Sunday, December 19, 2004

Holiday Road Trip

I have been MIA the last four days...  Thursday morning, husband and I made the five-hour drive down to Oregon's "Bay Area--" a population center (if you can call it that) about 3/4 of the way down the state from where we live in the far north.  There is an Oregon State Park in that area--Shore Acres State Park, to be precise-- which started out as the estate of a late-nineteenth-century lumber baron.  His mansion and most of the buildings have fallen victim to fire or storm over the years, but the formal gardens remain, and they were deeded to the State of Oregon sometime in the early part if the twentieth century.  Every holiday season, the formal gardens are decked out with thousands of lights...a most spectacular show.  People from all over the U.S., and several foreign countries, visit each year (according to the little flyer put out by the "Friends of Shore Acres.)  

The real trick when planning a trip to one of these outdoor Christmas extravaganzas is picking the right weather.  Which, in the Pacific Northwest in the middle of December, is an iffy proposition at best.  We got drowned out at "The Grotto" (where they deck out the grounds of a Catholic monastery in Northeast Portland), and frozen nearly to death by the evil gorge wind the year we went to visit the "Zoo Lights" display at the Oregon Zoo.  More often than not, we peer at the lights show at PIR (Portland International Raceway) through pea-soup-like fog. 

We've been to Shore Acres twice before to see the lights, the last time was seven years ago.  And, though we lucked out and didn't get rain, we froze our butts off both times.  So, we packed layers upon layers of clothing to wear to the park last night.  Would you believe, yesterday afternoon, shopping in the nearby town of Bandon-by-the-Sea, we were squinting into a winter-weak yet naked (NO clouds to hide behind) sun, tying our sweaters around our waists, and sipping wine at a sidewalk fish shack! It must have been no less than 68 degrees in mid-afternoon...  I felt like I was in Cali-flippin'-fornia!  The fickle Oregon weather gods had decided to flash a benevolent wink in our direction.

Wish I had got better pictures, but I neglected to bring my tripod, so most of my pictures were...less than okay.  But here are some of the best...hope they're big enough to get a decent idea of how absolutely breathtaking the display was.  It was a total Christmas fairyland.  Wished we had brought a picnic and bottle of champagne... Nah...probably too crowded for that, anyway.  Ah, but it was lovely!   


  1. Five hours !!! Holy smokes!  It takes about seven hours to get from Paducah to Pikeville...which is tip to tip in old KY.  Had no idea that Oregon was so BIG!  The lights look divine!

  2. It looks beautiful.  I'm glad that you had a good time and great weather.

    Happy Holidays!

  3. Lisa, You always amaze me at the wonderful romantic  and out of the way places you find to visit. I am a native and have never known about Shore Acres. It sounds wonderful

  4. oops I forgot to congratulate you on your 10,000 mark, I don't think I will make it before the end of the year unless I REALLY do some pimping HEHEHEHEHE!

  5. The pictures are great. Even here in Cali-flippin'-fornia. :-D ---Robbie