beach walking

Going Coastal

I forgot to tell you guys how my first evening at the beach ended: with a trip to the Arctic Circle. We were driving through Newport and I spotted an Arctic Circle and told Michael about a childhood memory of mine. When I was a little kid and my mom would take me and my brother to the nearby community pool for swim lessons (and later my synchronized swimming team meets), we usually stopped at the Arctic Circle for an ice cream cone afterward. It was one of those small cones with vanilla soft serve ice cream that was dipped in chocolate that hardens. It’s a fond memory and I hadn’t seen one of those spots since I was a kid. So Saturday night on our way back to the hotel, we stopped by and got one. It was just as good as I remembered it!

Sunday morning I awoke to the chill of the ocean breeze wafting into the hotel room and decided to go for a swim in the big indoor pool before breakfast. I only did about 30 minutes in the pool because I knew we’d either be hiking later, or walking on the beach. The swim was good and felt good on more sore hips. But the pool was also about 10 degrees hotter than what I’m used to in a lap pool!

We went to breakfast in the hotel and were thoroughly disappointed. I mean, how do you screw up breakfast? It’s so simple. But the waitress disappeared and never brought my coffee or Michael’s drink, I had to flag down another waiter to get it, then flag him again for cream. Then my French toast arrived and it was cold AND the syrup arrived in a pre-packed serving. Also cold. What the hell? It was so disappointing!

After that disaster, we checked out and then drove up the coast a bit. It was a gorgeous sunny day, clear blue skies and just the hint of wind. The temperature was also higher, too.

We stopped at a few places along the way to take pictures, and then stopped at the Otter Rock/Devil’s Punchbowl park.

Do you recognize the graffiti art? 🙂 If not, it’s a reference to The Goonies–a movie that was filmed in Astoria, Oregon. I’d love to spend a weekend in Astoria and do a “Goonies” trip!

It was really windy up there! Next, back in the car and we drove to Lincoln City. It’s the next big town about 20 miles north of Newport. I am much more familiar with that town. Michael and I spent over an hour walking on the beach, holding hands, talking, enjoying the nice weather and almost getting swept away by the waves.

My legs were pretty sore from the beach walking. I forget just how much work is involved in walking the beach. One of these days, I need to remember to bring an old pair of running shoes and giving beach running a try. I think it would be fun and about ten times harder than a treadmill!

My calves were aching a little bit and it was getting close to lunch time so we turned around and headed back.  I saw this skeleton on the beach and it was both disturbing and beautiful at the same time. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. It was just too odd not to share:

For lunch we went to Kyllo’s. It was a cute, very big, restaurant right on the beach. We both enjoyed one Ninkasi Tricerahops beer (one of my favorites) and had a really good lunch.

I started with a small cup of clam chowder. My goal for the weekend had been getting chowder at Mo’s (super popular place on the Oregon Coast) but we never got there. This chowder was still pretty good.

I also got a grilled halibut fish taco entree. The fish tacos were good but not as good as my favorite in Hood River. Nothing has compared to those tacos, yet, anyways.

Michael ordered the burger. It was on a kaiser roll with onions and blue cheese. He said the burger was fantastic. I took his word for it because I was stuffed after my lunch.

We chilled out for awhile, did some sightseeing and then headed back to Portland. It was a really nice drive, scenic and sunny.

Goodbye Beach! You were lovely!

QUESTION: Did you like Goonies as a kid? Are you a clam chowder fan?

Last Dinner Out

The weather at Cannon Beach was absolutely beautiful. And walking on the beach barefoot for a few hours felt really nice.

It’s also a fantastic workout. Just walking for a few hours, I felt it in my calves and ankles. It felt really good.

Growing up, my family used to drive from Seattle south to the Oregon Coast for our vacations almost every year. I have a lot of really happy memories about the beach and as a kid spent hours walking the beach by myself, reading in the sand, and playing with cousins.

When we were at the Coast, I saw a few people running the beach. I’ve never tried running on the beach. One time I ran up a sand dune and injured my Achilles heel! That was not good. 🙁 But the one thing I noticed was that the runners were all running down right at the water line. I think the sand is more stable there and I bet running on the beach is much easier on the joints.

QUESTION: Have you ever run on the beach? What did you think?

After spending the day in Cannon Beach, we drove back to Portland to go to dinner for the last time as a group before the family went home. I made reservations for Cafe Castagna because I had enjoyed the food so much last time I was there.

I did not have a great experience at Cafe Castagna Saturday night–which was really disappointing. First, they gave away our dinner reservations. I was pretty upset about that. The hostess was apologetic but it was still ridiculous. I had called ahead and said we were running about 10 minutes late and to please hold the table. Yea, they didn’t hold the table. 🙁 We only had to wait about 10 more minutes to get a table but still, it was a big mistake.

Next, the waitress we had was AWFUL. She had the personality of a wet blanket, didn’t crack a smile the entire time, was impossible to flag down and just downright rude. I was sooo embarrassed. I had made the reservations because I loved the food last time I was there. After dinner I called and spoke to the owner of the restaurant to complain. She was really nice and apologetic and said she’d send Michael and I gift certificate. I’m not too happy about the experience and even with a gift certificate, it might be awhile before I go back.

Other than that, the food was really excellent. Everyone enjoyed their meals. I ordered the Hungarian Goulash with Polenta and carrots. I’d been craving it since the last time I was there. It was just as delicious this time!

I nursed one vodka tonic the entire evening. I just wasn’t into eating out anymore. I’m grateful for the wonderful dinners we had and the fun experiences, but I was just burned out on restaurants and drinking–and food honestly! It will be really nice to get back to normal….

I skipped dessert. Like I said, I was sort of sick of food at this point. I watched Jeremy eat his dessert instead. 🙂 He ordered the espresso with a scoop of ice cream in it. He said it was decadent and good.

QUESTION: Have you ever called to complain about poor service or bad food at a restaurant?