Bandon – South Coast Blog

February 19, 2009


The second week of February is famous in Oregon for good weather. Usually January is rain, rain, rain, with few breaks for very long. Then somewhere around the second week of February, winter takes a break and we get a week of “spring preview”. So it was that Mary and I picked the Valentine’s – Day- President’s Day weekend to spend at Bandon to celebrate our wedding anniversary and get a much needed break.

Bandon is a wonderful small town any time of the year but in the winter with tourist gone is a very nice quiet place to hang out for a few days. It has wonderful dramatic beaches with large sculpt rocks jutting through the sands in places that give it an artistic flair. You’ll always find shots of these beaches in any Oregon Coast publication you might see. Face Rock, Haystack Rock and Devils Kitchen beachs become well know to anyone spending much time here along with the always famous Bandon Lighthouse.








We took Friday off work to stretch a little more out of the 3-day weekend and drove down via Hwy 42, making a stop at a favorite Greek restaurant in Roseburg. The owner is Greek and makes very good authentic Greek food that is every bit as good as many places we’ve eaten in Greece. We arrived midday and spent a little time browsing the town. As it was a partly cloudy day I made sure to head for one of my favorite local beaches about a half hour before sunset. With the clouds, the bending light rays colored them with gorgeous colors long after the sun had dipped behind them. I must have shot 50-100 pictures at different locations on the beach between the rock and then back up on the bluff. It was pretty dark as I reached the car and was putting away my camera when I notice a light on it that I didn’t see before. I pushed a button to get more info on this and got “No CF”. That told me that I didn’t have a memory card in the camera and all those shots weren’t stored anywhere! Arrrrrggg……! Well some much for that one and I could only hope for another dry and less cloudy evening.

The next morning we awoke to find Mary had a very nasty cold. Ugh! She spent the next two day pretty well down for the count. So Saturday I drove over to the Bandon lighthouse then took a drive south along the coast down to Port Orford. Port Orford is a historic port that has been in use since the early to mid 1800’s. The small dock still has cranes that lift boats out of the water instead of a ramp. I went out to the tip of the peninsula and hike the trails and saw the old Coast Guard Station located on top of the ridge. During WW there was a look out on one prominent ridge that was used to protect the mainland from a possible Japanese invasion. They had one of the early Coast Guard rescue boat on display that was used for many years. The peninsula is awesome with very steep jagged canyons and grassy ridges. The view from the very end provides great 270 degree view of the coastline north and south.






A few miles north of Port Orford is Cape Blanco. This is the most western appendage of the lower 48 states. On the grassy ridge high above the ocean, sits a lighthouse that is still in service to this day. It was renovated less than 5 years ago and can now be seen for more than 30 mile out to sea.

In the mid 1800’s the Hughes family settled on the peninsula and started a large dairy operation. Slowly over the years they bought most of the land, inland to about where Hwy 101 is today. They had started with an original Donation Land Claim after deciding gold mining was not the way to make a living. At one time they had 40 or 50 people working for them and ran 600 head of dairy cattle. There house is still here today and is owned by the state. Much of their furnishings came with it and it a remarkable nice place. I just happened to catch a ranger making his security rounds at the site and he gladly gave me a personal tour of the house espousing all the local history he knew.




On Sunday I decided to go visit Boardman State Park located between Gold Beach and Brookings. This rugged 15 mile long section of the coast is famous for its’ scenic beauty and was a favorite coastal hang out for me when I lived in Ashland. On the north end is Arch Rock and Natural Bridges with dense wooded ridges and on the south end is wide grassy headlands with broad beaches. This is the driest area of the Oregon Coast with rainfall dropping below 40 inches a year. It’s often the warmest place in the state in the winter as it get so many nice days during the cooler months. Very often when the inland valleys are all fogged up, it’s sunny and high 50’s to low 60’s here. Someday I’ll go back and hike the coastal trail that runs the length of this park.





By late afternoon it had turned showery and I headed back up to Bandon. The weekend had gone by so quickly with so many great things to see and so little time to see it.


(Here are a few more pictures of a sunrise at Face Rock Beach in Bandon)







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