Thursday, August 07, 2008

Question for you Oregonians

:at the coast
Why do we call it "the coast" instead of "the beach"? What do you call it when you go to the ____?

20 comments:

Marty Davis said...

The beach is at the coast. Not all the coast has beaches.

kati said...

i agree with marty. but i grew up on the coast and now live in portland. when i go visit my parents, i say i'm "going to the coast". when we're there, we "go to the beach"... in new jersey, don't they call it "the shore"? there are probably special nuances regarding the east coast, too...

Anonymous said...

because "beach" implies SUN!!!

Natalie said...

I always thought of the coast as a large area - i.e. traveling from Tillamook to Newport. Whereas the beach is... well, a beach. A big stretch of sand. Usually I say I'm going to the beach if a.) it's going to be a nice day, and b.) I'm actually going to one beach. All the rest of the time I refer to coastal trips as going to the coast.

Alan Cordle said...

Beach also implies lying in the "sun" on a blanket, rather than in one.

Jennifer said...

My dad always said we are going to the coast...I guess it stuck.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Well, actually, being a native Oregonian, I'll be honest with you ... its how we tell you imports apart. Because it's not too long before you're recycling and composting and factoring the bottle deposit in and saying "Couch", "Clatskanie", "Skamakawa", "Wahkiakum", and "Willamette" correctly like the rest of us do.

Even after all that, you still get bewildered by us calling it the "Coast". Oh, what a giveaway!

But we are making it easier on you ... now the signs to the coast say "Oregon Coast" instead of native cant for "this way to the beach", which was "Ocean Beaches".

;-)

PAgent said...

Because traveling to the portion of the state nearest to the ocean involves a transition. If it was flat, and suburbs stretched all the way to the ocean's edge, perhaps we would talk about going to "the beach". But the journey is more than mere distance.

It's going over the hill. It's crossing mountains. It's going from the I-5 corridor and instant access to everything, to a region where commodities travel on a two-lane highway, and things move more slowly.

It's different there. If you can purchase myrtlewood trinkets and sand dollar knick-knacks, and every cafe has clam chowder, then you're at the coast whether you can see the ocean or not. It's only when you can squinch the sand between your toes that you are truly at the beach.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Yep. PAgent has the right of it, though, to be serious. The Oregon Coast is Oregon enough, but it's a different world.

What I love the most about the Coast is the way the wilderness (logged and such, as it is) comes right down to the city limits. When you're out of town near an Oregon Coast town, you're out of town.

And I love the smell of the air at the coast. Nothing like it.

And tidepools. Love the tidepools.

Honey said...

Wow - that photo is gorgeous!

I have never called that sandy, rocky strip that meets the Pacific in Oregon (or Washington, for that matter) the coast or the beach. I call it the ocean.

The coast sounds like something my parents might say. It's certainly a word well outside my chosen vocabulary.

The beach conjures images of sunshine, which doesn't seem to exist so much here, and so I can never get myself to call it that.

We're going to the ocean is entirely accurate and also feels more powerful to me. The whole reason for me to head out there is to watch the majestic watery waves and stare out into the great expanse anyway. I don't think I've ever done anything beach-like out there.

Recovering Straight Girl said...

I call it "the beach" if I'm actually going to an actual beach. Otherwise it's definitely "the coast."

New Jersey is "the shore" but more specifically when you're going there you say "I'm goin 'down the shore'"

Lisa said...

I'm not officially an Oregonian but I thought I'd weigh in anyway. I appreciate the distinction made here though I wouldn't say I find it being called "the coast" at all "bewildering." Sometimes I say coast and sometimes beach. If someone wanted to go to the ocean I wouldn't say no. I haven't heard shore here as far as I can remember. I think I choose the word I use based on poetic connotation or based on whether or not it is warm enough to sit and just enjoy the "beach," the qualities of sand and dunes, as opposed to simply driving along the "coast" to see the sun glistening on the waves or to study a hundred shades of gray from the rocks on the jetty to the sea and sky above.

But mostly I wanted to say, "Lelo, that photo is absolutely beautiful!"

Rozanne said...

Yes. Insanely beautiful photo. A+

I use the term "Coast." Not sure why but maybe because I've never much been into beachy things (e.g., sunbathing, swimming, surfing, sailing). If I'm going to the place where the ocean is I'm usually going out there to hike.

Anyway, I guess I like coast better because it definitely means ocean. Any body of water can have a beach, but the coast has got to be the edge of a continent. Much cooler.

Rozanne said...

P.S. Love the new blog layout and banner. How did you find time to do that?

Lewis said...

Ocean = Coast (but sometimes I call it beach!). If I say to you, "I'm going to the beach...," you'll find me at Rooster Rock or Sauvie Island for YOU KNOW WHAT!

Fleur de Lisa said...

Not an Oregonian, but that photo is fantastic! And I love your new header. Simply gorgeous and perfect for you.

Lelo said...

I knew my readers would have some great comments to this question. Thank you!

FoodieTots said...

I was just noticing this the other day, as I was talking to my Mom about our upcoming trip to the Coast and I kept calling it a beach. I obviously picked that up living in SoCal. Here on the East Coast, it's the Shore, which I assume means flat, crowded, smelly and nothing at all like the Pacific beaches. Yes, I may have lost my Oregonian cred but I'm still a West Coast girl at heart!

Anonymous said...

Non-Oregonian here. I've heard the reason it's called the coast is that due to the climate in Oregon, you can't do all the typical beach things that you would do if you were in, say, Calif. or Florida.

You go to the beach to swim, surf or tan and you go to the coast to not swim, surf or tan.

McAuliflower said...

If I ain't swimming in it- its no beach. :)

My question- what's up with the awkward phrasing on the Oregon signs re: "Ocean Beaches"?