Classic Oregon Coast resort maintains its charm
Built amongst the tall trees of the Oregon Coast near Lincoln City is a classic Northwest resort — one that for many decades has been synonymous with luxury. The name of that special place is Salishan Spa and Golf Resort, which today retains a great deal of the luster it was known for back in the 1970's and 80's.
Only the customer who insists on new construction will be disappointed. While the exterior has been in place a long time, the resort has striven to update the interiors while at the same time retaining that Northwest lodge kind of feel. Some travelers may think the quintessential Northwest resort is the modern waterfront condo, but the timber used in the construction of Salishan, along with its Northwest Indian themes, really gives this resort that distinctive Pacific Northwest flavor.
Our mini-vacation at the resort was a time of hiking and exploration, of drinking in the coastal views — seaside trails are just across the highway from the resort — and marveling at the woods that make this part of the Oregon Coast so spectacular. Golfers will enjoy the championship 18-hole course and those who want to be pampered will be duly impressed by the resort's modern spa — but, for us, it was just the surroundings that made all the difference. It's a magical place where you truly enjoy being outdoors.
Now when the occasional rain shower appeared — and it does rain on the Oregon Coast -- we didn't mind holing up in our luxurious suite. A corner unit, this suite was spacious and well-appointed with a couch, two easy chairs, a small desk-and-chairs combo and lots of room to spread out a board game on the carpeted floor if we wanted. A big flat-screen TV and completely updated bath area showed the resort is being careful to stay current with the times. Outside, we had tree-filtered views of Salishan spit and coastal area. Chairs were conveniently positioned on an open lanai to take in the full picture-postcard panorama.
Except for breakfast, we didn't sample the cuisine at Salishan. The breakfast was excellent and service first-rate, but the dinner menu looked a little pricey and we chose to sample some eateries in nearby Lincoln City and Newport, both very short drives from the resort.
Salishan is not inexpensive and we've read some reviews where visitors missed some of the amenities — such as bellhops -- they were accustomed to with resorts in this price range. But we would counter that there's little need for help with your luggage when you can park your car, condo-style, right next to your suite. In fact, we actually preferred being left alone to make our own decisions and, when we had questions, we found the front desk to be quite helpful.
If you go to Salishan, you go because it's a northwest classic in a prime location that families have enjoyed for many decades. It's a simpler vacation than you may be used to when you compare it with some other luxury resorts, but there is no escaping the ambience that keeps Salishan listed near the top of fine Northwest resorts — even after all of these years.
About seven miles north of Salishan is Lincoln City which, with only 7,500 residents, may not sound like a huge city. But along these parts of the Oregon Coast, Lincoln City stands out as a major destination for tourists. Accordingly, a robust collection of restaurants and shops have been built up over the years offering plenty of variety for anyone who is visiting the area.
The area, like Salishan, is known for its nearby forests but, most importantly, its beaches. There is easy access for plenty of beachcombing and exploring and the beaches here never seem too crowded.
One activity the area is famous for is searching for Japanese fishing floats. From mid-October to Memorial Day, hand-crafted glass floats are placed along the 7-1/2 miles of public beach in Lincoln City, from the Roads End area to the Cutler City area. The best part: When you find a colorful float, you get to keep it.
Named one of the top 25 places to retire in the United States, the area is home to plenty of events and activities that may well figure into your holiday.
While in town, don't miss the D River — its claim to fame is it's the shortest river in the world.
Beaches and local restaurants and attractions also are found in abundance in Newport, a colorful city of 10,000 people just 18 miles south of Salishan. With two lighthouses and a picturesque bridge, the city is always well represented when you see photographs of the Oregon Coast.
We enjoyed walking through the bayfront historic downtown area, where you find an eclectic assortment of shops and such attractions as a Ripley's Believe it or Not, the Wax Works and the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
Be sure to check out the lighthouses. The Yaquina Bay Lighthouse is located at the mouth of the Yaquina River in Yaquina Bay State Park, near the north end of the Yaquina Bay Bridge. This is the only lighthouse in Oregon that has attached living quarters and, listed on the National Registrar of Historic Places, it's said to be oldest structure in the city.
The Yaquina Head Lighthouse is visited by 400,000 people each year and is one of the most popular lighthouses on the West coast. Located just north of Newport, the lighthouse was built in 1873. We enjoyed the climb to the top where you get a quick lecture on how the lighthouse operated and a chance to take photos of the coastal views.
Newport also is home to one of Oregon's largest commercial fishing fleets and, of course, there are plenty of opportunities for visitors to try their hands at deep sea fishing. The area is known for excellent salmon and halibut fishing and charters will take you out for a day or half-day of fishing. There also are lots of crabs in the bay and clams along the shoreline.
AT A GLANCE
WHERE: Salishan is located in Gleneden Beach, about 95 miles southwest of Portland, Oregon. Be sure to allow plenty of time to visit attractions along the way as you travel through many scenic parts of Northern Oregon to the coast and Salishan.
WHAT: Salishan is a longtime Northwest resort, once reputed to be the best in Oregon. Now several decades later the resort still has that feel of refinement, yet in a Northwest lodge kind of way.
WHEN: Anytime of the year. Be prepared for crowds in summer, rain in winter. Often visitors will visit the Oregon Coast in winter looking for blustery winter storms which can be a special experience in cozy accommodations like Salishan.
WHY: Salishan Spa and Golf Resort is a fine luxury resort that is in an ideal location between two popular destinations, Lincoln City and Newport, along the scenic Oregon Coast. During your vacation you can be as sequestered — or as active — as you want to be.
HOW: For more information about Salishan Spa and Golf Resort, phone 1-800-452-2300 or visit www.salishan.com.
Photos, from top: Salishan Spa and Golf Resort has been one of the Northwest's most luxurious for decades; Yaquina Head Lighthouse is visited by 400,000 people each year; many trails are found on and near the Salishan property; Newport is known for its fishing fleet
Photos by Cary and Sandi Ordway