Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Oregon Backroads...all roads lead to Vernonia

There is a standing joke here in the northwest corner of Oregon that all roads lead to Vernonia. I don't why that is so because let me tell you Vernonia is not the cultural center of the western world.  The small community lays claim to the only hardware store I know of that sells liquor and has a big sign in front to prove it.  Hardware and Liquor Store it says proudly.  I don't know about you but in my world power tools and liquor should not be combined even in a sentence.  But there it is...right at the end of main street in Vernonia.

When you are traveling west toward the Pacific Ocean you can start in the center of Portland and make the decision which way you want to go...north along the Columbia River or a little further south on the Sunset Highway.  Either way you are going to see signs sending you to Vernonia.  It is just weird.  The little community has a main street about three blocks long, the beautiful Nahalem River runs just at the edge of town and every lawn is cut to the perfect length.  Driving over this back road north and south through the coast range is one of the most delightful drives you can make. Even though the logging industry has scalped many of the ridges bare there are miles of lush fern laden rain forest to satisfy anyone's need for green.  I suppose a person should go that way before there is nothing left but stumps on every hillside because a great deal of the land is owned by the logging industry.

So where is Vernonia? Well I think it is in the middle of everywhere.  From Portland it is halfway to the coast.  From the coast it is halfway to Portland.  From the Columbia River it is halfway to the Sunset Highway. From the Sunset it is halfway to four places along the Columbia.  A road from Vernonia north can take you to Claskinie, another to St. Helens,  yet another to Ranier, or  yet another to Scappose.  Yes there are four different roads because it is true.  Here in northwest Oregon all roads lead to and from Vernonia.

So there you have it.  Another backroad drive with a hardware/liquor store thrown in for good measure.


More backroad stories:

Backroads in Oregon...let's go to the drive-in!
Fall Colors in Oregon Wine Country...Red Ridge Farms
Backroads near Portland, Oregon


  1. I think every State has its Vernonia. A hardware/licquor store is an interesting combination but I think I have that one beat. I regularly go by my favorite stained glass/bait store. It has been around for quite some time.

  2. Too funny! I think that Washington had some of those towns growing up also. I am also pretty sure that my dad got us lost in that area of Oregon more than once. He always thought that he knew more than the maps, which never seemed to end well :)

  3. When we drive from Portland to the coast in July Veronia will be on the list of places to see.

    Thanks, Barb!

  4. I've lived here all this time and I've never gone there. Never even heard that saying, although of course I've heard of the town. It's famous, you know, for being party in a very famous US Supreme Court case.


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