A bride on horseback? Or Galadriel in an amateur fantasy film? We could only speculate as she trotted along Cannon Beach, with Tillamook Rock Light in the background.
NO PLACE IS PERFECT. But on sunny afternoons when I’m ensconced in my writing hut on the rocky knoll and Center Island deer are bedded down in the grass 10 feet outside my window, I might be forgiven for falling back on an old cliche: This ain’t paradise, but you can see it from here.
But sometimes the best way to appreciate a place is to leave it. So where do we go when we need a getaway? Most recently, we ran away to Cannon Beach, Oregon.
We just enjoyed a long weekend there, and like the spring-break throngs who joined us, we still think it’s among the best Northwest beach towns.
Originally, we had booked the trip there to celebrate Barbara’s birthday in February. But the Snow Apocalypse (as a local meteorologist dubbed it) intervened, so we had to reschedule. As it turned out, we ended up celebrating both Barbara’s birthday and my April birthday with a wonderful few days with our daughter, Lillian.
From left: Lillian, Barbara and Haystack Rock.
We indulged in lots of good food (such as pesto pizza from Pizza a’fetta, and Lil’s luscious lemon-Brussels sprout linguine) and maybe a little too much good wine. (If you’ve not sat at a picnic table in the sun at the edge of a gorgeous Pacific beach and played card games with your favorite people while guzzling mimosas on an April Sunday morning, Dr. Travel will write you a prescription for it right now.)
My family has always loved playing games together. The latest generation of commercially packaged games, which our 27-year-old daughter discovers for us, are a long drive past Marvin Gardens and Baltic Avenue. This trip Barbara and I fell for Sushi Go!, a silly card game in which players match up sashimi (three sashimi = 10 points), tempura, nigiri and more. I don’t even much like sushi, but this game was a kick in the wasabi.
Lillian also introduced us to Mysterium, a non-competitive board game in which players collaborate to figure out who killed the butler. There is no Miss Scarlet or Colonel Mustard, but they’ve probably been guests at the same mansion.
A spearmint-colored anemone sifts nutrients from saltwater at the base of Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach, Oregon.
Intermingle all that with long walks to the base of Haystack Rock to peer at anemones at low tide and watch for the arrival of spring puffins; a bit of kite flying; and poking around favorite old shops (Dueber’s gift shop is still there) and a few new ones (Voyages toy shop carries a party pack of Sushi Go!). Instead of birthday cake, we shared a giant banana split, complete with marshmallow fluff and maraschino cherries, in our Captain’s Quarters room at the oceanfront Schooner’s Cove Inn.
No deer outside the window, but plenty more to spice up a long weekend.
And after more than 500 miles of round-trip driving, subjecting our poor cats to “boarding school,” and shrinking the Cantwell family savings account a bit, boy are we glad to be back home on our rock.
But for the salty memories, the change of pace, reinvigoration of the soul, even my education about sushi — we’re glad we went.