Life on the Southern Oregon Coast

If you’re like most visitors we meet, you live in an upscale urban or suburban area, and you and your spouse are educated, employed in a corporate or professional position, have achieved wealth, and have adult kids who are finding a life path of their own.

You’re thinking about retirement and your assets. Stocks and bonds don’t hold the promise they used to. You hear land is still undervalued in some areas, especially when compared to where you live. You’re healthy, active, ready for a change, and adventure beckons.  Oregon keeps coming up in conversation. What’s life on the Oregon coast like, really?

It sounds appealing on many dimensions.  It’s wild and beautiful country, for sure, but are there enough amenities, you wonder? Will you be bored? Will you feel socially isolated?

The answer so many of us have come to realize is that Oregon is a wonderful, healthy place to live. Many residents here have lived much of their lives in major metro areas and wouldn’t trade Oregon for anywhere else.

The air smells good, filled with the scents of nature and new beginnings; pungent, earthy, of the ocean and life as it was meant to be. It feels clean. There’s an invigorating sense of being in touch with pristine nature and a burgeoning self-sufficiency.

Sure, there’s lots of rain in the winter, but it’s not as bad as you’ve heard. Storm fronts move in, interspersed with sunshine, hail, and puffy clouds. The water cleanses and keeps everything lush and green. Summers are relaxed, long, dry and balmy. It’s never swelteringly hot and never frigidly arctic.

What about a horseback ride on the beach? Or a hike through the wilderness, across blue-green mountain creeks, and rivers filled with salmon and steelhead? Anyone for wind surfing or kiting at Floras Lake or Pistol River? Camping at Bullard’s Beach? Whale watching, birding, kayaking? And we can’t forget the world-class golf courses?

So much of the food is fresh, direct from local growers. Being a rural area, there are family farms abound, with fresh fruits and vegetables for much of the year. Locally grown beef, lamb, pork, farm fresh eggs, and more are here. The fish and crab are as fresh as can be, often pulled from the waters the very same day. Local cheeses, wineries, and chocolates are easily discovered.

Shopping? All the essentials and more. There are books, crafts and galleries. A variety of terrific restaurants. Much is ordered on the internet. Costpro Direct delivers some 4,000 Costco items weekly to Bandon customers, and Amazon delivers here too.

There’s a terrific library and the Sprague Theatre in Bandon, and more theaters in nearby Coos Bay, North Bend and Coquille. More great restaurants in these towns as well. Ashland, of renowned cultural repute, is an easy three-hour drive, offering even more theatres, restaurants and galleries. Shakespeare festival, the Oregon CabaretCamelot, Market of Choice, Trader Joe’s, Harry & David’s.

Anyone up for a tour of fine vineyards and estate bottled wines as they wander through lush Oregon valleys?  Or a three day rafting/kayaking trip down the mighty Rogue River, stopping at lodges each evening for hearty meals as dusk descends? 

And what about the people? Like anywhere, there’s a diversity of interesting people to meet. Educated, professionals, artists, writers, people from all walks of life who decided the south coast offers a lifestyle more in keeping with their sensibilities. And there are a multitude of opportunities to volunteer, help out, and make a difference.

There’s a stillness and peace of mind that comes with living on the Oregon Coast, a sense this is what life is supposed to be. There’s time and opportunity for introspection and consideration, far from the rat race we all at one time or another have managed through.

Some will complain that Oregon’s south coast isn’t easy to travel to. The knowing response: For those who value their sanity, the trek is well worth it.

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