Sylvia Beach Hotel

Some people go to the beach, some people go to the shore, some people go to the seaside, we, in Oregon, go to the coast and that is exactly what the four of us did on Wednesday morning.  We threw a couple days’ worth of clothing into our backpacks, flung the backpacks into the back of the van and headed west.

Ultimate destination: The Sylvia Beach Hotel in Newport; stops along the way: Driftwood Beach wayside, where we saw two abandoned shoes, mismatched, on the pathway; Cape Foulweather overview and visitor center, where we saw a bald eagle (in all honesty just a tiny white speck in a tree) and a gray whale, spouts and tail; and Mo’s at Devil’s Punchbowl State Park, where we had a tasty lunch.  Weather was mixed, mood was gay.

Oregon’s coast is diverse: Long, wide, sandy beaches; deeply indented, rocky points; huge sand dunes; and timbered hill/mountainsides that meet the water. The one common feature is that all of Oregon’s coastline is public land, the result of a 1967 piece of legislation enacted by the Oregon Legislature.  This means that we, the public, can access the coast.

We arrived at Sylvia Beach Hotel about 2 p.m. on Wednesday and checked into our rooms:  H and J in Emily Dickinson, M and V in Amy Tan.  For those of you who don’t know, the Sylvia Beach Hotel is a Newport institution. No, not that kind. Rather, the quirky, fun kind of institution.  The kind of institution where people actually want to stay.

The hotel is named after the Sylvia Beach who was the proprietor of the bookstore and lending library, Shakespeare and Company, in Paris during the years between the first and second world wars.  Each of the rooms in the hotel is named after an author and decorated in a thematic way.  The hotel is located in a large, creaking, wooden, four story building that is perched above Nye Beach in Newport. The building was built in 1913 and operated as a boarding house. Dining room is in the lower floor, rooms on floors two, three and four, and library and coffee room on four.  Shelley, the cat, roams at large choosing first one and then another lap on which to curl. People read and speak softly. It is charming and restful.

Thursday had our driver taking us south along US 101 all the way to Florence.  Stopped at Cook’s Chasm/Spouting Horn to admire the rocks and tide pools. The horn was not spouting as the tide was well on its way out but we did hear great booming sounds as the ocean pounded into subterranean chambers. We drove up to Whispering Spruce Trail and viewed Cape Perpetua through the shifting mist. We stopped briefly at Cape Perpetua and then drove to Heceta Head and walked up to its  lighthouse with its English lens, which is unique in Oregon (possibly all of the US) all others being of French origin (thanks to Heather for that bit of information). Mo’s in Florence, overlooking the Siuslaw River, was our lunch stop.

Wine in the library and a delectable dinner at Local Ocean on the harbor in Newport capped a perfect day.

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