Marriage is hard and nurturing it for the long haul takes effort. You need to know when to buckle down and work hard and when to take a break and enjoy each other. In June, my husband Steve and I celebrated 28 years of marriage at Headlands Coastal Lodge & Spa in Pacific City, Oregon. Headlands’ motto, “Head out and enjoy nature’s playground, or stay in and find your sanctuary,” sets the perfect stage for a romantic anniversary weekend.
Heading Out | Pacific City, Oregon, located two hours from Portland, Oregon, rests on the northern coast alongside Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area. The lodge is nestled up to a gigantic dune topped with wooded cliffs.
Adventure abounds near the lodge. Spend the day learning to surf, exploring the tidepools, or hiking the nearby dunes watching for migrating whales. Speak with an adventure coach in the lobby’s Adventure Center and arrange to participate in special excursions including group hikes, stand-up paddleboard yoga, moonlight paddles via kayak and much more.
Staying In | Settle into one of the 33 comfortable and elegantly designed guest rooms or in one of the luxurious cottages. Each room boasts a balcony with an ocean view where you can watch the waves break, or you can stay inside and snuggle up by the fire in your room. Enjoy a drink at the Meridian Bar, or visit Tidepools Spa & Wellness, a great place to relax in the hot tub, join in a yoga class, or work out on the equipment.
Rekindling the Romance | Steve and I arrived in the early afternoon on a Friday. Our room was ready, so we checked in, dropped the bags in our room and headed to the beach. The lodge provides a breathtaking view of Haystack Rock, which mimics the one further north near Cannon Beach, Oregon. The rock in Pacific City is bigger than its twin but further from the shore.
We walked along the beach holding hands and chatting what we wanted to do over the weekend. After an hour, we arrived back at the lodge where I prepared for my 3:30 p.m. coastal moisture drench massage in the Tidepools Spa at Headlands.
Replenishing the Body | I meandered down to the spa and checked in for my treatment. The receptionist escorted me to the women’s locker room where I changed into a robe and slippers and lounged in the quiet tranquility of the mindfully decorated spa waiting room.
Shortly after I arrived, my masseuse came to get me. The coastal moisture drench massage nourishes and detoxifies the body. The masseuse rubbed on a layer of mineral-rich serum made with seaweed and Japanese ume plum followed by a massage with Sea Fennel Massage Wax and Gotu Kola Healing Balm. The serum and wax were both warm, and the masseuse’s repetitive rhythmic strokes relaxed my muscles and calmed my spirit.
Reconnecting the Bond | Steve and I went next door to enjoy a drink and dinner at the Pelican Brewing Company, the only beachfront brewpub in the Pacific Northwest. After dinner we chilled on our balcony, watched the sunset and listened to the waves breaking on the beach.
Our room consisted of a cast-iron soaking tub, gas fireplace, mini refrigerator, cushy pillowtop mattress, free Wi-Fi, and other luxury amenities. The room décor was warm and inviting, and I enjoyed the view of the ocean while bathing in the enormous glass shower enclosure.
Saturday morning, out on our balcony, we indulged in breakfast we brought from home. We sat for a few hours observing people drive down to the beach, turn off the cement drive and sink into the sand. It was funny to witness so many people make the same poor choice only to have to spend part of their day waiting to be rescued by a Good Samaritan.
Exploring the Area | Later, we explored the tidepools just a short walk from the lodge. Beautiful starfish, colorful sea urchins and thousands of mussels lined the rocks. We continued our adventure and headed up the enormous dune, adjacent to the lodge, until we reached the top and were enfolded in the wind-battered forest. The trees slanted inland from years of continuous winds. The ocean views from this summit were stunning, and the dune offered a perfect perch from which to watch the whales.
We dined on cheese and wine for lunch and then drove around the city. While exploring the area, we discovered Bob Straub State Park just two miles from the lodge. We got out of the car and hiked through the dunes.
Dining on Delicacies | After our hike, we returned to the lodge and enjoyed drinks at the Meridian Bar. Chef Andrew Garrison, the executive chef at Meridian Restaurant & Bar, develops seasonal menus. He focuses on Northwest Coast cuisine and tries to source his ingredients locally. His ocean-to-table menu features small plates, mains and shared plates. Chef Andrew is well-known for whole-beast butchery, making his charcuterie, foraging for ingredients and developing delicious gluten-free dishes.
Steve and I shared several plates for dinner. First, we ordered the fava bean agnolotti with ramp pesto, toasted hazelnuts and pickled ramps alongside a small herb salad. Next, we shared a plate of grilled asparagus with rhubarb vinaigrette. It was crisp and fresh with a hint of acidity. Steve dined on a luscious piece of black rockfish with rapini and wasabi, and I delighted in the Herb-crusted halibut with English peas, asparagus, baby turnips, fava bean puree and fiddlehead ferns. Dinner finished on a sweet note with a chocolate marquise made of bourbon chocolate mousse, toasted marshmallow cream, maple ice cream and a graham cracker crumble with cinnamon sugar and coarse salt.
Reigniting the Flame | The romance continued through the remainder of the evening. We retired to our room where we listened to the waves lap against the shore and snuggled by the fire enjoying a bottle of wine.
The following morning we were in no hurry to leave. The sun shone brightly while we dined on breakfast in the Meridian Restaurant prior to our departure for home.
Our stay at the lodge was a much-needed reprieve from everyday life at home. It gave us the opportunity to relax, rejuvenate and reconnect with one another. If you are looking to rekindle the fire between you and your partner, make the drive out to Pacific City, Oregon, and indulge in a weekend of luxury and romance at the Headlands Coastal Lodge & Spa.