Although it is only about 1.5 hours away, I have only ever visited Tillamook Oregon once when I was a child...never since then. After deciding that we needed a brief getaway, I selected Tillamook since it is not too far and there appeared to be a lot to do there. See, this is Oregon and we would be going at the end of November...it's not a warm or dry time, so we had to have indoor activities.
So I found a hotel with a pool, a museum I thought the kids would like, and 2 cheese factories (dairy country). The famous Tillamook Cheese Factory was a must-see, but we really didn't know what to expect - and that was fine with me! Honestly, we didn't even look up directions. Maybe stupid, but at the time it felt adventurous!
So we left at dusk and drove 1.5 hours in the dark and pouring rain and most of it was winding roads barely wider than 2 cars with a cliff on one side. Once we got there we were so excited to hit the pool...one problem...
At check-in we learned that the pool was under maintenance and would reopen the day we were to leave - great. That was our only planned evening activity, so that became TV watching after tiring of the few games we brought. Well, the kids also enjoyed jumping on the beds. What? If the hotel staff doesn't like it, they can fix the pool faster. :P
The next day we visited the Blue Heron factory which we all loved! They had animals we could feed: donkeys, llamas, goats, sheep, chickens, and emu. My daughter loved it!
My son loves animals, but more from afar. Touching and feeding them is not really his thing. In his defense, they did drool...not that he knew that though since he wouldn't get within 5 feet of them. He did have a strange bond with a sheep though.
We had a great lunch and found a lot of goodies for Christmas for friends and family. Not only do they have specialty cheeses there, they also had an entire case of assorted chocolate truffles. We bought caramel apple and pumpkin pie flavored truffles. (We ate them too quickly to get pictures.)
The Tillamook factory was very different. There were samples to try as well of cheese, fudge, and ice cream, but it really felt like a factory. I told my husband it reminded me of Ikea. My son loved the ice cream though! I did enjoy the shopping there too. We found honey sticks, vegan jam, and more Christmas gifts.
Finally,we went to the Pioneer Museum. I homeschool my son and we have been reading the Little House book series, so I thought this would be a great connection to that. I was amazed at how big this museum was and how much they had there. One room of the basement had 5 different wagons from different periods. It was great to see that up close.
One room looked just like a log cabin back in the 1800's. I was so glad the kids could see that. We probably spent over an hour at the museum which is a long time, especially with a 3 year-old! I highly recommend this museum if you visit the area.
Of course I had to end the trip with a little shopping. I found an antique shop and a thrift shop on the same block! I found some pieces to refinish and a vintage Fisher Price Little People boat to add to my kids' collection. They were excited to have a toy to play with...especially since we were on our way back to the hotel which now did not have a pool to play in.
On our trip we also went on a scenic drive to see the coast. We couldn't find beach access, but when it's 42 degrees one doesn't feel much like spending time on the beach. I was happy to get some great pictures and then get right back in the warm car.
On the scenic drive we found the Octopus Tree which is a tree that somehow grew multiple large limbs in place of a trunk. It is over 105 feet tall and 250-300 years old. An amazing site that was worth the short hike in the cold to see it!
All in all it was a really fun trip. I think next time we visit will be a day trip, but we definitely want to go back. They have an aviation museum we'll probably visit next time.