Guest: Valerie Estelle Rogers
V. Estelle Travel ~ Website: vestelletravel.com
I remember asking, yes, but where is Bella Beach? I’ve lived 60 miles from this destination and have not only never been, I had never heard of it. It is one of the many small beach communities along the coast – small being the precise word – that make up the fabric of homes and holiday homes between the shore line and highway 101. I have been driving past the entrance on Ocean View Street for the thirty years I’ve lived in Oregon and not knowing any better. Situated conveniently four miles north of Depoe Bay and eight miles south of Lincoln City is a single-loop road scattered with homes and, I’ll dare say, attitude. One minute you see a faux log cabin and the next you are transported to east-coast-style cottages, shake sided beachy homes, and bungalows painted soft bright colors.
There were seven of us, all friends for a decade..or two, all needing a getaway from the strains of life and what the unexpected 2020 year has had to offer. Westlight, one of the Oceanfront Properties, Inc. vacation homes was our answer. Six bedrooms, two decks overlooking the water, and a hot tub, yes please! To Bella Beach we went.
Parking is always a concern when going with a group on a holiday. Not so for us, as Westlight had their own private parking area large enough to hold six vehicles, which for a home that sleeps up to 16 people, this is a great feature. Two entrances to the home made for easy unpacking and carrying in our weekend’s worth of groceries. Two kitchens, one on each of the two levels allowed for enough elbow room and icebox access. And, two living rooms, both with walls of windows facing the ocean meant our group could rest and relax as they wished.
Bella Beach residential area has a beautifully manicured public park, a secondary children’s park, and pedestrian beach access. The street conveniently loops, like a large track designed for morning dog walks and hand-holding strolls. Smiling and waving to other vacationers doing the same simply becomes a normal part of the day. Cafe C’est La Vie is the one and only storefront in the community, and like the pub on the classic television show, Cheers, everyone goes there. This little French cafe is open Wednesday though Sunday and offers light lunches, tea, and the French-would-be-proud cappuccinos and espresso beverages.
Beach walking is encouraged, it’s good for the soul. I highly recommend keeping a keen eye on the tides table and paying attention to when low and high tide happen each day, as there are times when only a few feet of sand are exposed and at high tide the waves crash aggressively into the rocky shore.
While there are many great dining options in Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, and Newport, we opted to cook-in each evening. This allowed for afternoon cocktail sipping and casual sleep apparel to outlast the morning hours, as well as multiple hot tub visits.
Photos by Valerie Rogers, drinks made by @balconrycocktailproject
It was the last night of our stay, sing-along music was playing though the little bluetooth speaker and filling the room with ambience lyric after lyric. Fresh chopped garlic tempted our senses as it was being sauteed, soon to be included in our pasta dishes. I paused during this moment. I looked around, first out of the window catching the amber sun setting on the horizon and highlighting our space with golden hues, I looked back at the scene around me, it made me tear up, so I quietly walked outside to the deck for some fresh air to hug my face and tears.
As I stood outside looking back into the house I watched as three friends danced in the space between the living room and the dining room table while laughing and singing, two friends were cooking and doing their own kitchen dance of bobbing and weaving with spatulas in hand, and a magnum of special wine was waiting on the table, open and breathing. I just stood, watching, reveling in the goodness of quality time, the goodness of committed friendships, and listing to the waves lapping the sand and rocks and making the music of the ocean. I took a deep breath, wiped my face, and reentered the magical scene.
We raised our glasses that evening to many things, to each other, and to Bella Beach. Quite possibly my new favorite destination.