I recently packed my favorite writing pen, sketchbook and camera for a solo trip to Newport, Ore., which was a study in contrasts at every turn. Newport is on the Oregon coast, about halfway between California and Washington, and has two distinct areas: the Bayfront, a working port with fishing boats docked alongside walkable piers, and Nye Beach, an artsy village with fine-dining choices, boutique shopping and long stretches of sandy beaches. The tab: $242, including taxes and fees, for two nights at the Sylvia Beach Hotel, $32 at Local Ocean Seafoods, $36 at Nana's Irish Pub and an undisclosed amount for irresistible finds in the eclectic shops.
Sylvia Beach Hotel (267 N.W. Cliff St., Newport;  265-5428, www.sylviabeachhotel.com) lured me with its seductive offer of quiet (no Wi-Fi or TV) as well as its oceanfront views that include Yaquina Head lighthouse. It's also a bibliophile's delight. Rooms are named after and decorated for such authors as Mark Twain, J.K. Rowling, Ernest Hemingway, Amy Tan, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Herman Melville and Jane Austen, among others.
The rooms are also categorized by genre: Bestsellers are oceanfront and are most expensive; classics are moderately priced with ocean views, fireplaces and decks; and novels are the least expensive with no ocean views but still charming. A freshly cooked breakfast, included in the price, is served in the Tables of Content room. The hotel's library takes up the entire west side of the third floor and is outfitted with deep, comfy chairs, small couches, stacks of books, writing desks, a wood-burning fireplace and a coffee room. The large windows encourage watching a sunset over the Pacific and whales spouting in March and October.
Local Ocean Seafoods (213 S.E. Bay Blvd., Newport;  574-7959, www.localocean.net), with its upscale design, sits in striking juxtaposition to the rustic, colorful fishing boats in the harbor across the street. A more intimate dining room has been added upstairs and offers panoramic views from the Pacific Ocean to the Coast Range. Although known for its fish tacos and fresh crab (the wait staff can tell you the name of the boat that pulled in each seafood item), I chose two small plates: scallops on a bed of Israeli couscous and grilled calamari with roasted fennel. The second night I ate at Nana's Irish Pub (613 N.W. 3rd St., Newport;  574-8787, www.nanasirishpub.com) where I enjoyed an Oregon grass-fed beef Dublin burger with blue cheese, a Bitburger German beer and traditional Irish bread pudding with a cup of coffee.
The Nye Beach Writers' Series meets the third Saturday of each month, except in December, at the Newport Visual Arts Center (777 N.W. Beach Drive, www.writersontheedge.org; $8 admission) across the street from the Sylvia Beach Hotel. It hosts an author to read from his or her current work, followed by an open mike session.
The lesson learned
Although this was a delightful solo trip, I would return with girlfriends, split the cost of the Ken Kesey room at the Sylvia Beach Hotel with its four twin beds or the Steinbeck room with its two twin beds and linger in that sumptuous library, conversing late into the night.