Nadia Clinton from Delta Air Lines, also a Director of Visit USA (UK), shares her unforgettable experience exploring Oregon:
Thinking back through all of my US adventures, New York is always the first place that comes to mind. I love the buzz of the city, the atmosphere and the wealth of culture it has to offer - I’m a city girl at heart but sometimes there’s nothing better than escaping to calmer shores and I found the Oregon coast just the tonic.
I’ve been visiting the US for 25 years, ever since I started working at Delta. I travel for work and pleasure, but Oregon is one state that, for me, remained largely undiscovered. I’d been to Portland but the coastal towns of Newport and Pacific City were unknown to me – until last year. and now I wonder why it took me so long to go.
The Pacific Ocean, off the Pacific Northwest coast, is well-known for whale watching. It’s very rugged but beautiful and unspoiled. The beaches couldn’t be more different to the famous sands of southern California that I know well.
I stayed at the beautiful Headlands Coastal Lodge & Spa - a beachfront hotel with the most spectacular ocean views, endless sandy beaches and giant sand dunes.
The sand was so inviting, I decided to rent a bike from the hotel and explore on two wheels. I love cycling around London, but this was something else. Even with sand-proof tyres, it was one of the most tiring exercises I’ve ever done. Eventually, I had to admit defeat and push the bike up the dunes much to the amusement of the receptionist when I got back to the hotel. The great thing about this part of Oregon is that the landscape and terrain offer some fantastic ways to get your dose of exercise if pedalling the sand bikes is a little tough. It’s easy to while away a few hours just walking or hiking on the dunes. Not only do you get your dose of cardio activity, but you are rewarded with some of the most beautiful, uninterrupted views anywhere in the world. For anyone that also craves that pause from work or the other stresses of our modern life, the beaches are wide, flat and uncrowded. So, while doing something good for your body, you are also giving your mind the much-needed break it needs.
Needless to say, I was then ready for some R&R and you don’t have to go far in Pacific City, or anywhere else in Oregon for that matter, to find delicious local cuisine. The state prides itself on eating and shopping local. There is craft beer and freshly caught seafood aplenty with many restaurants following a farm-to-table ethos. One such place was Riverhouse Nestucca. I thought I was walking into someone’s house but in fact it was a cosy local restaurant with just a few tables upstairs. It was homely and the food was excellent. I also found the laidback culture across the area refreshing. After living in heels at work, there’s nothing better than spending the holidays in flats.
It was while dining at the hotel restaurant that the waiter told me about his wife starting a cheese business just two miles away. I went the next day and the produce was incredible. You could taste the freshness and the owner was delighted we stopped by. She prepared a box of fresh cheeses for us to taste. It was a shame I couldn’t pack some in my suitcase to bring home.
Reminiscing on this trip now, calms my soul. The people take the time to appreciate the small things, and I really enjoyed this way of living, even if was only for a week. Even sitting on the sand and watching the sunset was magical and because of that, I know I’ll return. Once the Covid-19 pandemic is over, I’ll be on the first plane back.