I needed to go somewhere where I could work quietly and alone, away from the computer, phone calls, home chores, and three demanding cats. This fall I am teaching a class called "Outlining and Creating a Romance Novel" at a local college and I wanted to go to a quiet and inspiring place where I could sharpen some of the points I want to teach. The open ocean was calling me and for some reason my heart longed for the Oregon Coast; thus I booked four nights in Cannon Beach, packed my books, a notebook, sticky pads, 4X6 cards, colorful pens, and highlighters and drove away to my chosen romance-development destination.
Cannon Beach, OR is located 200mi/320km southwest of Seattle. It took me about 4 hours of a beautiful drive on Route 101 to get there. The first thing I did upon my arrival there was to go for a long barefoot walk on the beach; it was fun feeling miles of soft sand under my feet. On the next day, I explored the small downtown that has cute shops, galleries, and restaurants and cafes. In the afternoon I settled in a cute local café and worked for a few hours. I couldn’t have chosen a better location to think about romance.
On my second day I drove to Manzanita, another coastal town located 15mi/24km south of Cannon Beach. On the way there I stopped to enjoy several beautiful vista points on Neahkahnie Mountain, right on HW 101. In comparison to Cannon Beach, Manzanita is smaller and less known. I love the fact that from the highway you enter directly into the main street, Laneda Avenue, which leads you to the ocean. This quaint town could be such a perfect setting for a romantic story or movie.
From Manzanita I continued driving south on 101 for about another 2mi/3km and reached Nehalem. This tiny town (300 people) sits on the Nehalem River and has a few colorful stores; two of them are antiques stores. Before I left Seattle, my friend Ronit asked me to send a daily photo from my vacation; I ended up sending her several photos several times a day, since I couldn’t decide which one is more beautiful. When I was in Nehalem she texted me right after I had sent her a series of photos: “Have you proposed to yourself yet? That what usually happens on a romantic vacation with the one you love the most ;-)"
Driving from Nehalem for another 2mi/3km south on 101 I reached Wheeler, where I had my lunch by the bay and got to work for while on my course. There again, I had another perfect view for some romantic inspiration. There were a few stores with very friendly people who love living in a small place. The Oregon Coast Scenic Train passes through Wheeler in the summer months; had I known about this before my trip I would have planed to take this train.
On my way back I stopped at the Nehalem Winery, located 0.5mi/1.5km off 101 between Wheeler and Nehalem. I picked their Pinot Gris to take back home with me. The winery is located in a beautiful pastoral area; it is surrounded by green fields and you can see groups of cows grazing around.
On my third day I drove to Seaside, which is located 9mi/14km north of Cannon Beach. Broadway Street, which spreads all the way to the ocean, is a very touristic street with many shops and restaurants. Along the beach there is a nice promenade for people who want to enjoy walking along the shoreline without having sand in their shoes. Seaside was much more crowded and noisier than the other places I visited before during this vacation. It might be a better fit for families with small children, since it offers many activities. The thing I enjoyed the most in Seaside was when I found in an antique shop a copper tray that says “Israel 20th independence”. If you are looking for a quiet coastal vacation Seaside might not be the place for you. After one hour of touring the place I decided to go back to Cannon Beach; I wanted to enjoy the serenity of the coast instead of being entertained. I ended my last day on the coast walking barefoot of the beach watching the sunset.
More Cannon Beach photos on Tumbler.
Some Thoughts About Safety of Women Traveling Alone
This is a subject that I doubt men even think about when traveling, but as a woman when I travel alone there are things I am more aware of and careful about. When I travel alone, I make sure to stay in known places. Before I decide to stop in a public restroom I make sure that it is located in an open space, has plenty of light and that there are people around. I avoid walking alone in dark places, going out at night to places I don’t know, or even walking alone during the day in isolated and remote places like the woods. I make sure to update my family and friends where I am and what I’m up to; today with smart phone this is very easy to do – just text them. I also make sure that my cell phone is always charged and I take it with me everywhere. I believe that every woman should take some careful measurements when she travels alone to avoid being an easy prey and to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.