Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tripping The Light Fantastic In A Pacific Oregon Wood

Taking The Road Less Traveled Is Always Better

After the R&R we enjoyed at Margot's Bright Airy Studio In The Trees, we continued our 40th Anniversary Celebration with a relatively short three hour drive through Southern Oregon to our ultimate destination in the  small coastal town of Port Orford. As we left I-5 behind and headed west to the coast via State Road 38, the diversity of this beautiful state afforded constantly changing views of forested mountains, farmlands, moose laden plains and mountainous sand dunes seemingly in the middle of nowhere. And the views of natural beauty only increased as we headed south on the famous  US Route 101-Pacific Coast Highway, which runs through Washington and Oregon all the way to Southern California. Some may need a little Dramamine to handle the twist and turns, but we were so enamored with the constantly changing scenery, the thought of motion sickness never entered our minds.
And the town of Port Orford makes certain that you will not miss the "big picture". As you enter this small enclave of 1,200 citizens, it's impossible to miss the word "OCEAN VIEW" painted in twelve foot high letters  on the pavement  with a giant arrow pointing up a very steep hill. As you arrive at the crest of the hill, there before you is one of the most breathtaking sites of the Pacific shoreline you will ever encounter. WOW-WOW-WOW and WOW!!!

How About A Late Lunch?

After catching our breath from our first introduction to the beautiful Southern Oregon coastline, we decided to see about lunch. In a town the size of Port Orford, one would not expect to find many fine food establishments. Not so fast my friend! Our first taste of this small fishing village with a definite sense of style was fish and chips at The Crazy Norwegian. Entirely fresh and all good, this little hole in the wall eatery serves real, fresh expertly prepared seafood. Don't be thrown off by this little place's humble exterior. The food served inside its even more humble interior is second to none.

After lunch, we headed onto the loop road that leads to the place we would be staying for the next four days, Wild Spring Guest Habitat. Turning into the gravel drive of this smallest of places to sleep for Incurable Romantic Nomads, I knew right away that we had landed on Planet Nirvana. Wild Spring is not so much a hotel, and it certainly is not a typical B&B. It is, in fact, exactly as its web site describes:

WildSpring is a small, eco-friendly resort in Port Orford, 60 miles north of California. Private and secluded, on five acres of old Native American grounds, it offers comfortable luxury in a naturally beautiful environment.

Four days at Wild Spring  reinforces the notion that places like this  make travel worth the sometimes onerous planes, trains and automobiles we have to use to actually get to places like this little piece of God's country.  

Tripping The Light Fantastic - Art, Nature and Nirvana Achieved

According to writers who concern themselves with such things, Tripping The Light Fantastic involves dancing nimbly or lightly - moving in a pattern to musical accompaniment. In various iterations, this phrase has been used by writers and playwrights from Milton to Shakespeare. Now I am not one to go all metaphysical on my legions of Nomad fans, but, hear me when I tell you -  Wild Spring Guest Habitat brings out your ability to "dance on your toes", at least metaphorically, if not literally. The unique combination of towering trees, cool gentle breezes, local sculpture, found art work and the smell of the Pacific make for a perfect place to achieve something so rare in this insane world of warp speed living and 24 hour bad news cycles - real peace and tranquility - Nirvana.

After a day of beach walking, art gallery hopping, coastal road tripping or just enjoying the many attributes of this amazing Pacific wood - they even have a  Walking Labyrinth for those inclined to get centered or dizzy, depending on your perspective - the five elegant cabins make a definitive statement that Wild Spring is all about quality, design and pure comfort. From the love seats in the small living room to the large tiled shower to the comfortable pillow-top beds, these eclectic, art filled cabins provide all the comforts any Nomad needs for rest and sweet dreams. In keeping with the eco-friendly concept of this unique property, the cabins are heated with in-floor radiant heating to ensure toasty comfort at night when the temps get in the low fifties. With a roomy front porch, complete with rocking chairs and strategically placed outdoor furniture, these intimate modern casitas in this small forest can be enjoyed to the fullest extent morning, noon and night. And best of all - no telephones or television. They do have a small flat screen you can watch movies from their extensive DVD library if you so choose, but in this place, what would be the point? To ensure absolute privacy and relaxation, you never see the creators/owners of this great place, except at breakfast or if you need something, which you can request via the in-room intercom.

Nomads Need More Than Just A Well Appointed Cabin In The Wood - They Gotta Eat!

The great southern comic Brother Dave Garner said "Man does not live by bread alone, he must have peanut butter". Well, even though we didn't eat any peanut butter, The owner recently informed ME that they do have Skipper Super Chunky and Adams Organic of one of life's necessities, metaphorically and otherwise. The daily morning feast provided was delicious and healthy to ensure every resident Nomad got their day started with a proper meal. In addition to a freshly prepared hot dish - frittata, quiche, bacon, etc. etc. etc., - the spread included fresh fruit, bagels, muffins, yogurt and home made cinnamon scones that would win any Nomad's hungry heart. And this daily ritual is served in a well appointed "Guest House", complete with an eclectic array of comfortable furniture and an ample deck overlooking the Pacific. The Guest House, in keeping with the eco-centric design of the place, is a short two minute walk through the forest from the cabins. Of course they have a full kitchen for preparation of food for other meals if you so desire.

One of the great features of staying in such a small place is the opportunity to talk with the people who conceived it and operate it with an obvious passion and true concern for their patrons' well being. In talking with an owner of a place like Wild Springs, you get a kind of personal history of how such a unique property came to be. As an architect, I was not only impressed with the site and the buildings, but also the design approach and eco-sensitive methods of construction used to keep intact the natural beauty that drew the owners to this piece of land in the first place. Adherence, both architecturally and ecologically, to sustainable and environmentally sensitive design ensures that Wild Spring will remain true to its ethos of high quality and low impact.

You Heard It Here - Port Orford Has Great Food, Great Music and World Class Art

In addition to the great digs at Wild Spring, this part of the Pacific coast is like Big Sur for Cheap Nomads. Big Sur, as amazing - and expensive - as it is, has nothing on the Southern coast of Oregon. And, in comparison to Central California, the prices here will make you and your bank account feel better. In addition to incredible natural beauty, the small fishing village of Port Orford has great food, great music and numerous art galleries to suit big and small pocketbooks - everything a wandering Nomad needs to eat, drink and be merry. In addition to The Crazy Norwegian, if fine dining is what you seek, then Free Range Oregon Chicken Supreme & Prawns on White Truffle Polenta with Sangria Buerre Blanc and Broccolinni at Redfish will fill the bill. They have killer steaks too. A small, progressive jazz/folk trio from Texas provided a nice accompaniment to a fabulous meal with a front row seat overlooking the rugged Pacific coast.

With over sixteen different artists displaying work in a variety of media,  a must visit for serious art collectors and enthusiasts  (people who love art with no money to spend on it)  is The Hawthorne Gallery. There are numerous other galleries featuring work by mostly local artists as well. And one of the most unique art installations ever conceived is a short drive north from Port Orford in the small seaside town of Bandon. The Washed Ashore Art Project features massive sculptures constructed entirely of various debris, plastic and otherwise, found in the ocean. It's both a fascinating look at the creative use of found trash and a disturbing reminder of the carelessness and stupidity of human beings who think the ocean is their personal garbage can.

After enjoying one of the USA's most beautiful places and enjoying the natural luxury of Wild Spring Guest Habitat, this inspiring piece of God's Country is near the top of The Nomad Architect's Places To Sleep Before You Die. And best of all - not a single Atlanta Bread Company in site (See previous post -Blazing The Nomad Oregon Trail( Part One) !
Traveling with a real Nomad makes life better every day - I just want to say thanks to Susie - my companion near and far for forty years. Wandering without you just never crosses my mind. I love you in every language. 

Wander With The One You Love Nomads,
D.L. Stafford

Travel Quote of The Week -  “Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” Paul Theroux - Think about that one for awhile.

Video Artist of The Week - Chuck Mangione - Simply put - the man can blow!

No comments:

Post a Comment