The hotel is not right on the beach; the ocean is a block away. Going to the (non-golfing) sand means crossing the street, walking a block or so and following a pathway to the shore.
It's also one of the few places in Oregon where driving right on the beach is allowed, so mind how you walk.
Along with its bathroom, each room has a name on its beautifully varnished door, most taken from a book called "The Mystery of Golf" by Arnold Haultain, a prolific 19th-century author who wrote essays as well as 36 books. Which is a wonder, considering "Mystery of Golf" is subtitled "A Brief Account of the Game: its Origin, Antiquity, & Romance; its Uniqueness, its Curiousness, & its Difficulty; its anatomical, philosophical, and moral Properties; together with diverse Concepts on other Matters to it Appertaining." Surely writing that took the better part of a day.
My room was called "the body politic," which sent me straight to my smartphone. The name is apt; it came from Haultain's statement "the whole body politic is thrown, every time it sets out on a round (of golf), into the throes of a constitutional crisis."
My feet and my lower back were definitely thinking about seceding. Folks down the hall had the no-research-necessary rooms labeled "play" and "temptation."
In the temptation department, the restaurant was offering oyster stew as a dinner special, which the Golfing Spouse ordered. "Slightly watery," he declared, but ate it all nonetheless
On the breakfast menu was a plate of blueberry-almond pancakes, which Golfing Spouse sawed into. I was less adventurous and for that, my usual-porridge-was lumpy and chewy, as if it had been left behind when the Three Bears went for their walk. (And yes, it is really called porridge, and no, I couldn't order it without snickering. You try it.)
Yet another surprise: McMenamins, already a brewer/winemaker/distiller, now makes its own bloody mary mix, and the guys reading their newspapers at the bar in the Sand Trap gave it a silent thumbs up without looking away from their sports pages when polled by other patrons.
Maybe a little of that rogue golf-links spirit lives on.
IF YOU GO
Gearhart Hotel and Sand Trap Pub
The Gearhart is an 18-room hotel with two pubs/restaurant and an 18-hole golf course. Hotel rates vary seasonally, $130-$195 for a queen room, pets allowed in some rooms.
The public golf course is a par 72; greens fees are $35-$65 weekdays, $45-$75 weekends.
The hotel is on the northern Oregon coast at 1157 N. Marion Ave., Gearhart; 503-717-8150 or mcmenamins.com. Golf course, 503-738-3538.
Gearhart is about 200 miles from Seattle or 80 miles from Portland, Ore.