A great adventure can be found anywhere.
One of my favorite things to do is throw our PJ’s and toothbrushes into a bag, jump in the car and head out to see what we can find no further than two hours and a tank of gas away from home. We’ll head out early on a Saturday morning and be back in time for dinner on Sunday night. Easy, (relatively) cheap and always entertaining. My new goal is to plan at least one of these little “quickie getaways” every month.
Gas prices in Oregon have dropped 40 cents/gallon. It’s time to hit the road again!
A while back, on one of our quickie escapes, Hubs and I explored the quaint and charming village of Wheeler, Oregon. Wheeler is tiny (pop. 414). It’s an easy 1 1/2 hour drive from Portland and sits at the edge of the Pacific Ocean on Nehalem Bay. In the early 1900’s Wheeler was a bustling railroad depot. Trains delivered lumber and seafood from the bay into Portland. Today tourism is the main industry. Bustling? Not so much. It’s not much more than a dot on the map along US Highway 101, but whether you stop for lunch, some serious antiquing, or an overnight stay like we did, Wheeler is definitely worth your time.
Old Wheeler Hotel
We checked into the Old Wheeler Hotel – an eight room beauty with stunning views of the bay.
Lovely historical details like an old bellhop uniform display
Like the town itself, the Old Wheeler Hotel is a tiny gem. Full of charm, it’s complete with creaky wooden floors, well appointed rooms, lots of light, comfortable beds, quality linens and interesting antiques. Many rooms have private baths, but a few have a bath “down the hall”. Not to worry, they provide fluffy robes and the bathroom is “all yours” while you are there. These folks are all about service and special touches.
At the end of the hall on the second floor is a common room with comfy couches, a small kitchen area, a spectacular view, lots of board games and a large library of DVD’s. If you hang out for a while, you are sure to meet some very interesting people. We brought our own wine and cocktail snacks and enjoyed a sunset happy hour in the lounge. That’s where we met the “ghost chasers”. Adventure? You betcha!
the “lounge” perfect for cocktail hour, breakfast or board games.
When we checked in, we were advised that the room I had originally reserved was not available and we were upgraded to another room. Same spectacular view, but larger and with a spa tub. We also noticed a lot of unusual activity for such a tiny hotel, but didn’t think much of it until we starting chatting with some folks over cocktails in the common room. Turns out we had decided to spend the night at the Wheeler on the same weekend as a well-known paranormal investigation team was filming. Yes, they had earlier tested the rooms for “activity” and our original room seemed a likely candidate for spirits. We were spending the night in what had once been the Rinehart Hospital and, of course, not everyone left through the front door. According to the investigation crew, the building was humming with interesting paranormal energy. Nothing visited us during the night. Perhaps the snoring from one particular side of the bed kept them at bay.
the spa room
Twenty-Four Hours in Wheeler ~
This is a sleepy little place. You park your car and walk. Less than 10 minutes in any direction and you’ve covered it. We still found plenty to entertain ourselves. We wandered through two large antique stores and ogled beautiful art and handmade craft treasures at lovely little stories like Trillium. Across the street from the hotel is a small marina offering boat and kayak rentals. What a great way to explore Nahalem Bay. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time on this trip.
the “main drag” in Wheeler
There were so many great photo ops. Thank goodness I had my camera. Across the bay is a wildlife viewing area where, if you are lucky, you will spot blue heron, eagles and herds of elks that routinely inhabit the landscape. We just missed a herd of elk! Or…maybe they say that to all the visitors.
morning view from our room
I’m not always a fan of small town food, but we discovered an absolutely delightful and delicious restaurant called the Rising Star Cafe where we managed to slide into the last available table for a gourmet dinner. Great food. great people. Great wine. Great fun! There is also a fun pub and a quaint cafe within a half block of the hotel.
Wheeler is well located for exploring the North Oregon Coast. It is a gorgeous 30 mile drive from the Tillamook Cheese Factory to the art galleries of Cannon Beach Wheeler lies right in the middle.
We loved our overnight in Wheeler. Sometimes great things really do come in small packages.
See you on the road!