Truth is, I wouldn’t choose to live on the Oregon coast in the winter.
But that’s only as a matter of calculation, not immediate impressions. I sure am glad to live close by (an hour or less, traffic willing, in my case).
The Oregonian has posted a good reminder of reasons why the coast has such appeal in the winter.
This can seem counter-intuitive. In the winter, the coast is typically not terribly icy or snowy, but the mountains that abut it often are, and roadways inland can become a little tricky. Goods and services are sometimes limited on the coast – people I’ve known have remarked about the number of times they’ve had to go to larger cities over the mountains for what they need – despite the large number and broad variety of retailers there. The wind is almost always always a reality, and often roars. The skies usually are overcast. The beaches can be treacherous; the waves often run high.
You don’t spend a lot of time out of doors, as a rule, in the winter out on the coast.
But it can be a delightful place. We’ve often headed there for two or three days (many a New Year’s holiday) to hang out at some oceanfront spot. The atmosphere is wonderful.
And that’s what the Oregonian piece focuses on. When the weather is relatively good, walks and hikes are available in all sorts of places, minus the crowds of summer. There are rainforests in easy reach (where “a drizzly day on the coast can be magical”). The rainy months can be great for exploring many of the area’s waterfalls. Many tourist draws, like aquariums, are as good in the winter. Chowder seems especially tasty in the winter.
And you get to beat the crowds, which are the biggest problem with going there in summer. The tourist town of Seaside, for example, draws the reaction, “come winter, the town is practically empty, allowing for peaceful walks on the promenade, quiet evenings in the local restaurants and less competition at the Fascination tables.”
Seems like time to cross the mountains again . . .
ALSO Columnist Barrett Rainey, who until recently did live on the Oregon coast, argues that I insufficiently pointed out the downsides of doing so: “You, Sir, have not lived full time on the Oregon Coast. It may be wonderful to come over for a day or two of storms. But try it daily for a year. Or three. Not so much fun. Your planting areas washed out. Your trees uprooted. Repainting the South and West walls every 2-3 years. Asphalt shingles to replace – maybe annually – maybe monthly. The bridge on 101 between you and the next town disappears. Near daily reminders that the “big one” is coming. Bear and cougar pop up in the damndest places – like your backyard.”