As you may notice, this post has no pictures of children or babies. Not even a snapshot of yours truly doing as the title says: walking on the beach. As a matter of fact, there are no pictures of any people on this beach. At all. Which is why it turned out to be such a memorable walk for me.
During our family’s recent stay at Salishan Golf Resort and Spa, we had the opportunity to visit one of Oregon’s most secluded beaches, which lies on the narrow peninsula between the Pacific and Siletz Bay. It can only be reached by residents living in the gated Salishan community and guests of Salishan Resort. I was intrigued.
But to get out onto the peninsula, we needed to make the short drive from the resort, and when push came to shove, I couldn’t get my kids to budge. The girls were having such a fantastic time at the lodge, and most especially using the indoor swimming pool and enormous hot tub, that they literally burst into tears when I told them we could swim more… after the beach.
Tears? They’d made a new friend from Toronto, Rozzie’s near-identical twin, and they couldn’t wait to meet up with her again at the pool. If they couldn’t do that, they wanted at least to go back to the children’s activity center and see about doing some crafts.
I was stunned. What kid cries when you tell them it’s time to go to the beach? Suddenly I had two on my hands doing just that. Granted, we live just a short drive from many beaches, not to mention a bay. And the fog that socked us in that morning at Salishan, at the end of an Oregon summer heat wave, was reminiscent of the notorious San Francisco stuff we’d fled setting out on this trip.
I humbly accepted that it made perfect sense that, for the kids, the sprawling resort set in the coastal forest with its elevated outdoor catwalks, Game Zone, and swimming paradise were more exciting by far. They were having a blast. Who was I to tell them to stop having fun and drag them to, of all places, the beach?
It suddenly reminded me of a very important topic I take up in Travels with Baby, about planning your family vacations to make sure that everybody gets what they need. It was clear what the kids needed. And as I saw that Tim was just as happy to give more lessons at the pool, I realized that the only one in our crew who really “needed” to hit the beach that morning was me. And I think I needed it even more than I suspected.
We bid cheerful adieus, and I loaded the baby up for our drive through the gate onto the peninsula. I passed one cheerful woman out walking her dog as I parked and loaded up Baby Theo in the Ergo, where he immediately went to sleep nestled against me and in the cozy shelter of my jacket. A short sandy path took me out onto this lovely beach, where the only other souls I saw shuttled by on a distant fishing charter boat. And I walked, and I walked, with only the sounds of Pacific waves shushing at the shore, and only gulls for company.
It was magic. And just what I needed—for just a little while—during our vacation.
Don’t miss my complete review of the family-friendly Salishan Golf Resort and Spa. Here’s a sneak peek of my fireside chat about the Family Passport to Fun program—one more way to help make sure everybody in your family gets what they need on your Oregon Coast vacation.
This post is part of Photo Friday at DeliciousBaby.com. Head over there for more inspiration for your family’s adventures.
It’s not too late to squeeze in a family camping trip with your little ones this summer, especially if you haven’t already made plans for Labor Day weekend with its bonus holiday. I’ve rounded up my assorted tips on camping with babies, toddlers, and little kids from previous sources in the list below, including my discussion on the topic on ABC’s View from the Bay (click to watch).
For more tips on planning trips with happy campers of your own, including back-country camping, see chapter 2 of Travels with Baby.
Well-meaning strangers wanted, and even needed, to see this child, from the orange-robed monks leaving the Temple of the Emerald Buddha to the janitor sweeping the back corridor. They had songs she apparently needed to hear, she had feet that apparently needed to be tickled. We had about 4 to 6 hours worth of exploring to do at the compound, and the normally simple act of feeding my baby became an exhausting quest to escape these extremely friendly people. She was 7 months old, highly distractible and, as you might guess, increasingly fussy.
As time went by and repeat attempts were made, including while leaning against a less-than-comfortable cement wall, I began to suspect I was a little too discrete in my method. As soon as she’d latch on, someone would approach us smiling and assuming that the baby was asleep, hoping to get a look at her. This was awkward. When visiting other people’s countries, I always try to be a good guest. I would no more flash the goods than wear shoes into someone’s house, or visit their temples with bare shoulders.
Still, it became clear to me that, as fascinated as these people were by the Western baby, it was not even on the radar that I might be trying to breastfeed. I took this up with a couple of ladies who worked at our hotel and wanted to talk babies, and again later when I had another mom-to-mom discussion as we traveled. They were shocked to learn that I, an American woman who could afford to travel the world, would choose to breastfeed my baby.
I am currently breastfeeding my third baby, and I know that overall breastfeeding has greatly simplified our travels with babies. Thanks to the nifty magic of white blood cells getting transferred from me to my babies through the milk, it has also provided extra protection for my children against viruses I’ve been exposed to along the way—something of a comfort for anyone who has to travel with their baby in flu season. As we have traveled in extreme heat, it’s also been reassuring to know that my milk is better and more easily absorbed by my baby than even water would be.
I have been impressed with how breastfeeding awareness and support have grown around the globe since I was breastfeeding my first baby 5 years ago. To find out more about World Breastfeeding Week, visit the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action online at www.waba.org. If you’d like to learn more about the current status of breastfeeding in some global destinations, including Kenya, South Africa, Australia, Germany, Brazil, and Canada, and what you might expect if planning travel there with your breastfed baby, check out my recent interviews with “Moms Around the World.”
When Budget Travel Magazine announced the Ten Coolest Small Towns in America on the CBS Early Show , it came as no surprise to the residents of Silverton, Oregon, that their town made the list. What was surprising, however, was how few people outside of Silverton could place the town on the map—though it was the only town on the entire West Coast to make the list. Located just 40 minutes southeast of Portland, and about 15 minutes east of Salem from Interstate 5 (I-5), Silverton remains just off the radar for many travelers hustling through Oregon to “make time” on their way to Portland and other popular travel destinations. But if you’ll be driving through Oregon, or simply visiting Portland, there are plenty of reasons you may want to work in a visit to this certifiably “cool” town. Here are seven of them:
1. Silver Falls State Park – I’ll cut to the chase: This is one of the most beautiful parks you may visit on the entire West Coast of the United States. You’ll find ten waterfalls, including the 177-foot South Falls shown here (tiny spots to the left are people on the hiking trail), lush temperate rainforest, excellent hiking and picnicking, with camping sites, cabins, and yurts (reserve cabins well in advance). There is often debate over whether or not this should be made a national park, but after struggling through crowds at other national parks, I side with the folks who are glad that it isn’t. Click here for more information about visiting the park and to read about our family’s last visit to Silver Falls.
2. Art and Artists – The many murals you’ll find throughout Silverton are an outward testament to the residents’ appreciation of fine art, which has made the small city a welcoming home to numerous artists and talented craftspeople. People throughout the Northwest make their way to view the artwork showcased at Silverton’s galleries, and each August (next weekend as a matter of fact), the Silverton Fine Arts Festival http://www.silvertonarts.org/saa/festival will be held in Coolidge-McClaine Park, with more than 80 juried artists, an international food court, wine tasting, live music on two stages, and children’s activities.
3. The Oregon Garden – “Garden” does little to convey the presence of nearly 20 different gardens carved out of the sloping hills overlooking the Willamette Valley. Among the 80-acres, you’ll find the A-Mazing Water Garden, Children’s Garden complete with a Hobbit house and dinosaur-fossil sand pit, a Conifer Garden, Pet-Friendly Garden, Market Garden, Lewis and Clark Garden, Rose Garden, and Tropical House, to name a few (see a map). When your feet wear out or your tiny traveler’s legs tire, hop on the tram and enjoy unlimited on/off privileges. Adult admission ranges from $5 to $10 depending on the season, while children 7 years and younger are always free at the Oregon Garden. Click here for more information.
4. The Gordon House by Frank Lloyd Wright – Wright’s only house in Oregon is located in Silverton, along the entrance drive to The Oregon Garden (originally 26 miles from there). The Gordon House was designed in 1957 and is a great example of Wright’s Usonian-style homes. It looks perfectly at home among the oaks and western redbuds here, inviting you to take a private tour for $5 (get $1 with Oregon Garden admission). For more information and to schedule your tour, click here.
5. Homer Davenport Days – Perhaps the king of kookie small-town celebrations, Silverton’s Homer Davenport Days celebration is held each August in honor of the 19th-century political cartoonist who called the town home. The celebration features not only a street dance for children, a town parade, a cartoon contest, bounce houses and festivities in the main park, live music ranging from jazz and bluegrass to the local church choir, and an amped-up version of the town’s monthly First Friday downtown celebrations, but also the only “Davenport Race” I’ve heard of in the United States. Ever seen a couch on wheels? Step back as several make their way through the streets of this small town!
6. Coolidge-McClaine Park – Located right in downtown Silverton, a short walk from the restaurants, galleries, cafes, movie theater, and library, you’ll find this terrific large park shaded by towering evergreen trees with Silver Creek flowing along its side and a footbridge leading pedestrians only across the stream. A vast complex of brand new playground equipment has just been installed, with structures designed for toddlers through tweens (see map), including a zip-line-esque slide bar and climbing walls.
7. Cute Cafes – Of course, you don’t have to go all the way to Silverton to find nice cafes, but when committing yourself to a stay in any small town, it’s nice to know that you can not only get good coffee (one of the criteria of the Coolest Small Towns), but that you can drink it in a place with real character. Suffice to say, you will find some great options in Silverton.
I could go on, boasting about the amazing crops of blueberries and blackberries here in late summer (after all, Marion County is home to the voluptuous Marionberry), the small movie theater where $5.95 still gets you in the door and witty quotations fill the screen before showtime rather than obnoxious previews, and the picturesque Victorian and Craftsman-style historic homes, but I’ll end now in the hopes that you’ll get the chance to discover Silverton with your own family.
We are back from our latest Rivoli family road trip, some 1680 miles of adventure from the San Francisco Bay Area into and around the state of Oregon. Along the way we swam in a lake, an above-ground pool, an in-ground pool, an indoor pool, and a geothermal hot mineral pool. We slept in a tent, a cabin, a resort, a riverside inn, and a grandmother’s house. We ate roasted wieners, vegan cuisine, steak, chowder, and “cowboy caviar.” We watched a small-town parade, a magic water show, a magical sunset, and a high Cascades lightening storm. We made friends with shirttail cousins and loads of kids we met along the way; we made the acquaintance of some frogs, crawdads, mosquitoes, seagulls, and polar bears.
Suffice to say, it was a busy, full, and wonderful road trip. I couldn’t be more proud of my three kids traveling in their three car seats—without a doubt three of the best little travelers I know. Even as we hightailed it home on our final day, through California’s Central Valley, where temperatures never dropped below 96 degrees F and our car’s thermostat for some reason decided to ride the fine line close to overheating, they sweat stoically in the back seat, even the baby guzzling water from the 3-gallon water tap we were so thankful to have along (as Travels with Baby readers may recall), accepting that we would have to make it home without the AC.
Sure, we had more than a few rounds of “Are we almost there yet?” (A few of them came from Tim and I as we nervously watched the temp gauge.) But as we recounted the many adventures we’d had over the past week and a half, and my daughters continued to ask… “Can we do that again sometime?” I had to grin as it became clear that my children are learning one very important lesson in life: While there’s no place like home, there’s nothing like a grand adventure.
I look forward to sharing highlights from our trip and suggestions for your own family’s travels in the posts to come.
Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning guide Travels with Baby
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