One of my closest friends, Polly, lives in Forest Grove, Oregon and I recently had the chance to spend a few days with her and explore McMinnville and Cannon Beach! Polly and I have been friends since we were 19 years old (we are both in our 40’s now) and while we don’t get to see each other that often, when we do, we just pick up right where we left off. I have never had the chance to really visit or explore this part of Oregon, so I was excited to spend some time with her for a quick girl’s weekend and have her be my trusted tour guide. I’ll spare you all from having to scroll forever like some recipe blog posts and just give you the details for where we went and what I thought!
McMinnville is an adorable town about 38 miles southwest of Portland and 26 miles north of Salem. It’s well known as being the home of Linfield University (previously named Linfield College until July 1, 2020). Polly took me down NE 3rd Street, which as of this writing, has a few blocks closed to cars so restaurants can have space for outdoor dining due to COVID restrictions. We spent the entire afternoon and evening perusing shops, eating and trying a few beverages.
Brunch – Crescent Cafe
Crescent Cafe is located at 526 NE 3rd St and is a local, family-owned restaurant that opened in 2007. I ordered the Savory Crepes, which are made with bacon, cheddar, caramelized onion, and scrambled eggs with balsamic reduction. They were HEAVENLY! I would definitely order this again next time I’m in McMinnville. Polly ordered their special, which was pork with gravy, biscuits and eggs. It was very good but pretty heavy and probably not the best choice for two gals trying to keep their exercise routines going each week. Her and I split our meals in half so we could eat a little of both (our waitress even brought us multiple plates to share!). Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our time at Crescent Cafe, dining out on the street.
Shopping – Accessory Appeal
While we went to quite a few stores on 3rd St, I actually found the cutest sunglasses and earrings at a boutique called Accessory Appeal! Accessory Appeal is located at 520 NE 3rd St and has very affordable clothes, handbags, jewelry, shoes and more. It also felt really good shopping local and helping out small businesses. I am not sure if the woman who was helping Polly and I was the owner or a staff member, but she was the only one working and she was very helpful and friendly!
Beer and Snacks – Two Dogs Taphouse
If you follow me at all, you know I love beer, so I had to check out Two Dogs Taphouse, located at 608 NE 3rd St. Two Dogs Taphouse is a family-run taphouse and restaurant with the largest rotating tap list with 40 beers and ciders on tap, as well as local wines. They offer tasty pub treats like what we ordered, the Double Tapped Fries, which are their classic fries covered in Cascade Farms whisky pepper bacon, diced jalapenos, house-made beer cheese and chives. I failed to get a photo unfortunately (sorry!!). I tried a couple of their darker beers on the menu, the Wild Ride Nut Crusher on Nitro Peanut Butter Porter (based out of Redmond) and the Boneyard Diablo Rojo Red Ale (based out of Bend). We met up with one of Polly’s friends here and spent a good two hours hanging out and chatting. The atmosphere was fun, the space is huge, very social-distancing friendly and the bartenders are all very kind and honest about the beers when you ask a question! Side note: I’m a collector of beer t-shirts and while I was representing Ellensburg’s Iron Horse Brewery, I did purchase a Two Dogs shirt to add to my walking advertisement collection.
Wine Tasting – Terra Vina Tasting Room
The Terra Vina Tasting Room is located at 585 NE 3rd St, in front of the Atticus Hotel. Reservations are required for tastings. Terra Vina Wines are not available for purchase in any stores or wine shops – only in their tasting room, online or by joining their wine club. Lucky for me, both Polly and her friend were wine club members! We tasted a flight of reds, including the 2018 Trio, NV Terra Madre, 2018 Tempranillo, 2018 Syrah and the 2018 Petit Verdot. I loved the Tempranillo, with the strong notes of toasty chocolate and roasted coffee.
Dinner – CAPO
I’m so glad we ended our day at CAPO, I had some of the best pizza I’ve ever had in my life, and it wasn’t the one I ordered!! Pizza CAPO is located at 318 NE 3rd St. I ordered the sausage pizza, which is made with tomato, house sausage, chili-roasted fennel, kalmata olives and ricotta. It was delicious, but Polly’s friend ordered the meatball pizza! That one is made with garlic, red onion, basil, smoked mozzarella, ricotta and finished with what pulled it all together, calabrian honey. I most unfortunately did NOT take a photo of the meatball pizza, but as I type this, I’m craving it and it’s almost my bed time. I must go back.
It was getting pretty late by the time we finished dinner and we had to drive back to Polly’s house in Forest Grove so we bid McMinnville adieu and Cannon Beach awaited us the following day.
Cannon Beach, Oregon
Cannon Beach is a super fun beach town about 80 miles northwest of Portland on US-26 . It’s well known for Haystack Rock, a 235 foot sea stack. When the tide is low (which it wasn’t while we were there), visitors can check out the tide pools. The rock is also home to sea birds, terns and puffins – and we saw a puffin just hanging out on the beach while we were there! And if you want a quick geology lesson, Haystack Rock is composed of basalt and was formed by lava flows that came from the Blue Mountains and Columbia Basin about 15 million years ago. While Haystack was once a part of the coastline, millions of years of erosion have since separated it from the coast (thank you internet for that tidbit).
We decided to visit Cannon Beach on a Sunday and wait until later in the day to do so. It was an absolutely GORGEOUS day outside and while we wanted to soak in as much beach time as possible, neither of us wanted to deal with traffic. Polly told me that 26 could be backed up for miles and miles with beach traffic, so we didn’t leave until about 3 p.m. Thank goodness we made that decision. The traffic on 26 in the opposite direction of us was almost at a stand still. We hit no traffic on our way home later on that night so we felt smart, haha! We did hit a little on the way there, but definitely not as much as we would have had we left in the morning.
We arrived at about 4 p.m. and lo and behold we found public parking on S. Hemlock St between E. Gower and Coolidge! Again, we told ourselves this was because we arrived later in the day, making this feat possible.
The public restroom had a VERY long line on the women’s side and we decided to just bite the bullet and get it out of the way. That particular bathroom had three stalls and was a bit on the yuck-factor side as my stall would squirt water out underneath the flusher when we flushed. Regardless, with empty bladders and clean, disinfected hands, were on our way to the beach! We walked down Hemlock St and eventually found ourselves a nice, sandy beach entrance. Carrying two beach chairs and a cooler, we walked towards Haystack Rock and eventually set up our own personal space. We walked up and down the beach, soaking in the views, people watching, chatting, eating some snacks and enjoying that beautiful Pacific Northwest sunshine. PNW beaches aren’t always known for their sunny beach days, so this was truly a treat. It was also my first time seeing Haystack in person and it was as majestic as I imagined.
Dinner – Pelican Brewing
I’ve heard nothing but good things about Pelican Brewing, located at 1371 S. Hemlock St, and I was dying to try some of their brews and the food. I have been told that their burgers are the best in town, so of course I had to order one. Polly and I started our experience with a cup of their award winning Clam Chowder, and it was so savory delicious, I was disappointed I didn’t order an entire bowl! Regardless, I did need to keep room in my belly for a giant burger and my beer. I ordered their Black is Beautiful Imperial Stout to go with my Spicy Burger. The Spicy Burger is made with all-natural, Oregon-grown beef seasoned with Cajun spice, topped with grilled poblano chili and Tillamook pepper jack cheese, served on a spent-grain bun with Tsunami Stout chipotle aioli, baby arugula, sliced tomato and crispy onions. Once again, I was in a food coma HEAVEN! If you enjoy stouts and spicy burgers, I highly recommend ordering both of these! And in keeping with my tradition, I bought a Pelican Brewing t-shirt. 🙂
Alas, Monday morning was calling our names so it was time to leave the beach! As I stated before, going back to Polly’s house in the evening – there was no traffic and we were back in Forest Grove in no time. I teleworked from her home Monday before making my way back home to Seattle.
If you find yourselves in McMinnville or Cannon Beach, let me know! I’d love to hear about your trips!
Stay safe out there!
One Comment on “Exploring McMinnville and Cannon Beach In One Weekend”
Thanks for the great review of McMinnville…The Best Small Town in America.