I want to give another big thank you to Carol and Wendy for guest posting for me while I was on vacation the last couple of weeks. I hope you’ll check out the recipes they shared if you haven’t had a chance yet.
My husband and I bought a new-to-us motorhome this year, and decided for our first big trip we’d tour the Oregon coast. We spent the first night, on the way from Utah to Oregon, at the Boise/Meridian KOA. The campground is very urban, but super clean, convenient, quiet and the employees were very friendly and professional.
We don’t have a tow car yet, so I tried to book campgrounds where we could walk to restaurants and sights. Not too far away from the KOA, we found a cute little pizza place with a colorful patio, Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzeria, and shared a flavorful Neapolitan style thin crust Tomato Margherita Pizza.
In the morning, we hit the road for Oregon. We took the backroads, the John Day highway, instead of the interstate to see the painted rocks and the Fossil Beds. While it was beautiful country, next time I’d skip the detour and spend some time exploring the gorgeous Columbia River area.
We spent the night at Cascade Locks KOA near the Columbia River. The campground was pretty and nestled in huge old trees, but there’s a train crossing nearby and the trains rumbled by and whistled all night long. They kept my husband up, but I slept pretty well.
The next day we were up early and headed to Multnomah Falls. It’s one of the prettiest waterfalls I’ve ever seen. You can hike all the way to the way to the top, soak your feet in the river when you get there, and enjoy the magnificent views of the Columbia River and valley below.
After hiking we stopped for lunch at Babushka Russian Deli and Bakery in Wood Village, Oregon. I used Yelp extensively on the trip to find great restaurants, and I found Babushka’s with Yelp’s help. My husband liked the beef Piroshky, fried dough wrapped around shredded beef and onions. I preferred the strawberry sweet roll. We picked up the raspberries at a fruit stand across the road.
The weeks before we left, when I made a favorite meal, I would make extra and I froze it to take on the trip. The plan was to eat out every other night. Unfortunately, I forget to put the food in the motorhome, so we ended up eating out a lot more than I had planned. We stopped several times along the way for groceries, as well as a hitting a few fruit stands and a farmer’s market in Newport.
My husband and I are ocean people. We love spending hours at the beach, just strolling and enjoying the sound of the waves crashing on to the shore; the birds and little critters on the beach, and of course people watching.
The Sea Ranch RV Park at Cannon Beach was our home for the next two nights. It was an older RV park, but it was tucked in to the trees and the location was ideal. It was an easy walk to town and the beach.
Cathy, Wives with Knives, lives in Portland and gave me some advice about where to go and what to eat on our trip. She said Cannon Beach is her favorite place on the Oregon Coast, and she loves the halibut fish and chips at Bill’s Tavern. We loved Cannon Beach and the food at Bill’s Tavern too. We started off with homemade root beer, Jalapeno Poppers, and the best New England clam chowder we had on the trip. It was loaded with tender clams and had a nice smokey bacon flavor in a rich creamy broth.
The halibut was tender inside, crispy on the outside, and not greasy. Service was friendly and quick, but relaxed and laid back as well. Brian made sure our water glasses were never empty, and even shared his favorite dessert place for later in the evening. After a long walk down to Haystack Rock, we stopped for dessert at the Wayfarer and had our favorite desserts of the trip, a chocolate souffle and a berry crisp.
Our second night at Cannon Beach we ate at Sweet Basil’s. I don’t know if it was all the sweets I’d been eating, but Sweet Basil’s house salad was amazing! It was lightly drizzled with a mango lime dressing that was well balanced, not too sweet or tangy. We split the osso bucco which was served over a creamy Parmesan polenta in a rich tomato sauce with onions and green peppers. The pork was tender and had a rich, caramelized flavor. We finished the meal with a slice of peach and a slice of marionberry pie. The pie fillings were delicious, made with fresh fruit with just the right amount of sugar. The crust was soft and didn’t do the filling justice.
Service was excellent. It’s a tiny little restaurant tucked in the back of a strip mall. A highlight of the evening was being entertained by a local artist while we enjoyed our meal. He told a few jokes, while he played the guitar and sang blues and folk songs.
Newport was our destination for the next two nights, and on the way we stopped at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. I occasionally team up with Tillamook. I’ve been to several events they’ve hosted in Utah, and they send me new products to try. So when I told them I would be at the Factory, they arranged for us to have a private tour. LeAnn was our gracious tour guide, and she gave us a private cheese sampling, took us on a tour, hooked us up with lunch, and free ice cream at the Creamery Cafe.
It was interesting to watch how the cheese is made, and of course loved all the Tillamook products we were able to try. I was amazed at all the people that stop and tour the factory every day – 3,000 to 5,000 people every day!
We stayed at South Beach State Park on the Newport Coast. It was rainy the two days we were at Newport and the mosquitoes were out in full force at the State Park. The camp sites were really close to each other, so we didn’t really spend much time outside at the park.
We drove in to town the next morning and had breakfast at La Maison. After you’ve ordered, they serve you a custard cup filled with bananas and cream topped with brown sugar and chopped hazelnuts. It’s such a simple little dish, but a rich and sophisticated way to start the meal. I ordered fresh squeezed orange juice and Caramelized Banana French Toast. The thick French toast was perfectly cooked, but the bananas were over cooked and swimming in sauce. The sauce was luscious but I would have prefer it served on the side.
The highlight of the meal was the gorgeous eggs Benedict. Served on a homemade English muffin topped with a thick tender slice of ham and a perfectly poached egg with a dark yellow yolk from a farm fresh egg, covered in a buttery smooth hollandaise sauce.
That night we ate at Arr Place. A family owned, up-scale, farm-to-table restaurant. Amy is one of the owners and the only waitress. They cook with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The homemade lasagna was served in a flavorful slightly spicy fresh marinara with fresh vegetables grilled to perfection. We also had a sampler plate that included a mildly spicy tortilla stack, the soup of the day, cream of garlic, and spicy and sweet chicken wings.
I couldn’t resist trying their homemade desserts, and ordered both the rhubarb crisp served with homemade white chocolate ice cream, and the strawberry shortcake with berries Amy bought earlier in the day at the farmers market. I particularly liked the shortcakes, which were a perfect mix between a crumbly biscuit type shortcake and a cake. Amy said she’d share the recipe if I emailed her when I got home from my trip. So hopefully, I’ll be able to share that with you soon.
Our last stop on the coast was Coos Bay. We did a little grocery shopping in town and stopped for lunch at La Costa. It’s a Mexican/Peruvian restaurants and they start you off with hot chips and fresh salsa with cilantro. I had the Peruvian lemonade which was creamy, lightly sweet and tart, and refreshing. My husband and I split the huge chile verde burrito with big chunks of tender pork in a mildly spiced tomatillo sauce. The sopapillas are flat, more like chips, and served topped with whipped cream, maple syrup and maraschino cherries. We thought it was a bit of an odd combination, and the toppings took away from the crispness of the fried dough.
Our favorite campground was Sunset Beach State Park. It’s a gorgeous wooded campground, and the sites are separated by bushes and trees. It’s just a sort walk down to Sunset Bay, which is a beautiful, calm little bay that lots of families were enjoying on a sunny Oregon day. We did several hikes in the area, visited the Shore Acres botanical garden, and hung out at Cape Arago State Park, where the internet signal was excellent and I could get a little work done with an amazing view of the magnificent Oregon coast.
Our last stop of the trip was Crater Lake. The water in Crater Lake is the most amazing blue color. When I showed my son the picture above, he thought I’d boosted the color, but I didn’t edit it at all. All the pictures were taken with my iPhone. I like to travel light when I’m on vacation 😉
I hope you enjoyed a little taste of our trip. I came home with lots of inspiration for great new recipes to share. We loved the spectacular Oregon coast and would like to return again some time. Perhaps with the grandkids in tow.