Tag Archives: oregon coast

Pelican Brewing in Pacific City, Oregon

During my college days, studying art at Western Oregon University, located in Monmouth, Oregon, I spent a lot of time at the local bike shop.  The shop was really cool! Located in a former gas station, it barely had enough space inside to store all the bikes.  It was called Jon’s Bicycle Station. I met Jon the first day I arrived in Monmouth.  The town wasn’t really that big, and I was, and still am, bicycle crazy.  We became great friends!  The shop was so cool, because Jon made it that way.  Since he worked 6 days a week, and home-brewed every Sunday, we would ride every Tuesday at nighttime. We used powerful headlamps to go way up into the mountains, then turn them off and gaze at the stars. The rides were great, sometimes 23 miles long, and often just Jon and I.  We would always meet at the shop, do a quick tune to the bikes, then have espressos, and load the bikes into his old 1970’s Ford F-250, driving a few miles to the logging area on the east side of the coastal range. After the ride Jon pulled out homemade burritos from an insulated cooler where he kept them warm.  These were my favorite times in the Willamette Valley area.  

My grandmother is from Newberg, Oregon, just up Route 99W from Monmouth. When I was a child, the whole family would often fly down from Alaska to meet up with the rest of the clan at the Oregon coast for a family get-together. We would normally stay in a rental house at Rockaway Beach, so I was no stranger to the Oregon coast. I think it is a really beautiful place on this planet! When Jon invited me to go to Pacific City to ride bikes and celebrate New Years Eve in a big rental house, I jumped at the chance. He would always get these incredible houses and invite all his riding buddies. Since I was a broke college student he didn’t ask much from me. I just had to show up and go for long road rides on Highway 101. Afterwards we would go to the Pelican Brewing brewpub. One time for spring break, Jon got this amazing house directly on the beach in Pacific City. It had a hot tub and a sauna, and 17 beds! The bunk room was impressive, with two levels of stacked beds with room for everyone. My roommate at the time brought his girlfriend’s whole family! We filled that house! I remember running to the ocean from the hot tub — it was so awesome! The Pelican Brewing brewpub was only about 1/2 mile down the beach from that house. Back in the day, the brewery only bottled beers in bombers. I remember buying as many as I could afford and taking them back for a big beach fire party! I did a couple of paintings at that house. The place was called the Wind Jammer on the rental listings. I don’t know if you can still rent it, but I do recommend getting some Pelican beers and walking down the beach!

Nowadays, the Pelican has a production facility in Tillamook, and the beers come in huge cans, six-packs, and still a few 22oz bombers.  It’s not quite the same, but my love for Pacific City is still strong.  If you happen to be in the area, the Grateful Bread Bakery is a good breakfast place, just get there early, as the cinnamon buns are all gone if you sleep in!  Haystack Rock, and  Cape Kiwanda Dune are really cool local geological features making this place stand out!  I heard the surfing is as good as Oregon has to offer.

Cheers to Pacific City, The Pelican Brewpub, Jon’s Bicycle Station, and the Oregon Coast! You don’t have to go to Hawaii to have a great time on the beach!

This original oil painting, and signed prints are available at my Etsy shop.

Pelican Brewing IPA, 11″x14″, oil on panel

Our 5 Favorite Experiences in Oregon

~ by Maria Benner

We recently returned from a two-week trip to Washington, Oregon and Arizona.  In Washington and Arizona we visited family, but the reasons for going to Oregon were purely to have fun and to visit good friends from our college years.  Downhill skiing, long walks on the beach, visiting breweries, and eating donuts are all things that make us happy, so that’s what we did in Oregon.  Here are our 5 favorite experiences in the Beaver State.

5. Tillamook Cheese Factory. The last time we were in Tillamook more than 15 years ago, we forgot to bring our wallets to the cheese factory tour, so we couldn’t buy any ice cream at the end of the tour. I did not make the same mistake this time, and got to enjoy a delicious waffle cone with rocky road ice cream fresh from the factory. The new visitors center is under construction, but is scheduled to open sometime in 2018.

4. A donut shop on every corner in Portland.  We had been meaning to try a VooDoo donut for years, but didn’t want to stand in a long line. This time there was no line around 2pm. I ordered the Portland Cream (raised yeast shell filled with Bavarian cream topped with chocolate and two eyeballs, representing the vision of the great city of Portland), and Scott had a traditional cake donut.  Delicious!  Then we found out about the new donut place in town called Blue Star Donuts, so of course we had to test them as well. I ordered the Raspberry Rosemary Buttermilk cake donut, and got a bonus Blueberry Bourbon Basil donut for free, because the donuts were not very fresh that late in the afternoon.  I thought they were a bit dense, but Scott liked them more than his VooDoo donut.

Blue Star Donuts things to do in oregon

Blue Star Donuts

3. Craft Breweries. Oregon is a destination for world-class craft breweries that are creating avant-garde recipes, and reinventing the craft brew scene. We visited the new Pelican Brewing facility in Tillamook and Block 15 Brewing in Corvallis.  Block 15 really impressed us with its spot-on hazy IPAs and decadent imperial stouts. In Bend we went to Crux Fermentation Project, Boneyard Beer and Deschutes Brewing. We showed up to Crux during Sundown Hour when all beers are $1 off, and everyone watches the sunset while warming up around the fire pit, or playing lawn games. In Portland we sampled brews at Culmination Brewing, Cascade Brewing Barrel House, Great Notion Brewing, Fat Head’s Brewery, Back Pedal Brewing, and Hair of the Dog Brewing.  Scott painted live at Cascade (click here to read about that).  Every brewery had something unique to offer, and we couldn’t get enough of the fruity, hazy, hoppy IPAs and the barrel-aged sours.

Best breweries in Portland Great Notion Brewing

Tasters at Great Notion Brewing in Portland.

2. Skiing at Mt. Bachelor. We rented ski equipment, and hit the slopes of Mt. Bachelor for the fist time. The resort is only a half-hour drive from Bend. Unfortunately we didn’t have good luck on snow.  There wasn’t much of it, and the groomed runs were icy.  The Summit was closed, so we missed out on skiing a large percentage of the terrain.  The views were incredible though, and we had a great day outside in the sunshine.  We’ll have to come back when conditions are better.

Mt Bachelor ski area

View of Three Sisters from the top of Mt. Bachelor

1. Oregon Coast. We couldn’t go to Oregon without visiting the Oregon Coast, so we booked a hotel room with an ocean view in Rockaway Beach for one night.  We got really lucky on the weather, and enjoyed a five-mile walk on the beach during sunset.  The next day we experienced typical winter weather, but we left it behind as we drove over the mountain pass to Portland.

Oregon Coast sunset rockaway beach

Sunset on the Oregon Coast.

People ask us why we would ever want to leave beautiful Alaska.  Well, we try to only go to remarkable places, and Oregon is definitely one of them.