Mix Business with Pleasure in Cannon Beach

Jason Kaplan
Cannon Beach becomes a haven for business after the summer crowds are gone.

When high summer ends, Oregon’s top getaway spot reveals its business-friendly face.

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 Cannon Beach has a secret. When summer ends and hordes of tourists are no longer flocking to the Oregon coast’s No. 1 vacation destination, the town becomes a mecca for business travelers. Prices for meeting rooms and accommodations go down dramatically, especially for mid-week events. It’s not unusual for properties to offer discounts up to half off peak season prices.

These savings make Cannon Beach a win for companies looking to host meetings in an out-of-the-way location that’s still convenient to Portland. And a “secret season” work trip to the community can be a huge benefit for business travelers seeking a long weekend for their spouse or family. The weather still makes many popular outdoor activities accessible, most shops and restaurants are open year-round and everything has the added bonus of being enjoyed without crowds of people.

Good food and drink is a must on any trip, and the community has plenty of options. “The culinary aspects of Cannon Beach are pretty tremendous,” says Ryan Snyder, president of Martin North, which owns the Stephanie Inn and other Cannon Beach hotels and restaurants. “Most people don’t realize this but Cannon Beach has eight different chefs who have prepared meals at the James Beard House in New York City.”

Ryan SnyderRyan Snyder is president of Martin North, which owns Stephanie Inn as well as other hotels and restaurants.

One of them is John Newman, chef/owner of Newmans at 988. “The food scene here is wide and varied,” he says. “You have my place and the Stephanie Inn, which are great for special occasions and anniversaries.” The Irish Table is more casual, and there are plenty of family-friendly, mom-and-pop spots that offer a quick bite. To sample several of the town’s quality eateries, try what Newman calls “app hopping,” or sticking to appetizers when jumping from place to place. For fans of fine beverages, Cannon Beach now has three breweries, several wine bars and its own small-batch distillery.

Aside from great dining Cannon Beach has many other things to offer visitors. “The downtown area is this very controlled environment with no neon, franchises or stoplights,” Newman says. “So you have this beautiful, intimate, boutique downtown that’s great to tool around in and go shopping.” There’s also a community theater and multiple art galleries.

newmans 988Newmans at 988 sous chef Erik Kliewer serves under chef/owner John Newman.

Owners of local art establishments participate in the Cannon Beach Gallery Group, which puts on several noteworthy special events. During the secret season, check out the Stormy Weather Arts Festival in November, now in it’s 30th year. Produced by the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce, the event features painters, sculptors, writers, musicians and other artists to participate in a series of intimate events at multiple venues. Haystack Holidays, which begins in mid-November and runs until New Year’s Day, offers a series of special arts, shopping, holiday-themed, and dining events.

Another option for unwinding and reconnecting with family and friends is to take in the region’s beautiful scenery. Beachcombing, hiking, surfing, boating and biking near the ocean are all popular activities.

“In the secret season, outdoor activities are going to be less crowded, whether it’s the beach or bonfires or hiking up into the mountains,” says Kim Barnett, owner of Bronze Coast Gallery. “You have more time to enjoy places without the pressure of dealing with the summer crowds.”

cannon beach local grill

People who enjoy storm watching may appreciate the secret season weather more than anything. “Lock yourself in your hotel room, turn on the fireplace and watch the storms,” says Snyder. “It’s hard not to be connected to your own thoughts or those of your partner.” If the goal of a post-conference vacation is to tune out the world and tune in to those most important to you, this sounds like a pretty good way to do it.

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