Sustainable Suppers (and Breakfasts Too)

Though Cannon Beach on Oregon’s northern coast is a small town, it offers some wonderful, sustainable food.

The Sleepy Monk sells organic coffee roasted right on site in Cannon Beach.

The Sleepy Monk sells organic coffee roasted right on site in Cannon Beach.

To start the day, you can find terrific organic coffee at The Sleepy Monk, a coffee shop that’s open, alas, only on weekends. Fortunately, The Sleepy Monk supplies many of the local restaurants with their locally roasted beans, so you can drink a conscious cup any day of the week. I love the quirky ambiance and the Italian pottery.

Coastal Dining with Class

One of the best meals I’ve had in a long time was dinner at Cannon Beach’s oceanfront Wayfarer Restaurant & Lounge. This excellent restaurant, which overlooks Haystack Rock and the beach, specializes in Pacific Northwest coastal cuisine. Executive Chef Will Leroux emphasizes organic, locally harvested fruits and veggies and serves wild fish, most of it regionally caught.

Leroux is reportedly an avid fisherman, clam digger, and forager of wild berries and mushrooms, so he “gets” the connection between nature and the food he presents.

In late June, some of the Wayfarer’s enticing entrees included Northwest Razor Clams, Oregon-Forest Morel Mushroom Chicken (natural), and Cedar-Planked Wild Salmon. For starters, there was an organic arugula salad and local bay-shrimp cocktail. Oregon wines round out the menu.

The Wayfarer serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with ocean views. For breakfast, local berries accompany a wild mushroom omelette.

The Wayfarer serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with ocean views. For breakfast, local berries accompany a wild mushroom omelette.

Did I mention the sourdough bread served at dinners was to die for? Ours was served piping hot and I literally could not stop eating it! (The bread served as toast at breakfast was equally as wonderful.)

Pub Grub with Pizzazz

For casual dining, The Lumberyard Rotisserie and Grill is a fine choice. Its pub atmosphere is laid-back and it stocks an extensive selection of regional microbrews to complement your organic chicken, wild salmon, or all-natural pork and beef entrees. While we waited for our Halibut Burgers to arrive, my husband and I enjoyed looking at the photos of Cannon Beach in the 1910s that decorate the walls. When the burgers came to our table, we were far too absorbed in their flaky-fish goodness to pay attention to anything else.

For more information on Oregon’s coastal treasures, visit Travel Oregon.

P.S. What have been your most memorable meals when traveling?

Laurel Kallenbach, writer and editor

Rooms with a Cannon-Beach Ocean View

For two years running, we’ve enjoyed magically warm, sunny days at Cannon Beach in Oregon.

The best place to stay at Cannon Beach, Oregon, in my opinion, is the Hallmark Inn. In 2008, my family stayed there because my in-laws had been there years before, and they could bring their standard poodle (who joyfully frolicked in the sand).

We loved the Hallmark’s location so much, we repeated our summer solstice visit. (And that’s saying a lot, because I like to try new places all the time.)

The rooms aren’t huge or even particularly fancy, but at Cannon Beach, the real attraction is the perpetually-breathtaking Haystack Rock view. This year, like last, we splurged on an oceanfront room, which has a balcony. Outside is the ocean, seagulls, views of whales (in the right season) and the sea-spray. If weather is foul, you can sit inside with a panoramic view by the gas fireplace.

The Hallmark Inn Cannon Beach offers instant access to the sand and surf (via steps, that is).

The Hallmark Inn Cannon Beach offers instant access to the sand and surf.

I wouldn’t really classify the Hallmark Inn as a green hotel. It does have a water-conserving towel/bed linen policy, but I consider that extremely entry-level environmentalism for the hotel biz.

A beach fire near Haystack Rock was a wonderful way to celebrate summer solstice.

A beach fire near Haystack Rock

However, the Hallmark Inns and Resorts (there’s another property in Newport Beach that I’ve never stayed at) does score points because its owners, the family of William G. Hay, recently donated five-plus acres to the North Coast Land Conservancy, which protects coastal ecosystems.

The hotel is also currently building a recycling center for the entire resort. (The town of Cannon Beach doesn’t have commercial recycling service, so this step will help to reduce landfill waste.)

And, more important, this hotel puts guests in direct contact with nature. The sand and water beckon. If people are to care about preserving natural places, they have to experience them firsthand so they understand what a treasure they are.

Laurel Kallenbach, freelance writer and editor

Low Tide at Cannon Beach, Oregon, Reveals an Undersea World

June 24 was the lowest tide of the year at Oregon’s Cannon Beach, and my husband and I skipped breakfast to be at Haystack Rock for the 8:40 a.m. event. So did hundreds of other people—and their dogs. Masses of folks wandered around the tidal pools revealed by the receding water.

Starfish and kelp are among the marine life you can see at low tide at Oregon's Cannon Beach.

Starfish and kelp are among the marine life you can see at low tide at Oregon’s Cannon Beach.

Thankfully, Cannon Beach’s Friends of Haystack Rock—a nonprofit organization with an army of community volunteers (wearing red jackets or T-shirts)—are on hand to answer questions about kelp, point out marine creatures, and loan out binoculars for identifying seabirds, including the fantastic tufted puffin.

A Friends of Haystack Rock volunteer points out how starfish feed on muscles during the lowest tide of the year.

A Friends of Haystack Rock volunteer points out how starfish feed on muscles during the lowest tide of the year.

The group also helps raise awareness among visitors about these fragile ecosystems, and its volunteers keep an eye out to prevent people from damaging barnacles, muscles and starfish.

Hundreds flocked to Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach's focal point, for up-close viewing of marine life.

Hundreds flocked to Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach’s focal point, for up-close viewing of marine life.

Thanks to these preservation-minded group, visitors will be able to explore the undersea world for years to come.

For more information about Oregon’s sights, visit Travel Oregon.

Laurel Kallenbach, writer and editor