Have you ever just had that last minute itch to get outta town? Pressures, obligations, and simple daily life can leave you wanting for rest and for real family time absent of technology.
A few weeks ago, I asked my husband Michael if he’d run away with me to the beach. He happily agreed and within 24 hours our Jeep was loaded with boots, winter coats, lots of changes of clothes, and a few cameras (Mike is into old school film.)
My favorite time of year to visit the beach is autumn and winter. We left Issaquah around 11 a.m. on a Friday and in about five hours we arrived at Cannon Beach. Because of course we had to stop at my favorite Olympia spot for lunch: Chopsticks Noodle House. They have the tastiest vermicelli bowls and amazing Thai curry!
Our 4-year-old son Noah was fast asleep in the back seat, so we did what every parent of a preschooler does when the occasion arises — we had a lunch date in the car thanks to take-out boxes and our silent ninja skills eating. This is real life.
After lunch we were off and took a detour through the small town of Astoria, all decked out for Christmas and it was magical!
On the way into Cannon Beach at neighboring Seaside we spotted the best neon sign for a tiny fish market: Bell Buoy of Seaside. We swung in and grabbed some fresh Oregon baby shrimp meat, and cocktail sauce. Real vacations are made for eating all of the tasty local foods.
We arrived at our beachside resort, the Surfsand Resort, and we were welcomed in the lobby by the kindest woman. She offered a warm cookie to Noah, and Mike found the giant bowl of saltwater taffy. They gave us our keys and let us know if we needed anything to just ask. This is the real deal. She wasn’t just doing her job; she cared about our stay. The stresses of the week were already starting to melt away.
We opened the doors to our king suite and Noah burst past me and jumped on the bed! They had a fruit and cheese platter waiting for us, and a cute stuffed puffin for Noah.
After getting settled, we decided this place needed some exploring, and we were hungry! I mean C’MON, yeah, we’d be eating all day, but we are the Karteses – our love language involves trying new restaurants.
The Wayfarer, one of the hotel’s restaurants, was a short walk from the room. By this time it was about 8 p.m. and a burger sounded awesome. It was, too – juicy and crispy and everything that counts in a good burger. Our waiter took great care of us, and Noah’s chicken strips meal was a worthy rival to our burger! Light, crispy, and accompanied by shoestring fries.
The next day we woke up to beautiful sunshine. (Yep, the sun often shines at the beach during winter). Haystack Rock felt so close you could almost reach out and touch it from our balcony. We headed for the beach and the sun felt warm on our faces, even though the salty air was crisp and cool. We strolled the beach for almost two hours before it was time for breakfast. We had worked up quite the appetite!
Noah said, “Hey, let’s get doughnuts!” A quick internet search revealed Dundee’s in Seaside was best. It took about 15 minutes to get there and it was worth it! Hot cocoa, coffee, and fresh warm doughnuts hit the spot. We got a few extras for the road and did a little antiquing before heading back to the room.
My parents and my sister’s family joined us that afternoon, and they were blown away at the quality of the Surfsand Resort. The warmth of the staff and everything for the kids to do was such a special treat. We headed back out to Haystack rock for some tide pool exploration, and it was warm – in November! No coats needed, and I even let Noah take his boots off. We decided that we’d all go to dinner again at the Wayfarer. We loved it! I had a wedge salad and shared fish ‘n’ chips that could make you cry … so good. The kids loved their food. Isn’t it a treat when your kids actually eat? After dinner, it was time for a swim. The whole gang of us swam for over an hour in the heated pool, probably the best ending to such a great day.
Sunday morning came, and we were ready to explore the town! The kids were ready for the candy shops, and we stood outside Bruce’s Candy Kitchen and watched the entire process of pulling and wrapping the taffy. Then we each got to taste a fresh piece. We snagged some pizza by the slice, and the kids got to pet and feed and sit on the sweetest horses galloping around town. We spent the day shopping and eating, and it felt like we were truly creating lasting memories.
When we left it was bittersweet. I could have easily stayed another night. Cannon Beach was the perfect getaway. I can’t wait to go back.