We love to go to the Oregonian coast when we get some time. A rare thing lately, but our wedding anniversary was the occasion to go at least one day together. When we live in Portland, GOLD, Cannon Beach is surely THE favorite destination if we want to see the ocean because it is only an hour and a half drive, but we like to go further south to Lincoln City and Newport, GOLD. The roads are beautiful to go there, and we quickly find ourselves on completely deserted roads, with no telephone network, with a breathtaking view.
Rogue Ales & Spirits
The first time we were together in Newport, it was mostly to eat at the brewery and the restaurant of Rogue Ales & Spirits. This small town in Newport is home to the “international” headquarters of Rogue Ales & Spirits, a beer producer since the 80’s that has since extended its range to ciders, sodas, whisky, vodkas and even food. When I say food you can find ketchups, mustards and other condiments but also cheese, salt, tuna, etc.. This is surprising but the brand wants to make it possible to make discover everything that comes from Newport to a maximum of people. This brand of beer is very well known in Oregon, especially thanks to its numerous collaborations with other brands and retailers, which have made it possible to present beers with original flavours such as beer with lemon, vanilla and marshmallow or beer with bacon and maple syrup in collaboration with the famous Portland donut shop, Voodoo Doughnuts, and beer with chili sauce in collaboration with the Sriracha brand.
I think that what we like the most about this company is that despite their growing popularity, their head office is still a simple place where you can spend some time and eat good food! Being so close to the ocean, I can’t hide the fact that their fish & chips are delicious, made with fresh fish!
To find this seat though, it’s quite a step. Located in the bay of Yaquina, you can see the bridge building, but you have to take small roads to get there. The restaurant has been built at the very bottom of the factory, so you will be able to pass through the tanks that brew the beer, and their barrels full of whisky. After passing the factory part of the building, you’ll come to this very small shop, full of Rogue products, which is on the ground floor of the restaurant. The store sells most of their products, and you will often have to wait at the bottom of the stairs for a waitress to come and pick you up and take you to your table. I think they are overwhelmed by their growing success, because when we went there they were expanding the restaurant, adding a reception room on the shop level.
The restaurant on the first floor gives you the choice of sitting at the bar (you must be over 21 years old as in most American bars) to have a great view of the tanks and the whole plant, or sitting in the dining room with a view of the harbour. If you are over 21 years old and do not come with minors, I advise you to accept tables in the bar section. Already you will get a table faster, but this room is also quieter.
As soon as you sit down, the waiters will bring you a small glass with the beer of the day (our waitress forgot about us that day…), and you’ll have to choose your beer from a huge list! If you’ve never been there, you can ask to taste 1 or 2 beers before you decide, but I advise you to order their tasting tray, so you can taste several beers, because some of them have really original tastes! Our recommendations? The husband will recommend you without hesitation the Hazelnut Brown Nectar, which is one of the most popular of the brand, or the Dead Guy Ale, and if you like fruity ciders like me I recommend their Fruit Salad Cider. For the meal, of course we recommend both of you the fish because it is fresh and delicious! Their hamburgers are also very good.
For those who live in the United States and would like to order some of their beers, if they are not already distributed in your state, their website offers a great selection, but make sure they can be delivered in your state. Some states (which I will quote from preservatives…) do not allow the shipment of alcohol. They don’t send alcohol abroad either, but if you want to order a t-shirt or even sauces that they produce, they send internationally.
Unfortunately I did not have the opportunity this time to visit all that there was to see in Yaquina Bay Park, but we were able to enjoy the magnificent view of the bay and the bridge.
Yaquina Bay is an estuary that includes 3 cities, Newport, Toledo and Elk City. Newport OR is known to be a big tourist destination during the summer, being close to some big cities like Corvallis where one of the University of Oregon is located. Yaquina Bay is mostly known for commercial fishing, mainly salmon, tuna and crabs. Newport is one of the largest fishing ports in the region in terms of capacity (as you will see the port itself is tiny) and the bay also allows many amateurs to fish in their free time, which attracts even more people.
The bay is best known for its bridge, which you can’t miss and which is magnificent. It was built in 2 years and opened in September 1936. It is one of the 11 most important bridges of the “Oregon Coast Highway”, a major road along the Oregonian coast. The bridge is about 1 km long and 40.5 meters high. Since 2005, the Yaquina Bay Bridge is part of the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and is therefore protected.
If you are going to Yaquina Bay, stop by to see the lighthouses in the bay. The first one, a house with a lighthouse, Yaquina Bay Light, was only used for 3 years after 1871 as the main lighthouse of the bay. The house was later used by the army and has since been preserved as a historic site. Today, the main lighthouse is Yaquina Head Light, which is the tallest lighthouse in Oregon at 28 meters. Beware cock-a-doodle-doo, this lighthouse was built in France in 1868, and later transported to Oregon. This lighthouse has been used for several movies and TV shows, including the horror movie “The Circle – The Ring”. It is possible to visit this lighthouse but the number of people allowed and the hours are very limited. It is open from Friday to Tuesday and 4 tours are organized from noon to 3pm. Registrations are available directly on the website from 10am.
Newport Downtown – The harbour and the beach
Then we went for a walk in the city centre. Some of the shops are on the oceanfront, at the main beaches. The city being mainly a tourist place which sees its population tripling in summer, the shops and restaurants are numerous on the beach. The ocean is cold on the Pacific side of the United States (and yes even in California!… well, unless you come from the North, the water will be at your temperature!) and even more in the North, but it is possible to surf all year round (and to swim for the bravest)! If you surf in France and you want to go surfing on the coast in Oregon, it’s possible, but I advise you to go there the first time with a local, they are sandbanks but apparently many areas are rocky and therefore dangerous but you can’t see it from the beach. We are also on the Pacific coast, attacks are rare, but some beaches can be known to have sharks. So make sure you have your back by renting your gear and ask for advice on where to go to avoid trouble.
After enjoying the ocean a bit, we went to the harbour, which is a small, old-fashioned tourist port where one of Rogue’s bars and restaurants, the Rogue Ales Bayfront Public House, is located. A lot of shops, bars, and restaurants are here, I think in the summertime it’s a place where most people go. That’s where the majority of the fishing boats leave from, so you can also get on boats to visit the bay, and rent boats to go fishing. You will also be able to see the famous sea lions that have taken up residence on this coast and invade the few remaining wharves. In fact, a quay has been created especially for them in the port by an environmental association. There is even a live camera that has been set up by the Oregon State University of Corvallis OR, to be able to watch them.
I hope you enjoyed this little tour of Newport OR and that it made you want to go for a ride. I think we’ll go there again and I’ll be able to show you more of the lighthouses!