Living in Oregon

Living in Oregon (Episode #2) – Shore Acres State Park

This last week we took a drive over to Shore Acres State Park.  We wanted to take family pictures and get everyone out of the house for the day.  We haven’t done family pictures in awhile , because frankly they’re expensive and our last experience was an all out nightmare.  We had the an arrogant photographer that thought he was God’s gift to the world of photography ,whose quality of work didn’t measure up to what I would have expected with his bragging.  Anyhow, I digress.  

Mr. Sunshine has always enjoyed tinkering with photography and we decided to do our own pics.  Shore Acres seemed like a great spot  and we would get to visit the coast and have some chowder for lunch.  So, off we went!  It was raining when we left and I prayed that it would stop before we got to the park.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t specific in my prayers, because not only was it not raining, it was REALLY sunny.  This made it fun to work with on the pictures (yes that was a bit of sarcasm).  However, it made for a beautiful afternoon at the Oregon coast, which during the autumn and winter can be hard to get.

A little history on Shore Acres State Park

Shore Acres was originally owned by Lewis J Simpson, a timber baron and founder of North Bend, Oregon.  He and his first wife, Cassie purchased the land in 1906 and built a large home that overlooked the ocean.  The house was a three-story mansion that included a large indoor heated swimming pool, a ballroom, 5 acres gardens, a gardener’s cottage, a farm and dairy herd.  The property sits on a bluff that has an amazing view of the Pacific ocean.

In 1921, Cassie fell ill and passed away.  Shortly after the mansion burnt to the ground.  LJ married Lela Gardner in 1922 (he sure didn’t waste time did he?). They adopted two infant girls and moved into the gardener’s cottage, until a second house could be constructed.  This mansion was 2-stories high and 224 feet long.  Financial hardships eventually caused the Simpsons to sell the property to the State of Oregon in 1942.  The second mansion was razed, due to extensive disrepair.  

Shore Acres State Park Today

Today the gardens have been updated and maintained.  The gardeners cottage is still standing.  During the holidays, from Thanksgiving to New Years, the park is decorated with Christmas lights.  The cottage is opened up for tours and refreshments.  We have gone to see the lights a few times in years past and it is really is a fun family outing.

The gardens have been set up to take advantage of the Oregon climate.  As you can see below, year-round the garden is full of beauty to behold:

Hundreds of spring bulbs and daffodils – late Feb. thru March
8,000 tulips – late March thru April
Hundreds of rhododendrons and azaleas – April thru mid-May
5,000 flowering annuals/perennials – May thru Sept.
800 rose bushes – June thru Sept.
250 dahlias – Aug. thru mid-Oct.
300,000 or more holiday lights (almost all L.E.D.)- Thanksgiving thru New Year’s Eve.
Hundreds of spring bulbs and daffodils – late Feb. thru Mar.


Shore Acres State Park
89039 Cape Arago Hwy

If you would like more info about Shore Acres State Park, you can visit their website at  If you’re ever on the Oregon coast, you should definitely make this a priority.

For lunch we drove into downtown Coos Bay to check out the Fisherman’s Seafood Market (click HERE for their Trip Adviser rating).  We use Trip Adviser quite a bit when we are traveling, because we like to go to the places that the locals rave about.  The Market isn’t really a restaurant, but they do have 4 small tables inside that you can eat at.  The restaurant is built on a concrete barge and is docked in a boat slip.  One of the owners was working and told us about how her husband built the place himself.  She was very nice and we thoroughly enjoyed visiting with her.  We enjoyed fried fish and prawns, as well as the clam chowder.  It was cold and rainy outside, so the hot-fresh food was even more wonderful!  They catch their own clams for their chowder and sell fresh fish and seafood. We loved it and will definitely be back.

When heading out of town, we noticed that all over downtown, people were dressed up in their Halloween costumes, going from shop to shop.  Apparently many of the store owners were participating in a trick or treat event.  My kids begged my husband to let them join the fun and being the teddy bear he is, the car was parked and out we went.  Of course being in Oregon, the rain started pouring down during our little outing and all the umbrellas were in the car!  But, the kids got the awful chemically loot they desired and back on the road we went. Like I said before, it is what you do most of the time that matters and this is sooooo not part of their every day.

Overall a great day!  We enjoyed getting out and seeing the gardens at Shore Acres again.  Lunch was yummy and satisfying.  We got some amazing pictures (a total of 700 lol…we narrowed them down to 200).  Best of all, we got to spend time together making memories and that is what truly matters most!

Health and Blessings,



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