We set out Memorial Day Weekend on a noble pursuit of all things delicious – ice cream, cheese and sour beer.
Our destination: Tillamook, OR, near the Oregon coast.
Located 73 miles from Portland, OR, Tillamook has a population around five thousand. Settled by bachelors in 1851, Tillamook continued to grow until it was officially incorporated as a city in 1891. Timber and fishing industries have both played a role in Tillamook’s economy, but it’s perhaps most well known for its role in the dairy industry and as the home of the Tillamook Cheese Factory.
When your noble pursuit involves all things ingested, it’s always good to do a little work to earn the goods. Our first stop of the day was Cape Lookout State Park. A popular spot for tent and RV camping (and they have yurts!), we were there for the hiking.
The Cape Trail is a 5-mile out-and-back hike along the cliff’s edge to Cape Lookout. It meanders through a densely forested area, and when the trees part ways a bit, you get to sneak beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean.
The trail is popular, and is a great hiking option for the whole family, especially when camping in the area. Gray whales migrate through this part of the ocean in late Spring and Winter, and Cape Lookout has a convenient bench for prime-time viewing. Be prepared for slick tree roots and mud on the trail regardless of the season, especially if there’s been a recent day or two of rain.
All that hiking left us a bit parched, and it was on to our first indulgence: de Garde Brewing.
Driving to de Garde brewing, I have to admit, I was a bit worried I hadn’t done enough research. The current tasting room is located pretty far outside of Tillamook, and the scenery, though beautiful, was fairly remote.
When we turned a corner and saw a crowd of hipsters sitting outside of what looked like an industrial strip of warehouses, I breathed a sigh of relief. We had to be in the right place.
I love me a sour beer, and de Garde didn’t disappoint. I enjoyed a glass of the tasty Citra Pale, and we also lucked out and got the last of the Freigeist Kopeniciade – freaking delicious.
Next stop was the Tillamook Cheese Factory Visitor’s Center, which, to be honest, was completely overwhelming – so many people! This place receives over a million visitors a year, and is a must stop for families. My number one priority was a Mountain Huckleberry waffle cone, which I devoured while we walked around the self-guided tour. Because it was a Sunday, the factory floor was closed for business, but there was still plenty of information to digest. My fave fact – it takes 10 gallons of milk to make one pound of cheese!
And if sour beer and ice cream doesn’t sound like enough of a stomach-ache waiting to happen, our last stop for the day was Old Oregon Smokehouse. Right across the street from the Tillamook Cheese Factory Visitor’s Center, they totally capitalize on all the through traffic in the area, but deliver in a big way with their food. We sampled the clam chowder, the crab melt, and a crab cake . . . ah-mazing! We managed to finish the clam chowder, but we cried mercy at finishing the rest and boxed it up for the ride home.
- Need breakfast on the way? Check out Our Cafe in Banks, OR.
- The Cape Trail is about a 2 hour easy hike, 5 miles total. No parking fees if you park at the trailhead further down the road (not the main entrance). Outhouses at the trailhead.
- Consider visiting Tillamook Cheese Factory Visitor’s Center in the morning to beat the crowds.
- Make it a weekend trip and camp at Cape Lookout State Park.
- Other popular destinations that we didn’t get to check out – Tillamook Air Museum, Tillamook County Pioneer Museum, Latimer Quilt & Textile Center