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Hunt for mushrooms in the coastal rain-forest

There are many seasonal ingredients found and enjoyed on the Oregon coast, but fall is for mushroom foraging in our beautiful coastal rainforest.

Around Newport, head out after a good rain to find chanterelles, slippery jacks and king boletus (also known as porcini) mushrooms plentiful and ready to eat.

State parks and public forests are great places to take a scenic hike to hunt for fungi — but make sure to check if the area requires a permit for foraging. The great news: often, permits are free, and some areas don’t require permits at all. Either way, you can find restaurant-quality ingredients for little-to-no cost.

Once you’re in the wilderness, make sure not to wander too far off the trail while foraging. It’s easy to get turned around when you’re focused on the ground rather than your surroundings.

Another important safety tip: don’t pick something to take home if you can’t identify it. A mushroom book is a great resource to bring out with you while looking for fungi, but you’ll still need to put in some investigative work to make sure you’ve got the right item. Aside from looking at the basic shape of the mushroom, smelling the mushroom can be incredibly helpful, as some have particular smells. Checking the underside of the cap is also key: the mushroom may have gills, spines or pores — and even within those, they can be very different.

A good thing to know in our neck of the woods: chanterelles and false chanterelles are most easily distinguished by their gills: real chanterelles have vein-like, forked gills that are thinner than the deep, traditional gills of a false chanterelle. It’s important to know what you’re looking at, because false chanterelles are reported by some to be poisonous — though others say they’re simply too bitter to taste good in anything.

If you know where to go and what to look for, you can bring home a bounty of delicious mushrooms with a number of uses. So get out there and try your hand at a mushroom hunt — you’d be amazed what you can find, just across the highway from the beach

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Get married on the Beach

Long stretches of sand and waves, a lighthouse snatched from a postcard and hotels perched above the shore. There are plenty of reasons why people have journeyed to the coast and to Newport for decades to tie the knot.

Looking for the perfect wedding venue with views to the sea to boot? Here are some hot spots for taking and renewing those vows. 

People often think of the Oregon Coast Aquarium as a stop for taking in the wonder of marine life, but it’s also a spot for getting married, with 15,000 animals as witnesses.

Evening ceremonies and receptions of just about any size can reserve the entire facility. The aquarium provides full event and catering services. For views into the Open Sea exhibit, along with patio and estuary views, consider the Gleason Room, for up to 100 guests.

Or, during the day, small weddings with groups of 20 or less are welcomed among the exhibits. Best of all, proceeds from your wedding go to animal care and rehabilitation, scientific research and education.

For large facilities facing the sea, the Shilo Inn is a favored venue, with 179 guest rooms and proximity to both the historic bayfront and Nye Beach. For weddings with a touch of history and class and modest size, look no further than Yaquina Head Lighthouse.

The lighthouse parlor can accommodate up to 20 people and additional guests can congregate on the side lawn. The natural area, under the auspices of the Bureau of Land Management, charges a $150 fee for weddings. 

Oregon State Parks are perennial favorites for outdoor weddings, with spots like Yaquina Bay State Park offering views to the Yaquina River Bar and South Beach State Park opening right onto expanses of shore and dunes, perfect for beach weddings. Be sure to contact the park’s department for information and permits.

Let’s not forget the old wedding standby. The Lincoln County Clerk’s Office is located at 225 W. Olive Street, Room 201 in Newport. The clerk is available most weekdays and Saturdays to perform ceremonies, including those in outdoor locations of your choosing. Call the clerk’s office to schedule.

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Watching wildlife around Newport

Newport is home to all kinds of creatures on land and in the sea, but there are a few that are more iconic than others.

 If you want to get a good look at some of our untamed neighbors, there are a few spots to check out.

Anyone who’s been to the bayfront can tell you, there’s one sound that’s always there: the barking of sealions. Down near dock 5, families gather regularly to watch these marine mammals laze about on the dock on sunny days. If you’ve never seen them before, just follow your ears and you’ll spot them soon enough.

For those looking for a quieter wildlife watching experience, consider looking for whales. There are many whale watching tour agencies that take landlubbers out daily to watch whales in their natural habitat. However, if you’re more comfortable on solid ground, grab some binoculars and head up to Yaquina Head Natural Area, which offers a great whale watching view.

If you’re a birdwatcher planning a trip to the coast, you’re in luck: Newport has a number of great spots to seek out wild birds. With almost 10 stops on the Oregon Coast Birding Trail within city limits, Newport offers great parks and trails to walk while looking for warblers, creepers, flycatchers, woodpeckers, thrushes and more. Check out our information on where to go birding in Newport Under the “Activities” tab.

But wherever you go and whatever you look for, remember to let the wildlife be — for your safety and theirs — and take only pictures.

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Stay safe on the surf

Newport has beautiful beaches with stunning waves — South Beach is a great place to hop on a board and hit the water — but the ocean is a powerful force that demands respect. For this reason, coasties will tell you that safety should come first before engaging in any ocean activity. For surfing, this means quite a few things before paddling out — no matter how experienced you are.

“You still need to check the forecast and know what you’re getting into, anytime you enter the ocean,” said Dan Hasselschwert, owner of Ossie’s Surf Shop.

In the fall and winter months, surfing is still an option on the Oregon coast, but checking the weather to make sure you’re between storms and not headed into a large swell is a vital safety step. Hasselschwert’s rule of thumb: double digits means danger.

“You’ve got to respect the ocean, respect nature,” said Hasselschwert, “and realize that it’s the biggest thing on our planet. It doesn’t matter how good of a swimmer you are or how experienced of a surfer you are, the ocean’s going to do what the ocean wants to do.”

It’s also always a good idea to invite a friend to come along, but especially if you’re less experienced. 

As for surf etiquette, for the most part, there’s just one cardinal sin to avoid: dropping in. Dropping in means trying to catch a wave that’s already being ridden. If you’re ever in the path of a more experienced surfer, or someone is closer to the wave you were considering catching — drop out. Do your best to get out of the way as soon as possible. If you don’t, and you do drop-in, not only is it a breach of etiquette but it can be physically unsafe. Colliding with another surfer on the water is dangerous, so always endeavor to keep more than five feet between yourself and others.

If you’ve never surfed before, schedule a lesson — Ossie’s offers group and private lessons by nationally certified instructors, as well as wetsuit and board rentals. There you can learn all this and more.

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Top 5 things to do in Newport this weekend

Top 5 things to do in Newport this weekend

  1. The first-ever Bayfront Killer Pumpkin Festival — Come be a part of a new tradition on the Bayfront. Hosted at the Rogue Ales Bayfront Public House, this gourd celebration is a fundraiser for the Newport Chamber’s Young Professionals. There’ll be pumpkin and fall harvest beers to try and pumpkin smashing and other activities on the patio. Join in on this smashing event on Saturday, Oct. 26 from 1-6 p.m. at 748 SW Bay Boulevard.

  1. Learn science while having fun — The Oregon Sea Grant-operated visitor center is the public education wing of the Hatfield Marine Science Center, located at 2030 SE Marine Science Drive in South Beach. More than 150,000 people pass through the doors of the visitor center annually to see the exhibits, join in hands-on activities and learn about marine animals and issues facing the coast. The center is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. While admission is free, a donation of $5 per person or $20 per family is suggested to help support the work.

  1. See a show at the Performing Arts Center — “Tiny Beautiful Things,” continues its run at the Newport Performing Arts Center all weekend. Based on the best-selling book by Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things is a luminous play that personifies the unfathomable questions that are at the heart of being human. Catch an evening show on Oct. 25 and 26 at 7 p.m. or the closing performance on Sunday at 2 p.m. — all on the main stage at the Newport Performing Arts Center: 777 W Olive St, Newport. For tickets or additional information, go online at coastarts.org, stop by the PAC box office or call 541-265-2787.

  1. Pet ‘n Owner Costume Party — Dress up with your pet and head on down to Seadogs Restaurant and Lounge to join in on this party of dressed-up dogs and costumed cats. Prizes will be given for the scariest, cutest and best costumes of the night! The fun starts at 8 p.m. on Oct. 26 at 839 SW Bay Boulevard.

  1. Wandering Reel Traveling Film Festival — This by-donation traveling film festival will be stopping at the Newport Visual Arts Center on Oct. 26, where the films shown will take a layered look at the effects of human-caused climate change and corporate greed, at war and the refugee crisis and at the common bond of human compassion in one world we must all learn to share and to save for future generations. The screening will be followed by a question-and-answer with the festival director, Michael Harrington. The festival will take place from 7-9 p.m. at 777 NW Beach Drive.

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Pet friendly is the way to go in Newport

Sometimes we can’t be separated from our pets and other times we just don’t want to be — especially when we’re headed to a place whose sand, smells and surf can seem tailor-made for a doggie pal.

Don’t despair. Newport has plenty of hotels where your pet is welcome. 

Starfish Point in Agate Beach offers condos with fireplaces and kitchens and easy beach access with Agate Beach Golf Course nearby. The Inn at Nye Beach is another good choice, with free breakfast, good access to browsing Nye Beach and spa tub and services, along with its pet-friendly status.

On the harbor side of things, consider The Landing at Newport, located at 890 SE Bay Blvd., which has smoke-free condos and welcomes Fido. A free area shuttle and 24-hour fitness center are also pluses here.

The Best Western Plus Agate Beach Inn is a perennial favorite for pet owners, as is Elizabeth Oceanfront Suites perched on the sea cliffs above Nye Beach.

For economy travelers, Motel 6 at 2633 S SE Pacific Way and Econo Lodge at 606 SW Coast Highway also allow guests to keep pets in the room.

If you do bring your pal, remember, it is cooler on the coast but the inside of vehicles can still heat up fast. Keep those windows cracked, make sure your pet has plenty of water and only leave them briefly and if you have to. Travel with your dog’s pillow or mat, water dish and chew toys so they have familiar objects around to help them stay calm.

Looking for a dog-friendly place to eat? The following Newport establishments allow well-behaved dogs in their outdoor seating areas: Nana’s Irish Pub, Cafe Mundo, South Beach Fish Market, Ocean Bleu @ Gino’s, The Coffee House and SeaDogs Restaurant & Lounge. Regardless of what you’re in the mood for, these establishments should have you covered.

Don’t leave the dog behind when there’s so much you can all enjoy together on the coast. 

Travel Newport Magazine

2019 Edition