Oregon coast lighthouses are some of the best preserved and most photographed in the country. The smell of the ocean and sound of the crashing surf only adds to the magical experience of visiting one or more of these iconic pieces of our state’s history.
When the holidays come around, the smell of hot apple cider and cocoa and sounds of holiday music and even live caroling can eclipse the ocean's presence for a day or even a few weeks at some of these historic locations, which are perfect places to celebrate long time traditions.
The Victorian Holiday Celebration at the Yaquina Head Lighthouse Interpretive Center in Newport on Saturday, Dec. 14, features crafts, musical entertainment, old-fashioned caroling and treats.
Presentations begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 4 p.m. Though the music leans toward what you would expect from an era named after an English queen, this year includes a colorful presentation at 1 p.m. by members of the group Huehca Omeyocan, made up of Aztec historians, dancers and musicians.
I have experienced this group's talents a few times at Dia De Los Muertos celebrations, and it really is quite an experience. You can learn a lot about Mexican history by chatting with these very knowledgeable performers, who love dispelling myths and answering questions about their culture's past.
If you like caroling with a group, arrive at 10 a.m. for a rousing round of traditional selections. Books are provided so you don’t have to show up with a head full of lyrics. The day wraps up with a performance by the Coastalaires Barbershop Chorus.
For a beautiful outdoor display, head down the coast to just north of Florence to the Heceta Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast, in the former light keeper's cottage, which will be lit up and decorated until Friday, Jan. 6.
Photo credits to Heceta Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast
Though you can certainly enjoy the lights on the building and grounds and practice your nighttime photography skills, there are ways to experience the light keeper's home from the inside too:
1. Stay overnight in one of the guest rooms. (Each stay includes an evening wine and cheese social and seven-course breakfast)
2. Come to the free Victorian Christmas Open House on December 14 and 15, from 4 to 7 p.m. to see Santa, hear live music and enjoy warm drinks and cookies. The event is free and open to the public.
3. Reserve a seat in the dining room for the seven-course breakfast. Typically only for overnight guests, on December 12 and 13 the family-style gourmet breakfast will be served to the public at 9 a.m. $60 per person. (Reservations are required – call (866) 547-3696 to reserve your seat.)
Any time of year, the areas around these lighthouses abound with walking, hiking or running trails, so have the extra sugar cookie and enjoy what the central coast has to offer, both outside and in, this holiday season.
What are some of your favorite holiday traditions in these towns? Share them in our comments section. For other things to do on the central coast, check out our Daytime Events calendar. For evening entertainment, our Nightlife page steers you to the top happenings on the Central Coast.