Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Oregon Coast

My family has been vacationing on the Oregon Coast every summer since I was 11 years old. The first year, we rented a house in Gerhart, near Seaside. For many years after that, we stayed in a small blue house on Beeswax Lane in Manzanita. One freak year we tried Bandon, but returned to Manzanita faithfully thereafter. The house on Beeswax Lane is what the five of us kids still think of as the "real" Oregon Coast experience. That house was just a block from the beach. It was rotting from the inside out, had only one bathroom, and all five of us shared one tiny bedroom. There was no television, no radio, not even a tape or CD player. Sometimes our cousins would join us there, or other family friends with children our ages. Back in those days we played a lot of Canasta, and I loved to drink herbal tea in the assortment of beautiful mugs lining the cupboard shelves. The lawn was full of stickers, the tiny gravel covering the road to the beach hurt our feet, and for some reason I do not remember us having flip flops. We spent our days reading on the beach or in the house, and playing games.

I do not remember what year my parents decided to invest in a house on the Coast. Because real estate was much more expensive near the beach in Manzanita, they ended up going in with my uncle and aunts to buy a house in Nehalem, the next town over. The Nehalem house has many bathrooms and bedrooms, and is new and clean. We can't walk to the beach now, but it is just a short drive down the highway to Manzanita. We have a television with a VCR and DVD player. That has changed things considerably, sometimes for the better, but not always. As an adult, I appreciate the laundry room, remembering how my mom used to spend many an hour at the laundromat when we stayed on Beeswax Lane.

We just returned last night from another wonderful Oregon Coast vacation. My whole family was there this year: Mom & Dad, me, Dan, Eli, Adam, & Esther, Nathan, James (with girlfriend Victoria), Mark & Kamis, and Karen & Ben. We also had a special guest appearance by Kamis' dad, Brad, with her siblings Marissa, Logan, & Torrey, and cat Marmalade.

Over the years we have developed a number of traditional activities that must take place each year that we go to the Coast. We must spend a day at Short Sand Beach in Oswald West State Park. We must go to Indian Beach in Ecola State Park. We must make multiple walks to the jetty. We must hike to the top of Neahkahnie. We must visit the Tillamook Cheeese Factory, watch the workers making cheese down on the factory floor, sample the cheeses, and buy squeaky cheese and ice cream cones. We must go shopping in Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, and Wheeler. We must visit the Manzanita Library. We must have all-you-can-eat fish and chips at Fisherman's Korner in Garibaldi. We must play many, many, many games. We must eat an obscene amount of ice cream. We must pick blackberries. We must send postcards to our friends.

This year, we did most of the requisite activities, and threw in a few more for good measure. We took the canoe out on the Nehalem River. We visited the lighthouse and Octopus Tree at Cape Meares. We paid a short visit to a rainbow trout fish hatchery. We hiked to Munson Falls. We played on the beach in Oceanside. We walked around Hug Point not once, but twice. This year I did not go shopping in Cannon Beach, Nehalem, or Wheeler. I did not eat an obscene amount of ice cream (and, subsequently, did not gain the usual 5-10 pounds). I did not hike to the top of Neahkahnie, but Eli did, for the very first time, with Dan. I did not play as many games as usual, but I think I got a little more sleep.

There are so many pictures I want to share from our trip this year, and last, that I think I'll do that in a separate post. Stay tuned.

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