Take a trip to the Oregon coast

Dana Brumley, Staff Writer

The tide comes in at the beach in Pacific City, Oregon.
Dana Brumley
The tide comes in at the beach in Pacific City, Oregon.

Sometime during spring term when the days grow longer and the grass seems greener, students get this itch.

It is an itch to be outdoors. An itch to be away from the same buildings and the same sidewalks. An itch to kick off their shoes and run, to bury their feet in the sand, and to wade in the cold water of the Pacific.

Linfield College is a beautiful campus, and even though it seems as if it is located in the middle of nowhere, there are plenty of opportunities for adventure in every direction, especially to the West.

An hour away is Lincoln City, Oregon, the land of outlet malls, windy beaches and sea lions.

As you drive on Highway 101, heading South through town, there is a large parking lot on the right, where you can leave your car as you explore the sand and the ocean at the public beach. You can fly a kite, wade in the water, or just walk along the miles of sandy coast.

Farther South on 101 is the Lincoln City Outlet Mall with stores like American Eagle, Columbia Sportswear and others.

At the south end of town is a bay. At low tide, you can walk out on the wet sand almost all the way across the bay. Sea lions roll around on the sand bars and you can watch their heads bob up and down in the water. Gulls watch as clam diggers fill buckets with fresh clams. At the north end of the bay is the famous Mo’s restaurant, where you can have an ocean view while eating your fill of clam chowder or fish and chips.

If you got an early morning start and didn’t spend too much time shopping at the mall, then maybe it is too soon to head back to McMinnville. If you and your friends are up for more adventuring, you have two options. North or south.

If you pick south, you have a 40-minute drive to Newport, Oregon. Visit the historic bayfront and breathe in the fishy air as you walk by the warehouses. There are actually two more Mo’s restaurants at the Bayfront, if you didn’t get your fill before, along with candy shops galore. Aunt Belinda’s has a 10-foot wooden boat filled with salt water taffy in the middle of the store.

Newport is also home to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, a sea otter named Justice, Ripley’s Believe it or Not and the Undersea Gardens. All worth a trip. You can also walk out on the jetty or view the Yaquina Head lighthouse.

If you decided to drive north, you have slightly more than an hour until you arrive at the cow-scented town of Tillamook, home of the Cheesemakers.

The Tillamook Cheese Factory is always worth a visit, especially if it is actually powered up, and you can watch it packaging your favorite cheddar cheese. There are samples of different cheeses as well as ice cream. The Espresso Mocha and the Oregon Black Cherry are highly recommended.

Another place to stop is the Blue Heron Cheese Company, a gift shop and restaurant south of the Cheese Factory. The gift shop is filled with gag gifts like golf-themed pasta and Band-Aids that say “Shark attack” on them. The Blue Heron also has samples of the different dips, cheeses and jams made there.

As you continue south from Tillamook, take a turn at the sign for Pacific City. It is roughly 35 minutes from Tillamook, and three miles off the highway, but is worth the detour.

The tiny town is home to the Stimulus Espresso Cafe, The Pelican Pub, and the biggest sand dune in the area. It is also home of the dory fleet, which was a featured exhibit at Nicholson Library.

Buy a white mocha from Stimulus, walk across the street to the beach, and climb the sand dune, without spilling your coffee. From the top, on a clear day, you can see for miles. You can climb down the other side of the dune or just sit at the top and enjoy the breeze.

Any of these beach adventures is easily within reach. Student organizations and residence halls can charter a Linfield van or use the U-Haul cars on campus, or students with their own cars can plan a road trip with some friends. An Oregon treasure so close to school should be shared, especially with those from out of state or out of the country. Go get sand in your shorts, scratch your itch, and find a few sand dollars, or take a walk on the beach.