The 1890s-era tourism boom that came to Newport’s Bayfront  spilled over into Nye Beach. In 1891 the city built a wooden sidewalk connecting the two neighborhoods and soon “summer people” were filling the cedar cottages. In the next century, thanks to an improved river-and-land route from Corvallis , health faddists (who came for hot seawater baths in the sanatorium) and honeymooners soon joined the mix.
Located a mile north from the Bayfront, to the west of U.S. 101 (look for signs on the highway), this onetime favorite retreat for wealthy Portlanders has undergone a revival in recent years. Rough times and rougher weather had reduced luxurious beach houses here to a cluster of weather-beaten shacks until a performing arts center went up in 1988.
On the heels of the development of this first-rate cultural facility, the conversion of a 1910 hotel into a kind of literary hostel encouraged other restorations and plenty of new construction. Culture vultures, beach lovers, and people-watchers now flock to Nye Beach.
Some larger resort and chain hotels have sprung up among the Cape Cod cottages, aging hippies, artists, and friendly fisherfolk, and not everyone is happy about the developments, as such signs as “The Real Nye Beach—R.I.P.” attest. Still, there’s plenty of character and charm in this neighborhood, which feels a world away from the Coast Highway commercial strip just a few blocks to the east.