It's one thing to choose a vacation residence based on the accommodations, especially if you have a sense of the immediate surroundings, but it's really nice to know what you can expect by way of restaurants, shops, markets, etc. Particularly in a relatively rural area. Here are some descriptions and links that may help you decide about staying at Deer Hollow...
The Junction is at the intersection of Highway 101 and Pacific Way and boasts the town's only traffic light. It's about a mile and a half from Deer Hollow.
This bright, delightful shop located on the southwest corner of the intersection, got a nice mention in the March/April 2011 issue of AAA's Via magazine for good reason. We discovered it as we were shopping for Deer Hollow and came back over and over, usually finding something beautiful or fun or practical (or all of the above). We're pretty much through furnishing the house, but it's still usually our first stop in town because there's always a chance Linda, the engaging and enthusiastic owner, has something we really need... or just really want.
Stellar "hand-blown" art glass studio in a former gas station. Well worth a stop, just to let the glass dazzle you. The website gives you some idea of the range and variety. On the northeast corner of the junction.
Emmerling bends, twists, and curls metal into beautiful furnishing and decorative pieces for the home- beds, lamps, tables, fireplaces, and on and on. His studio, just behind The Glass Station is well worth a stop if it's open. You might want to call ahead using the phone number given on the gorgeous website.
Just north of The Junction on the west side of 101 you'll find Recreation Lanes. Let me quote Doug M's review on YELP: "There are 12 lanes, reasonably well maintained. The guy running it on the Tuesday afternoon we visited was great - making sure we got the right size shoes, offering to put the bumpers up for our daughter. When he saw her struggling with a 6-pound ball, he brought us a special pink 4-pound ball she could throw properly... There's basic food and beverages available, including microbrews on tap. It was a great, low-key, low-cost place to spend a few family hours together on a rainy day."
About a half-mile west of the Junction and a mile south of Deer Hollow, our downtown boasts several interesting shops, a real estate office, a charming cluster of guest cottages, and....
The bakery and cafe share a building, an owner, and some staff but since they're spaces with different hours, I'm going to treat them separately. The Bakery is a tiny affair that the specializes in a wide variety of pastries that seem consistently to have just enough sugar to make them delicious without overwhelming the taste buds. Our regular trips include ham & cheese croissants for our breakfast, fruit tarts to save for dessert after dinner, and muffins for munchies. The sticky buns are just too much for us but our guests love them. (Be warned, however, that the bakery is only open weekends until summer.)
The Cafe is open for lunch and dinner 5 days a week. The diverse menu is surprisingly sophisticated for a small town and you're not likely to go wrong unless you order a hamburger. Just don't. The wine list is also pretty good but not stellar. If you don't feel like enjoying the Martha's Vineyard atmosphere, we strongly recommend the carryout pizza. It's easily the best pizza between Astoria and Pacific City and while the prices may seem a little high when you're ordering - they become very reasonable when you're chowing down.
One of the town's anchors, the grocery went through a thorough renovation and remodel in the early months of 2011 and the result is a very modern, very well-stocked grocery section. The market now boasts a limited selection of very good quality meats, a satisfactory produce section, and a surprisingly diverse wine selection (this is THE place to pick up a last minute bottle for dinner). They also have some very tasty dessert choices from local purveyors.
Good salt water taffy, excellent fudge, strong coffee, rich ice cream, and other tasty bits are available at this charming family-run operation. There's also a beautiful garden alongside that is open in season. We leave a small dish of Pop's taffy on the kitchen counter for our guests and 90% of the time we have to refill it completely.
The Links & the Beach
The Gearhart Golf Links opened in 1892 with three holes spaced around the sand dunes. As the Pacific Northwest's oldest public links, they've come a long way, baby. The beauty of the course is shown clearly in their very professional website. Ironically, the website doesn't really give a good sense of the impressiveness of the four story Cape Cod style clubhouse which hosts, among other things, the Pro Shop and McMenamin's Sand Trap Restaurant & Bar. If you're familiar with the chain, you'll know what to expect in terms of charming decor, brew pub menu, and chronic under-staffing. That said, it must be added that the deck in back, overlooking the course, is definitely a happy hour destination worth the visit. The club house is a mile from Deer Hollow because you have to drive/walk around the links. (Of course, the regular deer and occasional elk herd don't bother... the latter just "play through.")
The link I've chosen for the beach is one of the few available that discusses the beach specifically and illustrates why our beach is still relatively undiscovered - the Trazzler writer puts us in Seaside, the much more commercialized and tourist-oriented town on our southern city limits. The beach, which stretches for miles, is car, dog, and kid friendly. You'll find more pictures over on our page...
The Gearhart Liquor Store is a half-mile east of Deer Hollow on Highway 101. It's a small place but pretty impressively stocked under the circumstances and the folks who run it are very helpful and friendly.
The Great Wall is unexpectedly better than you might think. A little more than a half-mile east and north of Deer Hollow on 101, it's hugely popular with the locals (don't even think about going into the bar in early evenings on sunny days when it often serves as the 19th hole for large numbers of jovial local golfers. It has a good carry out menu (which we recommend) more diverse than you might expect and they don't use MSG.
And Farther Afield...
Oregon's other River City can be a maze to get through but it offers some treasures worth the effort...
Among our favorite places to eat in the whole State of Oregon. Funky, unpretentious, charming - it's on our Not-To-Be-Missed list. Fresh food made from excellent ingredients with a rare sense of flavors and textures. The bay shrimp cocktail is a spectacular summer choice. Julie's Tacos are a fave, and, when they're on the menu, the Pork Tamales are at the top of our list. The soups are a particular favorite but in our many meals here we've never ordered anything that didn't delight us. And in generous portions. Oh, yeah, THE FLAN! Another advantage is that it's just inside the city limits so the maze is mostly avoidable.
The Rio Cantina
The Rio Cantina opened just in time for El Dia de los Muertos, 2011, and was an immediate success if for no other reason than that it means you can get Rio Cafe food on Monday nights. They also have live music on a pretty regular basis (and excellent drinks).
Another dining delight on the south/eastern edge of town the bistro is quite sophisticated in its menu choices and execution. I have to admit that, as much as we appreciate the dinner menu, we've often found the lighting at night irritating. Add to that the fact that the day time views are remarkable and you understand our preference for lunches and brunches and afternoon "Small Bites" and Happy Hour.
The website clearly illustrates the appeal of this remarkable retail operation. Located on the ground floor of the Astor Hotel building, in the middle of the maze, you'll find parking challenging but the shopping is worth the effort. The couple who own the place are genuinely nice folks.
The 40' Christina Cousteau sails from Astoria's West Mooring Basin, sails up river past the historic wharf area, the Lewis & Clark National Wildlife Refuge, and the Twilight Creek Eagle Sanctuary.
About six miles north of Gearhart on the way to Astoria, you'll find Costco, Home Depot, Staples, and a pretty good Goodwill. It also hosts the glorious Ft. Stevens State Park with excellent bird watching and some wild ocean action.
There's a lot of information on the internet about Seaside so there's no reason to take up a lot of space here. That said, there are a few places we think are pretty special...
Between the friendly staff, the enormous portions of good food, and the relaxed family atmosphere, this is one of our favorite places in the area. We're especially fond of the Sunday Brunch because the Eggs Benny are quite good.. but whether you go for weekend brunch, or lunch, or dinner you're not likely to be disappointed..
This place is a local institution. The link we've included actually takes you to the Insiderpages.com page, but the reviews there seem to be pretty accurate and informative (based on our experience). There's also a Bell Buoy website for internet shopping and delivery. The Bell Buoy is almost exactly 4 miles south of us on 101.
Seaside Surf Shop- Board and Equipment Rentals and Sales
The dining room is huge (as you may be able to tell from the photo) and you'll swear they scale the food portions the room. The food ranges from pretty standard restaurant comfort to really delicious.
Highlights: Beef Stew at the top of the list; Plank fries are usually outstanding; The breakfast "Flatcars" are dinner-plate-sized pancakes, light and delicious; the Cinnamon Roles are huge and tasty; The Grilled Chicken sandwich is a major fave.
Camp 18 is exactly 18 miles from the intersection of Highways 26 and 101.