NEWS YOU CAN USE
Covering 160 miles of Oregon coast
travel: Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway,
Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe
Bay, Newport, Wadport, Yachats & Florence.
and Fun Discoveries on the Oregon Coast
from above Manzanita
Oregon) - It's known as having some of the cleanest beaches in the
world. Oregon's coast is a serious treasure trove.
the Nehalem Bay area, on the northern
coast, with its legends of buried treasure around tiny Manzanita,
possibly sequestering the real thing in its thick envelope of slightly
mysterious forest. It's an area that seems to never cease in its
revelations and hidden delights. No matter that you may be a frequenting
regular, the beaches, Neahkahnie Mountain and the three tiny towns
of Nehalem, Wheeler and Manzanita
which comprise the bay area always yield new discoveries.
The San Dune
Inn is one of those, even for addicted veterans of the area like
myself, who visit here almost every week from the metropolitan area
of Portland, some 100 miles away. While there's a lovely little
local nightlife hotspot called San Dune Pub just stumbling distance
away, the San Dune Inn - a very family-friendly motel - is one of
those lurking surprises awaiting.
many lodging spots can claim to have a vast array of freebies like
bikes, game equipment, popcorn and movies. But San Dune does. Stay
at this charming, unassuming place just steps away from Manzanita's
main drag - Laneda Avenue - and you'll find stuff for volleyball
and other games suitable for the sand, as well as beach balls, bikes
and simple sandcastle-making gear like buckets. It's a kid's dream
At 41, and a
kid at heart, all these playthings are a dream come true for me
what charmed me the most about this place upon my first few visits
was the thick London accent of owner Brian and his down-to-Earth
approach, as well as the kids' stuff available for play. And then
there was that really adorable dog: Buddy. This tiny little pup
was so fluffy and soft he felt more like a stuffed animal. But he
was the real deal, and loves greeting guests as they come in.
"Ethel" sculpture outside San Dune is made from discarded
On this stay,
Brian's wife, Billie, hooked me up with a lovely little room on
the westward end of the motel. From here, you could just barely
hear the waves of Manzanita's beaches in the middle of the night,
lulling you to sleep. The room is immaculate, with a color theme
of blue, coming complete with a coffee machine, VCR and TV, a blow
dryer hooked into the wall, a small fridge and even a shower cap.
San Dune Inn has 14 such cozy rooms, all of them with VCR's, cable
TV, the small fridge, microwave and access to all the cool freebie
amenities for sand play, as well as free movies, games and even
books. Six of the rooms feature full kitchens with separate living
room and bedroom areas. Plus, the place is pet friendly - and there's
this nifty little barbecue area out back with a tent next to it.
For me, as the
middle-aged kid with a surreal sense of exploration, I was interested
in playing with the bikes. After a party at a friend's house nearby,
I took one for a joyride on the beach. I'm not sure zipping around
at three in the morning is what the Hines had in mind for these,
but I was filled with a load of childlike joy. It's been perhaps
20 years since I rode one, and I discovered the old adage is true:
you never forget how.
visits found me reveling more in the slight kookiness of this place.
Brian has quite a raucous sense of humor, and is great for a fun
spot of conversation. I've gone on late, nocturnal bike rides with
regularity now, thanks to Brian and Billie. In recent years, they
acquired a somewhat wacky statue of a heron made from found junk,
called "Ethel." Intriguing, pretty and yet delightfully
also found myself going through their extensive library of flicks,
taking in all the M. Night Shyaliman movies they have.
In the end,
I discover the San Dune is perfect for families with kids - or adults
who act like kids. Next time, perhaps I'll take the more grownup
route, take a friend and we'll stay in and enjoy one of their fairly
large selection of movies. Or maybe we'll both act like kids and
play with the beach toys and bikes again. You'll find it about a
block away from Laneda, at 428 Dorcas Lane. Bring your pet, look
for the big sign on Laneda pointing the way, or see www.sanduneinn.com.