The Nye Beach Arch over the street leading to the Turnaround.
Photo by Tricia Morgan
Unlike the rest of the town of Newport, there is nothing similar to Nye Beach on the entire Oregon Coast. Cobblestone streets, old-style street lamps made of modern technology and a bevy of quaint architectural styles give this place a charm that is somewhere between 19th century Europe and the future - with a decent helping of Americana.
This historic area used to be called the “honeymoon capital of the world” back in the 1900’s, when Nye Beach was actually a separate town, connected to Newport by only a mud road covered by wooden planks. At that time, Newport was all on the bay front.
These days, it retains its romantic buzz with loads of cute lodgings and cafes dotting its tiny streets. There’s the legendary Sylvia Beach Hotel, with rooms coming in themes based on authors’ lives, such as the Edgar Allen Poe room that contains a pendulum hanging over the bed.
Or for a mix of the thoroughly modern, romantic and seriously gourmet, there’s the Village Market & Deli, with its partial ocean view. This hidden treasure features a small but impressive wine shop, where co-owner J.T. Trusty utilizes his extensive knowledge to bring in interesting new finds.
The menu boasts expertly done and innovative dishes around $10 for lunch. A spinach pasta comes with an especially aromatic wine and tomato sauce that surprises the nostrils as well as the palate. Filet mignon is rubbed with fennel seed and brown sugar, as well as turned into a “poor boy sandwich” – a version containing the extra twist of a wild and wooly chipotle dressing. Those are just two examples: every element of each dish provides a startling yet beautiful experience, containing multiple layers of subtle tastes and nuances.
Within view of Village Market & Deli is a giant arch, the entrance to the stairway heading down to the beautiful Turnaround and the pristine, fun-filled beaches of the area. A second arch rises above the vehicular entrance to the Turnaround where visitors can drive to a parking lot or merely follow the road around to the exit.
Another point of interest is the old Jump-Off Joe rock structure a quarter mile north of the Turnaround. Until about ten years ago, this chunk of sandstone jutting out from the cliff extended much further, and provided a nifty little vantage point from which to view the ocean from above. Directly above the rock structure are the remnants of an old condo that fell apart just weeks from completion back in the 80’s, leaving a slightly spooky castle ruins-like vibe atop this bluff.