The Contrasts of Newport, Oregon

Visit the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse on the coast and you’ll be blown away.  Literally.  It blows a gale most days and you can well imagine why the lighthouse was so essential as you survey the wild seas and rugged coastline.

But the other side of town, by the river, is pure serenity. Fishing trawlers are mirrored in the silky smooth water of the marina. Sea lions loll about in the sun and tourists and locals enjoy fresh local seafood at the many quayside eateries.


Then, just to confound all theories, I glanced out of our hotel window one evening and found the seas had calmed and, at long last, a pretty reasonable sunset presented itself.

Sunset at Agate Beach copy

Who ever heard of Coos Bay?

A sizable town on the Oregon coast, Coos Bay is a rather nondescript working port. But you gotta stop somewhere for the night so we had a look around. Ocean going tugs, classic cars, an endless stream of timber trucks and an impressive bridge seemed to be about it at first glance. But that’s the river side.

The coast side is a joy.  See for yourself.

One in a thousand

Stormy Shore copy

The Californian and Oregon coastlines offer hundreds and hundreds of scenic vistas. When the road is not hugging the coast itself, it meanders through hilly pine and cypress forests. It’s a journey best not hurried.  Small drive-in viewing points offer a bench to sip a cup of tea and take in the sea air. Invariably there will be a path to a driftwood strewn beach.

We built in a lot of time for this trip.  But it’s not enough.


Right on the coast, Eureka is the largest town in Humboldt County California. This is the heart of redwood country. It is typical of so many towns along the US West Coast. There’s ‘Old Town’, a zoo, museum, stunning sea vistas and clear-sky sunsets plus other curiosities to amuse us tourists. But, for me, its standout feature was the architecture of many of its wooden houses; particularly the mansions. And of those mansions there’s one that outdoes them all by a country mile.

Unfortunately, the amazing Carson Mansion is a private club. I’d love to have seen the inside.Carson Mansion copy

Avenue of the Giants

About four hours North of San Francisco, you reach the land of the giant redwoods. The aptly titled Avenue of the Giants is a very pleasant 30 mile drive through dappled light. In fact, there are parts where the Sun barely makes it through these massive trees.

There are equally pleasant cafes dotted along the way. Apart from the necessary coffee and sandwich, you can also choose from a dazzling array of objects honed out of redwood. As interesting as they were, none took our fancy.

By the sea

Everything on the Monterey Peninsula is by the sea.  But the town of Carmel even included the phrase in its official name just to emphasize the fact. Interesting shops, nice people and a generally smart appearance all make Carmel By the Sea well worth a visit.

Just out of Carmel is the ’17 Mile Drive’ which takes you back along the rugged coastline and past some of golf’s best known courses. But it can be bleak.  Even in mid-Summer, the ubiquitous marine layer chills the air. Then strong coastal winds come and clear the mist but do absolutely nothing to assist one’s golf game.

The famous ‘Lone Cypress’ must be the most photographed tree in the world.  It can be seen from several points on the Pebble Beach golf course and from lookouts along the 17 Mile Drive. It’s the registered logo for Pebble Beach and is walled, staked and tied in order to ensure its already long life of 250 years continues for a few more.