Long Weekends: Coast Range

Go Hang Out at a Storied Retreat in Oregon's Coast Range

Soapstone once offered solitude for writers like Cheryl Strayed. Now you can stay there.

By Margaret Seiler September 11, 2018 Published in the October 2018 issue of Portland Monthly

If you like just a bit of beach, consider staying inland, jaunting to the shore for sand but having a tourist-free zone all to yourself otherwise. The Coast Range hides a few lodges and Airbnb rentals for just such a chill home base—the most storied, perhaps, being the Soapstone Woodland Retreat (from $195 a night), off the Necanicum Highway south of US 26.

Built by the same architect behind Pioneer Courthouse Square and inspired by the Fibonacci sequence, the house has its own geometry, with a cube-shaped writer’s aerie cocked on the top. For a dozen years it was “a beautiful place where women could devote themselves solely to their writing,” according to the mission of the Soapstone group. The group’s residencies offered people like Cheryl Strayed (Wild) solitude. Run as a vacation rental since Soapstone sold it, the house boasts a bookshelf packed with works by past residents. Full of ladders, ledges, and light, the interior feels a bit like a ship, complete with oversize porthole windows and a low-clearance sleeping berth. (The home sleeps four to eight close friends.)

The Manzanita-Nehalem-Wheeler corridor is just over 20 minutes away, as is Seaside’s sleepier south end, where the boardwalk begins and where the U-Street Pub has the perfect burger and beer to cap a day trip before you head “home” to Soapstone. Or you might just sit by the fire pit in the shadows of Sitka spruce and western red cedar, listening to the gurgling creek, and skip the beach altogether. 

Travel Time: 1½-hour drive from Portland

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