Three hundred and sixty-three glorious miles. Through rain or hail, sleet or snow, or, best of all, sparkling, effervescent sunshine, the beauty and romance of the Oregon Coast draws visitors like bees to spring flowers. And of course, the king of the road for coastal travel is Highway 101.
Before the 1930s, driving the coastline meant a perilous trip in a horse-drawn buggy, inching along the edges of cliffs, pulling mightily over capes and headlands, and running full out along beaches washed by waves and tides. As you might imagine, this wasn’t a ride for the faint of heart.
Things looked up in 1919, when Oregon voters approved the building of what was then known as the Roosevelt Military Highway. For this we can thank one of the coast's own: Benjamin F. Jones, who was at various times mayor of Newport, Toledo, and Independence and also served in the Oregon State Legislature. After the road (later known as the Oregon Coast Highway) was completed in 1932, the coast and its isolated towns were soon fair game for vacationers.
Speaking of which, inside this issue you'll find our annual Mile-by-Mile Guide, updated to reflect changes during the past year. It's an invaluable companion for any coastal trip. You'll also find lots of useful tips for planning theater, shopping, and eating adventures along the coast.
Vickie Higgins has put together a compendium of boutiques specializing in that unique style of coastal clothing that's both casual and chic all at once. We are especially indebted to Michele and Tom Douglass, our cover models, who survived a lengthy Sunday morning shoot at the Heceta Head Lighthouse. Wearing breezy spring fashions on the coldest day of the year, an unusual and bone-chilling 24 degrees, they still managed to smile, over and over again.
Emily Kolkemo offers a look at the vibrant world of coastal theater, and Judy Fleagle suggests that everyone should go fly a kite, and lets you know exactly where and when you can watch and learn from the best kite fliers. And for your sweet tooth, our food writers have brought you a roundup of fudge shops where you can indulge to your heart’s content.
Last but not least, don’t miss the Oregon Coast wordmap, a labor of love by geography professor-cum-poet Howard Horowitz. While Horowitz may be physically stuck in New Jersey most of the year, his heart clearly lies on the Oregon Coast. Here’s a sample of the lines laid over the coast’s northernmost corner: “Many ships foundered and many sailors drowned in the wild mouth of the Columbia since 1792, when Captain Gray named the river but lost some crew. Though jetties have changed the deposition patterns of sand, the rough bar still takes a toll.”
Perhaps Horowitz’s poem will inspire you, as you travel the coast, to create your own mental wordmap. Either way, enjoy your travels!
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