Paris and Beyond

Our Personal Tour de France & Other Exciting Adventures!

Olympic ~ Ruby Beach & Beyond

It was finally time to complete our journey through Olympic National Park and head home. We set our sights on Ruby Beach situated along the park’s 73 miles of rugged coastline. Like most of our Oregon beaches, it is replete with rocky shores, tide pools, driftwood, and those ever-present sea stacks but no less photogenic. This is the view from the parking lot with easy access to the beach below.

A short hike down to the beach at low tide allows you to get up close and personal with these sometimes eerie-looking sea stacks.

Waiting for the tide to rise again, these mussels cling tenaciously to the back side of the stacks.

It was a gorgeous morning for an exploratory walk on the beach. There were certainly plenty of rocks here and I couldn’t resist collecting a few small ones that caught my eye.

Eventually, it was time to bid farewell to the coast.

We had one last stop to make before leaving the park where I encountered Sasquatch (aka Big Foot) yet again. He certainly gets around the Pacific Northwest. This guy was considerably more friendly than the last one I met.

This is the beautiful Lake Quinault with another historic lodge similar to the one at Lake Crescent but slightly more regal and sophisticated.

In the fall of 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited Lake Quinault Lodge during a fact-finding trip and enjoyed lunch in the later-named Roosevelt Dining Room. Nine months later, Roosevelt signed a bill creating Olympic National Park. We had our own lunch here 84 years later taking in what was likely a very similar panoramic view. So thankful FDR made that decision!

When you have traveled for even just a few days throughout Olympic National Park, the inspiration for its creation is obvious. We are fortunate it has been preserved giving everyone the opportunity to step back in time and appreciate the peace and tranquility of nature which is more powerful and lasting than anything else. Our experience gave us just a small taste. We will definitely be back for more!

Olympic ~ Hoh Rainforest

Twilight Territory

Our next destination was Forks — these days perhaps more famous for being the location of the Twilight saga novels than home to the Hoh Rain Forest, one of the largest temperate rainforests in the U.S. While we didn’t run into Bella or Edward or encounter any vampires or werewolves (thank goodness!), we did fall in love with some giants.

There are several trails leading out from the Hoh Visitor Center including the Hoh River Trail where you can hike for 18 miles to Blue Glacier on Mount Olympus that we first viewed at Hurricane Ridge. However, we chose something a wee bit shorter quickly immersing ourselves in the Hall of Mosses after crossing this lovely pond.

This leaning tree show a great example of epiphytes, plants growing on other plants, which are abundant throughout the area. They are not parasitic but derive moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, water, and debris that accumulates around them. Moss, lichen, algae, ferns, and bromeliads are a few epiphytes you might know.

Here you can see that the forest is literally dripping with epiphytes.

If it weren’t for the paved trails, it would be nearly impossible to walk through this forest dense with giant conifers plus big leaf and vine maples that play host to these epiphytes.

Dead and downed trees like this enormous one still contribute to the rainforest. As they decay, they serve as nurse logs supporting new life.

Grazing Roosevelt Elk are responsible for keeping the understory open. Of Olympic Park’s 3-4,000 elk, 400-500 live in the Hoh Valley. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of one but we were not that lucky. President Theodore Roosevelt, after whom the elk are named, designated the land a national monument in 1909 to protect the elk; it became a national park in 1938. 

In the Twilight saga, Bella worked part-time at “Newton’s Olympic Outfitters”. While completely fictional, it definitely has its counterpart in real life right in the heart of Forks, aptly named “Forks Outfitters”. We discovered a plethora of real (vs. designer) outdoor clothing there and got Norman properly outfitted for some of our next adventures with his favorite style of thick long-sleeved t-shirts and best of all, rain pants. That was truly an Olympic bonus!

Sadly, our Olympic Discovery Tour was almost over, but fortunately, there were still a few key places to check out on the way home. See you at the coast in the next post! 😉

Olympic ~ Lake Crescent

After a day in the mountains, it was time to head to the lake — Lake Crescent that is. Conveniently located about 30 minutes west of our Port Angeles abode in the opposite direction of Hurricane Ridge, lies this gorgeous “Tahoe-esque” lake. While it possesses nowhere near the depth and size of the famous Cal-Nev icon, Lake Crescent presents a similar aura with its clear, deep blue waters backed by a stunning set of glacially-formed peaks. At its deepest, it measures 624 feet (as opposed to Lake Tahoe’s 1645 in case you’re curious) and is officially the second deepest lake in Washington (after Lake Chelan). It contains very little nitrogen, thereby limiting the growth of small plants like algae that typically grow in lake waters which contributes to its clarity.

Upon our arrival at Lake Crescent Lodge, we were immediately drawn to the small pier extending out into the lake. While the Storm King Ranger Station is located nearby, it’s a basic affair and the lodge facilities provide a much more inviting atmosphere for exploration of this section of the ONP which is comprised largely of old growth forests. As you can see, we practically had the place all to ourselves.

As waterfalls are one of our favorite photographic subjects, we are always attracted to any hikes that will lead us to one. While we have seen some of the tallest and most spectacular falls, we still won’t pass up an opportunity to add another to our list of conquests. Just a short walk from the lodge we joined the Marymere Falls Trail meandering through a dense forest where you can easily imagine dinosaurs might have once lived. Everything is really old and BIG! It makes you realize what a small part of Earth’s historic record we are.

Barnes Creek runs parallel to the trail. Crossing a bridge or two and leaving the creek behind, we began a slight uphill climb toward the falls.

After working our way around a loop and climbing a few stairs, we arrived at a very convenient platform with a view of the lovely 90-foot Marymere Falls. This is considered an easy trail, but it takes a bit of effort with all our equipment. Norman always manages to put a smile on it!

It may look like I’m just checking my messages, but I’m actually controlling the camera with my phone. Attached to the top of the camera is a device called a CamRanger. When in use, it creates a wifi connection between the phone and the camera (referred to as wireless tethering) allowing you to access all the camera’s settings and frame your shot much more easily than if you were simply looking through the viewfinder. This is especially helpful when your eyesight is not what it used to be and you wear progressive lenses like I do. It also interacts with my iPad which makes an even better monitor for shooting.

And here are the results…

Upon our return, we were able to sneak in a very nice lunch at the lodge. Operating at only 25% seating capacity due to the pandemic, we were fortunate to get a table. We even bought souvenirs at the gift shop — something we rarely do… a true old-fashioned vacation experience at a very quaint lodge from another era.

We enjoyed this location so much that we felt it merited a second visit. The following day was a transition to our next stop with some time to kill before we could check it. So I suggested heading back to Lake Crescent Lodge which just happened to be on the way. Norman decided he wanted to hike out and shoot again for awhile. I found a comfy corner with a gorgeous view of the lake where I spread out my things and spent some time reading and knitting while enjoying a local beer. One couldn’t ask for more!

And, if you haven’t seen enough of the falls… we never do — here’s a parting video for you. Enjoy!

Olympic ~ Hurricane Ridge

From the Mountains to the Sea

Olympic National Park spreads across almost 1 million acres at the westernmost edge of the state of Washington, an area referred to as the Olympic Peninsula. It is unique in that it encompasses a vast range of ecosystems from glacier-capped mountains and old growth rainforests to 70 miles of coastline. Traveling north from Astoria, it felt as if we were going back in time and entering a completely separate region not at all connected to the Washington where we had once lived. There were tiny towns dotted all along the winding route — most providing just the basic services. It made us wonder how the residents manage to get all the things they need. Do they have to make long excursions for supplies? Or have they just figured out how to live without so much stuff?? I’m sure they grow and raise much of what they eat, but it seems even that would be limited in this area that receives much rain — an average of 56″ per year. We chose the right month to avoid those frequent downpours and were really able to appreciate nature’s beauty and diversity.

We began our visit to the ONP in Port Angeles where the main Olympic Park headquarters are located. We took advantage of a full array of resources there — maps, souvenirs, and information from the various park rangers who were very helpful and certainly enthusiastic about their park. There were also interesting exhibits regarding the park’s natural and cultural history. I had done much online research, but it was nice to actually inform ourselves in-person in real time. Due to the pandemic, many facilities throughout the park are either closed or minimally staffed and accessible so it’s important to get the latest information.

We settled in to a small house for our three-day stay in Port Angeles. We love to travel this way because we can make ourselves at home, truly relax, and prepare our own meals. Like many other small towns and out-of-the-way places, the pandemic has taken its toll on services and supplies in Port Angeles as well as other Olympic communities resulting in suspended ferries to Victoria, restaurants closed or forced to close early for lack of food and/or staff, and grocery shelves sparsely stocked. However, this was no problem for us with our self-catering accommodations and our provisions from home.

We launched our exploration into the park at Hurricane Ridge about 30 minutes outside of Port Angeles. Arriving around 7 AM, we avoided the crowds providing a serene and peaceful experience. Stepping out of the car, we were immediately hit with a frigid blast of wind causing us to wonder if we had dressed in enough layers. At an elevation of 5,246 feet, the ridge gets its name from the frequent hurricane-like winds that can blow up to 75 miles per hour. As much as 35 feet of snow falls here each year remnants of which can be seen even in the summer. Directly off the parking lot just beyond the visitor center, you can already take in beautiful views like the one below. These are the Olympic Mountains including the tallest, Mt. Olympus, rising to 7,980 feet. Also visible is Blue Glacier which, like so many others, is rapidly retreating with the effects of climate change.

We hiked a short distance to the Overlook instantly rewarded with views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Port Angeles. That’s Canada on the other side. Moving on, we followed the Cirque Rim Trail where once a glacier receded creating a circular edge into the valley.

Next we connected to the High Ridge Trail and climbed to some spectacular views. Though there were few other hikers, we were not alone. On the way, up we heard a strange sound that we learned was the call of an Olympic Marmot. We were able to spot him perched on a rock down the slope in the distance. The most common marmot noise is a chirp, which is a brief blast of piercing sound similar to a bird chirping. Frightened marmots increase the speed of these chirps into a series called a trill. When extremely scared, a marmot call can even sound like a human scream. The closer the danger, the shorter the call. Presumably, this is because the animal has less time to make noise and wants to beat a hasty retreat. There’s even a marmot sound called a chuck, which has led to yet another nickname for the animals, “rockchuck”. There were also plenty of chipmunks scampering around and a plethora of birds.

Intersecting with High Ridge is a dead end spur trail that leads to Sunrise Point where we could see far and wide in every direction. Here we encountered a family of grouse.

Completing the High Ridge loop takes you back to the visitor center which you can see here in the distance along with those majestic Olympic mountains.

As you can see, we had a great time out on the trail…

One thing to remember when you are hiking is to notice the small things. They can be just as impressive as the magnificent vistas.

Next up in our discovery of the ONP — Lake Crescent. Stay tuned!

Astoria Revisited Pt. 2

Maritime and Memories

The Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria tells the dramatic and inspiring stories of a mighty river, a vast ocean, and the generations of people who have made their living plying the waters of the region. The Museum is home to the largest collection of maritime artifacts in the Pacific Northwest.

One of the most significant and dangerous aspects of navigation along the Columbia River involves the Columbia River Bar. This is where the enormous, swift-moving river collides with the immense power of the Pacific Ocean creating the worst wave conditions on the planet. The potential for disaster is ever-present. Some of the best Maritime professionals in the world are responsible for making the passage of the bar safe. Nevertheless, since 1972 approximately 2,000 vessels have sunk at the Columbia River Bar earning this area the title of “Graveyard of the Pacific”. With this is mind, it is awe-inspiring to learn about the variety of ships that have successfully navigated this part of the Columbia as demonstrated through the various displays in this museum.

The Lightship Columbia once guided ships to safety at the mouth of the Columbia River. Docked in the harbor just outside the museum, it offers an opportunity to hop aboard and see for yourself where the sailors would cook, eat, sleep, and work. It functioned as a floating lighthouse to mark the mouth of the Columbia River from 1951-1979.  Since the lightship was essentially a small town anchored 5 miles out to sea, all of the supplies for the crew had to be on board.  The lightship had a crew of 17 men who worked 2-4 week rotations, with 10 men on duty at a time.  Life on board consisted of long periods of monotony punctuated by fierce storms, particularly in the winter.

Once we completed out tour of the Maritime Museum, we had one more important stop to make. Probably the most recognized attraction in Astoria is the Astoria Column. Standing atop the 600-foot Coxcomb Hill at a height of 125 feet, it’s impossible to miss. The murals on the intricately decorated column depict significant events in regional and state history.

Inside the column you can climb the 164-step spiral staircase to an observation deck at the top. However, even on ground level, you get a pretty spectacular view of the Astoria Bridge as it passes over the Columbia into the state of Washington.

The reason this was such an important stop for us is because it was one of the places we visited on that 2001 road trip. That day we had quite an elaborate picnic on Coxcomb Hill.

As you can see, things in Astoria look pretty much the same, but we have changed a bit in the past 20 years.

Still smiling… and yes, it’s August and we are wearing wool scarves!

Now we are ready to cross the Astoria Bridge and make our way to Olympic National Park where we will spend the rest of the week. We’ll be taking lots of photos and I’ll be making notes along the way so I can share this adventure with you after we return home.

Astoria Revisited Pt. 1

Coffee and a Cannery

Following the Lewis & Clark Expedition in the early 1800’s, John Jacob Astor dispatched both land and sea parties to establish a fur trading post in this northwestern territory. The post, named Fort Astoria, was built in 1811, making it the earliest American settlement on the West Coast.

During the War of 1812, the British war-sloop HMS Racoon came to take the fort, proclaiming it Fort George in honor of King George III… hence, the name of the aforementioned brewery. As we know, that didn’t turn out so well for them and by the mid-1840’s, with pioneers from the Oregon Trail filtering in, the town was renamed Astoria.

We always like to start the day out at a local bakery. Our Astoria friends recommended a couple of places and Coffee Girl turned out to be just the right choice — charming & historical plus location, location, location. In order to get there, you have to drive out on an old, narrow wooden bridge where you arrive at the West’s oldest cannery building located on Pier 39 adjacent to the Columbia River.

The cannery was home to none other than Bumble Bee Seafoods of tuna fame for almost 50 years beginning in the 1930’s. The original “Coffee Girls” served coffee to the cannery workers.

These days there are a number of different businesses housed in this building including the Coffee Girl cafe. While enjoying our coffee/chai and bagels, we had a marvelous view of the Columbia as various fishing vessels set out on the river for their daily catch. 

After breakfast, we took in the small museum there dedicated to the history of the cannery containing an interesting collection of items large and small.

Old gillnet fishing boat

With most of the day still at our disposal, we decided take in some more Astoria history by visiting the Columbia River Maritime Museum. See you in the next post for that experience.

En Route to ONP

While Norman and I have visited many national parks, we have never managed to make it to Olympic National Park in Washington even though we have been within easy driving distance on many occasions during our lives. After college in the late 70’s, I lived in Seattle for eight years and Norman, coincidentally and unbeknownst to me, lived in Pullman for the same period of time. In 2001, we made a six-week 6,000-mile western parks driving tour and still didn’t get there. We’ve now been living in Oregon for four years — less than six hours away from the ONP, and we thought it was about time we included this park in our travel itinerary.

These days we don’t have the stamina nor the inclination to make 6, 8, or 10-hour daily drives in order to reach our destination. So for this trip, I planned a week-long adventure. I generally look for opportunities to visit other places along the way. At the northernmost edge of the Oregon border, Astoria is a reasonable 3 1/2 hour drive from Eugene and seemed like the logical first stop. The last time we visited Astoria was during our 2001 western tour and we had always wanted to return to learn more about it. In addition, we have friends in Astoria that we have been hoping to visit for awhile. 

First, however, just south ofAstoria we made a quick side trip to Seaside, another iconic Oregon beach town. Much like Santa Cruz in California, the main downtown area is filled with kitschy shops and various entertainment arcades including a carousel. Santa Cruz has its Boardwalk whereas Seaside has its Promenade, better known as “The Prom” which is currently celebrating its Centennial. Midway along the Promenade is the Turnaround where you will see a statue of Lewis and Clark labeled “End of the Trail”. The monument commemorates their 18 month, 4,000-mile journey from Saint Louis to the Oregon Coast.

As you can see, it was a typical Oregon summer day at the beach — cool and cloudy preceded by a little bit of rain. 

You can’t make a trip to the coast without thinking about getting some seafood. We stopped in at a Seaside classic, Bell Buoy, with its vintage neon sign. They offer some prime canned fish that is difficult to find elsewhere. We figured this would be a good addition to our traveling pantry so we picked up a selection.

Finally, it was time to become reacquainted with Astoria and find out how it has changed in the past 20 years. Among other attractions, Astoria has a couple of very well-known breweries. One of these is Fort George located in a building erected in 1924 which started out as an auto service station. It stands on roughly the same site as the original Fort Astoria. We enjoyed a couple of delicious pints sitting out on the upstairs deck with a great view of the mighty Columbia River. Then it was time to settle in to our AirBnB, relax, and prepare for a full day of exploration in Astoria. 

Northern Oregon Coast

Most of the places on the Oregon Coast that draw tourists and hold a true beach appeal can be found north of Florence, our easy coastal point of contact from Eugene. We have traveled that direction several times since we moved here four years ago visiting Yachats and Depoe Bay where you can find some of Oregon’s 5-star hotels such as the Whale Cove Inn and the Overleaf Lodge. We also enjoyed a stay at the Heceta Lighthouse B & B near the very scenic Cape Perpetua.

This summer, we decided to explore a little farther afield starting with Cannon Beach, the location of one of Oregon’s most familiar landmarks — Haystack Rock, a basalt sea stack that rises 235 feet above the water. The area is also renown as the setting for a number of novels, television programs, and movies such as The Goonies, Kindergarten Cop, Point Break, and Twilight. Here you will encounter a real walkable sandy beach no doubt one of the many attractions for filming.

As most of you will know, I am not a camper. I need my creature comforts, but I do like to get a taste of the outdoors. When Norman and I first got together, he was sorting out his things and trying to decide what to bring with him. He told me that he had a lot of camping gear and asked me what he should do with it. I immediately replied, “Don’t bring it here! We won’t be using it.” We’ve had a running joke for all these years that my idea of camping is staying at the Marriott. And so it is!

For this trip, we stayed at a small but well-appointed cabin that felt just a little bit like camping (to me anyway). Located amongst a small group of beach homes just off Highway 101 in Arch Cape, we were only a few minutes from all the places we wanted to visit. Sitting next to this picture window surrounded by huge trees for an afternoon snack was just perfect!

Just outside our doorway was this immense tree trunk that reminded you who or what was in charge every time you left the cabin.

A short walk across the highway took us on a path down to the beach with a dramatic entrance. (That’s Norman walking toward the waves.)

Upon exciting this natural tunnel, we were rewarded with a pristine sunset beach scene where we watched a fleet of pelicans diving for their dinner.

The following day, we set out for Ecola State Park which stretches along nine miles of coastline just outside Cannon Beach. I did my research (or so I thought) and found an intriguing trail I figured we could manage without too much difficulty. We parked at the Indian Beach Trailhead with a beautiful view overlooking the ocean and set off on Clatsop Loop Trail, a 2.5 mile roundtrip. Easy peasy, right? Well, we immediately found ourselves climbing up a steep hill and the incline didn’t let up until we reached the top. Turns out the elevation gain for this trail is 785 ft. Whew! No problem for Norman. I was the one struggling, but I made it! Don’t I look happy here? I had no idea what I was getting into. Ignorance is bliss perhaps?

The incentive for making this climb is to get a view of “Terrible Tilly”, or the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse — the most expensive lighthouse ever constructed on the west coast. However, when we arrived at that viewpoint, this was all we were able to see. They forgot to mention that it’s often socked in with clouds or fog.

On the return, farther down the trail there are some great views of the sea stacks to the south… along the edge of one very steep cliff. You have to be careful not to lean too far to get your shot.

In the end, it was quite a challenging hike for me, but it was satisfying to know that I accomplished it. Not too bad — I’m still smiling.

Just as you realize you have almost arrived back at the parking area experiencing some relief, you come upon a bench where you can sit and take in the splendor of Indian Beach. What a treat! A rest stop with a view. The sea stacks you see in the distance appear much larger and more impressive in reality than what any photograph reveals.

Lastly, we found a shaded picnic bench where we enjoyed a snack we had brought along and then ventured down to the beach to cool our tired feet.

This was definitely a successful Day at the Beach!

Gold Beach and Beyond

After spending some time at Shore Acres State Park, we made our way back to the 101 and continued south to Gold Beach where we stayed with our friends, Adam & Hong, for a couple of days. It was really great to catch up after so many years. One evening, we made a sunset visit to the tiny wharf of this rather tiny (pop. 2300) Oregon coastal town which sits at the confluence of the Rogue River. Despite its size, you have to admit that it’s quite photogenic. Gold Beach derives its name from the fact that hundreds of placer mines extracted gold from a nearby beach in 1853. The town holds the interesting distinction of being one of the last two remaining rural mailboat locations — delivering mail upstream since 1895 to Agness, an extremely remote community.

Sunset on Gold Beach Wharf

Aside from the ever-popular jet boat tours on the Rogue River (which we experienced way back in 2001), there is very little to do in Gold Beach. However, it makes an excellent launching pad for visiting several spectacular scenic locations farther south along the Oregon Coast. The Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor offers a multitude of landmarks to explore with craggy bluffs, secluded beaches, and offshore rock formations that can be accessed by a variety of trails. This 12-mile stretch along Highway 101 is replete with breathtaking vistas.

For those (like me) who can’t negotiate more challenging trails, there are many turnouts where you can enjoy some of the area’s beauty from the side of the road or within easy walking distance.

Arch Rock

One of the best viewpoints in the park can be found at Natural Bridges, a series of seven iconic arch rocks and blowholes. A short but very steep trail leads to a narrow bridge you can actually walk over if you are brave enough. Even though Adam has lived in Gold Beach for five spring/summer seasons, he had never had the opportunity to go there and was anxious to experience it with us. We set off on the path together, but I soon realized this was not a safe adventure for me. The trail was uneven, rocky, and potentially dangerous requiring more dexterity than I happen to possess at this point in my life. So I turned back and happily waited on the overlook platform for Adam and Norman to appear atop the bridge and eventually, they did! Norman wasn’t bothered by the height and thought it was really cool. He did have to scramble quite a bit to get there and back though. Better him than me!

Adam & Norman Conquering Natural Bridge

Cape Sebastian State Scenic Corridor affords striking panoramic views. Driving through a dense forest of Sitka spruce once you turn off the 101, you arrive at one of two expansive parking lots situated over 200 feet above sea level. Looking south, you can see almost 50 miles toward Crescent City, California… on a clear day, of course.

During this brief trip, we learned that the Southern Oregon Coast offers a myriad of opportunities to take in the wild and rugged side of nature. And it’s not far from home! Hopefully, we will return to make some other discoveries.

Next up… time to head north!

Southern Oregon Coast

Recently we discovered that some friends from our years living in the Palm Springs area of southern California had purchased a second home in Gold Beach, Oregon. They have a custom ceramics business and spend much of the year traveling to various art festivals mostly on the west coast selling their wares. To escape the heat, they decided to spend half the year in a much cooler locale. It was high time to catch up with them and take the opportunity to discover the southern Oregon Coast along the way.

We live in a rather central location in Oregon conveniently located just off the I-5 corridor. From Eugene we can easily head to the mountains, the desert, or the ocean which is just one hour and 15 minutes directly west to the city of Florence. We have ventured that direction many times. It may sound enticing, but reality is — when you get there, it’s very difficult to find the beach. You will find rocky shores or sand dunes with some effort, but no place you can really park your beach chair and soak up the sun for the day. If you have any prior beach experience i.e. California-style… you will declare, “This is NOT the beach!” You have to head north or south and even then it’s a challenge.

I was determined to find an inviting place for this southerly adventure where we could enjoy the scenery and views for a bit en route to our friends. After some research, I chose Shore Acres State Park near Coos Bay and though it was a bit off the beaten path, we were not disappointed. This property was once the estate of timber baron, Louis J. Simpson and extended to Cape Arago and Sunset Beach. The latter is now the home of Sunset Bay State Park which which we passed by on our Highway 101 “detour” to Shore Acres. We were thrilled to see that it hosts a “real” sandy beach surrounded by grassy lawns, picnic tables, and many camping opportunities… if only there were a Marriott. Nevertheless, it’s definitely a future adventure destination for us.

Sunset Bay

Shore Acres is a combination of mansion and formal gardens with rugged cliffs overlooking an ever-churning ocean. The mansion is now an observation building for those cold, blustery days (of which there are many!) when you couldn’t possibly stand outside to enjoy the view. Fortunately, we were afforded a gorgeous day. There are hiking trails in both directions along the coast offering some spectacular vistas. The unique formation of the huge rocks jutting out from beneath the waves is really intriguing.

In the formal garden area, you can enjoy a very well-maintained Japanese-style garden with a lily pond…

Such variety in plantings produces an abundance of blooms all year round. We encountered a team of gardeners who told us it’s a non-stop job taking care of this place. I can just imagine!

We loved this giant, craggy tree root that has been left along one of the trails. It immediately became a jungle gym for a group of children who arrived shortly after we did. It was delightful to see them use their imaginations to turn it into a magical playground.

The rugged geography of this location reminds me very much of Point Lobos in Monterey, California… minus those iconic Monterey Cypress of course. However, there’s plenty of other local Oregon vegetation to set off the beauty and offer a myriad of photo ops.

That’s a Beach!!

While we didn’t make it down there to that beach, it was such a pleasure exploring this area and experiencing the draw of the ocean. Peace and tranquility at its best!

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