I fell in love with Bandon, Oregon, in 1996 when I rode Big Red up the Oregon Coast on our first long-distance solo ride. That small town captivated me from the beginning with its comfortable, homey atmosphere, the breathtaking beach views, and the welcoming Coquille River Lighthouse.
For two nights, I stayed at the hostel, steps away from the marina where colorful new and aging boats drifted in the breeze. An easy stroll through Old Town Bandon along Front Street, past sea-weathered buildings took me out to the South Jetty by way of a narrow road lined with tall grasses. That’s when I first spotted the lighthouse. I was drawn to that red-roofed building, which stood across the river at the gateway to the ocean. The Light was a beacon for me, calling me into a calm, healing place.
Three years later, I was finishing a Masters in Counseling in Bakersfield. As I prepared for a grueling six-hour written exam, my friend Valerie gave me a piece of advice. “Take a photo of someplace that’s soothing along with you. Set it up where you can look at it occasionally.”
The morning of the exam, I pulled out a photo of the Bandon lighthouse and propped it up against my briefcase. Every now and then, taking deep breaths and massaging my writing hand, I stepped inside that picture. The feel of the ocean breeze and the lap of the water came back to me, and I could almost smell the sea air. Though the immediate situation was stressful, I felt refreshed and calm.
Since making the Oregon Coast my summer residence, I’ve eagerly returned to Bandon several times each year. We love to walk on the beach, and it's one of the coastal gems that we show off to first-time visitors. Sure, there have been some changes over time, but for me, the feel of this town, the lure of the beach, and the beckoning of the lighthouse have remained constant.
What spot away from home holds a special place in your heart?
~ xoA ~