Recently, my wife Maralyn, fellow journalist Michelle Winner, and I attended the Travel and Words Conference in Seaside, Oregon. We were delighted to take advantage of this opportunity to tour the town of Seaside and nearby sites.

Food, Frivolity, and, of Course, Beer

Our tour started with lunch at Camp 18.  Open since 1986, this restaurant is connected to the Old Time Logging Museum. Restaurant décor is consistent with the museum, resembling a high walled giant hunting lodge. In its center is a huge 85 foot ridge pole, taken from a log that weighed 25 tons when cut. Stuffed bears and a snarling cougar add to its ambiance.

Our next stop was the Shilo Inn in Seaside where we checked into a roomy oceanfront suite.

Seaside’s Wine and Beer Haus was next. There, we were joined by John Hail, Director of Tourism, for Seaside. This establishment features an elaborate inventory of micro beers, both domestic and foreign, and wines. One of its specialty beers is known as “IPA”, or “Indian Pale Ale.” We tasted an excellent glass of pino gris, and received a gift from Allen Cox of 2011 Albarino from Abacela Winery.

Later, we attended a public Beer and Wine Festival. I am no beer aficionado, but I came close to enjoying a very light-colored beer, flavored with coriander and orange peel called Chainbreaker White IPA by Deschutes Brewery. Virtually every color of beer was provided at the Festival.

One speaker, Ginger Johnson, described her technique for enjoying beer. Both hands and nose are part of the process she described, to maximize “aroma and flavor.” Johnson offers seminars on how to enjoy beer to the fullest. You can learn more about her at “Women Enjoying Beer.”

Our light dinner was at Dooger’s, where we enjoyed clam chowder. Afterwards, we returned to the arcade and rode the carousel.

The next morning, we stopped for breakfast at the Wayfarer Restaurant. Executive Chef Joshua Archibald met with us and described his menu and work with a high school chef’s contest.

Right inside the convention, we sampled some culinary selections. One booth featured drinks such as cream soda, which I hadn’t tasted in decades. Food included barbecue meatballs, crab cakes, and for dessert, a chocolate mousse.

One evening, we went to Funland Seaside Arcade. Located in a restored deco building in Seaside, Funland provides a variety of games, aimed at families, teens and all ages. Our group played a game called Fascination that seemed to combine bingo and rubber ball aiming. The game has been around since the 50s and is a favorite.

Tours Along the Coast

One morning, we toured other coastal towns close to Seaside. Cannon Beach is somewhat more affluent than Seaside, and is considered more of a romantic getaway, with less convention space.

As we continued our coastal tour, we viewed the Haystack Mountain. This is actually a small mini-mountain, right in the ocean but not far offshore. It serves as a sanctuary for puffins, who live there, mostly on the opposite side, seeking privacy from watchers.

Ecola State Park provides viewing sites for whale watching. It also includes a trail, when open, leading to Tillie’s, an old abandoned lighthouse. Tillie’s had functioned for many years, but became too damaged by weather to be safe to tour or serve as a lighthouse keeper’s residence.

We toured Ocean Lodge, located close to Haystack Mountain. Its breakfast room is vaulted in a scenic design. One clever gimmick on one of its 45 hotel rooms was a “moo” sound when the room door was opened.

At Travel and Words Itself

While attending the convention, we viewed booths of 27 exhibitors. They covered both food and drinks and destinations throughout Oregon.

My wife Maralyn was the keynote speaker, covering “Expand Your Freelance Writing—Cast a Wider Net for Greater Sales.” She received a great many compliments on her talk, from among the 51 journalists attending.

The next day, Maralyn ran two workshops for writers on targeting and writing for luxury markets. Since a variety of workshops were offered, I attended two others: “Social Media for Writers, 101” chaired by Jessica Spiegel; and an Editors’ Panel, chaired by Allen Cox, “Target Your Pitches to Get the Editor’s Nod”.

Spiegel covered Facebook briefly, but concentrated more on Twitter. Her key question to ask of social media is, “Where’s the money?” In other words, how can its power be used to provide income to writers? Social media should be considered as a marketing and promotional tool.

She mentioned a host of phrases often used today, such as “paywalls”, ”geotargeting”, “search engine optimization”, “retargeting”, “hyperlocal”, and “augments reality.” Some of these, even if precisely defined, are mere fads, not trends.

She continued that many publications have gone out of business, and others are hurting. Some have tried to adjust to economic conditions by going digital. Also, there has been a resurgence of regional consciousness, in the sense that some regional magazines are doing well.

In Allen Cox’s workshop, he provided several useful tips for writers:

  1. Minimize overly flowery descriptions.
  2. Minimize qualifiers like “even” and “just.”
  3. From my question, he agreed completely that articles like “the” and “an” should also be minimized.
  4. Word lengths of 150 words in article submissions are often preferred.
  5. Be able to answer an editor why you are the most appropriate person to write the article on a particular subject.

By attending the Travel and Words conference and also being able to tour parts of the Oregon coast, we doubled our fun and meaningful, valuable experiences.


Norman E. Hill, FSA, MAAA, Meber AICPA
Member: International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association
Member: Society of Professional Journalists


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