As we say goodbye to the summer, we say goodbye to warm summer nights spent around a bonfire. Goodbye cool summer treats, shorts, sleeveless shirts, and days spent at the river. As sad as we are to see these things go, I’m sure that many of us are ready to welcome the quiet evenings walking the beach, the spectacular fall sunsets, and sweaters! Who hasn’t pulled out their flannels in preparation?

The summers are why we live here, but the winters are why we stay. It’s hard to believe how much has changed in our community. We lament the loss of historic hangouts like the Round Table Restaurant or the Whaler, but don’t mind bellying up to the bar of the Public House, or Driftwood.

Change is the only constant, and that includes this small town. While our favorite places change, other things remain the same. You might find a group gathered around a bonfire on the beach in 1903, just as you would in 2016. The conversation might be a bit different, the clothing slightly more synthetic, but pretty much the same.

The camaraderie of winter is another thing that remains the same. We survive them, and we sure do enjoy remembering them. We unabashedly tell the horrors of going weeks without power, without a thought of ever leaving.

This is why we are here. We are here to perch along the Pacific Ocean and to survey one of the most pristine coastal beaches. (I’m not the only one who thinks so. See National Geographic, Coastal Living, and so many others that talk about the beauty of Cannon Beach.)

These days, Cannon Beach is a hop, skip and a jump from Portland, but it wasn’t always this way. There was a time that getting to Cannon Beach was something of a challenge. There was a trip by steamboat along the Columbia River, then a train ride, then a trip by horseback, buggy, or by foot. The train wasn’t extended to Seaside until 1890. The “road” from Seaside was nothing more than a muddy winding trail.

Until 1904 the only road to Cannon Beach was a toll road. The Elk Creek toll road cost twenty-five cents for a single horse or mule, a buggy with a single horse or mule was fifty cents, and the prices jumped from there. The first hotel in Cannon Beach was the Elk Creek Hotel, which was constructed in 1892. The first article to gush about the town was written in 1891 and claimed the town was a “sportsman’s paradise.”

In 1904, the county took over management of the road and began a decades long project to rid it of the 111 curves. The journey was quite time consuming, but the destination was worth it. Cannon Beach has been the perfect sojourn for those in need of respite.

With a proper road in place, Cannon Beach became more accessible to visitors, which increased the need for places to stay. More hotels came into the mix. The Hotel Bill was constructed in 1904, the Warren Hotel in 1911 and the Ecola Inn in 1913, with many more to follow. Homes welcomed visitors during World War II and the cabin and vacation rental of yesteryear found popularity for visitors once again. Though a bit of a political paradox, vacation rentals are still a popular choice for Cannon Beach visitors.

The summers don’t seem to leave many Cannon Beach businesses wanting. The stream of cars, crowded sidewalks and beaches, speak of a town brimming with business. It’s not hard to love Cannon Beach with a beautiful golden orb hanging over Haystack Rock, but the winter is reserved for the strongest holdouts. Come one, come all, but winter is only for the strongest. The fall doesn’t just usher in the onslaught of pumpkin spice, it brings with it time. So, residents, and courageous Cannon Beach visitors, are you ready for what winter brings?


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