Alyce Thomson – Beachcombers Haven
For many who travel to the Central Oregon Coast, where to stay overnight is an essential, and necessary, concern. A drive along Highway 101 offers a bewildering array of places to stay. Most travelers are looking for clean, inexpensive lodging that is close to the beaches and has a great view of the ocean. Alyce Thomson has just that place for you!
Thomson owns and manages Beachcombers Haven in the community of Gleneden Beach. Where in the world is Gleneden Beach? Off the main road, and a bit isolated is what makes the town, and these vacation rentals, appealing. The community is located between the recognizable town names of Depoe Bay and Lincoln City. The rentals are found four blocks from the main road and right on the beach, some as close as thirty feet from the sand.
Unit 15 is just one of fourteen vacation rentals to choose from. Named Salt’n’Sea, the description might send you to the coast tomorrow:
“This beachfront rental has an absolutely spectacular view throughout and is within 50 feet of beach access. Its location affords a maximum of privacy. There’s one bedroom (w/ queen bed and TV), and one queen bed in an alcove off the living room that looks straight out to the beach and ocean. The large bathroom has a big two-person Jacuzzi with a separate shower. The living room, dining room, and fully equipped kitchen are open to each other affording wonderful space, light, and ever-changing views. Lovely beachfront deck with glass surround for perfect whale watching. Entertainment includes Satellite TV, VCR, DVD and CD player”.
It is interesting to the find out how a long-time resident ended up at such an ideal location. Living on the Oregon Coast is a dream for many people. Thomson lived in central Wyoming before moving to Oregon with her family at the age of fourteen. She visited Depoe Bay and took a ride out in the ocean on the King Fisher, which was THE cruise ship to go on. She didn’t know how long it would take her, but she vowed that she would live on the coast someday. In fact, it took 40 years to make it back to her dream location. She says, “I like the moderate climate. I don’t like the heat and the cold. I grew webs between my toes. I like the coast.” After marriage, she and her contractor husband lived all over the state, depending where his work projects took them. She was always in the service industry. She was a waitress, a hair dresser for many years. Then she was an unpaid bookkeeper for her husband, who was a builder. Finally, they had the chance to buy an old motel that was built in the 1930’s and it was called the Beachcombers Haven. They built all their vacation rental buildings during the 1980’s and she became an innkeeper. She says that she (her husband died 13 years ago) is probably one of the few people left on the coast that still owns, lives on property, and manages their vacation rental homes. Many of the other older properties along the coast have been developed into condos and hotels.
Staying overnight so close to views of the ocean offers some free amenities, such as wildlife viewing. Her own house overlooks the beach and ocean. Thomson sees seals, almost every night, swimming in the surf. The whales really start coming past in December but the moms and the babies, traveling much closer to shore, show up around April. Also she says, “They tell us there are about 700 resident whales that stay around here in the summer.” She has a photo in her office, taken in August, of a very visible whale just beyond the breaking waves in front of the rental homes. Speaking of free entertainment, beachcombing is also available right outside the door.
Thomson has been a board member of the Central Oregon Coast Association (COCA) since, well, she doesn’t remember exactly, but sometime in the early 1980’s. COCA is the regional destination marketing organization promoting the Central Oregon Coast as a leisure destination. She has put many hours into promoting not just her business, but just about every travel related industry along the Central Oregon Coast. She is a no-nonsense lady. Rest assured that the room tax money assigned to COCA for promotion and marketing of the area, is in experienced and capable hands.
Let’s Get Personal with Alyce Thomson
How long have you been in the travel industry?
I have been in the travel industry since 1974 when we bought Beachcombers Haven.
How many hours a day do you work?
Now I’m working 30-40 hours a week.
How long have you lived on the Oregon coast?
We quit going home in 1982. We had a farm out in Sherwood where we grew wine grapes. We really started concentrating on this business and just stopped going home.
Where is your favorite place to go along the Central Oregon Coast?
I really do like going fishing on a boat. We really liked fishing out of Depoe Bay and for years we fished out of Newport. The ocean fishing is really where we shine. Now we go out with Lars at Dockside Charters, out of Depoe Bay, on the “Sampson”.
If a new visitor asks for a “must see” location or attraction what do you recommend?
I try to find out what they are really interested in. If they want to go hiking I send them either up past Cascade Head or Drift Creek which are two of the closer hikes. If they want to go beachcombing I give them a guide book which tells where the best tide pools are. If they are looking for night life I tell them that the casino has entertainment. I think the Oregon Coast Aquarium is wonderful and I think the Newport bayfront is great.
In your opinion what are the two best restaurants?
I like Local Ocean Seafood which is in the Newport historic bayfront area and the Beach Dog Cafe which is located just as you are coming out of Lincoln City, on the south end. I also like the Black Fish and the Sun Room at the Salishan Spa & Golf Resort.
What do you like to do for fun?
I do a lot of sewing. I meet a lot of wonderful people. We have sewing groups stay here many winter weekends and in the summer there are family reunions.
Where is the best place for fish and chips?
Surf Rider Restaurant is where I like to get for fish and chips and the best for clam chowder is Kyllo’s Restaurant, which is by the “D” River in Lincoln City.