Sunday, December 22, 2019

Winter on the Coast

We get a lot of strange looks when we say we're spending the winter on the Oregon Coast.  But after spending years wintering in Arizona and Texas like normal snowbirds, we fell in love with the little seaside town of Bandon.  Although the weather can be dreary, it's a rare day if it freezes or snows; most days are in the low 50s, with nights in the 40s.  And there are sunny days, which we appreciate more here than we have anywhere else.  But good weather or not, we try and get out and walk the beach, view the winter storms, and visit the holiday sights.  

We're just a short distance from parks along the water, and they all have magnificent views.  From Devil's Kitchen State Park, the view through the shore pines to the lagoon is pretty neat:

Devil's Kitchen State Park

A short walk around the corner brings you to the surf, where you can see the "sea stacks" in the distance.
Devil's Kitchen State Park Beach

One of our favorite viewpoints overlooks Elephant Rock, where you can picture the head and ears and where the surf blasts through the rock on each side of his trunk. 

Elephant Rock

Even in December, many of the trees still retain their leaves and some areas remind us of autumn in the Midwest.  We visited Humbug Mountain State Park, where we volunteered back in 2014, and took a walk along the Fern Trail, where the scenery was a contrast between dark pine forest with ferns covering the ground to colorful, sunny areas where the ground was covered by Maple Leaves.

Humbug Mountain SP Fern Trail
Humbug Mountain Fern Trail

On a walk at Floras Lake State Park, we surprised these two River Otters on a quiet stretch of the creek:

River Otters

On Sundays, we enjoy the brunch at Lord Bennett's restaurant in Bandon.  The second-story dining room and large windows give diners a great view of the offshore rocks:

Lord Bennett's

Most of our Sunday mornings this time of year are spent watching football.  We're long-suffering Cleveland Browns fans, our last remaining connection with growing up in Northeast Ohio.  Our daughter, who lives in Southern California is also a fan, and even our cat likes to dress up on game day:

Pookie in her Browns Gear

It's the Christmas season, and Bandon does its best to get everyone into the spirit.  The welcome sign is decorated with lights and we attended the town Christmas tree lighting, although it was a bit difficult to see during the driving rain.

Bandon Welcome Sign

Small town events are some of the most rewarding and enjoyable.  The Bandon Electric Light Parade is always a must-see for us.  Starting with a "nog-walk" and visit to the area merchants, the parade drew a large crowd even in the rain.  Seven minutes after starting it was over.....but it was colorful, fun, and we even had a glimpse of Santa!  

Electric Light Parade

Each year Shore Acres State Park in Charleston decorates their extensive gardens in thousands of lights and displays.  Volunteers decorate the seven acres with over 325,000 lights, erect displays, and turn the gardener's cottage into a Christmas wonderland.  Each year between 50 and 70,000 people make the journey to visit the park - it is truly magical and one of the most amazing sights you will see at Christmas.  Some of the sights:

Shore Acres State Park

Looking through the window of the gardener's cottage:

View from the Gardener's Cottage

As we walked the park, each new view brought another amazing display:

The Blue Blue Whale

Gardener's Cottage

At the pond, the still water reflected the trees - it was difficult to see which was the real image:

The Tree in the Pond

And finally, more images of the lights around the pond:

Pond Views

We're enjoying the holiday season and still have some Christmas activities to enjoy.  Brenda and I wish all of you a joyous and fulfilling Christmas - may Santa bring you all that you wished for!  Thanks for following us this year, we'll be back soon!

It's Christmas!