Road Trip!!! Newport, Oregon Coast

May 21, 2010

Something is happening at the Sylvia Beach Hotel, that proud doyenne on the bluff overlooking the ocean at historic Nye Beach in Newport. Fresh air in the guise of a new hotel manager is slowly but surely helping revive this wonderful literary hotel (all about books, no phones, no TVs) that has slumped a bit from its glory days of shabby chic. Little by little, the sanitarium drab beige is being replaced with color. The Alice Walker room is now rich amber yellow. Shakespeare, J.R.R. Tolkien and Virginia Woolf (my favorite, that Bloomsbury flourish) rooms are new. Twain is spiffed up, new club chairs in the library and Dr. Seuss is happy, happy, happy in bright primary colors with a whimsical can’t-wait-to-jump-in-it Cat in the Hat bed.

There’s no place that I know that holds magic like the Sylvia Beach Hotel, thanks to playful, mischievous owner Goody Cable and partner Sally Ford, so that’s where I’ve arranged to meet my long-time friend Ann, who has driven from Lake Tahoe with five friends in tow. Some complain about walking up the three flights of stairs with their luggage, but Ann reminds them: we met at the gym! All that is forgotten next door over margaritas and canapés thanks to SBH neighbor and friend, the divine Miss Magoo, who thinks her name today is Lauren. Later, at the hotel’s Table of Contents dining room, wine and family style dinner, your choice: duck or salmon or chicken with green salads, cheesy orzo and a done-just-right green bean-red pepper-onion vegetable medley. Delicious and way plentiful.

A sunny day, the next. After walking on the beach, where we find a twenty-dollar bill, Miss Magoo & I take a quick trip to what is apparently known locally as the “Dog Thrift Store,” – a big old building on the edge of the county fairgrounds, proceeds of which support Lincoln County Animal Shelters. There’s tons of stuff, but we’re mostly looking at designer clothes and shoes. Miss Magoo finds a pair of black Chinese Laundry open-toed mules with kitten heels. Très chic.

At Mai’s Asian Market there’s everything from foot-tall ceramic waving kittens, kimonos and paper mache hanging dragons to royal bee jelly. I load up on teas and ginger.

A man and his teenage daughter arrive needing flu relief for mom at home and Mai selects an herbal tincture, writing down directions. After they leave, Mai suggests I test the Ginseng Royal Jelly for “energy.” She hands me a small amber vial of liquid and a teensy straw. I sip. Honey sweet. She smiles and says, ”very good for you.”  What the heck, I buy a box of the vials.

But then, having done what Mai deems “good for me,” I go to the Newport Café.

Tuna melt yes!!! “Home fries” with skins on, yes!!! Lightly battered tuna, salmon or halibut fish ‘n’chips, yes!!! Omelettes, shrimp salads – everything coming out of the kitchen looks amazing, heaping wonderful. It’s the real deal. This is where you’ll find locals stopping by to show off the new baby, where grandpa brings his 10-year old grandson for pancakes, where farmers, fishermen & tourists mix – all there for the same thing: good ol’ fashioned home cookin’. Yum!

Sit yourself down on cool counter stools.

NEXT UP: heading south on the Oregon Coast, Yachats.

Until then, MJ

One Response to “Road Trip!!! Newport, Oregon Coast”

  1. We stayed at Loon Lake Lodge & RV Resort (, one of the more scenic Oregon coast rv parks that offers camping, boating and fishing near the coast.

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