These were our two full days enjoying the Oregon Coast. Both days there was a bit of fog in the morning, a lot of driving around trying to find things. But it was neat to learn about a good place to see part of the huge Dunes National Recreation Area, as well as stroll about looking (unsuccessfully) for unbroken sea dollars at a nearby beautiful beach--and for a while we were the only people there at all!
The high point of the day, aside from seeing lots of sea lions at an overlook nearby, and the fun of getting to go to the Coos Bay Blackberry Arts Festival, was definitely our visits to the gardens at Shore Acres State Park. The land used to belong to a timber baron who went bankrupt in the 1940s, and his formal gardens have been preserved since then. The grounds were gorgeous, but what really took our breath away were the roses. They had AARS winners from recent years, and the colors were gorgeous, as well as the sheer size for some of them being astounding as well. Quite a treat.
My high point for the next day was right away in the morning. We'd stayed at a place right near the coast in a town called Bandon, and that particular stretch of shore out back was a National Wildlife Refuge. Went down after breakfast and was blessed that it happened to be low tide then. Not only was the beach itself gorgeous, but it was an incredible treat to see sea anemones and starfish in the wild, as well as barnacles, crabs, oystercatchers, pelegaic cormorants...and did I mention the beautiful views?
We also spent some time at the Cape Blanco Lighthouse State Park, touring the lighthouse itself (still being used) and a restored farmhouse from about a century back. When we stopped at the visitor's center in the tiny town of Port Orford, we learned that a small number of grey whales spend the summer in the area, and we actually got to see two of them, but no more than their spout and the top of their backs. Still, my first time seeing whales in the wild! Had a late lunch in Gold Beach and savored its beautiful bridge--one of a number along the coast designed by Conde B. McCullough around the time of the Great Depression--just don't make bridges like that anymore. (The one by Florence is particularly gorgeous, as is the one by Coos Bay, but I never got photos of them.)
In the late afternoon/evening, we went for a horseback ride on the beach in the Pistol River area. It was just the two of us and the guide, and while the sunset was far from spectacular, it was still a neat thing to do. Our lodging was in Brookings that night, just a few miles from the California border.