As the story goes, the whole town was relieved when the old man moved to Hawaii. People were terrified of him—his employees most of all.
"Jack would walk around the brewery as guys were working, and if he saw something he didn't like, if a guy looked at him the wrong way, he'd fire them on the spot," says the bartender at a friendly pub in the up-and-coming Nye Beach neighborhood.
Let's say that's not true. Let's stipulate that the late Jack Joyce of Rogue Ales never once fired a man without good cause, and he treated all with warmth and kindness, regardless of what you read in the NW Labor Press, which reported allegations that employees were fired for trying to unionize over Rogue's low pay, bad benefits and capricious employment decisions.
Why do such stories swirl years after Joyce's passing?
Answer that and you get pretty close to the soul of Newport, a blue-collar town where the crabbers are crabby and fishermen have big trucks and big guns. This is a place where it's understood that sneaker waves will randomly sweep people off the jetty and to their death every few years, and where the best fish and chips comes wrapped in ammosexuality.
This week we release Going Coastal, our second annual travel magazine documenting the best things to do, see, eat and drink along the stretch of coastline that's about a two-hour drive of Portland. Look for it now around town.
But we also went three hours to Newport, one of our favorite cities on the Oregon coast. Here's a tease of what you'll find in the full Going Coastal guide.
424 SW Coast Hwy., Newport, 541-265-4630.
Despite the fact that beer has a long and a prominent place in Newport, until recently there wasn't a great beer bar. Bier One changes that. This large, warehouse-y space pours an array of contract-brewed sour saisons, stouts and wits listed on the chalkboards hung against the walk-in cooler. The crowd is chatty, the taplist is the best in town and the spacious side room has billiards.
South Beach State Park
5580 SW Coast Hwy., Newport, 800-551-6949.
In the shadow of the massive Art Deco arch of the Yaquina Bay Bridge you find this 500-acre park made up of grassy dunes and an expansive beach. There are yurts and campsites as well as paved trails between those dunes, perfect for an evening walk.
828 SW Pacific Coast Hwy., Waldport, 541-563-2750.
It's a half-hour drive between Newport and Yachats. Split it up by stopping for breakfast at this stylish cafe near the halfway mark. It's on a hill, though sadly there's not much of a view. The decor is modern minimalist, but the breakfast fare is hearty, with chunky home fries to douse in Portland Ketchup sauces and toast served with a fat, soft-edged pat of melting butter. If your morning started late, there's a large drink menu with Pelican Tsunami Stout on nitro for $5 and Willamette Valley Pinot for $6 a glass.
Hiking at Cape Perpetua in Yachats
Take U.S. 101 south and follow signs for Cape Perpetua. To do Amanda's Trail, drive south of downtown Yachats on U.S. 101 and turn right onto Yachats Ocean Road. Park at the pullout near the end of the road and follow signs for the Oregon Coast Trail and across 101, where you will enter a spruce forest and hike a mile to the Amanda Statue.
Newport's hiking options aren't great. So drive down to Yachats, where a towering bluff soars 800 feet from the ocean. There are a lot of trails to choose from, including a loop with several lookouts and a short hike to a 600-year-old giant spruce, known as the Silent Sentinel of the Siuslaw. The main trail is 3.7 miles from Yachats to the peak of the Cape, and named for Amanda De-Cuys, an elderly and blind native woman who was forced to endure a grueling hike north from Coos Bay, dying along the way. She's memorized by a statue along the trail that climbs up the cape.
Post-Hike Beers at Yachats Brewing
348 U.S. 101, Yachats, 541-547-3884, yachatsbrewing.com
Yachats is New Portland's answer to Cannon Beach. The long-time hippie haven and gay enclave on the middle coast is getting hip; it's where Portlandia's Carrie Brownstein chose to spend her summer last year. With its house-made kombucha and wide array of krauts, kimchis and pickles, Yachats Brewing is a good fit. This excellent operation is owned by Nathan and Cicely Bernard, and manned by brewer Aaron Gillham, formerly and Logsdon. In addition to stellar sours they make their own pickle products, which find their way into almost everything on the menu. The brewhouse/patio has a roof made of clear plastic panels to allow in lots of light but keep off the rain—a design so smart you'll wonder why it's not common.
Sea Lion Caves
1560 U.S. 101, Florence, sealioncaves.com. 9 am-6 pm daily. Adults $14, seniors $13, children ages 5 to 12 $8, children 4 and under free.
You've seen the bumper sticker, now see the caves. The largest sea cave in the country sits just few miles south of Yachats. This two-acre stone cathedral is home to a colony of Steller sea lions, the much larger cousin to the more common California sea lions. These hulking beasts can grow to 2,500 pounds, and you'll get a good look at them afte riding the elevator down to the cave floor.
Lunch at South Beach Fish Market
3640 S Coast Hwy., South Beach, 541-867-6800, southbeachfishmarket.com.
Ask any long-time Oregonian about the best fish and chips on this part of the coast and they'll point you to this convenience store and fish market. Inside, plentiful pro-gun propaganda, a clerk wearing camo-on-camo who calls everyone "captain" and a counter stocked with excellent seafood, including beloved clam chowder, fresh oysters and golden batter-fried wild halibut.
Hit up Bernie's Universal Dispensary
3842 S Coast Hwy., South Beach, 541-867-2837, facebook.com/BerniesHigh.
Just down the street from South Beach Fish Market, in front of a metalworking shop, this tiny 500-square foot hut is well stocked with all house-grown strains. Bernie's is as low-key as weed shopping gets and is our favorite dispensary in Newport by a nautical mile. Your clerk is a glassblower turned grower, and he knows everything about his product, which he weighs out, deli style, with you picking each bud. Prices are good and taxes are included.
See some sea life
OK, did you smoke your pre-roll from Bernie's? Time to see some wet animals. Where do you stand on intersection of money, otters and sharks? If you've got a little extra scratch, you can help buy sushi-grade shellfish for the Oregon Coast Aquarium (2820 SE Ferry Slip Rd., Newport, aquarium.org), which is a fancy fish zoo highlighted by seal kisses and a walk-through glass tunnel surrounded by sharks, stingrays and the like. Just around the corner, Oregon's most prestigious state university, Oregon State, offers a freeware version called the Hatfield Science Center (2030 SE Marine Science Dr., Newport, 541-867-0100, hmsc.oregonstate.edu). There are no sharks or seals or turkey vulchers, but there are touchable tidepool tanks and a big (shy) octopus.
Dinner at Sorella
526 NW Coast St., Newport, 541-265-4055, sorellanyebeach.com.
Chef Justin Wills runs the Oregon coast's fanciest restaurant, Beck, in Depoe Bay. Here in Nye Beach, Newport's hipster district, he shows his casual side—and creates what's arguably the best Italian spot on our shore. Sorella does handmade pasta (the tagliatelle is outstanding), very nice pizzas and excellent cocktails. It's a down-to-earth room complete with a kids' play area, but the food is serious.
Sunset hike to the end of the North Jetty
Nye Beach is situated above the open ocean, around the bend from Yaquina Bay, which is lined with Newport's original tourist district, the Historic Bayfront. Hike down the hill from Nye Beach and you're on the sand, looking over at the North Jetty, a massive rock pile that protects the mouth of the bay. It makes a great evening walk, except when it's windy—since 2000, many people have been swept off the rocks to their death.
Breakfast at Cafe Stephanie
411 NW Coast St., Newport, 541-265-8082
Nye Beach has much nicer things than the Bayfront, including this breakfast spot that's better than anything else in town. It's a small, homey room known for soft and sloppy cinnamon rolls, hefty quiche and an excellent corned beef made in-house.
See some sea lions
OK, we've avoided the Bayfront long enough—the bars, taverns, shops, pubs, T-shirt stands and watering holes next to the fishing docks that were long the city's economic engine. Well, now it's time to go listen to the bellowing sea lions and maybe poke our heads into Ripley's Believe It or Not.
Cobble Beach and Yaquina Head LightHouse
From downtown Newport, take U.S. 101 for three miles and go west on Northwest Lighthouse Drive until you get to the lighthouse. $7 admission for a car.
Why are there two lighthouses near Newport, just a few miles apart? Because the one just outside town was too short and too far inland, making it basically useless. So after just a few years they built this monster, the tallest in the state, on a rugged cape. Tours are currently suspended because of budget constraints, but you'll love checking out the beautiful black rocks of Cobble Beach next to it. At low tide, there are tidepools. At high tide, the sea makes an eerie raking sound as it pummels the cobble rocks.
Get lunch and some souvenirs at Local Ocean
213 SE Bay Blvd., Newport, 541-574-7959, localocean.net. 11 am-9 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11 am-9:30 pm Friday and Saturday.
This dockside seafood spot, which is stocked by some of the boats you'll watch come and go from the big glass windows, is no secret. Weekend dinner waits can stretch for hours, as people near and far have come to expect fish and shellfish of unparalleled freshness and with a little Latin flair. Get the tuna mignon and then raid the to-go counter on your way out so you can have fresh seafood for dinner back in Portland, too.