Yaquina Bay Bridge Newport Oregon

The original Mo’s Restaurant in Newport earns our first stop on the Oregon Coast. Little dog Jack will have to wait in the car while we devour delicious Oyster stew. They shuck these morsels daily at the Oregon Oyster Farm just up the river. This dish alone is worth driving 1400 miles. Our drive across the bridge over Yaquina Bay will have to wait.

Sea Lions in Historic Newport

Don’t let the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not or the Wax Museum in Newport’s Historic Bay area fool you. They take their fishing seriously around here. Working boats full of Salmon, Halibut, Shellfish, and whatever else is in season unload their catch daily on the docks in this historic center. They cage the sea lions when they become too thick, and transport them further into the ocean, so that they don’t eat up the profits.

Got Crab? We do…from my favorite restaurant/fish house, the “Crab Shack,” not far from the bay. We pack a pound of shelled Dungeness crab, and head out to sister Pat’s house where we will live in luxury for the next two weeks.

Jack enjoying the view from Pat’s house

Jack enjoys the view from Pat’s place as much as we do. There is so much to do around here that we have to slow ourselves down. We decide to take a walk on the beach.

It becomes a daily routine, strolling for hours on this massive beach first north and then south, with Jack off the leash. We still find time for a couple of health club workouts, some hiking in the forest, seeing the sights, and eating the seafood. Oh the seafood.

Ron and Jack

Millions of mussels cling to the rocks, along with some starfish, at the tide pools near Seal Rock. Anemones and fishes get trapped in the pools until the next rise in tide.  We marvel at the resiliency of the mussels and wish we knew how to pick, cook and safely eat them.

Ron picking mussels

            A visit to Waldport is not complete without stops at a few landmarks. The Alsea Bay Bridge is relatively new, though it follows the design of the original that Mare’s grandfather built, along with many other bridges in Oregon.

Alsea Bay Bridge Waldport

But the landmarks I’m talking about are the Salty Dawg and Flounder Inn, both bar/restaurants of course. Before we dance in the streets at Waldport’s Beachcomber Days weekend celebration, we need more oysters.

Shucking oysters at the Oregon Oyster Farm

Yes, they sell “Shuck Me, Suck Me, Eat Me Raw” T-shirts at the Oyster farm. The shirts are relatively new, compared to the fact that they have been growing oysters in this mostly perfect river/salt water mixture for over one hundred years. We buy some oysters to and try to mimic Mo’s fabulous stew, which a patron advises us to cook with wild mushrooms. So…we drive ito the “Rain Forest Mushroom Company” in the little town of Eddyville.

Mushrooms at the Rain Forest Mushroom Company

Wow! We’re talking about fresh Shiitake, Lion’s Mane, Maitake, among shrooms we’ve never heard of before. Bob, the owner, advises us to use a Maitake to make oyster stew. Good enough for us. Now we have the basic ingredients and I can’t wait to cook.

Let’s dance down at the Flounder Inn before dinner. Live music, an eclectic crowd, strangers buying $2.50 drafts for new friends, and folks who know how to enjoy a rare sunny day in Waldport welcome us. Seeing the antique car show, a parade, venders, not to mention the beer garden, we quickly learn that “Beachcomber Days” is simply an excuse for a good time!

Live music at the beer garden at The Flounder Inn

Oh yes, the stew came out pretty good, only, we could not taste the oysters as much as the mushrooms and, ahem….the sherry.

Ron cooking oyster/mushroom stew