Haystack Rock dominates the shore in Cannon Beach, Ore., at a height of 235 feet. (Judy Crowell / Noozhawk photo)

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There are nearly 2,000 large rocks along the Oregon coastline, but none more endearing or photographed than the massive Haystack Rock, dominating the shore at a height of 235 feet. All sorts of sea creatures lurk in the tide pools at low tide and for spring/summer viewing of shorebirds, including tufted puffins, you’ll want to pack your binoculars.

Hallmark Resort & Spa, a marvelous family option, offers two- and three-bedroom suites and family-size beach houses with all the comforts of home — all just steps away from the beach and Haystack Rock.

For a romantic stay for couples (no children under 16 allowed), there’s the Cannon Beach Hotel, a historic European style B&B since 1914. Carefully restored with impeccable style and grace, the custom-designed furnishings and bedding are enhanced by original art. Close to town shopping, restaurants and “The Rock,” it’s an ideal location.

Cannon Beach offers many rental options and should also be considered.

Town planners have worked hard in preserving the natural beauty of this charming town. Most of the homes and buildings are built with weathered shingle siding, giving it a Nantucket feel. The downtown retail area also reminded me of Carmel, Calif., but is much more affordable.

You’ll find no sprawling malls here, only distinctive shops offering unique merchandise, many with breathtaking landscaping and overflowing hanging baskets of bright purples, fuschias, and reds — flowers of every color and variety. Rugged forested headlands and great hiking trails will tempt you away from the town happenings, but don’t stay away too long. This is one main street in which you’ll want to linger.

Be sure to stop in at the Yuletides Christmas Shop. I know, you’ve seen them all! But this one is special. At least my Visa card informed me that it was!

Town planners also worked hard at bringing in the very best places to eat and socialize, and for the very best, your absolutely “must go place” is EVOO Cooking School (EVOO meaning Extra Virgin Olive Oil). Husband and wife owners Bob and Lenore will enlighten, entertain and feed you for an entire evening in their intimate, amazingly aromatic little cooking school on the hill. Holding only about 18 lucky guests, you must make a reservation. In fact, this is such a special place that many people sign up for this cooking school experience before booking a hotel reservation.

Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters is a great way to start the day, with aromatic freshly brewed coffee and scones. Check out the roasting room. The Irish Table serves Irish soda bread, delicious flatiron steak and much more. Sweet Basil’s Café is a tiny, charming spot serving healthy food that will excite your palate. The Chocolate Café specializes in a French press mocha and mouth-watering chocolate chip cookies. Need I say more? Cannon Beach Café, located in the Cannon Beach Hotel, offers Franco-American cuisine in a charming Parisian setting.

I do have to tell you that every one of these extraordinary eateries is located along the main street in town — Hemlock Street. A gastronomical irony I couldn’t quite get over: Hemlock is defined as a highly poisonous European plant of the parsley family.

No matter. National Geographic, in 2013, listed Cannon Beach as one of the “World’s 100 Most Beautiful Places.” I quite agree.

— Judy Crowell is a Noozhawk contributing writer, author, freelance travel writer and Santa Barbara resident. She can be reached at news@noozhawk.com. The opinions expressed are her own.