Saturday, August 15, 2015

Road Trippin' Oregon

Last month T and I did a road trip covering about 500 miles of the beautiful Oregon coast in 8 days. T had it on his bucket list for the past several years and for a change, he took over most of the planning for the trip. So obviously it involved eating at the best and the most rated restaurants on yelp, visiting the 9 lighthouses (which was the top agenda, after food), a lot of stops on the way to just stare at the ocean and lots of mimosa and coffee breaks as well! Here are some glimpses of the trip and some tips for any future trips.

Day 1:
Portland was our hub and we flew in Saturday evening and headed to the Columbia George falls straight from the airport. What a magnificent welcome from Oregon - feeling the splash of the waterfalls on the face immediately melts all the worries away! Follow that with amazing food from the Portland food trucks (Potato Champions and Grilled Cheese Grill) and you know its a great start to the vacation!

Day 2:
The Japanese garden in Portland is worth a visit. We spent the morning at the garden and then drove from Portland to Reedsport (via Newport for a coffee/mimosa break). A total drive of 5 hours but we hit the coast at Newport so the drive south of Newport was really pretty. We visited the Umpqua River lighthouse (LH #1) in the evening.

 The first site of the ocean...

Day 3:
We drove from Reedsport to Brookings (southern tip of Oregon coast) and drove back up till Coos Bay to spend the night there. The to and fro was a little redundant but this part of the coast is the most beautiful so I was glad that we could spend time driving back and forth. A total drive of 6 hours for the day. We touched California border and visited Coquille River lighthouse (LH #2) and Cape Blanco lighthouse (LH #3). Also the crab shack was a good stop for lunch.

 The golden beach... 

 Day 4:
We drove from Coos Bay to Yachats; a total drive of 2 hours. The main stops were Shady Acres state park to see the Cape Arago Lighthouse (LH# 4) and the sand dunes for some fun ATV adventure - the dunes are pretty and so easy to get lost - was so much fun!!!!
After a tiring adventure and an overdose of seafood, thai food was like food from the heaven (try 'Best Thai cuisine' restaurant at Florence)!
We also got amazing views of the Heceta Head lighthouse (LH #5) on our way to the hotel.

Day 5:
Our next stop was Newport - The total drive time from Yachats to Newport was 30 min.
Since we saved on the drive time, we filled it up with activities - visited the Devil's churn (unfortunately the tide was low, but still pretty), spent hours at the Newport aquarium, made a quick stop at the Yaquina Bay lighthouse (LH#6) and spent the remaining hours at Yaquina Head lighthouse (LH #7). It was the most gorgeous of all! 
At Newport, we spent the night at Sylvia Beach hotel - a unique hotel dedicated to the authors of the world. Each room is named after an author and they replaced the TV with the books written by the author! No Tv and no wi-fi - but a room filled with books, a cozy library with an ocean view where they serve hot wine at night and a scrumptious breakfast in the morning - I would go back there!

Day 6:
Our destination for the night was Rockaway beach (2 hours from Newport). We stopped on the way at Depoe bay for whale watching and spent 2 hours playing peek-a-boo with the whales! How amazing is it that you can see whales by the roadside!
We also visited the Cape Mears lighthouse (LH #8), saw the Octopus tree, enjoyed some more coastal views and had dinner at the cutest little town - Manzanita!

Day 7:
We hiked through the lush green forests at Ecola State park, admired the views of Indian Beach and knocked out the last lighthouse on our list - The Tillamook Rock lighthouse (LH#9). We spent the night at Seaside, an hour away from Rockaway Beach - see how slow our pace was? :)
We also touched the border of Washington State and had dinner at Long Island Beach... 'Pickled Fish' was a good pick with ocean views.

Day 8:
Enjoyed a quite morning on Cannon Beach, followed by Brunch at Astoria and we made our way back to Portland. Dinner at the Portland City Grill with a midnight trip to Voodo donuts for dessert was the perfect way to wind down the trip.
Day 9:
We made a quick stop at the Saturday market before heading out to the airport. Would have loved to spend more time but I will save that for another trip.
Till then, goodbye Oregon!

P.S. - I have so many pics of the lighthouses that I think I will have to do another post for them!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Wooden photo backdrops

I have always obsessed over colorful wooden backdrops used for food photos. They add a nice texture and and interesting contrast to the food! I bought wooden boards 6 months back to create photo backdrops. Finally, got a chance to paint them this weekend...

The first one is a brown and maroon combination and I loved how this turned out:

The other side is painted in a combination of peach, lavender and yellow - I wasn't sure how this one will turn out but was worth experimenting with the colors.

Happy August everyone!