Personal Journeys


April 24, 2005|By Special to the Sun

A Memorable Place

By Amy Houghton

Special to the Sun

A calm place along Oregon's coast

In this age of meditation and wellness centers, just about everyone is familiar with the idea of visualization, the act of taking your mind to a peaceful place and creating a sense of calm. When I need to practice visualization, I conjure up memories of Ocean Haven, a private inn on the Pacific Ocean just south of Yachats, Ore.

My husband, Jonathan, and I stayed at the inn during a two-week Seattle-to-San Francisco trip. Ocean Haven offers four suites and one exterior cabin, none of which has a telephone or a television. That in itself was enough to call to mind the idea of peace.

Making the most of the natural world around us was the name of the game. We had just unpacked when one of the owners stopped by our suite to announce whale sightings and to point out the binoculars in our room for bird watching.

On our first night, we watched through the bedroom window as the sun set over the Pacific and the intensifying colors were reflected in the waves and on the rocks.

The next day, after the tide was out, we headed to the beach to examine the tidal pools. The owner's mother was visiting, and the three of us walked down the slightly precarious wooden staircase, part of which the owners have to rebuild every year because the water and wind destroy it.

On the beach, it was total solitude. The owner's mother, who was wearing butterfly-shaped rose-colored sunglasses, pointed out the sea lions resting on boulders. We examined large purple and orange starfish on mussel-covered rocks and sea anemones in the pools.

Then I learned the hard way why they say not to turn your back on the sea: an icy-cold wave suddenly splashed me from behind. Walking along the beach, we also saw hermit crabs scuttling about and a blue heron poised on the sand before flying away.

Later, we headed into the village of Yachats, known for its many artists. We stopped in Clark's grocery store for dinner fixings, checked out a few arts and crafts stores and enjoyed ice cream cones by the water. We also went for a short hike in the Siuslaw National Forest. That evening, we dined in, again with a spectacular view.

Ocean Haven is eco-friendly and does not allow smokers or pets. The owners, who live on the premises, encourage visitors to recycle and compost. Their commitment to preserving nature and beauty is reflected in what they include and exclude from their suites, and in what they expect from their guests. The opportunity to simply rest and appreciate the ocean and explore the natural world around us was a rejuvenating experience.

Amy Houghton lives in Catonsville.

My Best Shot

Nancy Stagge, Sparks

Dark and light in New Zealand

My mother and I traveled to Australia and New Zealand last November for the trip of a lifetime. This photo was taken aboard a ship in Milford Sound on the west coast of New Zealand's South Island. We considered ourselves fortunate to have experienced rain on this excursion, because it created hundreds of waterfalls along the sheer cliffs that line the sound. When the clouds parted, we were treated to sunlight glittering on the tops of the mountains. Truly an awesome place.

Readers Recommend

Kauai, Hawaii

Lorraine Buckmaster, Baltimore

You can get to the Napali Coast in Kauai only by boat or helicopter. The view is spectacular. On the way there by boat, I saw whales. Words cannot describe this place.

Poconos, Pa.

Ann Swarr, Havre de Grace

My husband, two children and I recently visited a mountaintop resort in the Poconos. We were treated to a frequent parade of wild animals. We saw turkeys, lots of deer and even a resident bear that raided the trash bin every day at dinnertime. It was fun watching the animals. However, we did have to keep the kids off the tot lot when the bear was out and about.

We Want To Hear From You

We want to know about your travels, your experiences, your pictures. Here's how to participate in this page:

My Best Shot -- Send us a terrific travel photo with a description of when and where you took it. (Cash value: $50.)

A Memorable Place -- In 500 words or less, tell us about a travel experience that changed you; about the nostalgia a certain place evokes; about a favorite beach, the mountains, a city cafe. Include a photo. (Cash value: $150.)

Readers Recommend -- Briefly tell us about places you've recently visited that you'd recommend to other readers. (50 words or less; photos are welcome.)

Because of the volume of responses, photos and manuscripts cannot be individually acknowledged or returned. Submissions from all categories may be used for Readers Recommend, and upon submission become the property of The Sun.

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