Happy Day, BeachBums!
Cannon Beach. What a lovely little town with a gorgeous beach, and the first place where there was no wind to speak of – well not so that it was unpleasant! YAY! Again, it is a long beach and very wide. There were a lot of people at this beach, way more than any other – more than all the other beaches added together so far actually! It is a popular destination, and it is easy to see why. The town is quaint and beautiful, and at the beach the sand is smooth, level, no rocks – which means no real beachcombing to be had although I am sure that, after a storm, all of these beaches would have fairly good beachcombing but from what I saw many just don’t have much in that department on a regular weather day. There is enough wind to fly a kite, and it is a popular activity here – enough so that they hold a kite festival every April. I saw someone flying a kite that looked like a ship – so so very cool! I tried to find one to buy but the kite store in town didn’t have anything like it.
Haystack Rock is what makes this beach special for many people, and it is popular with the artists. I saw a couple carrying their gear, eyeing it looking for the perfect angle to settle down and start painting. After breakfast, I walked north for well over an hour along the beach from in front of my hotel (which was on the south side of town, well away from all of the shops) to as far as what they call mid-town, which is the southern-most part of the shopping area and at that point left the beach to explore the town. I gradually made my way from one end of town to the other (going further north), which involves leaving the shops of mid-town and walking through a residential part of the street for a mile or so before getting to the next set of shops in the ‘downtown’, spending my time leisurely looking through each store and stopping for lunch. I was gone all day.
This was not my first time in Cannon Beach, I have been several times but the last time was a long time ago – the day Princess Diana died, actually – so there were some changes but not enough that I noticed any difference in how the town felt. It is charming and has a good variety of stores. There is a large community of artists in this area and are well represented in the town’s many shops and galleries. There is one shop in particular I liked called Found and they carry work by an artist, Jim Hannen, who has been working in the area since the 70’s and he makes the most beautiful lamps out of glass floats. I was absolutely in love with them and really wanted to buy one but they are expensive and I don’t have anywhere for one in my place presently. But one day, maybe, I will have a spot and will splurge.
Another thing I love about this place is the flowers! Everyone, it seems, is an amazing gardener and the flower beds in front of every house and a lot of the hotels and shops are just stunning. It really made walking from mid-town to downtown very enjoyable.
I had planned to walk all the way back to my hotel from mid-town but after being out all day and with the sun blazing down, I just didn’t feel up to it. For a dollar there is a little bus that you can catch so I did, and was I ever glad when I realized that it was quite far and down a switchback on a hill that would not have been fun to walk. I had forgotten all about that road, having gotten into town quite late the night before.
Some of Oregon’s beach towns can feel a bit run down, or cheap and kitschy (Seaside, the next northern town after Cannon beach is one such place – it feels very ‘cheap’ and campy with its penny arcades and fish and chip shops – reminded me of Blackpool in England) but Cannon Beach is definitely not one of those places. Although the town and the residents may have a smattering of ‘bohemian’ about them, the place is classy and beautiful. It is somewhere I will come back to again and again.
Go fly a kite!