walking on the beach

Beach Comber

My boyfriend is the hardest person to shop for. Buying gifts is often difficult and this year for his birthday I decided to skip the torture of trying to shop and just take him out of town for a surprise adventure. After our successful purchase of a Groupon vacation deal, I tried it again and got a fantastic price on an oceanfront room at the beach. The last trip to the beach was for our anniversary last year and sadly, I’d gotten food poisoning and couldn’t enjoy it. I told Michael to pack typical Oregon clothing and we hit the road Saturday morning after I went to the gym (and he went for a bike ride).

The destination: Newport Beach. We arrived to a rather gray welcoming but it wasn’t too cold and it wasn’t raining, so I was happy.

We stayed at the Best Western Agate Inn right on the beach. The deal I bought included a “picnic” basket with two wine glasses, a bottle opener, an insulated bag, a wine topper and a bottle of wine. We immediately opened the wine and enjoyed a leisurely glass before heading down to the beach for a walk.

Agate Beach was really nice, quiet and smaller than some of the other Oregon Coast beaches. Sadly, I did not find any agates.

We walked back to the hotel and then decided to go into Newport in the “old town” area. It was a touristy boardwalk with piers that had views of the massive bridge.

We did some window shopping and then got totally sidetracked by the California Sea Lions that were giving quite the show in the water. There was a group of them lounging in the sun on a wood platform. One of them looked like it weighed about 800 pounds–he was an old one. There were a few other big ones, not as big as him, and then some smallers one that were playing in the water.

The little Sea Lions gave everyone a show, and the big ones bellowed their bark that echoed throughout the downtown area. Crowds were forming to watch the free show. I have to admit, the Sea Lions were probably my favorite part of the weekend. They were so cute and playful.

The little one was frolicking, splashing, doing acrobatics and then would kiss one of the other lions. What beautiful and graceful creatures.

After the sea lion show, we headed up the street to the Rogue Brewery for dinner. It was one of the destinations I had planned for the weekend and I’m glad we were able to go. I can’t say that I am familiar with the Rogue beers, but after my tasting on Saturday night, I love them!


Morimoto Pilsner: it was summery and light, like lavender perfume.

Chipotle Ale: smokey finish. We both loved this one. It did not taste like peppers. I want to find bottles of this one. Damn, it was good.

Juniper Pale Ale: smelled like a lemon, smooth, nothing very distinctive about it.

Brutal IPA: tasted like orange, smooth finish, not bitter.

Double Dead Guy: tasted like alcohol, candy and had a slight coffee finish to it.

New Crusty Triple IPA: syrupy and very hoppy.

Michael and I decided to split a few things for dinner. The first was the “bleu balls”– three meatballs made of a local, organic beef with blue cheese baked inside the meatballs and then scattered around the plate. The blue cheese went perfectly with it. I had 1.5 meatballs (kind of the perfect amount).

Next was the halibut fish and chips. We split that, thankfully. It was pretty big. We each had 1.5 of the fillet and shared the fries. I have fish n’ chips about once or twice a year–and usually at the beach. It’s not something I crave very frequently and giving in annually is about right for me.

Michael was still hungry, so he ordered the black bean dip with freshly made tortilla chips. I munched on a little bit of it but I was pretty full after the dinner and the beer.

We finished up our beers and then decided to do the most logical thing while slightly drunk! Go hiking. 😛

Okay. It wasn’t really hiking. We went to the lighthouse park on the hill not far from downtown Newport, and then walked down the trail to the beach. There was a trail through the trees and brush, and then stairs down to the beach. I admit, my legs were screaming at me after working out that morning and already walking on the beach!

We walked out toward the jetty. That particular beach was almost like Mars–quiet, empty except for us, with big sand dunes. It was also really windy. Michael and I didn’t make it very far.

Walking for about 20 minutes or so, then getting to the jetty to find it gated off, we turned around and headed back up the beach to the stairs.

It was a really nice evening, romantic and busy at the same time, and I fell asleep to the deafening sound of the ocean waves rolling into the shore. I truly think that if I listened to a CD of roaring waves every night, I’d never suffer from insomnia.

QUESTION: What is your favorite beach activity?

Mystery Road Trip – Part Three

Despite the horrible stomach flu (or whatever it was) Saturday night, I slept well (the sound of the ocean always helps me sleep) and I woke up feeling much better. We went to the restaurant next door for breakfast.

I ordered very plain food and ate half of it. I ate the English muffin, the eggs and one sausage and left the rest. I wanted to make sure my stomach could handle it. Michael got a breakfast burrito that he said was delicious.

After breakfast we checked out and then went for another walk on the beach. The weather was much better. It was hot, sunny and not windy at all!

We walked south down the beach. There were rumors of a kite festival down there and I wanted to see if it was happening yet. It was still pretty early in the morning.

We walked a long ways down the beach. It was such a nice day and I was happy that I was feeling better.

I love the beach! It is so relaxing to me. Walking on the beach is a workout too. I was a little bummed that I was too sick the night before to check out the hotel pool but that wouldn’t have been a good idea with my stomach issues.

We made it to the kite festival and watched for a few minutes. The kites were exceptional. It wasn’t really windy, though, so I wondered if the Kite Festival would be a bust.

Our legs were getting a major workout as we walked the beach. It was nice! We made our way back to the hotel.

In the car I had another clue.

Michael navigated and I drove down 101 through Lincoln City. The destination ended up being Devil’s Lake. Michael had planned for us to go for a bike ride around the lake. He decided he didn’t want to do that. His legs were pretty beat up from walking several miles on the beach. I was alright with not biking. I wasn’t 100% after my stomach issues. I suggested that we drive back toward Portland and stop at Hagg Lake on the way. There were supposed to be biking trails there. He thought that was a great idea and he hoped his legs would be recovered by then. I got the final clue:

AWWWW. Michael is so romantic! We drove to McMinnville and stopped for lunch first. We ate lunch at the Golden Valley Restaurant and Brewery. We’ve eaten there before and enjoyed it. Michael got the skirt steak salad:

I had a bite and it was good! I ordered the half sandwich (turkey with havarti) and a small cup of chili.

It was a nice, slow lunch on the outdoor patio. It was warm and muggy but a pleasant experience. I did not count my calories at all over the weekend. I gave myself a break. But I didn’t eat much (and I was sick) so I am not worried at all. Sometimes it’s nice to take a break. And sometimes it’s nice to not “work out”. Our vacations are usually pretty active and we usually do a LOT of heavy fitness activities. It was nice to just do low-key this time.

After lunch we drove to Hagg Lake and checked it out. By the time we got there we were both EXHAUSTED and neither of us felt like biking. It will definitely be something we do in the future.

It was a wonderful weekend! Michael did a great job planning everything and I loved the romantic clues. 🙂 He said that I get to plan next year! I think he realized how much work goes into planning our trips. I don’t mind being the planner, but once in awhile it’s nice to have Michael create something fun!

QUESTION: Are your vacations active or low-key?