European guests in awe of the Oregon coast

If you haven't heard from me recently, it is because during the month of August we entertained guests from Paris, France. It was their first visit to the States and will certainly not be their last.  They thoroughly loved every minute of their stay and were awe struck by the beauty of the Grand Canyon and the Oregon coast, two of the favorite places they visited. In the end, with 4 to 5 weeks of vacation time enjoyed by the French, these past 4 weeks went way too fast for them and they certainly could have used another 4, according to them.

During their final week in Oregon, I had the pleasure of taking them to the  coast and visit the Pacific, a total must do for them and a place that I must confess I haven't visited in a number of years. Sometimes we take for granted just how beautiful this coastline is from its rugged, rocky cliffs to the long and wide stretches of sandy beaches. If you're so lucky to be there when the gray skies break up to display a beautiful blanket of blue, there aren't many places that get better than that. What makes it so special is that it's not inundated with people and so the beaches and landscape remains pristine. At times it reminded them of Deauville on the Normandy coast and a quick turn of the head and you thought yourself along the coastline of Brittany, France.

A dip of the toes in the waters of the Pacific and it was clear to them they weren't in Cannes anymore. How did they put it, "oooh c'est si froid!" For those that have experienced the North Pacific, you don't need to speak French to know that means it's too damned cold. I had warned them of the chilly waters and suggested before heading to the coast that they should practice by soaking their feet in a bucket filled with water and ice, which got a chuckle out of them.

After brushing the sand off their feet (and their hair), we headed off in search of  a place to enjoy a leisurely lunch and ended up at the top of the Inn at Spanish Head. Perched alongside the cliffs, the tenth floor provided us with an unobstructed view of the coastline which seemed to stretch for miles in either direction. We dined on wonderful varieties of fresh seafood and pommes frites, finishing off with a nice glass of Port wine while watching the waves roar up the shoreline and back out again in an almost hypnotic rhythm. We could have easily stayed the afternoon; however, there were miles to go before we slept and a nap was not on the menu for this day.

One step outside and the cool breezes of the ocean air quickly reinvigorated us and off we were to our final stop, the Newport Aquarium. Although not as large as the ones found in southern California or Florida, the Aquarium in Newport is none the less a fun place to visit. The recent addition of Swamp Land (I think that's what it's called) has added a new dimension to the attractions by bringing in exhibits of live animals typically found in Florida, Central, and South America. The Aviary presented a variety of birds and other exhibits featured Otters and Seals. The finale was the underwater glass tube that allowed you to see a variety of small and large fish in all directions. They swam above and below you. I had never seen a live Shark before until now (with the exception of the ones on Wall Street).

The day was quickly drawing to a close and we still had a 2 1/2 hour drive back to Portland. So we started our trek back home. Along the way, we found a small fish market just off the road and decided to stop and pick up some fresh fish for dinner. We began talking about what we had seen and the memories they would take back with them of their first trip to America. Before long, all was quiet but for the hum of the car racing through the darkening forest. My visitors from France were getting their late afternoon nap after all.

Another year will soon have come and gone. Summer will turn to Autumn in just a few weeks, Thanksgiving and Christmas will fly through town, and 2011 will enter our lives for the first time. And then will come August, new guests will arrive, an Aunt from Paris, cousins from the South of France, and we'll do this all over again, much like the rhythm of the waves going out and coming back. I can't wait !


  1. Gorgeous photos, amazing just amazing!

  2. Great photos, I love the beach ones they remind me of Normandy. How lucky are the French with their month long vacations :)

  3. It sounds like you showed them a good time!

  4. I admit that I fell in love with Oregon; the coast as well as the Columbia River Gorge. It is breathtaking. Thanks for taking me back there through your pictures.

  5. Hi Nick - I loved this post, we were recently on the Oregon Coast too. Great photos!
    You might enjoy my post dated 8/13/10.