Sunday, January 31, 2010
Winter Beach Getaway in Seaside
In the early 1870s, Ben Holladay, a Portland developer, built a luxury resort hotel here known as the Seaside House. With heavy promotion throughout the West, the resort became a popular destination and the growing town took on the name Seaside. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, city folks from Portland would travel by ship down the Columbia River to the Astoria area and then by stagecoach, and later by train, south to Seaside. While families stayed at the beach all summer, working fathers would commute back and forth from Portland on the weekends. Trains arriving at Seaside early Saturday and returning late Sunday became known as the “Daddy Trains.” By 1938, the Sunset Highway (US 26) was completed to the Coast and the rail service closed.
A few blocks north of the turnaround is a small, quaint aquarium. Originally built in 1914 as a natatorium or indoor, saltwater pool, it was converted to an aquarium in 1937, making it one of the oldest on the Pacific Coast. It houses a collection of northwest marine life. To the south, the inland side of the Prom is lined with attractive Arts and Crafts style bungalows and English cottages built in the early 1900s as summer homes for some of Portland’s prominent families. About eight blocks south at Lewis and Clark Way is a reconstruction of the Corps’ salt-making operation.
After a walk along the Prom, it is time to sample some of Seaside’s fresh local seafood. Some of the popular standbys in the center of town include Norma’s Ocean Diner offering famous clam chowder, fish and chips, and crab melts; Dooger’s Seafood, a casual family style restaurant serving a variety of seafood followed by homemade marionberry cobbler; and the Pig ‘N Pancake with popular breakfast items all day and chowder and other seafood at lunch and dinner.
As might be expected, Seaside has a variety of accommodations from charming bed and breakfasts to upscale, luxury hotels. Many offer attractive, reduced winter, mid-week rates. To learn more, check out the Seaside Visitors Bureau .