Cruising the Oregon Coast:  Cape Lookout to Neskowin

It’s fun to fill a picnic basket with goodies and a few bottles of wine and head out the door with no particular plan in mind.  We call it “car hiking,” where we just kind of follow the hood to some interesting places.  And for this particular car hike, our hood is pointed down the Oregon Coastline, which is amazing!

It’s Dating Days (or should I say “Daze?”), and for this trip we have packed in our basket a bottle of red and a bottle of white, the cheap stuff:  Bay Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon and Bay Bridge Chardonnay.  Maybe you consider that a bit tacky, but I am a single lady and this stuff is three for $10 at Fred Meyer (an awesome store in the PNW).  On the menu:  sandwiches stuffed with thinly sliced roast beef and colorful roasted bell peppers, a lovely block of sharp white cheddar cheese, crackers, my homemade chunky SoCal style guac, chips, and sliced watermelon.

Think of a Direction and Just Go

The 90 minute drive has us going west of Portland through scenic Wilson River Pass to Cape Lookout.  The hiking and beautiful coastline draw people from around the world to beachcomb near the old growth forests just south of Netarts Bay.

The legendary magnificence of the Oregon shore is truly jaw-dropping!  But besides the beauty of the coastline, there are two more distinct advantages:  dogs can run free, and you can enjoy your wine on the beach or a picnic table overlooking it nearby!

But don’t let Fluffy run amuck while you sip wine!  The gorgeous coastline and cliffs can also be dangerous.  While we are walking the beach looking for sea treasures, we come upon a rescue scene!  Someone is in trouble on the cliffs above!  Crews of dudes in uniform scurry past us with rescue gear to save some poor fool who thought climbing the cliff would be a hoot.

After a long walk, we find a picnic bench with an ocean view and enjoy our sandwiches, sipping wine from our “Traveling Glasses” we always take on excursions.  We decide to head south along the coast to the tiny beach town of Neskowin.

The Oyster Rises

We bump into an old friend on the beach who inspires us to drop in to the nearby “Café on Hawk Creek.”  She says their patio is a perfect spot for oysters while sipping wine and enjoying the view.  Little do we know that Neskowin is 30 miles south of one of the best oyster beds in the world, Netarts Bay!  We play it safe, getting their oyster shooters and baked oysters on the half shell.  And we are hooked!  This is the birth of our oyster love!

Proposal Rock

Proposal Rock

As the light turns golden, we head back to the beach for some sunset photography… and another picnic. We choose a spot nestled between Ghost Forest, where the remnants of a long dead Sitka Spruce forest is visible at low tide, and a huge monolithic island covered with trees named “Proposal Rock!”  Yes, I know what you are thinking.  But no, I left the beach without a rock!   I’m unaware at the time that this is called “Proposal Rock!”  So that kinda goes in Boyfriend’s favor.

While Boyfriend sets up his camera to capture the stunning sunset, I spread out a blanket on the beach sand, and set up another round of sandwiches with cheese and crackers, and pour some white wine.  The sunset is amazing!

While we cuddle under a blanket and sip wine, a party of Keep-It-Weird-Portlanders descends onto the beach to perform some sort of truly weird wedding ritual reminiscent of the Panic at the Disco video, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.”

The only real tragedy of the evening was that I was 49… and still unmarried!

By Darcy Waits (
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