The city of Seaside in Oregon has become one of my favorite coast destinations since I live in Willamette Valley. It was established in 1806 when a group of men from the Lewis and Clark expedition developed a salt-making cairn in this area later developed and known as Seaside. Its name was taken from a historic resort built in the 1870s by railroad magnate Ben Holladay.
It is popular with Oregonians as well as visitors that flock up and down the Oregon coast, especially during the summer months. Most recently, my husband and I made our annual trek there every first weekend in June to attend the annual SEA-PAC Ham Radio Convention which is the largest in the Northwest region that is part of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) Northwestern Division’s Convention. This association allows ham radio operators to connect with each other across the United States in learning about amateur radio, resources and information.
My husband is a ham radio enthusiast for the last 30 years and I didn’t find out much about it until a few years ago when I first attended the convention with him and took my exam to be licensed as a Technician, the first level of 3 licensing levels. I will admit, I didn’t find the convention all that interesting because ham radio is not a passion of mine. I found it interesting as far as communicating over the radio but all the technical components and electronic “shop-talk” that hams love to discuss was not my speed or style. However, for the sake of natural disasters and communication fall-outs, he suggested I learn it given where we live.
It was interesting to meet so many age groups from children to young adults, women and men who enjoyed this hobby and past-time interest. The second year we went, I got my General license and told my husband that was as far as I was going with the licenses. I wanted to explore more of the area and check out the promenade, the aquarium and of course, all the shops and eateries.
Yellow Curry Cozy Thai restaurant is a cute little corner eatery in downtown Seaside that I ordered take-out (pad Thai with scallops instead of shrimp) and had lunch at with my husband last weekend. I love Thai food because of the flavors, textures and the fact that they always use a variety of vegetables and rice noodles, depending on the dish. The service is prompt and courteous and when we first discovered it when we attended our first convention.
This time around, we also visited the Carousel Mall where they featured various shops, snack eateries and even an actual carousel for kids to ride on as well as a Chinese restaurant called New Garden Asian Cuisine that offers take-out, an arcade, leather goods store and other fun shops for residents and visitors alike.
We even tried a new seafood restaurant called Doogers Seafood and Grill in the heart of downtown Seaside. They were pretty crowded when we got there on Saturday night but a lot of ham radio people also stayed in and around Seaside to attend the convention, so many of them greeted my husband affably when we entered the restaurant. Their menu of extensive seafood dishes were generous in portion and their scallops (yes, I’m a big fan of scallops) were to die for!
The great thing about Seaside is that it small enough people are friendly and helpful. There are tons of pet walkers, families, couples and walkers who stroll up and down the sidewalks and famous Promenade that is about a 1.5 mile concrete walkway in length that spans the beach side. It is a relaxing, enjoyable environment where the atmosphere is laid-back. I definitely felt quite sad leaving it on Sunday wishing time had not gone by so quickly.
We stayed at Rivertide Suites which has a fantastic view of the Necanicum River and is less than a five-minute walk to the Convention Center, so it was easy for my husband to come and go to the hotel whenever he wanted. The suites were comfortable with amenities like a full kitchen, jetted tub and balcony with a view of the ocean and river alike. Seagulls were constantly heard daily and a rooftop access of the hotel allowed guests like us to enjoy a panorama view of the entire downtown Seaside. It was sheer heaven and bliss to feel the salty air and hear the ocean surf again. Reminded me so much of Hawaii back home.
Activities at the convention included lectures, a flea market and exhibition, luncheons with special speakers, raffle drawings and an antenna party on Friday night at the beach. There was plenty to keep my husband occupied and plenty for me to check out in downtown Seaside such as booking a wonderful pedicure at a new business called Salon on Broadway. Two young men named Will and Keegan are the owners that are kept busy lavishing their expertise in hair, skin and nails to women like me. I hadn’t had a pedicure in several months and found this was the perfect time for pampering myself with a foot massage and shellac pedicure.
Although travel is exciting and rewarding, it is even more important to ENJOY the experience of visiting a place, even if it is one you have been to before or enjoy going again for a mini-vacay or an extended week or longer. Ironically, had I not moved up here to Oregon, I probably never would have discovered the unique, inspiring and captivating beauty of the Oregon coast.
There are lighthouses to see nearby such as Tillamook Rock Lighthouse and even towns north such as Warrenton and Astoria that will make a wonderful day trip on any itinerary. If you prefer to head south, Cannon Beach is a great stop with its boutique style shops and fabulous beaches.
Making a point to travel – whether it is to Seaside or to another place in the Pacific Northwest, take time to enjoy the great outdoors, revel in the towns and cities you stop in and take in the unique community culture that makes that place its own identity.
So no matter your age, make time to visit a place you have never been. The reward of creating fond memories with loved ones during travel is one experience that you can revisit again and again.