Oregon Coast Guide: X Marks the Spot for Naturalists
Port of Call: Bandon
THE RIVER HOUSE
riverhousebandon.com; from $195
As one of only 16 edifices to survive the Bandon fires of 1914 and 1936, this 106-year-old building—a former men’s store transformed into a chic five-bedroom rental—gives guests a unique perspective on Bandon’s commercial history. And the spectacular harbor view from the tub upstairs grants a glimpse of what Bandon trades on today: natural beauty.
bandoninn.com; from $124
Perched on a hill overlooking old-town Bandon, these affordable, cozy rooms put visitors within easy walking distance of Bandon’s shops, restaurants, and harbor.
ALLORO WINE BAR
Ready for a respite from the fish-and-chips and chowder shops? Step inside Alloro and slide into Italy with handmade pasta dishes that use local, seasonal ingredients in dishes like the orecchiette (little ear pasta, Italian sausage ragù, tomatoes, and black truffles) and a glass filled from Alloro’s excellent list of Italian and Northwest wines. Or combine the best of both worlds in a bowl of cacciucco, Tuscan-inspired fish stew.
BANDON BAKING CO
Carb-load for a day of hiking or kayaking at this 13-year-old bakery. Known for its scrumptious cinnamon rolls, Bandon Baking, with its fully stocked pastry cases, promises plenty of ways to pack a few rewards for a long day on the trail (our preferred prize: the cranberry nut bread).
The signs leading to Cape Arago Highway are easy to miss, but the spectacular scenery along this 13-mile stretch of road is impossible to forget. For the best perspective, head to Shore Acres State Park. Here a solitary bench planted along the cliffs affords a dramatic picture of the Pacific unleashing its fury against the stone leviathans rising—hunchbacked and wave-lashed, like some great prehistoric beasts—from the turquoise sea. Mere steps away, inside Shore Acres’ gates, immaculately manicured formal gardens present a juxtaposition of beauty in which order reigns supreme.
NEW RIVER AREA OF CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERN
“New” is a relative term when you’re talking geological time. This nine-mile-long, kayakable river was formed in 1890 when a flood carved a new channel in the dunes from Floras Creek to the Pacific. Today, four miles of trails crisscross the area’s 1,200 acres of pine and conifer forests, meadows, and dunes—a diversecollection of habitats that support everything from bald eagles to pied-billed grebes and western snowy plovers.
COQUILLE POINT OREGON ISLANDS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
Bandon’s four magnificient golf courses draw a particular breed of outdoorsman, but Coquille Point, the headland overlooking Bandon’s signature sea stacks, poses an opportunity for a different kind of birdie: specifically the common murres, tufted puffins, and Brandt’s cormorants who live along this protected stretch of sand.