Sunday, June 18, 2017

Overnight to the Oregon Coast

Manzanita, OR
Working as administration at a college means this time of year (only two weeks before graduation) is super busy and a long stretch ahead (as I don't get summer vacations like some colleagues). Every weeks starts with a big sigh in preparation for the unknown that may come through my door any moment. Knowing that chaos could be around the corner at any moment, I thought a quick mini-vacation may be in store. So the BF and I packed out bags for an overnight out at the Oregon Coast.

For those that don't know, the Oregon coast is just over 363 miles and none of it private. The entire Oregon coast is public and accessible to all. It's also spotted full of quaint tiny little ocean side towns. Sure there are the "bigger" (read: tourist hot spots) like Cannon Beach, Lincoln City and Astoria; but my favorite are the smaller less packed spots just on the other side of the city limits.

Camp 18 Restaurant and Museum

But not all the "hot spots" are out at the water, some are along the drive - like Camp 18; a logging museum and restaurant known for GIANT cinnamon rolls. We stopped on our way out for lunch and let me tell you I fell in love with their fish and chips! Better than any I've found in Portland! I'm already plotting my next trip out Hwy-26 so I can order another batch.

After lunch and a quick browse through the gift store, we headed out to the water. For our midweek mini vacation we headed to Manzanita, Oregon - population 600 - just south of Cannon Beach. Mountain hiking, stretch of sandy beach, beautiful look outs and delicious Mexican food!

Wait. What?

McOceans from Bread & Ocean
Yes, you heard me. For dinner Tuesday, after an hour long stroll along the water we headed to El Trio Loco for some delicious Mexican cuisine.

Lucky for us it was right next door to our motel. Which I highly recommend if anyone finds themselves out in Manzanita. Vanessa and the Spindrift Inn was perfect and exactly what we needed. Our room had a queen bed, two chairs and a table, mini-fridge/microwave/coffee pot (all of which came in handy for an early morning cup of joe) and all rooms have a back door that takes you to a private (adorable) patio area.

The next morning we walked through the little town, had giant breakfast sandwiches, did a little souvenir/gift shopping (including yummy Salt Water Taffy from Salt & Paper) before heading out of town.

Since we had gone the "northern" route to get to the coast, I thought why not continue heading south and make a quick detour through Tillamook? Now some of you may be familiar with Tillamook cheese. I know that before I moved to Oregon that was my only frame of reference. But did you know they do MORE than just cheese?! They also do regular and Greek yogurt, sour cream, and ice cream! So if you're ever in the area make sure to stop by the Tillamook Cheese Factory and indulge in one of their many yummy flavors.

With bellies full of Mudslide, Stumptown Cold Brew and Marionberry Cheesecake we headed back to Portland. It was a lovely way to end an absolutely amazing overnight to the Oregon coast.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Trip to the Bay: Food, Hikes, Wine

I realized I haven't posted since the end of February but so much has happened since then. In the last four-five months I've started a new relationship, made (easily) 120 delicious dinners, dived into a number of DIY beauty treatments and (oh yea) turned 34!

My thirties have been a pretty amazing decade and turning 34 hasn't been any different. This year I spent my birthday down in the Bay Area (San Francisco and Oakland) celebrating with one of my longest BFFs.

Bottom left is a new movie theatre built in the PDX airport - plays short films by local film makers

We had a whirlwind of adventures...and when you get Luke and I together you know there is going to be copious amounts of good food (he even went of the Whole 30 just for me).

Only the beginning of the delicious food we ate

We also then headed to Muir Woods so I could hug a Redwood (yes that was a goal for my birthday). Somehow, despite living in California for ~28 years I had never hiked Muir. It was stunning! Cold misty morning, cool enough for a jacket but dry enough to hike around for an hour or so.

I'm a tree hugger
After Muir Woods we headed over to Sonoma for an afternoon of wine tasting. Sonoma wine is just as wonderful as Napa but not nearly as "touristy". We had the Bartholomew Park Winery tasting room to ourselves and had a lovely conversation with the vineyards owner before heading to Gundlach Bundschu (the oldest single family owned vineyard in California). I bought a beautiful bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from Bartholomew and have tucked it away for a special occasion (perhaps my next birthday).

All but the bottom right is Bartholomew Vineyard - Cave is Gundlach
After a number of glasses of wine (thank you to a heavy handed pour) we grabbed ice cream and took a stroll through Old Town Sonoma.

I really couldn't have asked for a better birthday....but it did get better! Later in February my sister K took me to the 20th Anniversary performance of Rent, we had a tea party with family (celebrating all the winter babies) and the weekend after I returned I had my first date with my (now) new sweetheart.

Thirty four is shaping up to be a good year.