Heading up to Newport, our destination for the evening we stopped in Coos Bay, a natural harbor where early on schooners sailed in and out carrying freight and passengers. When the first Euro American settlers arrived they found not only coal but a great natural harbor, huge stands of trees, an abundance of wildlife and a mild climate.
Although Spanish and English ships sailed along the Oregon coast as far back as the 16th century, Hudson’s Bay Company fur traders were the first Europeans to reach Oregon’s south coast and Coos Bay in the 1820s. A small group of Americans reached Coos Bay in 1853, and established the first town of Empire City, which is now part of the city of Coos Bay. The first sawmills and shipyards were built in the 1850s and coal mining began with the first settlers. Coos Bay is Oregon’s largest coastal estuary and shipping port and from the beginning of the white settlement the Coos Bay region was tied into a coastal market for lumber, coal, salmon, and agricultural products centered on San Francisco and Portland. Goods could be shipped and imported from around the world. The ancestors of today’s local Indian tribes: the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians, and the Coquille Indians, lived here long before Europeans landed on the eastern shore of North America. The Coquille Tribe, as owner of the Mill Casino on Coos Bay, is today one of the region’s largest employers.
Timber and Cole are two of the natural resources found on the bay. Logging, a huge industry on the Cubas River whose bay and marsh field timber continues to play a major role in the area economy shipping, remains strong and ship-building still takes place.
We walked around town looking for the perfect bakery and eventually we found one as we headed out of town. One of the stores we went to was an elaborate head shop and then I remembered that marijuana is now legal, as of July 2015, in Oregon for all—not just medicinal use. I don’t think I’d ever seen such a large collection of pipes and bongs.
We had the most delicious chocolate croissants at the Empire bakery on New Park Street in Coos Bay. This place was recommended as we were looking for walnut cranberry sourdough bread. The coffee was excellent and we did not leave the parking lot before we tasted the bread, had some coffee and part of the pastry.
There are numerous museums and other attractions making Coos Bay a fine destination.
- Coos Art museum in Downtown Coos Bay, has operated since 1950. Located in a historic former US Post Office, it offers tour exhibits, art classes, lectures, and community events.
- Coos Historical & Maritime Center opened in Spring 2015
- Coos Bay Iron Works, a producer of logging equipment, opened in 1882 and is still in business on Front Street, using a variety of antique tools dating to the Industrial Revolution
- The Egyptian Theatre built in 1925 was part of a popular architectural movement and is the only Oregon moviehouse, that still has its original theatre organ installation.
- Oregon Coast Music Festival founded in 1978, is an annual festival held the last two weeks of July. Local, National and International artists perform diverse genres such as Native American, Celtic, Jazz and Chamber as well as an 80-piece orchestra
- Blackberry Arts Festival is an annual festival that began in 1982, held in August, and showcases local arts, crafts, food and entertainment in the historic Marshfield District.
For more about Coos Bay http://coosbay.org/
Continuing on our way we thought we could find a place on the beach for our picnic lunch of Face Rock Creamery cheeses, the scrumptious walnut cranberry sourdough bread, left over bottle of wine from the previous evening and snacks we were carrying for “just in case”. The road we thought would end up on a beach was too rough for the car so we pulled over and had our picnic.
We continued on after our lunch and stopped at Oregon Dunes National Recreation area’s Siltcoos Beach and enjoyed gorgeous views of this beach and some exercise walking up the dunes and onto the beach where the sand was like silk.
We continued up the road with Newport as our destination. Along the way we stopped in Florence to enjoy the ocean air and the stunning views. Every town seems to have several galleries and artists’ co-ops. These are coastal towns and my guess is that the galleries, for the most part, are geared to the tourist. The landscape or Seascape is so gorgeous that many artists must be attracted to work here.
Heidi had picked out an Inn in Newport but when we got there neither of us felt good about the place. Heidi got online and located another Inn that didn’t meet all of our requirements but did meet the good internet connection and ocean sounds all night criteria. Our third requirement was immediate access to the beach. Access to the beach wasn’t so easy but the luxuriousness of the Elizabeth Street Inn totally made up for not being able to step out the door and onto the beach. There was Salmon chowder for us to enjoy when we checked in and cookies after 8pm.
The room had very fluffy robes, a fireplace and there was a jacuzzi, indoor swimming pool, and exercise room (none of which we used). Heidi did use the laundry room and we would have clean clothes for the next leg of our trip. Each day I had to check ART TIMES email and as often as I could I posted blogs about our trip. I had also been posting pictures and comments to Instagram, a new social media outlet for me, which I found to be quite easy.
This was our first rainy day. We had breakfast at the Inn and headed up towards Astoria where we would spend the night. Original plans were to stop in Portland to see Heidi’s daughter but the timing didn’t work out for her so we had yet another day to travel route along the coast.