Posts Tagged ‘Lincoln City OR’

Saturday afternoon brings a wonderful surprise: a visit to the Connie Hansen Garden. Barely a block off US 101, we enter a far-from-the-madding-crowd acre of magnificent botanica, the culmination of one woman’s gardening dreams.

In 1973, Connie Hansen moved north from California (her home place was being converted to a BART station) to Lincoln City. Over the next 20 years she capitalized on the area’s cool damp climate to convert her original property (as well adjacent land she purchased) on a then-quiet beach town’s residential street into her own little piece of paradise—filling it with her particular favorites: specimen rhododendron, azalea, Japanese iris and maples, and primula, aka primroses.

Rhododendron Bloom © SR Euston

The day we visit this free public garden, it’s a glorious window of warm, bright, high spring June weather. It feels like everything is in bloom: purple and white lupine, azaleas of every hue (there’s one that’s a brilliant, profusely red-flowered ground cover in a rock garden), azure forget-me-nots, buttercups, columbine (two shades of purple/blue and a very unusual triple), pink Dutchman’s breeches, foxglove, and a positively bizarre primrose called “candelabra primrose” which my friend describes as “discs of flowers on a stalk.” The rhododendrons are in full glory. Their colors run the gamut from the merest hint of pink, through scarlet, rouge to magenta, to downright purple. There’s even one that’s white with a remarkable purple bleed. Miniature to towering, their colors burst across the winding grass paths and stream which meanders through the property, framing the miniature vistas for which artfully planned and designed gardens are so well known. Scattered in strategic locations are stone and teak benches where a visitor can sit for a moment or more, soaking in the remarkable scene.

Connie Hansen Garden

The Garden is now the work of  a nonprofit Conservancy, who run a small gift shop and bookstore, offer plants cultivated onsite, and maintain an extensive botanical library. They welcome small parties, including weddings, in the old main house. Volunteers lead guided tours on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Every other day any visitor is invited to wander the garden, at 1931 NW 33rd Street, from dawn until dusk. It’s free but donations are gratefully accepted.

So be sure to check out the Hansen Garden. It’s a true gift from Connie and her friends. For more information visit: www.conniehansengarden.com/

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On the map, Lincoln City looks like an extended, skinny strip, bordered on the west by the ocean, on the east by Devil’s Lake.

Lincoln City Map Courtesy of visittheoregoncoast.com

On the ground, that turns out to be true. As in many a beach town, US 101 (the main drag) spools out in a dizzying array of Mexican fast food, chowder houses, pizzerias, motels, salt water taffy, teeshirt, souvenir, and other beach paraphernalia shops.  There’s even an outlet mall.

It’s the sunset end to a long, lovely Friday. The best weekend weather forecast so far this year beckons. The town is beginning to fill with excited beach goers. There’s too much traffic; my head hurts.

After about six miles of this tourism writ large, we turn west into Lincoln City’s northern most section, “Road’s End”, where the cottage we’ve rented is located. Less than a block later we enter a dense hillside village of crowded together, mostly very large, homes. At the top of the hill the houses are the tallest, climbing into the sky in multistoried splendor, reaching for an ocean view. As we head down toward the beach the houses lessen in stories, but not much in scale. We fly right by our own dirt road turnoff as we gawk at the sheer mass of housing around us.

The road dead ends into Road’s End Wayside Park, a beach access point. There are SUVs, cars, vans, motorcycles and three school buses parked: The buses’ back seats are filled with sleeping bags and luggage. There are a lot of folks on the beach itself.

We head back up the hill, slowly scanning the numbered homes. Finally we find ours, undoubtedly the district’s very very very smallest. It’s a blue, oddly shaped single room with tiny bath. It used to be a studio we’re told later by our host. It’s charming, in a slightly dated, completely beachy sort of way.

“Is this how the Jersey shore looked in the 60s?” Stan asks later.

I think of the packed beach. Yup. Our place reminds me of Avon’s little wooden cottages. The salt water taffy and beach blanket emporiums? Oh yeah. Still…those giant second homes? An outlet mall? Not so much. “Sorta,” I reply. “Only more so.”

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Last week we took a trip north to Lincoln City. Just 200 miles, with only three large towns along the way, we managed to take ten hours getting there.

Carter Lake Rhododendrons © SR Euston

We don’t screech to a halt at every roadside tourist attraction though there are plenty. Instead, our weakness is the natural places—parks and waysides. And there are plenty of them too from Port Orford to Lincoln City.

Muriel Ponsler SSV © SR Euston

On other trips we’ve stopped at every wayside from Cape Blanco to Oregon Sand Dunes National Recreation Area just north of Florence. Today we made only a brief visit to Carter Lake to take an up-close look at the Dunes and the ocean.

Neptune SSV © SR Euston

It was a gorgeous day, warm and sunny. Rhododendrons bloomed in a wild profusion of purple and pink and white. Foxgloves, lupine, iris, and tansies lined the roadsides. And of course in so many places the central Oregon coast line itself is spectacular and beach accessible.

To give you a sense of our choices: There are 22 public recreation areas between Florence and Lincoln City, including three lighthouses (Heceta Head, just north of Florence, is said to be the West Coast’s most photographed lighthouse), four interpretive centers (including the spanking new Beaver Pond State Natural Area), multiple campgrounds, and pullouts too numerous to count.

Bob Creek © SR Euston

We stopped at six separate areas between mileposts 175.4 and 166.9 (mileposts head north to south). Each offered a separate experience of the Oregon Coast’s wild beauty.

Capt. Cook Trail, Cape Perpetua © SR Euston

At Muriel Ponsler State Scenic View we walked a long sand and cobble beach. At Rock Creek Campground we meandered up a damp creekside trail among magnificent old Douglas firs.  At Bob Creek Beach Access we ate lunch at a grassy overlook we shared with other sun-seeking diners. At Cummins Ridge, we took a short hike on the only trail through the Cummins Ridge wilderness. At Neptune we walked down steep wood stairs to the beach below. And at Cape Perpetua we toured the interpretative center, hiked down the bluff and checked out some tide pools.

All this, mind you, in less than ten miles. So much to see, so little time.

For maps and more information see: www.visittheoregoncoast.com

Tidepools, Cape Perpetua

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