Southern Oregon Coast Revisited
Monday we headed back north to enjoy some more of the Oregon Coast. First we made a quick stop in Port Orford, a timber and fishing port. Port Orford has a “dolly dock,” where the fishing boats are lifted onto the dock by huge cranes. The only other one in the US is in the Los Angeles area.
Next we braved the cool and windy weather for a short walk to the Cape Blanco lighthouse. It’s a rugged and beautiful spot, the westernmost point in Oregon and southernmost lighthouse.
Another picturesque Oregon lighthouse is found at Bullard’s Beach State Park. The Coquille River Light was built in 1896 and functioned through the 1930s.
Heceta Head is said to be the most photographed lighthouse in the US, and from this viewpoint off Hwy 101 north of Florence, you can see why. If you want to pull into the viewpoint from the northbound side of 101, please be very careful! It’s on a blind curve.
The lighthouse keeper’s house is currently operated as a bed and breakfast. I stayed there many years ago, and the seven-course breakfast is worth the price.
Monday night we stayed at the Ester Lee, my favorite Oregon Coast motel, in Lincoln City. Tueday morning we started towards home. One of my favorite towns on the central coast is Newport, a trendy tourist spot as well as an old traditional fishing port. If you have time, visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium. We drove through the old harbor area and trendy Nye Beach–the Newport definition of controversy is whether Mo’s or the Chowder Bowl makes the best clam chowder (I vote for Chowder Bowl!).
Last stop before heading inland was the Three Capes Scenic area, where the road winds around through Cape Kiwanda and Cape Lookout to Cape Meares. We made it as far north as Oceanside before running into road construction and leaving for Tillamook. Oceanside is the prettiest spot on that highway, so we didn’t miss too much.
Leaving the coast behind, we drove up the Wilson River Highway toward Portland. On the way we made a stop at the Tillamook Forest Center. The Center opened about ten years ago, and has nature trails, exhibits, and a gift shop. My favorite part is their award winning film about the history of the area known as the Tillamook Burn. Four huge forest fires happened here between 1933 and 1951, and the film tells the story of the fires, the recovery of the forest, and the people who were affected by it. People who grew up in Portland have often told me they have fond memories of planting trees here when they were in elementary school. When I first moved to Oregon in 1969 you could still see charred snags, and now you would never know there was a fire here.