Take a Vow to Visit this Coastal Gem

By Gretchen Ammerman | Monday, February 10, 2020

A Yachats tourist stop and vital piece of Central Coast history, known as a locale for annual vow renewals on Valentine's Day, is about to go through some major changes. 

The Little Log Church, built in 1930 and now home to a museum, is finally succumbing to the elements. The eponymous logs, original to the building, are all going to have to be replaced. Salt air and pests, such as carpenter ants (that act more like demolition ants), mean that if you want to visit the structure before it becomes replica, then you better act fast.

And what better time to visit than when those vow renewals are happening?

“I started doing a ceremony of renewal and commitment on Valentine's Day at the church in 1996,” officiant Mary Crook said. “We weren’t sure how it would go but, by golly, that first year we had six couples and it grows every year. One couple came all the way from Indiana and scheduled their whole trip around that vow renewal.”

Mary Crook, vow renewal officiant for the last 25 years

The event has grown so popular, in fact, that this year has two seatings: 12 to 1 p.m. and 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.  

“We have to cut it off at 22 couples per session so that everyone can fit, and there is room for some friends and family,” Crook said. “We’ve had a full house for the last few years.”

There is even mood music provided by local musicians.

“This year we will have violinist Ruth Mock, who’s also known as Fiddlin' Ruth, for the first ceremony,” Crook said. “Richard Sharpless will provide music for the second – he has a mellow wonderful tone.” 

Reservations are required, and spots are filling quickly, but as of this writing there were still a few spots left in both time slots. Reservations also give Crook time to prepare the certificates of renewal that she gives each couple.

And since it is a benefit to help with the renovations of the Little Log Church, Crook said the suggested donation of $20 per couple is very much appreciated. “The Little Log Church is also going through a renewal because of the assault of the elements,” Crook said. “The building will still look the same, but it's basically going to have to be completely rebuilt.”

The museum that borders the church, added in the 1990s, features church and local history in addition to a few vintage wedding dresses, so it's a fun visit for history buffs.

One of the vintage wedding dresses in the Little Log Church Museum

Or simply just come and join the other happy couples, such as the pair this year who will be celebrating over 60 years of marriage at the time of the ceremony. 

“We do it, and our couples do it mostly because it’s a sweet thing to do,” Crook said, who describes herself as an independent minister and says the ceremony is non-religious. “It goes beyond a box of chocolates and dinner – it’s very meaningful.” 

If you're looking for other ways to woo your sweetie or just have a girls' or guys' day out on Valentine's weekend on the Central Coast, check out our Daytime Events calendar. For evening entertainment, our Nightlife page steers you to the top happenings around these towns.

About the Author Gretchen Ammerman
Gretchen Ammerman received an Environmental Science degree from Humboldt State University and was soon running a state environmental agency in Hawaii. She gave it up for the glamorous life of the freelance writer. This led to steady employment as a newspaper editor in Lincoln City, OR, where she knew she was doing well when the paper was threatened with a lawsuit within a week. Though the work was rewarding, she returned to freelance writing to have more freedom to explore the beautiful state of Oregon with her adopted dog, Scout.