Newport, Oregon: We seem to get over to Newport every year or two and y’all are probably tired of seeing the same old photos, but today we visited OLD places, but saw NEW things!

The fog has lifted!

First, breakfast at the cute little Stephanie Cafe, just a few blocks from our hotel. Even if you just order a cup of coffee, every diner receives a delicious scone – at no charge. Cranberry-Orange today. We also ordered a veggie omelet and French toast with chicken-apple sausages.

Our plan for the day was to drive north – all the way to Tillamook – to tour the NEW Tillamook Creamery Visitor Center, just opened a few weeks.

Wow! It is so nice and so spacious… and was so crowded. The “factory” part of the tour has not changed (except for additional informational signage over the different vats and machines and conveyor belts). The walk-way above the work area has doubled in size and the windows are much larger, giving a great vista over the cheese-making process.

Visitors can “feed” a plastic baby cow (with a plastic bottle) and “milk” a plastic cow, using electronic pumpers. They describe the cow-raising part (in glorious PC-friendliness, of course), with much emphasis on the dairy farming families who have brought milk to the creamery for generations.

The walkway above the creamery floor

It’s betta with chedda

This afternoon they were packing medium Tillamook Cheddar –
the best selling item they produce.

Exit through the gift shop! The shop is so much larger than the old store.
Great products and every type of cheese they make.

We almost always have an ice cream at the end of our visit to the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Not today. This is just the line outside the restaurant area. The line inside was even longer. Crazy busy, but still so happy we went! Can’t wait to take the grandkids here again.

On the return trip south to Newport, we made a few stops – several times just to watch for grey whales (we saw many), or take in the foggy scenery.

Jacobsen Salt Works is one of my favorite places to visit. Plain, simple, humble-even (pretty sure they will never have a visitor center on the scale of the creamery), but Ben Jacobsen is the first to make salt on the Oregon Coast since two other guys – Lewis & Clark – made salt during their winter stay in Oregon in 1805. I now use Jacobsen salt exclusively.

I told you it wasn’t fancy. The water is brought in from the bay (just a few feet from this shed), filtered, and boiled until only the salt remains.

The little store has been moved down to the bay.

Though small, the shop sells (and samples) every item. Jacobsen has so many flavored salts, but I usually stick to his original sea salt and the new Kosher salt.

The beach pub at Pacific City was standing room only – and the famed rock formation just off-shore was shrouded in fog:

A few more foggy views:

Devils Punch Bowl (at low tide, no punch was being served)

Tonight we had reservations at Local Ocean, one of our favorite restaurants in Newport. This place serves fish caught by the boats in the harbor across the road! (Everything, that is, except the prawns. Oregon water is too cold for the large prawns.) The fish is listed by type, along with the name of the fishing vessel, on the menu.

We waited in the bar for a moment for our table and ran into Oregon Governor Kate Brown. We had met her several times previously (Final Four in Phoenix, World Championships in London), so was nice to see her again – and not on official business.

Local Ocean

Dream Date, with a view to the Yaquina Bay Bridge

Tuna Poke appetizer – the best thing on the menu

Spicy Noodle Salad with Shrimp (DT)

Grilled Rockfish (much better than Saturday!)

Just a great restaurant, service, views and food. Highly recommended. Mary and Captain Jim told us about Local Ocean five years ago, and we can’t thank them enough. Reservations are a must.

A few more photos of the harbor across the street from Local Ocean:

It was cold and foggy back at the hotel again.

Until my next update, I remain, your foggy correspondent.

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