The amazing thing about the West Coast is that it is still mostly wild, open, and astoundingly beautiful country, where you can drive for miles and miles and have the scenery all to yourself.
In between burly Astoria and the boisterous beach resort of Seaside, but a world away from its neighbors in terms of character and ambience, the tiny town of Gearhart (pop. 1,462) was the summer vacation home of influential chef and cookbook author James Beard. Beard’s culinary legacy lives on in the Pacific Way Bakery & Cafe (601 Pacific Way, 503/738-0245), a half mile west of US-101, which offers the coast’s best coffees and croissants, along with four-star lunches and dinners. Like many places along the Oregon coast, it’s closed Tuesday and Wednesday.