Hiding Away at Happy Camp…

Happy Camp Hideaway on Netarts Bay; photo by Patrick McGinty

Happy Camp Hideaway on Netarts Bay; photo by Patrick McGinty

NETARTS BAY, OR – Netarts Bay is on the Oregon Coast located about five miles southwest of Tillamook, Oregon. Approximately five miles long and one-and-a-half miles wide, its 2,325 acres of water makes it Oregon’s seventh largest bay.

If it were not for the low concrete seawall preventing the beach from taking over the parking lot, Happy Camp would be part of the bay. Altogether, it’s what makes this historic inn and its collection of cottages and modern houses, the perfect vacation retreat.

In 2000, Bruce Lovelin spotted the ‘For Sale’ sign at Happy Camp. He called his wife Theresa and asked her to check it out.
“The camp consisted of seven weather-worn buildings, most of which were rented on a month to month basis, and several people living in trailers in the parking lot,” Bruce said describing his first visit. “Theresa contacted the realtor and as she stared at the structurally questionable buildings she ask herself, ‘are you kidding me?’ Sensing her distress, the realtor took her by the shoulders, turned her around and said, ‘this is what you are buying and its Netarts Bay.’ With that vision, we signed on the dotted line.”

The original Happy Camp campground featured semi-permanent tents for those who wanted to rough it and five inside rooms in a 1902 Homestead House. The house, with its wrap-around porch, has a great view of the ocean and the bay. It is the oldest building in Netarts.

For the past 13-years, taking one weekend at a time, all of the cabins have been remodeled down to the studs and modern vacation houses now stand where the old campground once was.

“Each cabin has a unique layout and we wanted to keep that charm,” Bruce said. “Many floors are not level and some doors close better than others, but we think that only adds to the enchantment. Like the realtor said, the real attraction of Happy Camp Hideaway is Netarts Bay.”
The spit protecting Netarts Bay makes the mile-and-a-half of sandy beach very safe for children and pets. Those wishing a challenge can try their hand at crabbing or clamming and those who want to relax can take a slow stroll along the beach.

In the mean time, as wife and mother of two sons, Theresa worked as mother/chauffer in the mornings, chambermaid/hotel manager during the day and mom again in the evening.

“You don’t do this for the money, Theresa said. “I love the people and the community. Today, I looked at the guest bookings for this summer and I know everyone. It’s nice to have your friends come to visit.”

For more information on Happy Camp Hideaway, is available at www.happycamphideaway.com

-Patrick McGinty ©2013. Patrick is a freelance writer/novelist. You may contact him at pmcginty3@comcast.net

 

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