If I lived in this little cottage by the sea, I'd sit out in my garden every day to look at this view.
I used to go home to Oregon for Christmas. But now that all my siblings and I live in Southern California, it's just easier for my parents to come down. And though it's more convenient not to have to travel, there's just something about going home for the holidays that I miss. But really, the holidays are about spending time with your family.
Which reminds me of this past summer when my siblings and I decided we would all go home for a week. My daddy was so happy to have everyone together that he bought a family-sized tent and planned a camping trip at the beach.
My dad is an avid fisherman. Every weekend. And sometimes in the middle of the week if he can take off from work. When fishing season rolls around in the spring, he's giddy planning out trips to the Pacific Ocean, Columbia River, Snake River.
I remember waking up at the crack of dawn so we can get to the coast before the tide comes in. Then with a homemade pipe and plunger, my dad would scoop out a long tube of sand. Little sand shrimp would crawl out and I'd scoop them into my bucket to use as bait.
I never did learn how to fish. Although, I did catch three eels when I was 8 years old. I tied the hook and fishing line to a stick I found on the beach, got someone else to put the bait on for me, and stuck my "fishing pole" into crevices between rocks. I just can't believe I managed to catch anything with that method, much less three eels. But hey, this method also works for catching crawfish.
Fishing wasn't just because my dad enjoyed it. Those first years in America were tough. We needed the fish to supplement our food supply. But those fishing trips also represented spending time with family.
So, of course, with all of us in Oregon for a week last summer, off to the coast we went.
Here we finally made it to the beach in question in Oceanside.
After flying a kite and playing frisbee we made our way to the Tillamook Cheese Factory.
Yup, Tillamook, Oregon is home to Tillamook Cheese. You can get free samples with curds that are "squeaky" fresh. Tillamook ice cream made with huckleberries and marionberries. Eat ham and Tillamook cheese sandwiches in their cafe. Should I admit that we actually went to Tillamook Cheese twice that day? I went with my siblings and got cheese samples and ice cream and did the self-guided tour of the visitor's center. Then after my cousins joined us, we went back again for some more cheese samples and ice cream.
I also had the best oyster burger ever at Pacific Oyster, in Bay City, near Tillamook. The oysters were freshly shucked from the shell, lightly covered in panko bread crumbs, then fried. Sooo good. Juicy. Tender. Not fishy.
Pacific Oyster is a full oyster-shucking facility with a small retail store and cafe serving their seafood. So every oyster is fresh shucked before serving. The cafe also serves fish and chips, clam chowder, and other goodies. But really, the oysters are where it shines. Oyster shooter cocktails. Oysters on the half-shell. Little Kumamoto oysters. Mmm.
And if you get there when their boat comes in, you can also buy fresh tuna by the pound.
How many oysters does Pacific Oyster go through?
Take a look at these mounds. They're not snowdrifts.
That's pure oyster shells.
There were about half a dozen of these mounds. They'll later be crushed and used as fertilizer. That's a whole lotta oyster burgers.
150 Oyster Bay Dr.
Bay City, OR 97107
Tillamook County Creamery Association
4175 Highway 101 North
P.O. Box 313
Tillamook, OR 97141