Florence, Oregon: Siuslaw River and Heceta Lighthouse
One of the tourist books at our resort in Yachats mentioned a restaurant for foodies in Florence, Oregon, that no longer exists, as we discovered when we went on a hunt for it. The day was gloriously beautiful, with warm sunshine wrapping her rays around my shoulders, making the weather comfortable enough to remove my jacket and tie its sleeves around my waist. After wandering the gift shops to pick up gifts for my hard-working Elizabeth Weintraub team members back in Sacramento, we set out to find a place for lunch.
I asked one of the shopkeepers about the restaurant, which is when I received a long explanation about who used to own it, who sold it to whom and why it’s closed now, none of which was putting any food into my stomach, and ended with the shopkeeper saying, “But this is a small town and I just keep to myself.” The pace in Florence, Oregon, is much more laid-back and relaxed but not quite as slow as say, Hawaii, or Mexico. Probably because they kinda like visitors and don’t necessarily view your presence as an intrusion into their privacy.
We tried the Spice Restaurant, known for its creative presentation of seafood and steaks, but it was closed, which accounts for the fact the door would not open regardless of how hard I tugged. No problem, there are many restaurants and cafes in Old Town Florence, and the day was still young. We were not pressed for time like we were the other day when I was forced to eat a grocery store hamburger that had been warmed up in the microwave for lunch.
There are two large seafood restaurants next to each other on the Siuslaw River: Mo’s, whose sign looks like MG than MO and immediately made me think of Booker T and the MGs and about which we had been warned about all the deep-fried stuff, and the International C-Food Restaurant, which is called ICM and features only wild-caught seafood. It seems that the tourist favorite no matter where we go is battered and deep-fried fish, accompanied by French fries: fish and chips. This restaurant was no exception, either, so I opted for a salad topped by wild Mexican shrimp.
“Oh, I don’t know if we can do that,” our waitress said, looking very concerned, almost distraught. I pointed to the menu where it featured a shrimp cocktail and then to the salad, explaining that they could simply combine the two and leave out the cocktail sauce. After lunch, we sauntered over to BJ’s ice cream parlor. It’s probably named after somebody like Bobby Jean and not what you otherwise might think. Then again, it IS ice cream served in a cake cone. And yummy salted caramel at that.
I felt like we had only one option at that point. To curl up under a tree and take a nap. But my husband had more energetic ambitions. Plus, he was the one driving us back to Yachats, and we still needed to visit the Heceta Lighthouse. This still-working lighthouse was hauled up the hill in parts, some 205 feet above the ocean, sometime in the late 1800s. It features, like many, the Fresnel lens, which beams light 21 miles out to sea.
We poked around the lighthouse house, but it was locked and we could not enter. At one time there used to be two houses on this lot, and the cement steps, created to allow easy access for getting up on your horse, still remain. I looked in the window because I can’t help myself. I love older houses, especially the vintage homes I sell in the central core of Sacramento with a sense of history. The buildings speak and can transport you back in time. The floor was wood, covered with an ornamental rug in the living room, and the dining area featured an antique table with a lace tablecloth.
In the photo below, you can view the lighthouse in the distance from the front porch and also see the ocean through the trees.