Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dragon in the Mist

On a foggy morning I was greeted at Shore Acres State Park by a dragon in the mist.

The estate at Shore Acres began life as a summer retreat created by ship builder and logger, Louis Simpson, for his wife Cassie. The home evolved into a three story show place with an indoor swimming pool and ball room. Unfortunately, it burned in 1921 and the planned replacement fell into disrepair during the Great Depression. Enter the State of Oregon who purchased the property in 1942. The Visitors Center was built in the gamble-roofed style of the original home.

Maybe it was the mist, maybe the remains of the tennis court on the bluff, whatever, I felt the presence and continuing influence of the original owners so strongly here that it was spooky.

The developed gardens are surrounded by forest. Entry through the main gate into formal garden might seem abrupt, but no, it was a lovely transition and the forest is the perfect back drop for the gardens.

Sword ferns were sprouting new fronds in both the gardens and the forest.

There were very few visitors on this foggy week day morning. The biggest crowd was photographing in the begonia house.

Estate trees were gathered from all around the world. The Monkey Tree caught my imagination. The trunk is spiky, kind of like a palm, but not.

The branches are smaller versions of the trunk. It's a big tree, maybe 30 feet, or more.

A foil to the more exotic plants are variegated geraniums and baby's tears.

A few steps lead down to a pond in a Japanese influenced garden. Wooden gates offer access out to the trail along the bluff and down to the Simpson's private beach.

Yet another garden path leads to the Rose Garden. I'm guessing maybe August was the perfect time of year to visit. They were amazing. Stay tuned the roses in a future post.

A famous feature of the park that I didn't get to see is The Wave. Instead, the rock formations that create these amazing waves were clearly visible.

If you look closely at the above pic you will see an overlook and wall on the edge of the bluff. Just behind that is a fully enclosed observation building that sits on the location of the original home.

The park has many miles of great trails through the forest in addition to the Oregon Coast Trail that travels along the ocean on the bluffs. I hiked north on the Coast Trail. A couple miles up is the Sunset Beach campground; a great base camp for exploring more of this section of the coast on a future visit.

By mid afternoon, the mist was receeding into the woods and the dragons reverted to their regular work as roots sparkling in the sunshine.

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