Coos Bay, Oregon
July 3 & 4, 2004
A few months ago, Adam, Peggy and I decided to meet in Coos Bay Oregon for the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Reservations were made (I wouldn't recommend the Red Lion, but it wasn't really awful or anything). So, they traveled up to Oregon's Bay Area on Friday and I joined them on Saturday.
NOTE: ALL of the fireworks photos are the ones Adam took and emailed to me to use on my page. Thanks Adam!)
The Oregon "Bay Area" is comprised of Coos Bay, North Bend, and Charleston. Coos Bay (the bay itself, not the town) is the largest bay between San Francisco and the Columbia River (which separates Oregon and Washington). It is one of the world's major ports for the shipping of forest products.
The bay is used by large freighters and other commercial craft, sailors, kayakers and windsurfers. There is a lovely Boardwalk to stroll down and an Interpretive Center to tell you all about Coos Bay and its ties to the maritime and timber industries, past and present.
Coos Bay is the largest city on the Oregon Coast and has all the charm and warmth of a small town (the population is only about 16,000 people). The people are very nice and the "old town" is quite charming.
North Bend, is (oddly enough) on the north bend of the bay! Originally, it was called Yarrow and was founded in 1856 by Asa Simpson as a "company town" for his lumber mill and shipyard employees. It was renamed North Bend in 1903.
Charleston is located just inside the entrance to the Bay. It is a small coastal fishing village. The harbor area includes restaurants, seafood and gift shops, a motel and an RV park.
There is plenty to do in this area! Clamming, crabbing, tidepooling, seal and whale watching, take an ATV out on the Oregon Dunes, fishing charters, kyacking, "On Broadway" Theater, plenty of restaurants, many State Parks, camping, golfing, hiking, museums, factories, The Mill Casino, and much more! Its an interesting area!
The Mill Casino was having a fireworks display on the night of July 3rd. So, of course, we decided we would go to see that. We got there pretty early and spent some time in the Casino, walking around outside, went to the Saloon and watched all the walks of life that had decided to come to the festivities!
My Sis (Peggy) and Me....don't we look like REAL sisters?? OMG! LOL
Uh oh! Busted! (Adam and me)
Peggy and Adam!
The place was packed with people waiting to watch it all, music blared out from the building, there were artists sketching people for a fee, a clown making balloon animals, someone doing some "face painting", and a BBQ out on the long deck.
The fireworks display was awesome!
After the fireworks ended, we were glad to be leaving. There is something about holiday events that brings out the worst in people! Many were just rude!! It took awhile to get back to the hotel. There were ALOT of cars trying to jockey for position and get back home! But we made it!
The next morning we had breakfast at the Mill Casino and decided what else we would do on the 4th. We knew we were going to go down to the Boardwalk and watch the fireworks there, but that was a long time off!
Checking out the Myrtlewood
A small area on the Pacific Coast contains the world's supply of this rare and beautiful wood. Myrtle trees have been known to reach a height of 150 ft. The wood has an extremely fine texture and grain and is tough and durable. We went to the Oregon Connection (The House of Myrtlewood) in Coos Bay. They have a wonderful shop and the factory is on site also. The owners are Joe and Tricia Benetti. Tricia and her Mom were working the day we arrived there. Both are wonderful ladies, very nice to visit with and very hospitable. Take a look a their website, The House of Myrtlewood Thier prices and shipping are very reasonable and the quality if superb!
As it turns out, Mr. Benetti is also the Mayor of the town and the Benetti's own an Italian Restaurant in Coos Bay next to the Boardwalk on S. Broadway. The name of the restaurant is (here's a suprise).... Benetti's! The food there is fabulous!! We ate like pigs! The marguerita's were pretty darned good too! (more about this place alittle later). The website for the restaurant is Benettis
After making our Myrtlewood purchases, we ventured down south to Charleston and to the Shore Acres Gardens and the Simpson Reef Wildlife Viewpoint.
Shore Acres Gardens
Originally, Shore Acres was the private estate of Louis Simpson. (Remember Asa mentioned earlier? Louis was his son). At almost any time of the year you can find something in bloom at this marvelous place! There is a gift shop at the entrance, then a Rose garden, the Formal Garden, the Oriental Garden and lily pond, and The AARS Rose Display Garden. The place has a Pavillion Greenhouse, and Garden House too. The gardens are lit up for the Christmas season, and from the picture I saw... is quite beautiful. The original home of Simpson burnt down in the early 1900's. Check out the web site for Shore Acres
Before we walked to the Garden, we went to the overlook area to view the ocean.
Adam and Peggy
Me and Adam
The Shore Acres Gardens are just gorgeous!
Adam and Me
Oriental Garden and Lily Pond
Peggy and Adam
Guess who goofing off!
Simpson Reef and Shell Island, Cape Arago
Cape Arago is the home to many wildlife.
Year round you can see the Northern Elephant Seal. These are the largest of the seal family and the deepest diving mammal. The male can weigh up to 2 1/2 tons, the female a mere 1200 lbs! Pups weigh in at about 75 lbs at birth.
Harbor seals are also year round residents. The males and females can weigh up to 400 lbs, the pups are about 35 lbs at birth.
The Great Blue Heron, with its 6 foot wingspan, stops in frequently to feed at the intertidal area.
Another year round resident is the Black Oystercatcher. This black shore bird has a brilliant red bill. The like to feed on the mussels found in the intertidal area and have a shrill call.
A black shore bird, The Pelagic Cormorant, build their nests on the ledges at Shell Island. They nest in July.
If you look out past the Simpson Reef, you may see a Gray Whale spouting. From March to June, they swim close to Cape Arago as they head up to the Alaskan waters. The whales are about 45' in length and weigh about 45 tons. The calves are about 15' in length and weigh about 1 ton.
In the late summer or early fall, the Male California Sea Lions, having served their purpose in California, head north by Cape Arago going as far as British Columbia. The females and thier pups remain in California. These are the ones that make the barking sounds. The males can weigh up to 750 lbs, the females up to 400 lbs and the pups weigh in about 35 lbs at birth.
Stellar Sea Lions, also known as Northern Sea Lions, are the largest of the sea lion family. The males weigh a ton or more, the females about 600 lbs, and the pups weigh in at about 40lbs at birth.
Peggy and Adam
If you look close, you'll see some sealions!
Dining at Benetti's
As I mentioned earlier, this was a terrific restaurant!
Trisha and Joe Benetti, the owners, are very warm and friendly people. Trisha showed us the new lounge and waiting area they are building while we waited for a table upstairs in the adult dining area. She explained that her father had built the interesting and creative "wine bottle fountain" in the new "wing". In no time, we were seated upstairs.
The first order of business was to order some marguerita's! We weren't disappointed either.... they were yummy!
Next was to decide what to eat! The choices all sounded so good, it wasn't an easy choice! The menu included dinners like: New York Steak, Calzone, Cannelloni, Lasagna, Raioli, Fettuccine Alfredo, Gnocchi, Spaghetti, some specials, combo plates, Veal Parmigiana, Scampi (to name a few) or all you can eat Soup, Salad, and Garlic Bread! The prices were very reasonable too.
One of us had the Spaghetti with meatballs, one had the "half and half plate" (Spaghetti and Ravioli's was the choice for the plate), and the other had a "special" which was prime rib (cut up) with various veggies and seasonings over fettucine. While waiting for the dinners, we were served with Minestrone soup (they leave the pot at your table) which we all agreed was the best we had ever tasted. Next came the salads, I had a very delicious creamy garlic dressing on mine. Then came the big plates of dinner and the yummy garlic bread! Of course, none of us could finish our dinner so we got "doggy bags"! If you still have room,after eating all that food, there is dessert too!
It was one of my more pleasant dining experiences and will go there again the next time I'm in Coos Bay!
It was nearly time for fireworks to start and although you could view them from where we were seated, we were afraid that the windows might "reflect back" if we tried to take pictures or do any filming of them. So, Adam paid the bill (thanks Adam! *HUG*), we found our gracious hostess, told her what a wonderful meal it was, and bid her a good night. Then we "waddled" down to the Boardwalk to film the fireworks!
Fireworks at the Boardwalk
It was a perfect weekend with two close friends! The weather stayed nice, had good food, good booze, good fireworks (twice!), and great company! What more could you ask for?? The only problem was, it was just too darned short!
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