Pegman Meets Viking

We just wrapped up a trip to the Oregon Coast, ostensibly to Newport and Cannon Beach, in an adventure that came together by way of Pegman. If you aren’t familiar with Pegman, that’s the name of the little guy on Google Maps that you can drag around to get a street view (I learned that little tidbit of information through Google, of course).

So here’s the backstory: a few weeks ahead of our trip, we were surfing the net to scope out different driving routes on the coast. At some point, we dragged Pegman down to a totally random spot…and he just happened to land on the stunning view from the Nordic Oceanfront Inn, in the small coastal town of Lincoln City.

So who chooses a destination by way of Pegman? Well, I guess we do. I’d never heard of Lincoln City (or Pegman) myself, which seems like how a good adventure might begin. And on top of the opportunity to discover a new town, the Nordic Oceanfront Inn looked like a fun destination itself. It’s locally owned and slightly quirky, with a giant wooden Viking out front, and oceanfront rooms with massive windows.

Lincoln City was founded in 1965 by combining seven adjacent communities, and it was named through a contest with local school children. I remember the 1960s as the heyday of a child’s toy called Lincoln Logs–so I was sure that was the inspiration for the name. Souzz suggested that the name could also be because the town is in Lincoln County (but I’m sticking with the Lincoln Log thing).

Lincoln City is maybe 20 minutes north of Newport and about two hours from Portland, and Wikipedia tells us that about 8,000 people live there now.  It has a lot of attractions and services for tourists, but it struck us as a local kind of place. The shops seem oriented more towards year-round business, and we didn’t hear a lot of Virginia accents. I got the sense that there weren’t too many Portland accents, either, at least not this time of year.

The dinner scene in Lincoln City was pretty memorable, too, as there were lots of folks on a first-name basis with the friendly staff at Pier 101 Restaurant. I also really like places where the chairs don’t all match perfectly, the décor varies from rustic to contemporary in the space of a single booth, and the food is simple, well-prepared, and fresh (our catch came up from Newport just the day before).

In contrast, Newport had more of a tourist vibe, and Cannon Beach felt like a weekend destination for the city (albeit a very worthy one).  While Newport and Cannon Beach are clearly great destinations–with a beautiful harbor in Newport and a classic rocky beach at Cannon–they just felt a little more discovered.

And as expected, our entire drive north up the coast was beautiful.

This was a short trip for us–wedged in the middle of a long solo return trip from Alaska for me–but we got the most out of it. We walked on the beach, ate Dungeness Crab, drank Oregon wine and local craft beer, and sampled Tillamook cheese right at the factory (is cheese made in a factory? ok, creamery).

We also enjoyed amazing Pacific sunsets from a hot tub…and all because of Pegman. Where should we go next, Pegman?

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Down East

We are up north, but apparently we’re also down east. The coast of Maine is called “down east” because ships back in the day sailing from Boston to ports in Maine—which are actually to the east of Boston–generally found prevailing winds at their backs. We drove up here for vacation a few days ago, so we didn’t really notice the wind.

Souzz has spent a lot of time down east. Me, not so much, so I’m learning as I go– including the local lingo. For starters, lobsters are often called “bugs,” and awesome things are almost always called “wicked.” In Portland, Souzz’s friend Kim showed us around as only a local can do, with stops at Eve’s at the Garden and Liquid Riot Bottling Company followed by dinner at Street and Company and dessert at Grace, an old church converted to a restaurant/bar. Portland is the liveliest city of 66,000 I’ve ever visited, that’s for sure.

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Eve’s at the Garden
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The distillery at Liquid Riot
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The open kitchen at Street and Company
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Is this a church, or a restaurant?
Grace restaurant
It’s definitely a restaurant

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Then we moved onto Bar Harbor, where our good friends Brian and Catherine run a lovely B&B called Hearthside Inn. After lunch down on the water, we took a nice bike ride on one of the carriage roads in Acadia National Park (that were built by John Rockefeller) and then had popovers and tea at the historic Jordan Pond House.

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We followed Acadia with dinner at Thurston’s Lobster Pound in nearby Bernard. Thurston’s has been around since 1946, and it’s worth the 20 minute drive around Mount Desert Island. No way would we have found this place without help from our local friends…but it was well worth it. We enjoyed a lovely moonrise on the back deck while being schooled on the art of lobster eating from folks that have done that a few times over the years.

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Only two days into our trip, we’ve had the good fortune of great friends, great food, and great adventure. As the sign says, Maine is the way life should be. And yes, the bugs are wicked up here.

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