Florence Hotels Articles

August 11, 2010

Best of 2008: Vacation destinations

Our 2008 summer vacation took us to familiar territory in the Pacific Northwest where we found new delights. Sixteen years ago we bought a time share at Eagle Crest Resort, located on one side of the triangle of roads linking the Oregon towns of Bend, Sisters and Redmond, and bisected by the Deschutes River. Unlike most time share owners, we don’t seize the opportunity to try out other destinations in other states and countries. Our week at Eagle Crest has been delightful summer after summer.

The living units were recently remodeled, and our persistent nagging to have wi-fi availability and king size beds in the master bedroom was finally answered. The Oregon high desert has high temperatures in the mid-summer vacation times that my teaching job required. Now fully retired, we have moved our week to just after Labor Day, when the vacationer population is thinned by kids returning to school, and milder temperatures don’t require crack-of-dawn golf starting times.

After the comforts of Eagle Crest, we enjoyed a leisurely drive east on Highway 242 over McKenzie Pass where it becomes Highway 126. We encountered almost no traffic on the short trip to McKenzie River Cottages near Blue River. We just enjoyed our third successive summer visit at the resort, nine of whose twelve units sit so close to the McKenzie that the river’s babbling accompanies our dreams.

After a round at nearby, low-cost Tokatee Golf Course, I found time to catch and release a trout from just below our cottage porch and to exchange pleasantries with people in passing drift boats before cocktails and dinner at Holiday Farm, built in 1876 as a stage stop but converted in recent decades to a restaurant of charm and rustic ambience.

The usual guided fishing trips are expensive. I mentioned to the proprietress of the cottages my interest in drift fishing the lower part of the river for a few afternoon hours. She made a phone call or two and found a boat-owner acquaintance who had some free time. He knew every drift and snag of the river where catch-and-release was not required. He suggested where to cast my spinning lure and when not to bother. I brought home eight nice trout for dinner and breakfast. My boat friend said not to bother, that the beer I had brought to share was sufficient payment, but I insisted on giving him three $20 bills for his time and effort. What a bargain! As we drove home from the pull-out spot near Finn Rock, he gave me his card and told me to call him if I hankered for a similar excursion during the coming year.

From the McKenzie, we drove east through Eugene to Florence on the coast and then turned south on Highway 101. We spent a night in Bandon, eyeballed (but did not play) the three renowned Bandon links courses, and continued to Tu Tu’ Tun Lodge seven miles inland from Gold Beach. Casual and informal but luxury surpassing my most fevered imagining.

In view of recent economic developments, we’re thinking that in 2009 we may skip TuTu’ Tun and substitute a few nights and days in Ashland at the Shakespeare Festival. From there we can either drive straight home or make a stop in Mt. Shasta City where we know great places to eat and a fun golf course that has humbled me year after year.

Writing this in our Pacific Grove, CA, home with warm memories of our last September trip north, I recommend you make a note of the stopping points mentioned above. If you should choose to partake of the joys of central Oregon, Holiday Farm, the McKenzie River, Ashland or Tu Tu’ Tun Lodge in coming late summers, you just might run into us. We’re definitely going back for more.

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