So, I am getting a bit behind here on the posts. But it is beautiful here and I am enjoying it so thoroughly, that by the time I get back to the house, I am exhausted!
Day 3 was our day of driving. Sean’s parents always go to this restaurant called Gracie’s Sea Hag when they stay in Oregon. However, that restaurant is in Depoe Bay, which is about 2 hours from where we are staying. Knowing that this is something that they wanted to do, we decided to make a day of it.
First thing in the morning, we all got up and planned out the day. We would head to the aquarium in Newport, stop in Tillamook on the way, maybe stop at some viewpoints along the way and then meet the in-laws in Depoe Bay at 5pm.
Tillamook Cheese Factory was small but interesting. You take yourself on a self-guided tour that breaks down how they get the cheese to the public. It is tiny, so don’t think that this will take you longer than 20 minutes, especially if your kids aren’t into reading everything. But it was very informative, and you get to sample cheeses at the end! Chase’s reaction to the amount of cheese that was delivered every day, ‘Cheesus!’ We ended up getting to try medium cheddar, aged sharp cheddar, colby jack, smoked cheddar and pepper jack. Ethan has now decided his favourite is aged sharp cheddar and Sean really liked the smoked cheddar. After the tour, you end up in the gift shop/store and they have cheeses, dairy products, some jams, and then a whole gift store around the corner.
We decided to eat lunch at Tillamook as we had heard good things about their food. Oh and they had different grilled cheeses! Of course we were staying. We LOVE a good grilled cheese! The boys choose the Centennial Grilled Cheese – Sharp cheddar and medium cheddar on sourdough with kettle chips and Sean and I had the Cheese Supreme – medium cheddar with bacon and tomato on sourdough with a cup of tomato soup with cheese curds in it. The sandwiches were amazing! Full of cheese, melted perfectly! The soup was also really good. I love the combination of a grilled cheese with tomato soup. And the cheese curds added nicely to the soup.
After lunch, we grabbed some ice cream. Now, the bonus to going on Tuesday was that they were doing market research on vanilla ice creams. So when we first walked in, they asked us if we would be interesting in participating. All we had to do was sample 2 different vanilla ice creams and then give a review on each and which one we liked better. And we got a coupon for FREE ice cream! The boys were very excited about this. Now, there are a lot of choices to choose from.
The boys ended up choosing fireside s’mores and chocolate chip cookie dough. Both were delicious and very creamy!
After that, we were back on the road. The Coastal highway is quite pretty. Very windy, but beautiful. Sean didn’t like the single lanes or the randomly changing speed limits, but I loved driving through all the small towns. There is so much history and uniqueness is each one. Garibaldi had a giant G up on the hillside. How it got there, I am not sure, but I am going to Google it.
We ended up stopping for gas in Hebo, I believe. It’s hard to know exactly which town you are in, because they sometimes run into each other and you aren’t sure where one begins and the other ends. The only reason I mention the gas station is that it was a pleasant surprise. In this day and age, we always get out of the car to pump our own gas, but at this station, someone was there right away to pump the gas and then even cleaned the window for us. This is not the norm anymore, so we quite enjoyed it. Some times it really is the little things.
After that, it was on to Newport to see the aquarium. Now, funny mom fail story here. When I googled Newport Aquarium to see if this place was worth driving to, I didn’t do all my research. A Newport aquarium came up, it looked super cool, the kids would have lots to do, etc, but I failed to check the address. So as we are driving into Newport, I google the address for the aquarium. Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport is the one we are going to, but the one I originally looked at was Newport Aquarium in Newport, Kentucky! So then I had to explain to the boys that there wouldn’t be as much as we originally thought.
Now, to say that the Oregon Coast Aquarium is small, would be a very true statement. We are used to the Vancouver Aquarium, which is also small, but has a lot jammed in. This aquarium has lots of potential and was definitely neat to say that we have been, but we only lasted about an hour, MAYBE, there. You walk in and there is a Secrets of Shipwrecks exhibit first thing. This is very informative and there are some interactive tools that you can use to see how they explore the seabed. Next up was the new exhibit – Big Bites. This was fun as there were different fish tanks that you can ‘pop in’ and look at the fish from in the tanks. We got to touch starfish, sea cucumbers, anemones, and sea urchins. Then we walked through the outdoor part of the aquarium. There was a turkey vulture, seabirds – including a puffin, sea lions, seals and otters. After that was the Open Sea exhibit, which is where we probably spent the most of our time. You are literally immersed in the exhibit as it is all clear tunnels so that you can see all the marine life around you.
All in all, it was fun, but it definitely wouldn’t have been worth the drive if we weren’t planning on stopping elsewhere and meeting Sean’s parents for dinner.
Next stop was Gracie’s Sea Hag. This is a quaint little restaurant right in Depoe Bay. The food was delicious and there is an actual sea hag outside the door. I ended up ordering the crab cakes and clam chowder for dinner. Now, I am a newbie when it comes to clam chowder but I enjoyed it. I was told that there wasn’t enough chunks of clam and potatoes, but I had lots of clam and I didn’t mind having fewer potatoes. For dessert, we are shared the Marionberry tart. I am not sure what a marionberry looks like, but they are everywhere down here and quite delicious! Afterwards, we had to get the obligatory photo in front of the Sea Hag.
After that, it was time to make the drive home. We had a great day, but we were all exhausted. Being cooped up in a car for a good portion of it probably didn’t help either. The drive home was quite quiet and beautiful as the sun was slowly sinking down over the coast. We made one quick stop in Cannon beach, not directly near the Hay Stack, to get a sunset picture and found bunnies! Baby bunnies and big bunnies who weren’t afraid to let you pet them. So that was a pleasant end to the day.
See you next time