The Tillamook Cheese Factory is one of our favorite places to visit on a trip to the Oregon Coast. It happens to be the second most visited tourist site in the state, behind the natural splendor of Multnomah Falls. The cheese is great, the ice cream superb, and watching the cheesemakers work (while consuming a cone of delicious Espresso Madness) is mesmerizing.
The cheese fac as we knew it pre-2018 featured a small short-order grill and cafe, small crowded ice cream bar, small gift shop, crowded cheese-tasting line, and an upstairs view of the cheesemakers at work. A visitor could watch the cheese making and packaging process from behind enormous second-floor plate glass windows, if you could peer past the teeming masses.
As a bonus, a drive through the Tillamook area features vast green fields and brick-red barns, all of them full of various breeds of dairy cows: jersey, guernsey, holstein, brown swiss, and Dutch belt. Those very cows yesterday provided the milk for the cheese you will eat today.
In spring 2017 the Tillamook Creamery Association announced it would be closing the cheese fac for a year to rebuild the fantastically popular and horribly overcrowded visitor facilities. Here are four photos of the old fac:
Well, it's out with the old, in with the new! We stopped at the brand new facility with out-of-town grandchildren in August 2018, along with what felt like the entire population of Oregon! It may be many times larger, but so are the crowds.
the new entrance is grand!
H experienced the brand new children's room
the world's best ice cream is always our favorite part of the day
everyone wants a "ride" in the Tillamook bus
We're pleased with the new, even though a summer-day visit is still madness. I took my Boston cousin ME here in October on a lovely un-crowded fall day. I enjoyed the new educational posters about milk and cheesemaking in the cheese sample area. The displays showing breeds of cows and what they eat have enlightened me as to how complicated a milk cow's life can be. Or I should say, the life of a dairyman. The shop is full of cheese-related items, both the practical and the kitsch. The new fac is a super upgrade from the old!