Life in Cannon Beach

Text by Susan C. Kim

Setting: In Clatsop County, Cannon Beach enjoys peaceful isolation, lying 79 miles northwest of Portland and 9 miles south of Seaside.

Attractions: Haystack Rock anchors a glorious 3 1⁄2-mile-long beach. Surrounding pine-covered hills serve as a playground for outdoor-activity lovers. The quaint, compact village offers art galleries, restaurants, and boutiques. Winter and summer temperatures average 44 and 60, respectively. An average 90 inches of rain each year contributes to lush greenery.

Drawbacks: Real-estate prices have skyrocketed in the past few years. Except for privately owned mom-and-pop shops, hotel and restaurant jobs constitute most of the town's employment. Low-lying parts of town sit in a tsunami zone. Winter storms can be intense.

Housing Options: Geologic restraints to new development, coupled with residents' reluctance to sell existing homes, result in a tight housing market. Cottages along the "presidential streets" sit in close proximity to both the beach and shops. Beachfront Tolovana Park homes, south of downtown, enjoy more solitude and space. Luxury residences perched on Chapman Point command, appropriately, million-dollar views.

What It Costs: "$330,000 will get you a basic, 1,600-square-foot inland home with no view," says broker Duane Johnson. "Small cottages near the beach could go for $500,000; for a home, several hundred thousand more." For anything oceanfront or with water views, expect to pay at least $1 million. Developed low-income homes average $225,000.

Your Next-door Neighbors: A gallery owner, a hotel clerk, any one of several past mayors, retirees, weekend vacationers, professionals from Portland, a wine shop owner, a fireman.

How You'd Spend Your Free Time: Strolling the beach, poking around tide pools, taking a cooking class, volunteering at the Haystack Rock Awareness Program, dodging summer tourists, hiking alongside heart-soaring vistas in Ecola State Park, surfing at Indian Beach, people-watching from the deck at Driftwood Inn, participating in productions at the Coaster Theatre Playhouse.

published October 2005