Oregon Coast Getaway – Wheeler, Manzanita, Nehalem

Neahkahnie Beach - just one of many stunning Oregon beaches!

Neahkahnie Beach – just one of many stunning Oregon beaches!

My husband and I needed a short respite from our beloved but noisy block in Portland. One of the best things about living in PDX is that the beach is only about 90 minutes away. Our friends suggested a part of the Oregon coast that we had not really explored – Wheeler, Manzanita and Nehalem.

Always Time to Stop for Wine

Nehalem Bay Winery
34965 Hwy 53
Nehalem, OR
Open 9 – 6 daily
On the way into Wheeler, we saw signs for the Nehalem Bay Winery. Always game for wine tasting, we stopped. It was in a rambling old house and the atmosphere was totally relaxed. They have a full line of their flagship berry wines but also a large selection of whites and reds. Of course we left with a box of reds, our favorite.

Lodging

View from Wheeler on the Bay Lodge and Marina

View from Wheeler on the Bay Lodge and Marina

Wheeler on the Bay Lodge and Marina
580 Marine Drive
Wheeler, OR 97147
A perfect little old-fashioned roadside motel. All the rooms are a bit different and our room, the Ebb Tide, had a big spa tub and a gas fireplace. Little things like free kayaking with a 2-night stay and free movie rentals make this place a great deal. Immaculately clean and very comfortable. The marina dock right outside the lodge has a large wooden deck to sit, relax and watch the sunset.
Off-season price: $110 per night

Hiking

This view at Cape Falcon was worth the climb!

This view at Cape Falcon was worth the climb!

If you’re going to the coast, you must go on a scenic hike. We could only get away for a couple days, but we did manage to hike up to Cape Falcon in Oswald West State Park on the second day of our trip. About 5 miles round-trip, at the end is a breathtaking view that reaches as far as 50 miles on a clear day. We were lucky – the weather was gorgeously sunny. When you return, you can take the left fork down to Short Sand Beach to cool your tired feet. Moderate difficulty.

Some other hiking options in the area:
Neahkahnie Mountain Trail in Oswald West State Park
Tillamook Head Trail – accessed via Indian Beach at Ecola State Park
Cape Perpetua – Cummins Creek Trail
Fort Stevens State Park
Nehalem Bay Treasure Loop

Dining

Part of the fun of traveling is trying new restaurants and leaving the cooking and cleaning behind. We found some pretty good places and are happy to report that while we are vegan, we managed to find a lot of suitable dining options!

Tsunami Bar and Grill
380 Marine Drive
Wheeler, OR
Open most days 1100-2400
Asian-inspired dishes amidst standard bar fare. My husband’s black bean burger was delicious. My red curry with tofu and veggies was just strange. It was more like a cornstarch gravy sauce. But it’s just next door to the main motels and hotels in Wheeler and the only place for a drink later at night, so it wins for convenience.

The Pizza Garden
35815 Hwy 101 North
Nehalem, OR
Tons of vegan options, including cheese-free pesto and a fresh, delicious minestrone soup. We ordered the Kronos vegan pizza and the pesto linguine with veggies. Both were great, except the Kronos pizza was a bit sparse so I would recommend adding Daiya cheese. Desserts include fruit sorbets and coconut ice cream. The service is quick, the café is cute and the food is lovely – I highly recommend this place!

The Pizza Garden is warm and welcoming

The Pizza Garden is warm and welcoming

Wanda’s Café
12870 H Street
Nehalem, OR
Fri-Tue 8:00 am – 2:00 pm, closed Wed & Thu
We had brunch here before heading out. Not a ton of vegan options, but they did feature a tofu scramble and it’s wonderful. Expect a wait, it’s a popular place with locals and tourists.

The tofu scramble with rye toast at Wanda's was great

The tofu scramble with rye toast and potatoes at Wanda’s was great

Bread and Ocean
154 Laneda Avenue
Manzanita, OR
Mon-Sat 7:30 am – 2:00 pm, Sun 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
Great little bakery café with tons of substantial vegan salads like beet, quinoa and apple fennel salad. All had wonderful, fresh flavor. Lots of gluten-free but not necessarily vegan options with the baked goods.

San Dune Pub
127 Laneda Avenue
Manzanita, OR
Pricey for bar food, but the beer list was good and the patio was nice.

Bill’s Tavern and Brew House
188 North Hemlock Street
Cannon Beach, OR
We decided to drive north a bit to Cannon Beach, where we’ve been many times before. Unlike the Manzanita area, Cannon Beach is always thickly swarming with tourists. We took a break from the sunshine with a few pints at Bill’s Tavern. We didn’t have any food, but they did have a hummus platter, a Garden Burger and a black bean burrito on offer. The Ragsdale Porter and the Premium Blonde were both outstanding.

Pelican Brewery and Tap Room
1708 1st Street
Tillamook, OR
On the way back to Portland, we discovered that Pelican Brewery has a tap room in Tillamook. We made a beeline for the Kiwanda Cream Ale and my favorite, the Tsunami Stout. My husband tried the DK Pils and the MacPelican’s Lager and was also pleased with the European character of both.

Places that I did not visit but list vegetarian and vegan options:

Buttercup
35915 Hwy 101 North
Nehalem, OR
Ice creams, chowders and other treats.
Listed fruit sorbets and coconut ice cream.

Rising Star Café
92 Rorvik Street
Wheeler, OR
Upscale dining – may have vegetarian or vegan options on their rotating menu. Reservations recommended, so I would suggest asking ahead of time.

Sweet Basil’s Cafe and Wine Bar
271 North Hemlock Street
Cannon Beach, OR
May substitute vegan cheese and vegan mayo for menu items.

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