I went to Oregon for the first time about 30 years ago. Although I wouldn’t return for another 14 years, it left an indelible impression on me. Have you ever gone somewhere and got the distinct sense it was speaking to you? As if it reached out, tapped you on the shoulder and said “hey, you and me – we’re a pretty good fit.” I’ve always felt that way about the entire state of Oregon.
Perhaps getting married in Astoria, where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean, has something to do with it. Paying numerous visits to the remarkable Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland hasn’t hurt. And certainly, I can’t leave out trips to Portland, Oceanside, Eugene and a host of many others. But no matter where I’ve spent time in the state, it’s Cannon Beach that always beckons the loudest.
And it’s not just in the state of Oregon it rises above the rest. When I want to escape for a vacation – or think about somewhere I’d love for our family to spend a summer (not that it would even be possible to do that) – there are a good half-dozen spots around the country that come to mind. Places like Bar Harbor (Maine), Ocean City (NJ) and Aspen (Colo.) are at the top of the list. But at the very top, it’s always Cannon Beach.
Does it have more restaurants, more cultural activities – more things, period, than any of the other places I enjoy visiting? No, not by a longshot. But it’s the combination of the ocean, the nearby mountains, the spectacular beauty, both on the coast and inland, and the town itself that makes every waking moment feel as though I’m in the most comfortable chair I’ve ever sat in.
Whether it’s food, shops or things to see in the area, there’s something for every taste. Or if you’re like me and you simply want to spend some time looking at the ocean, feeling your way through an early-evening fog and have a glass of wine or a cup of hot chocolate as you listen to the surf roll in . . . well, then you’re still in the right place.
About the Author: Christopher Gabriel is the host of the cleverly named Christopher Gabriel Program on AM 970 WDAY in Fargo, North Dakota. You can hear him weekdays from 9 to Noon. As a writer and humorist, his work has been been published online by the Chicago Sun-Times, Reuters and publications within the Sun-Times News Group.