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Oregon Coast Best of Awards for the Year


Covering 180 miles of Oregon coast travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Waldport, Yachats & Florence.


Secrets of the Season

Oregon Coast Best of Awards for the Year

A run of dead sharks washing up along the Oregon coast gets the "Freakiest Natural Event" award of 2007 (photo Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium)

(Oregon Coast) – It’s the First Annual Oregon Coast Beach Connection Best of Awards from BeachConnection.net, spotlighting the most intriguing and glittering of the Oregon coast (with an occasional nod towards the most crappy).

Here, we salute the best restaurants, lodgings, coastal promoters, science organizations, and the most intriguing events of the year in nature – all in a diverse range of categories.

These categories will likely not remain static throughout the coming years, either. They probably will change with the year, depending on what transpires and what emerges over that time.

It’s an award that’s as malleable as the march of time itself.

The Bistro, Cannon Beach

Best Fine Restaurant: The Bistro, Cannon Beach. An old favorite on the coast continues its innovative stylings and consistent high quality. You could easily spend $100 for two in Portland for food of this stature, but here it’s maybe half that cost.

Best Family Restaurant: Landmark Restaurant, Yachats. Best damned Italian cuisine outside of Portland – maybe even New York.

A1 Beach Rentals, Lincoln City. Perfect for large family vacations all the way down to a getaway lodging for two - with over 25 vacation rental homes to choose from. A breathtaking collection of craftsman or traditional beachfront homes, or oceanview houses – from one to seven bedrooms. In various areas of Lincoln City and overlooking the beach, with some in Depoe Bay. All kinds of amenities are available, like hot tubs, decks, BBQ, rock fireplaces, beamed ceilings and more. Some are new, some are historic charmers. Lincoln City, Oregon. 1-(503)-232-5984. www.a1beachrentals.com.

Dessert Heaven: Village Market & Deli, Newport (would’ve been Zinger’s Homemade Ice Cream in Seaside, but they were closed for a long while). Expand your palate with masterful creations imported from around the world and California wine country. In Nye Beach, at the end of NW 3rd.

Italian food and a stellar view at the Landmark, Yachats

Best New Eatery: Yummy Wine Bar & Bistro, Seaside. Stunning tapas-style dishes and a truly interesting wine selection.

Best Ethnic Restaurant: Thai Talay, Newport. Better than any Thai place we know of in Portland.

Best Wine Spot: Yachats Wine Trader. It was really cool with the view it had (until it moved), but now that it’s attached to the fab restaurant Yachats River House, there’s something like 100 wines to choose from.

Most Magnificent Single Dish: Penne pasta with meatballs at Cannon Beach Fultano’s. Just off Hemlock, Cannon Beach.

Best Seafood: Bell Buoy of Seaside and Buoy’s Best Fish House, Seaside. A wondrous collection of seriously fresh seafood to take home and cook, or the nifty little fast food fish house next door: whatever you do, don’t miss their insane tuna melts.

Pasta to die for at Fultano's in Cannon Beach

Arch Cape Property Services. Dozens of homes in that dreamy, rugged stretch between Cannon Beach and Manzanita known as Arch Cape. Oceanfront and ocean view , or just a short walk from the sea.
All homes are immaculate and smoke free; some pet friendly (with a fee). Some with broadband, indoor or outdoor hot tubs, fireplaces, decks, and fire pits or barbecues. Call about tempting winter specials that go until March (not valid holidays, however). www.archcaperentals.com 866-436-1607.

Most Anticipated Development: A new restaurant will show up in the old Currents spot in Nehalem, run by north coast pizza guru Phil Kaufman. It will be outlandishly good, to be sure.

Best Bar: Maxwell’s, Lincoln City. A fab place to watch tourists go bonkers on booze, unfettered by the illusion that since they’re not at home they can run amok. It’s also got the coolest karaoke book on the coast – and better than any we’ve seen in Portland.

Yachats River House

Most Innovative Drinks: the bar at Yachats River House, Yachats. Some wildly colored and delicious concoctions are rather magically called into existence by wizard-like mixologists.

Best Microbrewed Beer: The dark stuff from Bill’s Tavern, Cannon Beach.

oregon coast lighthouses on dvd

Newly renovated, 30 upscale rooms, on north end of Lincoln City, close to everything. Spa-like feeling, w/ luxury linens & robes, pillow top mattresses, flat screen TV's, granite counters and more all add to pampering. Oceanfront and ocean view units w/ gas fireplace. Hot Tub units. Romance packages. Luxury Room for every budget: meeting and wedding spaces too.

Best Coastal Bartender: Shalom at Maxwell’s, Lincoln City (who takes an unbelievable amount of crap sometimes, but remains exceptionally cheery).

Best New Lodging: Rivertide Suites in Seaside. An interesting idea for lodging on the coast: you can own one of these lovely units as a timeshare, and actually receive revenue for it being rented out as a hotel room when you’re not around. Stunning views, as well.

Seaside Aquarium is more than just a pretty place to see really cute seals: they educate the public about once a month by wiggling themselves into the news via the creatures it snags from the beaches.

Best Lodging Renovation: Beachfront Manor Hotel, Lincoln City. Somewhere near midtown Lincoln City, this kind of nasty old building was magically turned into a glittering, upscale hotel with serious style and class. It’s almost the Oregon coast’s answer to Portland’s Jupiter Hotel.

Best Old Lodging: Whistling Winds, Lincoln City. A wildly delicious display of artistic woodwork on the interior of this historical little spot on the north end of Lincoln City. Woodsy, rustic and yet sublimely upscale.

Best Public Science Education: Oregon Coast Aquarium and Hatfield do the best job in person, but Seaside Aquarium wins for the most public display of science education, by carefully getting everything they do on TV, all over print and Internet media.

The Ocean Lodge. There will not be another property built like this in Cannon Beach in our lifetimes. Rare, premiere ocean front location; handsome, dramatic architecture and tasteful, fun (nostalgic) beach interiors. Overlooks Haystack Rock. 100 percent smoke free. Imaginative special occasion packages. Massive wood burning lobby fireplace. Library w/ fireplace, stocked with impressive book collection. Pet and family friendly. Lavish continental buffet breakfast. In-room fireplaces, mini-kitchens. Jacuzzi tubs in select rooms. DVD players, complimentary movies. Morning paper. Warm cookies. 888-777-4047. 503-436-2241. 2864 Pacific Street. Cannon Beach, Oregon. www.theoceanlodge.com

Most Fascinating Science Person of the Year: Guy DiTorrice, Newport. He’s known as Oregon Fossil Guy, giving tours of central coast beaches to help people find dead things from millions of years ago. Plus, he’s constantly showing up in magazines and other media around the country. Now how cool is that?

Iron towers at Hug Point (photo Tom Horning)

Biggest Scientific Revelation of the Year: Seaside geologist Tom Horning discovered ancient stumps and weird iron formations unearthed at Hug Point last winter, when sand levels were something like six to ten feet below normal. Awe-inspiring and mind-bendingly weird stuff.

Biggest Hot Button Issue of the Year: Beach erosion and how and when to shore up cliffs with raprap, or prevent further erosion. There’s a lot happening here, and it’s kind of scary.

Weirdest News Item: Anchor Inn in Oceanside hosting strippers. This normally quaint, tiny town is kind of spooky these days, with a civil war breaking out over various issues with this inn. Oceanside needs a visit from Dr. Phil.

Brown goo on the waves at Seaside this spring (photo Tiffany Boothe, Seaside)

Most Outstanding Tourism Promotion: Lorna Davis, Tourism Development Director at the Newport Chamber, spent considerable time in England promoting the town – as well as across the country.

Coolest Environmental Event: all that brown goo on the waves at Seaside in April. It was caused by a huge amount of phytoplankton, meaning the ocean is pretty healthy. But it caused people to ask if it was pollution.

Freakiest Natural Event: That run of dead shark strandings up and down the entire coast in summer. There were three or four a month for a while. In fact, it was happening along the California coast as well.

Boy getting kissed by sea lion at Oregon Coast Aquarium, or the cartoonish ratfish found by Seaside Aquarium - which is the cutest photo to you?

Most Adorable Promotional Photo: It’s a toss up between the sea lion kissing a kid at Oregon Coast Aquarium and the whimsical fish found by Seaside Aquarium staff – a ratfish, which looks like something out of a Disney cartoon.

Emma the Ambassadorial Lab is featured in the Cannon Beach Chamber's ads

Cutest Coastal Business Pet: Emma, the ambassadorial lab at the Cannon Beach Chamber.

For over 80 years a favorite of Seaside visitors. 51 oceanfront condos, individually owned and decorated. Suites for couples, small apartments with fireplaces and kitchenettes, one or two bed family units with fireplaces, kitchens and dining rooms. Oceanview cottages sleep anywhere from two to eight, w/ two bedrooms, some with lofts, fireplaces and kitchens. Heated outdoor pool, enormous grounds w/ picnic tables - all at quiet southern end of Seaside.Best Single Event: Portland electronica group Dahlia played Wateringhole in Nehalem during the summer. One of the coolest bands in the country played some small bar here. That’s quite a feat.

Best Festival: Pirate Days at Depoe Bay. Pirates and Depoe Bay: now how cool is that?

Biggest Heart on the Coast: Ray Shackelford, Nehalem Bay Winery/Depoe Bay Winery, wins the award for philanthropist of the year. He’s been building schools in - and selling merchandise from - a village in Cambodia, among other beautiful acts of kindness.

Sad to See This Go: Treasure Café in Wheeler. One of the most astounding coastal restaurants ever just died because owner health issues.

Special Thumbs Down Award for 2007: the big storm of December, all its damage, and subsequent damaging media coverage of it.

D Sands Condominium Motel, Lincoln City. Free, fresh baked cookie upon check-in is just the start. All rooms beachfront and up against Lincoln City's most famous stretch of beach: the D River. Each room comes as a suite or mini-suite, and has a kitchen and balcony or patio. Some w/ gas fireplaces, while all have a DVD Players; movies to rent come with free popcorn. Heated indoor pool, a spa, and this fabulous beach is lit at night. Rooms sleep from two, four to six - including a deluxe fireplace suite. Gift certificates orspecial occasion packages. www.dsandsmotel.com. 171 S.W. Highway 101. 800-527-3925.

Weiss' Paradise Suites & Vacation Rentals - Seaside

Unique Luxury Accommodations in Seaside. 1BR Suites, 1BR & 2BR Duplex Units and 3BR Houses, units for 2-8 people. Rent entire property for 20-26. Close to beach, river and Broadway St.
Suites are designed for two adults; vacation rental units for families. All units have kitchen and many have fireplace, deck and jetted tub. Comfy robes, slippers, luxury bath amenities, quality linens and more. 741 S. Downing St., Seaside. 800-738-6691. www.SeasideSuites.com

STARFISH POINT Newport - Offers only the finest in luxury condominium lodging. Every unit is focused on the beauty of the sea and the beach.
All units boast two bedrooms, two bathrooms, designer kitchens, wireless broadband Internet, fireplaces, Jacuzzi’s and private decks. Friendly staff dedicated to high quality and superb customer service. 140 NW 48th Street, Newport. (541) 265-3751. (800) 870-7795. www.starfishpoint.com

Lincoln City Vacation Homes Something for everyone: smaller homes with a view to a large house that sleeps 15. All are either oceanfront or just a few steps away – all with a low bank access and fantastic views. Most are in the Nelscott area; one is close to the casino. You’ll find a variety of goodies: fireplaces, multiple bedrooms, dishwashers, Jacuzzis, washer/dryers, hot tubs, cable TV, VCR, barbecues; there’s a loft in one, and another sprawling home has two apartments. Pets allowed in some homes – ask first. Each comes with complete kitchens. Most have seventh night free. Prices range from winter $85 to summer $230 per night. www.getaway2thecoast.com. 541-994-8778.

Tradewinds Motel, Rockaway Beach. All rooms are immaculate and have TV’s, VCR’s and in-room phones w/ data ports. Oceanfronts have queen bed, a double hide-a-bed, kitchen, cozy firelog fireplace and private deck. Both types sleep up to four people. Others are appointed for a two-person romantic getaway, yet still perfect for those on a budget. Elaborate oceanfront Jacuzzi suite has two bedrooms, kitchen, double hide-a-bed, fireplace and private deck, sleeping as many as six. For family reunions or large gatherings such as weddings, some rooms can connect to create two-room and three-room suites. Some rooms pet friendly. 523 N. Pacific St., Rockaway Beach. (503) 355-2112 - 1-800-824-0938. www.tradewinds-motel.com

Inn at Cannon Beach. Beautifully wooded natural setting at quiet south end of Cannon Beach. Great during winter storms with a new book by the fireplace – or when the sun is out for family fun and beach strolling. Handsome beach cottage-style architecture. Lush flowering gardens and naturalized courtyard pond. Warm, inviting guest rooms. Continental buffet breakfast. Warm Cookies. Family and Pet Friendly. Welcome gifts. Smoke-free. Complimentary Wireless Connectivity. Wine and book signing events. 800-321-6304 or 503-436-9085. Hemlock At Surfcrest, Cannon Beach, Oregon. www.atcannonbeach.com.


Click here for video of storm aftermath

Prepare for Freaky, Creepy Mole Crabs on Oregon Coast Beaches The little critters make the tideline bubble and feel really weird as they run across your feet

Watching Transformations of Oregon Coast Beaches Seasons change and so do beaches, revealing different sides and a variety of eye-popping sights

Structures Found on Oregon Beach May Be 80,000 Years Old - They are the remnants of a forest apparently 80,000 years old, found at Hug Point

Day or Night Mysteries and Merriment on Oregon Coast It's more than just nightlife that comes to life, but the beaches offer major opportunities

Oregon Coast Travel Site Goes Wireless Provides Lodging Reports - Oregon Coast Beach Connection now has mobile lodging and dining listings, along with weekly lodging availability reports

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Where the Columbia meets the Pacific, Land of Lewis & Clark and loads of atmosphere & history

The Promenade, Tillamook Head, family fun & broad, sandy beaches

A mysterious lighthouse, upscale yet earthy, a huge monolith, fine eateries & an art mecca

Manzanita's beaches, Nehalem and Wheeler's quirky beauty; laid back Rockaway

Garibaldi, Barview, Bay City, Tillamook & an oceanfront ghost town

The hidden secret of the coast: Cape Meares, a lighthouse, Oceanside, Netarts and Pacific City

Miles & miles of unbroken beaches, Cascade Head, Neskowin and many manmade attractions
A spouting horn downtown, freaky hidden cliffs and whales, whales, whales
Time-tripping Nye Beach, a bustling bayfront, marine science-central and two lighthouses

Pristine, even secretive sands and wild geologic landmarks

Constantly dramatic wave action, a mix of the rugged & upscale

25 miles of deserted beaches & oodles of wonders

A lighthouse, ancient bayfront and miles and miles of fluffy dunes

Literally over 100 homes available as vacation rentals – all distinctive and carefully selected to be special. Find them in Yachats, Waldport, Newport, Nye Beach, Otter Rock, Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach, Lincoln Beach, Lincoln City, Neskowin, Pacific City, Tierra Del Mar and Rockaway Beach. Some pet friendly.

Lincoln City’s only resort hotel built right on the beach with all oceanfront rooms - nestled against a rugged cliffside overlooking a soft, sandy beach. Dine in penthouse restaurant and bar, for casual meal or candlelight dinner. An array of seafood specialties, juicy steaks and other Northwest favorites, including decadent Sunday buffet. Rooms range from bedrooms to studios to 1-bedroom suites with microwaves and refrigerators to full kitchens. Also, wi-fi, spa, saunas, exercise room and year-round heated swimming pool. Kids will love the game room and easy beach access. Full-service conference/meeting rooms for that inspirational retreat; extensive wedding possibilities.

Oregon Coast event or adventure you can't miss

17 lavish, beachfront suites feature Jacuzzi or outdoor hot tub, gas fireplace, luxury robes & linens, TV, two-headed showers. Three large suites have kitchens. Private deck w/ BBQ available. No smoking or pets. Perfect for romantic getaway, honeymoon.

Feed the seals! One of the oldest aquariums in the U.S. is here in Seaside, Oregon, right on the Promenade

Breathtaking high panoramic beach views from oceanfront rooms, spacious family suites & fully equipped cottages.  Known for gracious hospitality, the sparkling clean Sea Horse features a heated indoor pool, dramatic oceanfront spa, great whale watching, free deluxe continental breakfast, conference room, free casino shuttle & HBO.  Fireplaces, private decks and spas are available in select rooms.  Close to shops, golf, fishing & restaurants.  Pets are welcome in select rooms.  Senior discounts.  Kids 18 and under stay free in their parent's room.  Very attractive rates.

20 gorgeous homes sleep up to 18; doubled that with some side-by-side homes. Some pet friendly. Cottages to massive homes; new oceanfront to renovated historic beach houses. All over central coast w/ Lincoln City, Otter Rock, Boiler Bay and Nye Beach. Long list of features, including barbecues, large decks, antique furnishings, wood stoves, gas fireplaces, hardwood floors, Jacuzzis and hot tubs. Most have movies, music, books. Gift basket w/ goodies in each

Condo-hotel that offers the amenities of a fine hotel, but also includes ownership of a vacation home on the north Oregon coast. It is a unique opportunity, as condo owners have an opportunity to share in the revenues of their unit. All have either spectacular, nearly aerial views of the ocean and city, or they gaze out at the lush forests of the coast range mountains. There are private balconies in all rooms, which come as studios or units with one bedroom or two - as large as 850 square feet. Each is fully furnished. $189,000 to $449,000, (with most in the $300,000 range.) When owners are not using their units, they may be rented out as hotel rooms, and owners may share in those revenues.