Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Little Towns in Oregon

Darling house in Coquille
I spent about two weeks in Oregon in July of this year. I was visiting my sister and my college room mate who lives in Eugene, plus helping another friend paint his sister's house so it could be sold.

In all that traveling around southern Oregon, I got a chance to live in and experience a small town reminiscent of Andy Griffith's Mayberry. Coquille, Oregon sits on the slopes of the Coquille river valley, above Bandon and Coos Bay, the large towns in the area. Just up the road a piece is Myrtle Point, where the county has a fairgrounds. One afternoon, during a much needed break from painting, we drove over to see the exhibits and eat dinner.

Rides at the County Fair
The 4-H clubs had many animals on display. There were a lot of pigs! Quite a few goats, and some horses and cows. But the pigs were amazing. They were huge and most weren't even a year old. I asked some of the kids about raising the animals. Each pig had certain personality traits that had to make it hard to see them go to auction after the fair, knowing each would soon end up on somebody's breakfast plate. One had a mirror attached to the walls of the pen and the boy told me that pig just loved snorting at himself. Of course he was sound asleep when I saw him.

The other big animal display area contained chickens. Hundreds of cages held one or two chickens each, and the noise was occasionally deafening. I'd never seen so many varieties of chicken except at the big NM State Fair.

Myrtle Point has a logging museum housed in an old domed Mormon church built in 1910. It was supposed to be a small version of the Mormon Tabernacle, but due to it's small size the acoustics were chaos. It didn't last long as a church. A recognizable landmark, it is the building for which the town is widely known.

Very cool model railroad housed
permanently in a building at the fairgrounds
I thoroughly enjoyed Coquille. It was July and the blackberry bushes were overloaded with unripe berries. A very few had darkened and softened enough to eat, so every morning, I hiked down the street in one or two directions to wild areas so full of berry bushes only a bear could have gone deeper than a few feet into them. And every morning I returned with a small bowl of ripe berries for breakfast.

Coquille and Myrtle Point would be lovely small towns to live in for a summer. They are so close to the coast and the cost of renting a furnished place so small compared to Bandon or Coos Bay. Plus it's just charming to live in a town where you can walk to everything, have a nice salmon meal in a good restaurant, shop in a health food store, and pick up good used clothing or even furniture at several second hand stores.