Editor's Note

Love on the Rocks

Oregon coast makes lovers of us all

By Hilary Berg

When I was young, I loved listening to records; so much so that breaking the needle was a regular mishap at our house — one that was never fun to report to Dad.

In the cabinet, there were all kinds of music, from Neil Diamond to “Grease” to kids’ albums I now play for my little boy — Tom T. Hall’s “I Love” was my favorite.

Among my family’s collection was “The Sea,” a 1967 collaboration among composer Anita Kerr, The San Sebastian Strings and poet Rod McKuen. It was my mom’s from her college days, now passed down for our own listening discovery.

Best described as spoken word set to moody music and, of course, the sound of waves, this record was my first introduction to the sea. Growing up in Kansas, we were 600-plus miles away from the nearest beach; and being one of five kids, we never expected oceanside vacations.

“The Sea” made the real one seem mysterious, dramatic and especially romantic. McKuen’s verse had this land-locked girl thinking the ocean was full of magic, with couples embracing all over its sandy beaches.

As an adult, and one who now lives an hour from the coast, I realize its charm and romance does not disappoint.

O.K., maybe just a little.

Let me explain. The water here is cold, around 30 to 40°F — even colder in the winter. Swimming, let alone getting wet, for most sane people is not appealing, thus the famous scene in “From Here to Eternity” is not going to happen — like I would be caught rolling around in the sand anyway.

Instead, here in Oregon, lovers hold hands, walk the coastline and snuggle by bonfires — really, I prefer this kind of romance over the Hollywood version any day.

I think McKuen would agree that the ocean’s mystery and sublimity is what makes it romantic and that Oregon’s coast is exceptionally poetic.

Add fine wine and unforgettable food, and watch the romance turn into a lifelong love affair.

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