By Narelle Atkins
Last month I talked about my family vacation in Hawaii. We enjoyed spending the second half of our overseas holiday in Oregon with my husband’s uncle, aunt and cousins.
I spent two days in Oregon in September 2013 on my way home from the ACFW conference. In 2013 I visited Mt. Hood, Multnomah Falls, Seaside, Cannon Beach, and the Tillamook Cheese Factory. I fell in love with Oregon and was thrilled to have the opportunity to return with my husband and children in March this year.
We stayed in a cottage at Glen Eden Beach on the Central Oregon Coast. A gorgeous location, and we were there during Spring Break before Easter. The spring coastal weather was interesting. We had a couple of cool, drizzly days and a few warmer, sunny days. Not too different to the early spring September weather we experience back home in Canberra.
The ocean was wild and the big surf, with thirty foot waves, reminded me of the southern Australian coastline. A few brave (and possibly crazy) people swam in the ocean despite strong rips and cold water temperatures. I’m not used to wearing shoes and layers of warm clothing when I visit the beach. We witnessed ‘sneaker waves’ at Lincoln City Beach as the tide rolled in. Sirens blared from emergency vehicles within minutes of the waves crashing against the ocean wall further south and swallowing up all of the dry sand. We relocated from the sand to the promenade and watched driftwood being tossed around in the surf as if it weighed nothing.
In nearby Newport we visited the Hatfield Marine Science Center and were delighted to see sea lions lounging on a barge.
We learned that Depoe Bay is the world’s smallest harbor. We visited the Whale Watching Centre and spotted whales in the Pacific Ocean. We crossed under the harbor bridge and discovered a seal resting on a rock. My children enjoyed the locally made salt water taffy, a type of candy that we don’t have in Australia.
We were in Oregon for Easter and realized that Easter is a much bigger deal in Australia from a cultural perspective. In Australia everything closes on Good Friday and church services are held in the morning. We celebrate Easter with a four day long weekend that includes Good Friday and Easter Monday public holidays. The Royal Easter Show in Sydney is one of our biggest annual events and Easter Saturday is one of our busiest shopping days outside of the Christmas period. Chocolate Easter egg displays are prominent in our Aussie stores and freshly baked hot cross buns are consumed in large quantities during Easter. My kids discovered Peeps in the Easter in-store displays. We don’t have Peeps in Australia.
We visited Salem, the capital of Oregon, and did a tour of the Capitol Building. We learned about the history of Oregon and the famous Oregon Trail that I’d read about in historical romance novels. I will confess that a large portion of my knowledge of US history has been gleaned from reading romance novels.
We enjoyed exploring the Gilbert House Children’s Museum in Salem. I was delighted to see a squirrel up close in the outdoor play area.
My son, in particular, was excited to visit the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville. A dream come true for him to see real rockets and learn more about NASA and the history of space exploration and aviation. Our trip in Hawaii and Oregon included many science, history and geography lessons for our children.
Have you visited Oregon or lived there? Do you have a favorite place in Oregon to visit? I’d love to go back and visit the family, plus explore more of Oregon and mainland USA.