As we continued to explore the Southern Oregon Coast we stayed a few days in a small town on the banks of the Coquille River called Bandon. This small community is just south of the largest town on the Oregon Coast, Coos Bay.
There are some beautiful spots in the area and we were able to see several of them. Our stay was even more enjoyable as we were able to visit with friends who had come to the coast from the central mountains near Bend, Oregon. Coastal Oregon is a magnet for visitors from many areas because of the beauty and wonderful summertime weather. It can be cool in the summer and you may even need a jacket on the beaches. We surely did.
One of the highlights of the trip was to visit Shore Acres State Park which is north of the Bandon area. This park has a wonderful coastal trail, lighthouse views, and even an expansive flower garden.
In this park we hiked along the Oregon Coast Trail on an amazing weather day. Around every turn on the trail are rocky sandstone cliffs, beaches, and coastal outcroppings.
We even spotted some sea lions sunbathing on the rocks near the coastline.
There are several spots on the hike where you have views of the Cape Arago Lighthouse.
Fortunately we had time to explore the coastline and enjoy our picnic lunch on a beach while taking in the ocean views.
To our surprise (but not to our friends) there are amazing gardens that are part of this park. As we made our way from the heavily wooded trail, we came upon the grand estate of, Louis J. Simpson, timber baron and shipbuilder. “Shoreacres” was built in 1906 for his wife Cassandra. The estate included a mansion, a ballroom, gardens, an indoor heated swimming pool, a farm, and a dairy on this beautiful rocky promontory. Flower, trees, and other plants were brought in from all over the world on Mr. Simpson ships for the extensive gardens and rose collections.
We spent more time there than we had planned and our friends had to pull us away from this unexpected surprise. We hiked back to the car after a memorable day.
On one of our trips into the small town of Bandon, we visited the Washed Ashore exhibit situated in the downtown area. It was much better than I expected. It has artwork created out of plastic that has washed up on beaches throughout the Bandon area. From the vision of its founding artist, Angela Pozzi, the Washed Ashore art exhibits are displayed nation-wide and the organization has grown substantially. Bandon, Oregon is the central location for this organization, and the website lists ongoing national exhibitions.
The attention to detail of the sculptures is fascinating and, unfortunately, the raw ingredients are bountiful. The group has collected over 40,000 pounds of plastic trash and produced over 70 sculptures. As you can see they are large, fun, and extremely detailed.
This is one of the stops that surprise you. It’s interesting and thought provoking. The amount of waste that we are dumping in our oceans is staggering. It is also a powerful reminder of how much one person can do when they focus on a singular vision.
Speaking of trips into town, we always try to stop at tasty spots for ice cream like the Face Rock Creamery. We will not tell you how many times we visited this establishment but we will just say we enjoyed each visit. They are mainly focused on cheese-making but we couldn’t pass up their good ice cream.
Next post we will explore more of the Oregon Coast near the town of Bandon.