The Most Romantic Place on Earth
Updated: Feb 18, 2020
“I want to write about the place I consider the most romantic on Earth,” I told my husband. “No need tell me,” he said with a nostalgic smile.
For anyone who hasn’t been there, Depoe Bay sits straddled between two Oregon Coast hotspots—Lincoln City to the north and Newport to the south. I never pictured myself visiting this part of the country, and I never pictured myself loving it so much either. Depoe Bay is rugged coastlines, ancient lava beds, white caps on dark, choppy waters, and grey whales breaching in the glow of the setting sun.
I remember driving there for the first time with the man I would still be with fourteen years later. He had just bought an oceanfront condo with a southwest view. He was expectant and a little nervous with the hope I would find the place as enthralling as he did. My breath caught when I saw the view from the top of the stairs. Two maritime chairs sat before the window as if waiting for us.
I’d never seen anything as spectacular as those moody waters and sky. “The seascape is forever changing, never the same,” the lady who owned the rare bookshop would later tell me. And it’s true. From the beginning, we sat for hours without moving. A person would be crazy to watch TV, not with the continue dance of the sea. How could anyone miss a mother whale and her calf as they feed and frolic in what’s known as the “Whaling Capital of the Oregon Coast?”
I’d soon learned Depoe Bay was an old fishing village named for Siletz Indian Charles "Charley” Depot who was originally allotted the land in 1894. The family was later known as “DePoe”, which explains today’s spelling. Many landmarks proclaim the name, such as The Depoe Bay Harbor, known as the “World’s Smallest Harbor.” And talk about atmospheric. Hollywood has come calling more than once to shoot a scene in the picturesque local. One, called “The Burning Plain” was filmed in the Tidal Raves, a restaurant we frequented with its panoramic view of the pounding surf.
We experienced an instant kinship with the proprietors who ran the gift shops, fish shacks, and art galleries. And as in so many small towns, it didn’t take long to get involved in politics. Still, we spent our days walking the beach and exploring the estuaries tucked between the rocks. We’d cross the bridge that spans the channel and is reminiscent of the bridges along California’s Big Sur coast. Often, we’d find ourselves nestled inside the woods of The South Depoe Bay Nature Trail. Subdued, dark, yet achingly romantic, it seemed we were the only two people left on earth. And in Autumn, with the sunlight dazzling through the flame-colored leaves, it was lovely beyond belief.
Another thrill in October was the annual Indian-style Salmon Bake. Before sunrise, an 80-foot fire line was ignited with six cords of fir and three cords of alder. Thousands of pounds of salmon fillets were positioned on the alder wood stakes over the fire line. The result? The richest, most mouth-watering salmon I’ve ever tasted.
Sadly, eleven years later, we sold the condo. Now I look back on those days and sigh. So many of the friends we made have moved. But I’m missing the way it was then when our love was new. Oh, I have plenty of treasures tucked away or displayed in the open. Hand-blown glass and a clock and the airplane books I discovered inside a closet of space in a bookshop. What I regret, though, are those two maritime chairs we did not take. But then, maybe, just maybe, they are still there waiting for our return.