Visit Oregon's northwest shore at its mistiest, moodiest best

Bonnie Henderson

In the dark evening of a rainy day, drive down HemlockStreet in Cannon Beach. Pass the shingled storefronts; the windowsdisplaying T-shirts, sweaters, and hand-blown glass; thehand-lettered signs. You might be the only living soul in town,judging from the empty sidewalks.

But pull over where lights and an "open" sign encourage ―here in downtown Cannon Beach, or half a mile south in midtown, orpast the darkened summer houses, where a hand-drawn crow and a pubsign beckon. Well, any port in a storm. You walk into the WarrenHouse Pub and find out where everyone is ― inside, of course,dry as a bone, if not here then somewhere else, catching up ongossip over beers all around or tête-à-tête in abooth, noshing on ribs or sampling smoked leg of lamb.

In the morning, don't count on sleeping-in weather. You couldeasily wake to white cumulus clouds boiling in a blue sky nearlybright enough to blind. That's your green light to get out and walkthe wide beach before the next shower―there's more than 5miles of sand between Ecola Creek and Arch Cape, and another mileof beach north of the creek.

Cannon Beach's creature comforts

Cannon Beach is 80 miles northwest of Portland; take U.S. 26 toits intersection with U.S. 101, then go south about 3 miles. Formore information, contact the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce (www.cannonbeach.org or503/436-2623).

LODGING

Cannon Beach Hotel. Small, European-type inn is stylish andsweet, and it's just steps from Haystack Rock. Dinner (includingroom service) is available from JP's Restaurant (closed Sun). From $55. 1116 S. Hemlock St.; www.cannonbeachhotel.com,(800) 238-4107, or (503) 436-1392.

Inn at Cannon Beach. Bungalow-style buildings are clusteredaround a courtyard at this charming, pet-friendly lodging, openedin 2000, one block from the beach. From $129. 3215 S. Hemlock; www.innatcannonbeach.com,(800) 321-6304, or (503) 436-9085.

The Ocean Lodge. Opened last fall, this largetimber-and-stone oceanfront resort welcomes families and pets withits big rooms, minifridges, microwaves, and fireplaces. From $159. 2864 S. Pacific St.; www.theoceanlodge.com,(888) 777-4047, or (503) 436-2241.

Stephanie Inn. Over-the-top luxury puts this oceanfront innin a class by itself on the Oregon coast; furnishings are elegant,the service superb. From $179. 2740 S. Pacific; www.stephanie-inn.com,(800) 633-3466, or (503) 436-2221.

The Waves Motel. The Waves is actually a collection of fourcontemporary buildings―three of them with oceanviews―right downtown. Two sister properties, the White HeronLodge and the Argonauta Inn, offer more choices, from funky tofine, on or near the beach. From $89. 188 W. Second St.; www.thewavesmotel.com,(800) 822-2468, or (503) 436-2205.

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