Pure silence is a hard thing to come by. Even in the deadest of nights, you may hear a car pass by, the low hum of a computer screen or light, a creak in the wall or the sound of a ventilation system starting up. The wind will beat against an air vent, a storm will pass over, the occasional late night partiers will stumble home – their voices echoing off the pavement, or the soft drum of a jet engine will pass overhead. It’s rare to sit and observe pure silence. But at the Wildspring’s Guest Habitat in Port Orford, Oregon, it is so quiet at night inside the private bungalow cabins, recessed in towering fir and cedar trees, that you could literally hear a pin drop. The silence is eerily still and foreign, but nonetheless invokes feelings of peacefulness, solitude and serenity.
Walking around the grounds during the day, soft light breaks through the trees in streams drawing attention to the plants and flowers dotted around the property. The tops of the lofty trees sway in the wind far up above while various sculptures and art displays are interwoven among the trunks down below.
Wood chipped pathways lead to each cabin and up to the guest hall. The guest hall looks out onto the murky greenish-blue ocean. Without a doubt, Wildsprings is a place to press pause on the play button and feel whole again. No distractions. No incessant noise. Just silence in the purest form.
The surrounding town is equally attractive. Port Orford, OR, the oldest town on the Oregon coast and the westernmost town in the lower 48 states, is truly a treasure to be discovered. Sitting along an open bay, the town’s natural beauty is immediately astounding. Waves crash onto the outstretched beach while seastacks jet up from the salty spray.
A great place to eat on the oceanfront is Redfish, which serves french-inspired dishes.
Port Orford is also only a short drive from some equally impressive scenic spots on the southern Oregon coast. Head south on Highway 101 and you can spend an entire day stopping at scenic overlooks and beaches strung along the 62 miles to the California border.
The Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor between Gold Beach and Brookings, OR is particularly rich with beautiful vistas overlooking the ocean.
Just a short distance north of Port Orford is the oldest working lighthouse on the Oregon coast, Cape Blanco Lighthouse, built in 1870. It sits within Cape Blanco State Park, the outright westernmost point of land in the continental United States. However, be prepared. Since the park is unprotected, it’s often really windy.
Head further north and you’ll find sizeable sand dunes extending along the coastline. Some of the areas are protected, but other spots are open to ATV riding. Also if you’re like me, I can never pass up an opportunity to try local cheese. In Bandon, OR (27 miles north of Port Orford) stop off at the Face Rock Creamery located on Highway 101. The creamery doesn’t quite rival in size the well-known Tillamook factory farther north, but the cheese is definitely tasty!
As usual, though, the sunsets on the coast, particularly in Port Orford, likely make the trip worth while alone. As the sun lowers in the sky, haze lingers in the distance creating lines of blended colors and enveloping the rock formations. The light reflects off the haze producing red, burnt orange and light yellow shades against a light blue backdrop. The seagulls ride the upward drafts in the sky. I’ve experienced a lot of sunsets, but I can honestly say the sunsets in Port Orford, and the immediate surrounding areas, were some of the best I’ve ever seen.
The backbone of the giant sea monster elusively appears through the haze.
When the light slowly fades away, its time to return to the Wildsprings Habitat, to the pure silence of the beckoning trees, to listen to the stillness and relish it one last time.
Quick Tips – Southern Oregon Coast:
Fantastic Place to Stay: Wildsprings Guest Habitat (Port Orford, OR)
Fresh Seafood and Fine Dining: Redfish (517 Jefferson St. Port Orford, OR 97476)
Cheese? Yes Please! – Face Rock Creamery (680 2nd Street SE (on Highway 101) Bandon, OR 97411)
Closest International Airport to Port Orford, OR: Portland, OR – 287 miles away
(Even more reason to explore more of the coast!)
Best Scenic Stretch on Highway 101 on the Southern Oregon Coast – Port Orford, OR to Brookings, OR
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