Starting the Year at the Coast

Starting the Year at the Coast

PNW Ocean

When most of us think of a getaway weekend to the beach, we imagine sunglasses, barefoot walks, and bronzed skin. But going to the beach in the Pacific Northwest presents a more nature-y, introverted sort of vacation that doesn’t seem as enjoyable until you’ve experienced it yourself.

There’s something deliciously romantic and rejuvenating about cold and misty walks on the beach, huddled in sweatshirts and hats. The ocean has a different personality in the winter, earnest and commanding, pensive and moody. And rather than the lazy, sleepy, sun-drunken haze that surrounds a summery beach, a winter beach makes you more alert, perceptive, and freshly introspective.

Oregon Coast

beach hike

Oregon Coast

The entire world falls into my favorite color scheme: a faded and subdued mix of greens, blues, and browns, punctured by the occasional contrast of tall, yellowed winter grass. It all appears more welcoming under a cloudy sky, suggesting that it’s okay to dream and hypothesize and spend some time in solitude to plan and ponder and breathe big things into existence.

And that’s how Alex and I began the New Year. After cheering on my beloved Badgers to an Outback Bowl win, we popped in Amy Poehler’s audiobook and embarked on the I-can’t-believe-we-live-here!-inducing drive to the coast for a long, getaway weekend to an adorable Airbnb beach cottage (with no wi-fi or cell reception—eep!) which was nestled right up against the beach and filled with the sort of carefully placed details that only come as a result of years of love and happy memories.

Oregon coast

Beach bonfire

The cottage was just outside of Pacific City, a small fishing village in which every corner of every shop is dusted with white sand and whose main attraction—at least in the winter—is Pelican Brewery. Here, we hiked through the (unexpectedly) sandy Bob Straub Park, tasted beer to fuel our newly acquired home brewing hobby, built ourselves a crackling nighttime bonfire on the beach, and generally unplugged and decompressed as a means of welcoming the New Year.

Tillamook Cheese


The next nearest city was Tillamook, which if we’re being completely honest, was a huge factor in our beach getaway. As the Mecca of PNW cheese, Tillamook is the 44th largest dairy processor in North America (the first 43 being in Wisconsin…I’m not going to fact check that, but it’s probably true), so with a factory full of free samples, we were able to continue our Cheesy Moon streak into the New Year!

But more importantly, the drive to Tillamook from Pacific City was a reminder of how incredible nature is with plenty of opportunities to pull off to the side of the road for a breathtaking lookout over the ocean or a humbling hike among the wise and giant cliffside Douglas-firs.

Oregon coast

So here I am, writing from 2015, nostalgic for the simplicity of my beach weekend, but ready to power forward with new ideas, bigger dreams, and an extremely optimistic start to the New Year!

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