Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sea lions, tide pools and sunsets

I'm a day behind on my photos, so here is what happened yesterday... In the morning we woke and went to the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (a Bureau of Land Management-BLM-designation), just north of Newport, Oregon. This is - big surprise - the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, which is Oregon's tallest lighthouse at 93 feet tall. The light has been active since 1873. Newport is on the northern part of the Central Oregon Coast - the region we're exploring.
As you walk down some stairs, you get to a cobblestone beach - which is at low tide in this photo. Rebecah (Director, Central Oregon Coast Association) said that it sounds really neat when the water is up and the waves wash over the cobblestones.
A closer view of the gray rocks/cobblestones.
As you walk further out, the cobbles give way to rocky tidepools where you see seaweeds, seastars, anemones, mussels and so much more. This is Rebecah checking them out.
A purple-colored ochre seastar.
Another view of seaweeds, seastars, anemones
All of the rocky islands and islets off the Oregon coast are protected as part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. This is Eileen checking out the sign on the walkway down to the beach.
A view of the islets and the cliffs from Yaquina Head ONA.
Nest we went to the Oregon Coast Aquarium and we got "kisses" from a California sea lion named Lea. After that we meandered the aquarium which is very large and impressive. My photos didn't turn our fabulous and I prefer the natural areas but it really was a nice one, especially for kids.
This was one of my favorite places so far. I don't know why but I just had a blast getting a tour of this brewery. It's not even a microbrewery anymore, but a regional brewery because it's larger in size. It's officially called the Rogue Ales World Headquarters and we even met the brewmeister himself, John Maier.
The brewery has a restaurant called Brewer's on the Bay and it overlooks the scenic Newport Bayfront where boats are docked in their slips. They make a gazillion (OK maybe not QUITE that many) and they also sell other companys' beers. You can order a sampler, which I did. I had them listed out and of course I lost the paper... so these may not be in the right order as shown but I tried the Hazelnut Brown, Ginger (not listed on their beer list, and it is a beer not a soda pop drink), Mom Hefeweizen, Chamamellow (with chamomile), Orange Honey Ale. My fave was the hazelnut! But what I REALLY loved was - get this - the chocolate stout ice cream float!!! Of course, when I saw it on the menu, I had to try it. I thought it sounded completely disgusting but in fact it was freaking delicious!!! Go figure.
Next, we wandered around the Newport Historic Bayfront area. I wandered off to find the public bathroom when I heard a sea lion barking. I thought maybe it was some artificial sound to attract people to some store, but no, in fact it was a group of them hanging on a dock. They remind me so much of that children's book Sammy the Sea Lion (wasn't that what it was called? Now I cant find it on Google). Anyway so... they're just cute and cantankerous. These people are hanging over the dock looking at...
These guys. Ar ar ar! Here's a video I recorded.
Big boy!
Love this sign in one of the windows. As a Cancer I totally wanted the crab hat. But alas the store was closed.
I bought some handmade truffles not to mention a boatload of saltwater taffy!
This was the alcohol day, I guess! Next we went to the Flying Dutchman Winery, owned by Richard (Dick) Cutler and his family (he also manages the Inn at Otter Crest where we stayed this night - another stellar resort. I'm getting seriously spoiled). The Flying Dutchman doesn't have their own vineyard but instead buy grapes from five Oregon vineyards and then make the wines here in the salt air along the coast. I believe he said they don't sell it at any restaurants or stores, and so it's very exclusive and several of their wines have won awards. I'm no wine connoisseur but I had fun tasting them!
And THIS is the view they have out the back of their winery!! The yellow flowering things are Scottish broom which is apparently a non-native weed, but it still makes for a pretty picture. But the scenery would be gorgeous without them too. What a view. Dick told us that his kids are involved in the biz too so he has grandkids underfoot and he couldn't ask for anything more. I think I am beginning to know where I may want to move after my kids graduate from high school! We have been blessed with sun every day, but that's not that typical of the Oregon coast.
I thought this made a cool pic!
Richard graciously gave us each a bottle of wine, signed by him. Wow! What a gift! They are like $38 bottles of wine...
Me, Pat Cusick (who works at the PR firm representing the Oregon coast), Rebeca, Dan High (sales manager at the winery), and Eileen a writer who wrote How to Be A Sister: A Love Story with a Twist of Autism about growing up with an autistic sister. She also has an autism blog at Psychology Today, and now works at Media America writing about the Oregon coast. Here's some of her stuff on the Travel Oregon blog. There were not many writers on this trip. One cancelled last minute but they've had up to 13 in past years. This area is absolutely fantabulous and the trip is great. I think I've gained about 10 pounds...
After the winery, we ate dinner at "the original" Mo's - a local Oregon chain - and then stopped to shoot this pic on the way to the hotel (The Inn at Otter Crest). The Oregon coast has a lot of these rivers flowing into the ocean. The Inn at Otter Crest is set on 35 forested acres. The rooms are condos that owners rent out so each one is different but they have fireplaces, desks, kitchenettes. The condos are set up on a cliff overlooking the ocean, and I watched the sun set through the window. And... I saw the green flash for the first time ever!! I actually had thought maybe it was an urban myth, or something people tell others they have seen as sort of an inside joke , but no I really saw it right after the sun sank into the sea (I used to think the Green Flash was a superhero! Ha!)
This is Gull Rock which was visible out my room's window.

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