.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for Jody Dentons (founder of Lulu, Azie, Zibbibo in bay area) successful Cal/Med restaurant formula. Great wine list including dozens available by glass or 2oz taste, 8 different and interesting wine flights. Very urban atmosphere. Whole town of Bend is great...
Bend Brewery, Bend
RECOMMENDED for the best sampling program we found: all their 11+ beers, about 3 pints total, for $6. Did not try food, but looked good. Dont confuse with Deschutes Brewery in town, which we did not try.
Baja Norte, Bend
NOT RECOMMENDED tastless and boring Mexican food. Proclaim they serve "Healthy Mexican Food," should have known better.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - Definitely take some time (an hour or two), to walk on the dunes. The short hike from the North Eel campground is a good spot.
West Coast Game Park, Bandon
FORBIDDEN - DO NOT GO TO THE WEST COAST GAME PARK!, it is a depressing collection of poorly treated animals.
RECOMMENDED Take the historic drive, Multnomah Falls and Eagle Creek make great (shorter and longer, respectively) hikes. Fish ladders at Boonville locks are very interesting.
Stayed tuned. Hopefully in the next week or so Ill post my very long report, including Portland dining and complete wine and beer notes.
Just a note on beer tastings: my husband is an avid beer drinker, but he almost never gets the samplers that they have in breweries. Instead he often discusses a few of the offerings with the server or bar tender, and asks for a taste. I don't think he's ever been refused. I don't think they're going to let you sample 11 beers, but they'll go for two or three. Best of all, it's always free, and as we all know, free is a very good price!
If you choose to vary your itinerary, I agree that a trip to Victoria would fit your interests. You can take the ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria, stay a day or so, and then drive 17 miles (or is it kilometers?) north to Sidney and catch the ferry to Orcas. Be sure to make reservations for the Sidney-San Juans ferry. You can do so by internet.
If you choose to cut short one of your visits to go to Victoria, Orcas might be the one. It's been a while, but I believe Orcas has less to offer over more than a short trip. And, a day in Friday Harbor can be interesting.
re: Steve K
Leaving the car in Port Angeles, and making just a day trip to Victoria would save quite a bit on ferry costs, and probably require less waiting (up to 3 hrs for cars). Downtown Victoria is within easy walking distance of the ferry docks.
I'm sure the Black Ball car ferry takes walk on passengers, but there may also be a passenger only boat from either PA or Port Townsend.
I think that the Heathman has an offal dinner once a year or so. I'm not positive that you could always get offal there.
Other places where they usually have a good variety of, um, variety meats are Clyde Commons and Le Pigeon, both of which are definitely worth trying while you're in Portland. For example, the latest menu I could find for CC has a ravioli of beef heart, and a grilled beef tongue and octopus entrees, while LeP has starters of lamb belly, and a "foot and tail croquette". (FYI, you can find many recent Portland menus here: http://www.pfmenus.com)