“But will we have time to stop at Tillamook?” I asked Bryce this question numerous times leading up to our departure for our Oregon Coast road trip.
We would be driving from our home in Seattle to Florence, Oregon for a week getaway before Christmas. I was adamant that we stop in Tillamook at the Tillamook Creamery on the way down to Florence. (Last year when we took the same road trip to Florence, we didn’t plan for a stop there and I was sad as we drove by.)
If you are new here, I love cheese. A lot.
It’s a 4-hour drive from Seattle to Tillamook (with no traffic and no stops). With a baby and dog, we of course had to make stops. (I think we did it in two stops though!)
We left our house shortly after 9 am and arrived at my happy place about 6 hours later. This wouldn’t be the same visit as the last time I was at the Tillamook Creamery. This time we’d be visiting in the off-season so we didn’t have to worry about crowds.
When we pulled into the parking lot, I was worried that maybe they were closed since it was so empty. I had double checked their website and social media multiple times though! They must be open! They indeed were open. There just aren’t a lot of people visiting during winter, especially on a Friday.
I went in alone — I know, sigh, sad — and first scoured the gift shop and bought lots of cheese (for me, as well as for gifts for family and friends). They sell some cheeses that are not sold elsewhere. I also got suckered into buying a “baby loaf” onesie for the baby and a Tillamook cheese dog toy for the pup. (And, by suckered, I mean that I saw them and thought they were both cute and fun, so I purchased them.)
Next I went to the food court area and ordered a grilled cheese and mac + cheese for Bryce and I. There were maybe just three families sitting in the dining area eating their food. I barely had to wait for my to-go order.
I skipped going upstairs where you can see into the factory where the cheese is made, as well as where the (free) cheese samples are because my family was waiting for me. My number one motive for this stop was to buy cheese.
As I walked out of the building with my bags literally full of cheese, the greeter at the entrance said “bye” to me and asked if I wanted a small cheese sample. How could I say no? It was one of those pre-packaged cheese slices. I added it to one of my bags of cheeses.
My family was waiting at a picnic table conveniently located just a few feet from where we parked our car. Originally we had planned to eat our food in the covered outdoor eating space the Creamery has. But, since this picnic table was here, we decided we would just stay put — yes, essentially eating in the parking lot. (I’ve quickly learned that even simple things such as walking less than 5 minutes to another location with your baby and dog — and all of baby’s belongings — is a lot more effort than it’s worth.)
We lucked out with the weather that there was no rain. Our dog patiently waited while I devoured my mac + cheese and may or may not had a bite of Bryce’s grilled cheese. Because she was being such a good girl, she got to sample a little bit of cheese. Even our baby was super interested in the food we were eating. (One day, baby girl, you too will be able to enjoy a grilled cheese and mac + cheese!)
We still had three hours of driving to reach our destination in Florence, an Airbnb by the beach.
But, my stomach was full and my heart so happy. Next time we return, maybe the baby will be able to make it inside the building. I can’t wait until she is older and can learn how cheese is made. Oh, gosh, I really hope she loves cheese just as much as I do!
I am not affiliated with the Tillamook County Creamery Association. I just really love Tillamook cheese!