Ghost Forest Image 1
Friday, March 10th, 2017
The central Oregon coast is practically inundated with some rare and ancient treasures right now: ghost forest stumps. You don't have much time, but just in case you miss these sporadically-seen groups of tree stumps, Newport does have two impressive specimens visible year-round.
The rarely-visible stumps are stands of trees usually about 4,000 years old, which show only every two or three years during the winter. The Newport area is literally surrounded by these eerie remnants. They've been poking out of the sands at Moolack Beach, Thiel Creek (an unmarked access just south of Newport near MP 146) at the Curtis St. access at northern Seal Rock and at Lost Creek near Waldport.
They are disappearing quickly, however. The big wave action that scoured out the sands this winter is subsiding and the sands are starting to come back in.
When sand levels get this low, it also means agate hunting is usually quite good as well. Especially at the Curtis St. access and at Ona Beach, gravel beds have emerged from beneath the beaches and agate hunting is hot right now.
The ghost forests at Neskowin are the most well-known: those aren't quite as old as the stumps in the Newport area. Visible year-round, they're about 1,400 years old while the Newport-area ghost forests usually clock in about 4,000 years old. This is according to carbon dating done by researchers from Portland State University, Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.
This is what makes these around Newport a rare treat.
Yet what isn't well known is that Newport also has two giant ghost forest stumps that are visible the entire year. One is on display at Beverly Beach State Park, and the other sits immediately below the southern face of Otter Rock. You'll find it just beneath the cliff that's on the opposite side of the Devil's Punchbowl – at the famed surfing spot.
What exactly happened here is somewhat up in the air. One thing is known, however: the reason these were preserved so long is that their area changed and they were covered up by sand and / or sediment. This not only killed them but kept them away from the decaying effects of oxygen.
What caused that change is still being debated by Oregon geologists. Different ghost forest stands may have happened for different reasons as well.
One big theory is that a massive quake dropped the Earth rather abruptly, perhaps as much as ten to 30 feet. It's also thought the subsequent tsunami came in and lopped much of the trees just after that. The other theory states that the landscape simply changed over a period of years or decades, becoming swampy or covered in sand.
Another interesting fact about these stumps is you'll notice most of those around Newport are simply root systems. This is because early pioneers sometimes raided the stumps for firewood. You can see larger, fuller tree stumps at Lost Creek State Recreational Site, if they are still uncovered.
It is illegal to cut away any part of the ghost forest stumps as they fall under Oregon archaeological laws.
Story & Images by Andre' Hagestedt
Whether you want a great place to gather for a few beers with friends, or a romantic spot where you can quietly sip specialty cocktails with your sweetie, or a hopping bar where you can mix pool, darts, or karaoke with your drinks, we’ve got the place for you in Newport. But why choose your poison when you can have it all? Get the gang together and embark on a Newport pub crawl. Here’s a suggested north-to-south route. Be sure to have a designated driver when you start, or call upon the services of Yaquina Cab ((541) 265-9552).
Start at Rookie’s Sports Bar at the Agate Beach Best Western. With local Rogue ales on tap, an extensive menu, games on the big-screen TV, and all the free popcorn you can eat, this is a great place to start as the sun goes down.
Happy hour: Daily, 4-6 pm
Food: Wide selection of soups, sandwiches, burgers, seafood, and more
3019 N. Coast Hwy. (at the Best Western), Agate Beach
Want to stay in the Agate Beach neighborhood for a bit? Head to Szabo’s Steakhouse & Seafood for excellent appetizers, burgers, and hot wings to accompany your drink of choice. While you might think of a steakhouse as a beer kind of place (they’ve got lots of beers on tap), the mixed drink menu is extensive, including creative margaritas, martinis, and every other cocktail under the sun.
Happy hour: Daily, 3-6 pm
Food: Full menu including wings, burgers, nightly specials
5188 NE Lucky Gap St., Agate Beach
Next head to Nye Beach. Nana’s Irish Pub in the heart of Nye Beach is always hopping, and for good reasons: the best comfort food you can find, an excellent selection of beers on tap plus a full bar, and a friendly, lively atmosphere worthy of the Dublin pub scene.
Happy hour: Monday – Friday, 3-6 pm
Food: Always outstanding Irish pub fare, from fish & chips to the best Reuben around
613 NW 3rd St., Nye Beach
Onward! Bier One is a beer lover’s nirvana, with a huge selection of craft beers on tap and many more in bottles (which can be purchased to take home as well). You can undertake an entire pub Olympics here: pool, darts, shuffle board, and a foosball table are all available. You can also stock up on your own brewing supplies.
Happy hour: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 4-6 pm; Wednesday 4-9 pm
Food: Soups, sandwiches, snacks – gotta love the “potachos,” basically nachos made with potato chips.
424 SW Coast Hwy., Deco District
Right next door is Moby Dick’s, where karaoke is king. Play a little shuffleboard, dance to live or jukebox music, and play pinball while sampling the seafood, beer, wine, or cocktails. But the big draw here is karaoke, seven nights a week starting at 9 pm.
Happy hour: Daily, 4-7 pm
Food: Seafood, pub food
448 SW Coast Hwy., Deco District
Onward to the Bayfront! A good place to start is the Rogue Ales Public House, specializing in, what else, the entire range of Rogue ales brewed right across the bay. Rogue has also gotten into the spirits business as well, making their own whiskey, rums, gin, and vodka, also in Newport. Sure, you can drink Rogue brews all over the place now, but there’s nothing better than coming to the mother ship.
Hoppy hour: Note that in the Rogue spirit of this institution, happy hour becomes “hoppy hour,” when they offer their lunchtime “hoppy meal.” Hoppy hour is 11:30 to 1:30 daily, when you can get a $2 pint or $1 half-pint with lunch, plus a toy.
Food: Extensive menu of soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, tacos, pizza, pasta … you name it. Emphasis on fresh, local ingredients.
748 SW Bay Blvd., Bayfront
If you want to slow the pace a little, head to Clearwater, the newest Bayfront restaurant, and check out their beautiful bar upstairs. You won’t get a better view in Newport, and the cocktails are just as lovely as the surroundings.
Happy hour: Monday – Friday 12 pm – 6 pm. $2 off bar menu food and $1 off drinks
Food: Oh, the food. Amazing Pacific Northwest cuisine. Try the Dungeness mac & cheese!
325 SW Bay Blvd., Bayfront
End your night at the Barge Inn, self-proclaimed “Home of the Winos, Dingbats, and Riff Raff.” This friendly spot is often packed with local fishermen and other Newportians, who come for the selection of beers and ciders on tap and the excellent pool table. The other claim to fame here is the Barge Burger, which many consider to be the best in town.
Happy hour: None (But every hour spent at the Barge Inn is happy!)
Food: Famous burgers, barbecue, and the like, with great specials
358 SW Bay Blvd., Bayfront
Just over the iconic Yaquina Bay Bridge from the hustle and bustle of the Bayfront and the quirky art scene of Nye Beach is another Newport neighborhood worth exploring: South Beach. You already likely know about a few of the highlights of this neighborhood: the Oregon Coast Aquarium is in South Beach, as are the Hatfield Marine Science Center and the Rogue Brewery. But spend a little more time here and you’ll find lesser-known treasures as well. Here are a few.
Mike Miller County Park contains an astounding cross-section of Pacific Northwest ecosystems within its 40-acre footprint. Hikers can explore the park via a fairly easy, family-friendly 1.2-mile loop trail that takes off from the trailhead on SE 50th St. and traverses old-growth coastal forest, wetlands, and ponds. Common wildlife sightings include woodpeckers (look for dead trees along the trail that look like Swiss cheese – that’s where woodpeckers have been hammering away, looking for lunch), ospreys, eagles, newts, turtles, and more. SE 50th St.
Oregon Coast Community College: Dog Park, Disc Golf, Trails
The central campus of Oregon Coast Community College is located up the winding drive at SE 40th St. marked by a large grounded boat on Hwy 101. In addition to providing outstanding educational opportunities for more than 500 students per year, the grounds of the community college offer a range of wonderful recreational opportunities, including hiking and mountain biking trails (get maps and free permits at Bike Newport), a Frisbee golf course, and a fenced dog park operated by the City of Newport. SE 40th St.
The wide beach at South Beach State Park is perfect for walking, surfing, boogie boarding, sandcastle-building, and just about any other beach activity that suits your fancy, but the beach is just the beginning. Landward of the beach lies a system of trails, both paved and unpaved, for hiking, biking, and walking. One path leads to an ADA-accessible interpretive boardwalk that provides information about the area’s natural history, and others lead to the large campground. The north end of the beach is demarcated by the south jetty at the entrance to Yaquina Bay, accessible via a separate public entrance and parking area. US 101, 2 miles south of Newport
Unique Shopping Options
Fun shops dot the South Beach landscape – why not take a break from walking the beach to search for that perfect souvenir? If you don’t happen to find a genuine Japanese fishing float washed up on one of our beaches, you can make your own in any color combination you desire at The Edge Art Gallery (3916 S. Coast Hwy.). Right next door to the Oregon Coast Aquarium is Aquarium Village (3101 SE Ferry Slip Rd.), an eclectic collection of shops, including Pirate’s Plunder (3145 SE Ferry Slip Rd.), a maze-like home to multiple vendors of vintage goods where you can lose yourself for hours. If the kids are bouncing off the walls, take them to Yo Ho Indoor Bounce (3101 SE Ferry Slip Rd.), where bouncing on the pirate-themed bouncy house structures is absolutely required. Another South Beach treat is the Hasting Coastal Woodworks Woodturning Studio & Gallery (3333 SE Ferry Slip Rd.), where you can peruse their gallery and shop filled with gorgeous wood items, or take a class and create something out of wood yourself.
You don’t have to leave South Beach to get some fantastic grub (and, it goes without saying, great beer, too). Fishtails Café (3301 SE Ferry Slip Rd. in Aquarium Village) serves excellent breakfast and lunch menus, including salmon hash, killer marionberry French toast, and the Slumgullion, their original recipe clam chowder baked with shrimp and cheese and served with homemade garlic bread. To find some of the absolute best seafood in Newport, especially the fried variety, find the flying saucer – it’s landed on the roof of South Beach Fish Market (3640 S. Coast Hwy.). Try the shrimp burger or the fried oysters – the stuff that seafood dreams are made of. And of course, the Rogue Brewery’s Brewers on the Bay (2320 SE Marine Science Dr.) is a great choice, featuring Rogue’s brews alongside burgers, salads, sandwiches, and a panoramic view of the bay. You can take brewery tours here, too. While you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to check out the nearby Rogue House of Spirits to try out and purchase Rogue’s rums, gins, vodkas, and whiskies.
Newport looks forward to welcoming you! Click here for more info on visiting Newport.
There are a lot of ways to fill your days and nights in Newport. Here are some suggested one-day itineraries to kick off the best week ever. The astute reader will note that all of these itineraries end the same way, because some Newport activities are simply universal.
Of course, we want you to come for the whole week, so be sure to explore discovernewport.com to fill those remaining vacation days.
9:00 am: Breakfast, Pig ‘n Pancake ● Pancakes, bacon, biscuits and gravy, omelets, bottomless cups of coffee, and more, all in a very family-friendly atmosphere. No better way to start the day.
810 SW Alder St., Deco District
10:00 am: Oregon Coast Aquarium ● No trip to Newport is complete without a visit to the sea otters, touch pool, giant Japanese spider crabs, and other denizens of the deep. The shipwreck exhibit is closing soon to make room for a new exhibit later in the spring, so don’t miss it!
2820 SE Ferry Slip Rd., South Beach
1:00 pm: Lunch, Mo’s, and wandering bayfront ● Definitely have your famous Mo’s chowder in a bread bowl – who doesn’t love an edible serving dish? After lunch, wander the bayfront to shop for souvenirs and watch the local fishing fleet in action. Say hi to the sea lions!
622 SW Bay Blvd., Bayfront
3:00 pm: Wax Works & Ripley’s Believe It or Not ● Kids and adults alike love these attractions at Mariner Square on the bayfront.
250 SW Bay Blvd., Bayfront
5:30 pm: Dinner at Nana’s in Nye Beach ● Most restaurants in Newport are kid-friendly, and Nana’s Irish Kitchen, popular with both visitors and locals, is no exception. Come for the hearty comfort food, stay for the friendly atmosphere and beers on tap.
613 NW 3rd St., Nye Beach
9:30 am: Breakfast, Panini Bakery, Nye Beach ● Best lattes you can find in Newport, plus incredible baked goods. One huge Panini cinnamon roll will definitely hold you until lunch.
232 NW Coast St., Nye Beach
10:00: Rent surfing gear and catch some waves, Ossie’s Surf Shop & Agate Beach ● You can also take lessons and buy equipment through this shop, right across the road from one of the best surfing spots in the state.
4860 Oregon Coast Hwy., Agate Beach
1:00 pm: Burritos, La Roca ● Surfing sure works up an appetite. Time for burritos at this great Mexican spot.
352 SW 9th St., Deco District
2:00 pm: Walk the bayfront ● Unless you want to get back in the water, this could be the time to check out the bayfront’s shops and restaurants, and watch the boats come and go. Scope out meals for the rest of your stay!
3:00 pm: Tour at Rogue Brewery, followed by happy hour ● The Rogue Brewery in South Beach offers tours of its brewing facility multiple times a day. Be sure to stay afterward to try the beers and grab a bite to eat.
2320 SE Marine Science Dr., South Beach
6:00 Bonfire on the beach ● There should be lots of driftwood at the beach with which to build your bonfire, but note that setting fire to immovable stumps and logs is not permitted.
9:00 am: Breakfast, La Maison ● If you’re more in the mood for a bowl of coffee than a cup, La Maison is your place. It also offers some of the best food around, including flaky pastries and mouth-watering cakes.
315 SW 9th St., Deco District
10:00 am: Bike ride through South Beach State Park ● If you’ve brought your bikes, try starting at the South Beach State Park day use area and riding north along the paved trail that leaves from the parking lot, then along the jetty road to the bike paths that go under the bridge. Or you can rent fat tire bikes at Bike Newport and ride on the beach near their shop instead.
South Beach State Park: 5580 S. Coast Hwy., South Beach
Bike Newport: 150 NW 6th St., Nye Beach
12:00 pm: Lunch at Clearwater ● A new addition to the Newport restaurant scene, there’s no better location than Clearwater and the food is just as good as the view. We prefer eating upstairs near the gas fireplace, with a view of the bay, the bridge, and the sea lions.
325 SW Bay Blvd., Bayfront
1:30 pm: Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area ● You could spend a whole day here, tidepooling, hiking, touring the historic lighthouse, and bird-watching. Look for whales offshore!
750 NW Lighthouse Dr., Agate Beach
4:00 pm: Happy hour at Sorella ● Sorella in Nye Beach has some of the best cocktails around, as well as outstanding Italian food. The happy hour menu includes drink specials and delicious noshes.
526 NW Coast St., Nye Beach
Georgie’s: 744 SW Elizabeth St., near Nye Beach
7:00 bonfire on the beach! ● Have we mentioned how much fun this is? Best place to watch the sunset, hands down.
Don’t you hate that look your dog gives you when you pack to go on vacation? You know the one. When the suitcases come out, so do the puppy dog eyes. “Can I come?” they plead. If you’re heading to Newport, the answer should be a resounding “Yes! Go pack your collar and tennis ball!” Dogs are welcome in Newport, from hotels to beaches to (some) restaurants. Here’s how to keep your furry friend happy while you’re here.
Most Newport hotels allow dogs for an extra fee, while rental properties are more variable. Campgrounds most definitely allow dogs, but they must be leashed. Dogs generally can’t be left alone in hotel rooms, and must be leashed on hotel grounds. Here are the pet guidelines at a few of the many local accommodations that allow dogs:
Your four-footed family member doesn’t need to be left behind when you go out to eat in Newport. Try one of these places with dog-friendly outdoor seating.
OK, so your dog is not welcome at the aquarium, or on a Marine Discovery Tours cruise, or inside the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum. But dogs need fun too – here are some options.
Grooming: If you get a spa treatment on vacation, why can’t your dog? Options include MoonDoggy Daycare & Spa (208 NW 12th Street, (541) 265-4592); Pet Bath and Beyond (644 SW Coast Highway, Suite E., (541) 265-4453), and Four Paws Pet Grooming (549 NE 1st St., (541) 265-5443).
Pet Supplies: Does Fifi need a new collar? Have you, God forbid, run out of dog treats? You can fix these and other pet supply problems at many places in Newport, including:
Fred Meyer (150 NE 20th St.)
WalMart (160 NW 25th St.)
Feed Corral (634 N Coast Highway 101)
Mini Pet Mart (1740 N Coast Highway 101)
Bowwow Meow (456 SW Bay Blvd.)
Brewer’s Memorial Ale Fest: A brewfest for dogs? You betcha. Rogue Brewery celebrates two of the best things in the world – beer and dogs – at this annual event in May, a tribute to Rogue Ales’ founding dog, Brewer. The event includes 30+ microbrews, live music, doggy musical chairs, a dog wash, dog dancing, and celebrity dog look-alike contests. There’s no better time to bring your dog to Newport.