Let’s be honest. The Oregon Coast can get downright foggy. But here’s the best kept secret of the Central Coast: Seven miles upriver from Newport along U.S. 20 is the town of Toledo (pop. 3,458). Toledo is far enough inland to boast clear skies when the beach is socked in. Summer temperatures here can register 10 to 15 degrees warmer than those at the Coast. Regardless of the weather, there are numerous reasons to tiptoe to Toledo. Nestled along the Yaquina River, the town has a bourgeoning arts scene and a quaint main street lined with antique shops, galleries, a glass art studio and a unique assortment of businesses and eateries.
Brews & BBQ: Quaff a hand-crafted ale at Twisted Snout Brewery; if the brewmaster isn’t too busy, he’ll give you a personal tour of the operation. Rotating taps are the perfect compliment to local steamed oysters or a scrumptious pulled pork sandwich from the adjacent award-winning barbeque joint, Pig Feathers. Visit Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Summer Fun: Toledo’s lively schedule of festivals includes the Annual Port of Toledo Wooden Boat Show. Vintage wooden boats line the docks, and toy boat-building activities, food and music are all part of the festivities. Don’t miss the entertaining Containerboard Boat Race, wherein plucky entrants fashion water craft from cardboard and race their creations back and forth across the Yaquina River. Cardboard kayaks, replica speedboats and even elaborate dragon boats all vie for awards as the fastest, best looking or best sinking boats. The race takes place on the third weekend of August.
Blast from the Past: In Toledo the railroad was once used to haul logs out of the woods and into town. Railroad buffs will appreciate the Yaquina Pacific Railroad Historical Society’s museum, where you can delve into local and regional rail history. Climb aboard a 1906 wooden caboose and a restored RPO mailcar that makes it easy to envision how they sorted the mail en route to the next station.
Photo credit: Greg Vaughn