The Town of Manzanita
The darling town of Manzanita is located just 10 miles south of the Inn at Arch Cape on the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, US Highway 101. This small and charming village on the North Oregon Coast is growing yet still remains un-crowded. The center of the commercial district is approximately 4 blocks from the Pacific Ocean on the road that runs from the beach to Highway 101 at mile post 43 (43 miles from Astoria).
There is some Spanish influence in the area, starting with the names of key places. The word Manzanita, for example, means “little apple” in Spanish, and the town is named for the trees and bushes that grow in the area. Some say the name of the nearby mountain, Neah-kah-nie, means “Mountain of Fire” or “Place of the God.” Others argue that the name grew from the Spanish word “carne” for meat. The Mountain is 1,631 feet high and offers a great view of the headlands up and down the coast to all who scale its heights. Whatever its origin, the name brings notions of adventure, romance and mystery to those who experience the Mountain each year. There is a legend that begins long before the area was inhabited by the white man. The legend says that a Spanish galleon wrecked on the beaches of Manzanita over a century ago. The tale is that the survivors buried the ship’s treasure somewhere on the Mountain. That tale, along with ancient rock carvings that were at one time located by the beach, has lured treasure hunters. They are sill looking for the treasure to this day.
The beach resort of Manzanita was platted by surveyors in 1912. Season homes were built in the area over the next two years and first Manzanita Post Office was built in 1914. Today the year round population is just under 700 residents. The number of visitors swells to well over 1,000 in the summer, when the seasonal owners and renters are in town.
The geologic history of Neah-kah-nie Mountain began 15 million years ago when volcanoes 150 miles east of the North Oregon Coast poured lava that formed into basalt rock. The basalt formations created the headlands and monolith domes, such as Cannon Beaches iconic Haystack Rock, on or near today’s coast line.
There are miles of quiet sandy beaches and even a 9-hole golf course in Manzanita. Shopping is at its own pace in Manzanita, so let any sense of “New York urgency” disappear before hitting Laneda Avenue and the other streets around town. More to the point: beach combing is a way of life in Manzanita and people come for pure relaxation and barefoot walks on the sand. The surrounding area has good hiking routes. The terrain is mainly wooded and covered with native Salal (Gaultheria shallon), a leathery-leafed shrub, as it slopes up toward Neah-kah-nie Mountain. Nearby is Nehalem Bay State Park with its own airstrip and it also has horse rentals in the tourist season.