The high season is in full swing, at least for a few more weeks. Venture into Cannon Beach and be prepared to encounter people, lots of people; people waiting in line for coffee; people lining up in the bakery; people crowding into every restaurant for lunch; people trying to make last-minute dinner reservations; people on the beach.
In addition to human beings, there are also lots of dogs.
Even the hastiest perusal of the local police log reveals there’s no shortage of people who failed to book a hotel room, attempting to slip past the overnight camping laws to illegally pitch tents or lie quietly in a sleeping bag in a hidden part of town.
During the so-called dog days of summer — Cannon Beach is absolutely a canine-friendly summer town — July and August can be maddeningly busy.
Downtown gets the most foot and vehicular traffic as everyone wants to grab a burger at Bill’s, or share a famously delicious Iceberg Wedge at The Driftwood, which has an especially dog-friendly outside area, perfect for people-watching.
The no reservation policy at the Harding Trading Co. can make it tough to get a table, if that’s what your heart’s set on. Many year-round Cannon Beach residents lament during the summer they don’t even try to come downtown, unless it’s to hang at Cheri’s, where locals can almost always score a table.
I probably shouldn’t be leaking this information, but I have my favorite midtown Cannon Beach haunts. Even on the most crowded summer days, midtown is not impossible.
Nothing pleases me more than browsing the home décor store, Found.
Sure, there’s usually a line in the morning for coffee at Sleepy Monk, but if you hit it just right, you can likely wrangle one of those choice tables on the porch. Not only is Sleepy Monk an outstanding coffee roaster (my personal fave is the dark roast Monastery Blend, but if you favor something lighter, try Fiddler’s Fusion. Sleepy Monk also bakes their own pastries. I’m partial to the ginger molasses cookie, which is large enough to share.
The Cannon Beach Hotel is a beautiful boutique bed-and-breakfast. I don’t hesitate to recommend it not only as a hotel accommodation, but the adjacent café is also a sophisticated and intimate dining destination. Folks with big appetites will want to hit the Pig ’N Pancake for an awesome breakfast or lunch. (This location is not open for dinner.) For a special meal, like for an anniversary or birthday fete, definitely try the Stephanie Inn or Newmans at 988.
My favorite midtown place on a Thursday or Friday afternoon is Screw and Brew, where they not only make a dynamite bloody Mary, but also have the best (in my opinion) oyster shooters.
I admit when I first arrived on the North Coast, oyster shooters freaked me out. I’m from the East Coast where raw oysters — petite, delicate, sweet briny things —are served on ice on the half shell. So the first time I encountered the large, meaty, can I say LARGE again, classic PNW oyster shooter I was … shocked.
I am happy to report I’m completely on board with the oyster shooters at Screw and Brew. Their delectable, sweet brine oysters are sourced from Willapa Bay. The kitchen also makes a mean Tillamook cheese grilled-cheese sandwich. The halibut ceviche is a fabulous choice, if you’re trying to watch your calories.
I’ll be hitting midtown more often after Labor Day when the tourists depart, but even on a busy summer weekend, Cannon Beach’s midtown totally rocks.