Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Travel Tuesday - Heceta Lighthouse, Ghosties and A Squirrel

The Oregon Coast

There is a place, covered by the mists of fog, where mermaids sing and dragons roam. In this place, the air is filled with salt that pixies feed off of as they dip down towards the oceans depths, gathering star fish to place in the night sky. Bent and beautiful looking creatures tear apart crumbling castles made of sand and sailors hear the sirens song as they try to navigate through the night.

Growing up in Oregon, I have always been surrounded by images that feed my hungry imagination. However, when I was younger, I tended to dream about adulthood whereas now, I dream of Neverland. One thing has not changed through the years, though. I have always had a fascination with the Oregon coast line. I remember when I was a little girl, I was always made to sit in the back seat during car journeys. In true Oregon fashion, the clouds would be thick and grey the moment we arrived at the beach and would threaten to release salty drops of rain without any warning. I loved this though. I loved looking out a rain spattered car window and watching the waves crash against the shore as we drove by. I loved the rocks that jutted from the water or the way that the air smelt crisp and fishy. During those moments, when no one talked and old
rock tunes wound their way through the car speakers, I used to look out over those rocks and think that if I could only see to the other side, I would catch a glimpse of a mermaid or some other little creature that we had yet to discover. These images came directly from watching way too much Hook as a kid and thinking that the scene with the mermaids swimming through those green waters was probably the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

Of course, since those days, I have become a bit more dark with my fairy tales. The once simplistic beauty of a mermaid has become a bit more sinister as I imagine it luring wanderers to certain death. The pixies of my dreams have a bit more of a tricksters side than they once did and this magical land where you are said to be happy is only joyous as long as you don't ever want to return home.

"Fight! Fight for my master, defender of  the house-elves!"
The little hunched over goblin like creatures with hooked noses that I used to imagine climbed the rocks, are nice though. Goblins like that are always nice. Think, House elves. :) But of the none Kreacher variety.


I am not necessarily a fan of Oregon. I can acknowledge its beauty and think that the lush green trees and the rolling hills are sights to see, but I think there are much prettier things in this world than what I have around me. That being said, I have yet to see a coastline that tops that of Oregon's. So, yay on you Oregon. You've managed to convince a girl who doesn't really understand the hype that people give you, to love your coastline enough to make it the setting of the novel she's writing.

I visited the red rooftops of Heceta Lighthouse in Florence Oregon, over this past week. I am always struck by the color that those roofs produce in the gloom of the fog and the way that the light still shines brightly, cutting through the grey surroundings. Its something out of a painting. Now, Heceta is one of the only lighthouses I've visited but I keep coming back to it. It's said to have a haunted little history and one in which I love.

Legend has it that the caretakers of the lighthouse had a small girl. One day, while the girl was out playing, she passed away. As all good ghost stories go, we don't really question the details of how this girl died but at least this story does have a grave to back it up. After the child’s death, the mother became so distraught, that she threw herself over the cliffs edge, falling to her death. It is said that she still haunts the groundskeepers house though, looking for her child and waiting for her to come home. Locals have dubbed her the Grey Lady; a name that is all too fitting given the state of the weather most of the time.

Photo by Caitlyn Tendick
The Grey Lady has a certain penchant for construction workers it seems. In one of the more infamous stories, a man working on the groundskeepers cottage, came face to face with the Grey Lady inside the attic. Startled, he fled from the attic, breaking the attic window in the process. His fear became so much in fact, that he left the attic as is, leaving the shattered glass scattered across the attic floor as he fixed the broken window from the outside. That night, some of the guards heard scraping coming from the attic above. When they went to investigate the next morning, all the glass had been swept into a neat pile at some point during the night.

Needless to say, these workers didn't wish to return to work afterwards.

Items are said to be moved within this house, images of the Grey Lady herself are said to have been captured through the attic window as she stares mournfully out at sea, and sometimes, late at night, you can see her wandering around the bay, looking for her little girl.

Ghost stories aside, Heceta Lighthouse truly is a pretty lighthouse. It's one of the originals left in Oregon. Every time I see it up close, I tend to dance around the land, looking out over the sea, pretending to see ships coming over the horizon. These ships are of course pirate ships.

There is a lookout point not too far down the road from this lighthouse though where you can stare back at the structure and suddenly, the thoughts of ships and the excitement of being on the coast, disappear a bit. Here, standing off in the distance, is this beautiful column of white and red, looking out over the ocean, all alone. There's something so pretty about it. It's like when you look up at the stars for the first time when you're a little kid. Suddenly, you feel very very small.

Photo by Caitlyn Tendick

Heceta is of course one of the many things that the Oregon Coast has but in my opinion, it is one of the best. After hiking up to the lighthouse you only need to drive a bit further, crossing over a terrifying bridge (which my friend drove over about three or four times this trip because she kept getting terribly confused) to get to Mo's.

Photo by Caitlyn Tendick
Yes. Mo's.

It is the fish restaurant on the coast where you can sit and gorge yourself on actual fish as opposed to the cardboard imitations that you can find in your frozen food isle at the grocery store. It is also the place where every table has trivia cards with questions on it that barely anyone knows the answer to and your eyes are always bigger than your stomach. A garage door is opened during the nicer days of the summer in order to open up the restaurant even further. The story goes that after Mo's first opened, a woman had parked her car outside of the restaurant and instead of putting it in reverse when she meant to leave, she drove straight through the establishment. They decided to put a garage door in place of the wall after that, proving that the owner had a sense of humor that most in this world do not. To this day, that same garage door, remains.

You can eat at the original Mo's in Newport and across the street is a small little dock where the seals hang out. Unfortunately, you are reading this blog and cannot hear my marvelous seal impression but I'll have you know, it's kind of amazing.

Also, this is Otter Rock. 

Photo by Caitlyn Tendick

Not to be confused with the actual area of the Oregon Coast called Otter Rock. No, this is my friend, who is very well fed, and who has no fear what so ever.

If you have not had the chance to visit the Oregon Coast, take it if the opportunity arises. If anything, look up some of the pictures that have been taken there over the years in order to get a sense of what I mean. 

Also, does anyone else have the horrid habit of having this scene pop in their mind when they're around a beach?


If you would like to read more about Heceta or Mo's, click on the links below.

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