Valentine’s Day Treasure Hunting

I’m a bit late with this post but the good news is that you will be able to find red glass floats for a few more days and even longer!  Happy Valentine’s Day!

If you and your Valentine enjoy beachcombing for ocean treasures, there is a special hunt you can take them on this week. The City of Gold Beach is sponsoring a special glass float treasure hunt on 3 miles of  Oregon Coast Beach. 120 red glass floats will be placed above the high tide line among the driftwood and seagrass. What a fun, romantic way to spend Valentine’s together!

The glass floats of the ancient mariners were used as net weights by Japanese fishermen for many years. Some of those original floats are still drifting onto the Oregon Coast beaches but they are a rare, if exciting find these days.

The City of Gold Beach celebrates glass floats from February 1 through April 30th. Each week 120 glass floats are placed above the high tide line for beachcombers to find. The floats are tagged and if you find one and take it to the visitor’s center, you may discover you have won a prize.  There are weekly and monthly prizes. The floats can be found from the Rogue River jetty to south of Kissing Rock which might be a great place to pause with your Valentine!

You can also shop for your treasure at the Treasure Hunt Stores. Inquire at the Visitor Center for a map of these stores. You may find hidden treasure in the shops. If you spend at least $25.00 in one of the stores, you can take your receipt to the Visitor Center for your very own glass float beach treasure.

There are many outdoor and indoor things to do and see at Gold Beach. Be sure to check them all out at the Visitor Center. is about a 2.50 drive from Gold Beach. Come stay with us and leave early in the morning for Gold Beach for a day of beachcombing. Then return to Umpqua River Haven for a great night’s sleep!

While beachcombing for that red glass float at Gold Beach, have fun but just take one!

Charleston, Oregon Annual Crab Feed

This Saturday, February 10, is the Annual Charleston Crab Feed from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.  It takes place at the North Bend Community Center, 2222 Broadway Ave., North Bend, OR. There will be fresh Dungeness Crab Dinners, whole or half crabs at market price and the dinners include side dishes, bread, beverage and cake. Prices are $20 for whole crab dinner and $16 for half crab dinners but the market dictates the final price. Pricing will update as the date gets closer. 

This is a great way to partake of our famous Dungeness Crab. We recommend this fun, social event that also benefits the Charleston Visitor’s Center as all proceeds will be donated to the center.

However, if you are inclined to do your own crab trapping, Charleston Harbor is a great place to go. It’s a bit more work than the crab feed, but can be fun and rewarding. We are re-posting our Charleston crabbin’ adventure below to whet your appetite for delicious Dungeness Crab. It might entice you to attend the crab feed this weekend. We hope you have a crabby weekend on the Oregon Coast!


Let’s go crabbin’. Not only are Dungeness red crab delicious to eat but here on the Oregon Coast, they are great family fun to fish for. I ended up buying our very own family crab trap for this adventure. We packed up 7 of us in the SUV and off down the coast road to Charleston we drove.

Charleston, Oregon is a small, very small, fishing port with a large Coast Guard presence. There are a few shops and a couple are very nice. There is a motel (Captain John’s) and 3 or 4 restaurants with the Portside ( being the nicest for a fine dining experience. We also like the High Tide Café (we favor their clam chowder) Both have waterside dining available. So if you get hungry there are places to eat.

You can’t miss the fishing fleet or Coast Guard boats as that is where the best crabbing is. We stop at one of the fish markets for bait which is usually a turkey leg though you can also obtain fish heads.


Before you go crabbing for Dungeness be certain to educate yourself a little bit about them. You need a license, are only allowed to harvest male crabs in a limited number each day and they have to be at least 5 & ¾ inches. You will want to purchase the special measuring device designed to measure Dungeness.


To determine gender and to measure properly, turn crabs over onto their backs. Dungeness become docile and appear to sleep when on their backs and are easy to handle. You’ll want to know what the markings are for each gender. Licenses, supplies and information can all be obtained from any of the fish shops.


There are tricks to placing the bait in the trap so that the crabs are not able to just grab and run. One family member got very good at it.


Once the bait is set and the trap closed you gently toss it into the water from the dock and let it sink to the bottom. And then comes the tricky part which is knowing when to pull the trap up retaining the most Dungeness.  Aug06-LeCrab-2

This is something you can learn by trial and error or, as in our case, a seasoned crabber gave us some tips. The big crabs will come into the trap first and take what they want and depart quickly leaving the small ones behind.


Our mistake was leaving the trap down too long and our crabber buddy advised us to pull up after just 3 minutes. It worked! We caught a mess of yummy Dungeness crabs!


Crabbing is a bit of work as pulling those traps up numerous times can be tiring and make muscles sore. Since we had a crew, we took turns pulling it up so no one would be sore at the end of the day. There are places on the docks you can take your crabs and they will cook and crack them for you. We’ve done it at home ourselves but, again, it is a lot of work. There are special tools that are helpful but now we usually just spend a few bucks as it is economical and let the experts at the docks do it. We can then go back to Umpqua River Haven worn out but happy with our catch ready to eat when we get home.

Visit and stop in for a stay. All that great crabbing at Charleston is only about 45 minutes away! You can also crab in Windy Bay which is 20 to 30 minutes down the road.

It was a very crabby day but in a good way!



Blue Moon

We drove out last night to view the Blue-Blood Moon. It was huge in the sky and fun to see. Nothing red but certainly very bright white/silver. Here are a few photos we took. We zoomed in on the first one but not the other two.


Then, this morning, we got out of bed early to see the Eclipse. And it was there. Our photos aren’t the best but you can see that the moon was red and eclipsed! We hope you were able to view these rare events also!

Masters of the Wind and Air

Cold temperatures have been extreme in Northern Ohio this year. They still have alternating cold and warm, but melting has started. The ice is melting and the river ices are breaking up which can cause damage to docks and boats left in the water. Flood warnings have been posted at times for the rivers. 

50% of Lake Erie has been frozen during the winter. Some of it still is although there has been melting there, too. A day of 50 degrees here and there breaks up the cold and melts the ice. 

Winter isn’t over by a long margin yet, but, during the worst of it, out by the Lorain Ohio/Black River Lighthouse, the ice was thickly frozen creating a perch for these winged masters of the air. The American Bald Eagle has made a major comeback here where natural areas protect their nesting, people leave dead trees in their yards for them to rest on and hunting is plentiful. It is exciting to see them fly overhead while driving down the highway. Photo credit to Maureen Smith on Pinterest.

Let’s Go Fishing…..Er…..Crabbin’

The Oregon Coast is famous for its Dungeness Crab. It is great fun to grab your crab traps and head to the docks at Windy Bay (Winchester Bay) or Charleston outside of Coos Bay for a day of catching crabs. Sooooo yummy, we have spent many happy family times crabbin’ on the coast ( You can crack and cook your own, or, you can spend a few extra bucks and have someone there do it for you. The latter is a lot easier, I can tell you, and worth the price.  All you have to do is take them home and enjoy! Hint:  Be sure and wrap the shell leavings well as they get smelly in the trash!

Crab fishing is serious business for the commercial Mariners who make a living fishing on the Oregon Coast. This year’s crab season has been delayed due to weather and price negotiations. But, the boats have headed out to sea now and the pots are in the water. Price negotiations are in, however, the exact pricing isn’t known. Not until they bring in the first catch will the price be available to us.

The good news is that they are out fishing and will provide local businesses with delicious Dungeness once again. We can attest to the yumminess of Dungeness! If you can’t catch your own, it’s good to know the Mariners are out there braving the elements to catch them for you.

And brave the elements they are. Right now they are hurrying to fish their catch before the next big storm moves in. The storms come in on a regular basis in the winter and produce some of the most spectacular happenings that Mother Nature can provide. Our friend, Deborah Heldt Cordone, has filmed a very stormy day on the Oregon Coast at Florence (January 18, 2018). The elements don’t always allow for fishing. We thought you would enjoy watching Deb’s video below. Storm watching on the Oregon Coast is a winter activity you can partake in when you are here visiting! But watch from a distance as these storms are very hazardous, not just to the fishing boats, but to anyone near the water.

It should be noted that Ms. Cordone is a Coast Guard Auxiliarist working with active-duty personnel to obtain this footage and safety precautions were taken. The public was warned to stay off the jetties, coastal rocks and beaches during storms and high surf conditions. Mariners should always take special precautions and be aware of conditions related to weather and going out to sea.

Thanks, Deb, for sharing this video and for your input!!  Here’s the youtube link also: 

Music At The End Of The Oregon Trail

Oregon City is on the southern edge of Portland along the Willamette River and is the county seat of Clackamas County. It was founded by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1829 and was the first U.S. city west of the Rocky Mountains to be incorporated in 1844. It was established near the Willamette Falls in order to run a lumber mill, harnessing the power of the falls.

Oregon City was also the destination for those wanting to file land claims at the end of their Oregon Trail travels during the 1840s and 1850s. Today, it is the site of several large paper mills on the river and boasts a population of 31,000 plus.

The “End of the Trail Interpretive and Visitor Information Center” is located here. This is where you can learn about the history of the Oregon Trail and the people who traveled it. There were many hardships traveling the trail and those that made it through were grateful to be done traveling and settle in.

The center holds many events throughout the year but the one coming up is about the music of the Oregon Trail. Sunday, January 21, at 1:00 pm you can hear and learn about the music of the Oregon Trail from local musicians. Nancy and Rob Downie of Heartstrings bring their popular music program from this era, information on the history of the tunes, the role of music on the Oregon Trail and the origin of their instruments. Their featured folk instruments are the hammered and mountain dulcimers, fiddle, acoustic bass, banjo and Native American flute.

It’s a bit of a drive from Umpqua River Haven but not bad if you rise early and head northeast. It’s a little under 3 hours with some of it along the beautiful Umpqua River and most of it on I-5 which is also a very scenic drive. Come stay with us at, and you’ll come home to your own cozy bed after an afternoon of fun music.


Baby It’s Cold Outside!

Yes indeedy it’s cold. 3/4s of the nation was below freezing for days and days. Maybe weeks. A friend in Vermont was at minus (-) 25 degrees the other day. Their furnace isn’t fully operational and inside it was 55 degrees. At least they aren’t freezing inside—just cold. Northern Ohio was hovering from sub zero to a mere 12 above. And Wyoming was minus (-) 17 a few days ago. A ‘bomb cyclone’ hit the east coast bringing torrents of snow and extreme cold that traveled inland to Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana.

While things warmed up for a bit, there is more coming. The East/Midwest is gearing up for yet more cold and snowy winter weather. At 15 degrees (that feels like 10), Thayne, Wyoming is still pretty darn cold. While you probably never heard of Thayne, Wyoming, it is a beautiful place where family lives. Very close to Freedom (see our post from February, 2017: and not far from Jackson, Wyoming where it’s been 17 degrees feeling like 10.

The Wyoming high country winters are among the harshest with extreme cold and tons of snow that the highway workers spend hours plowing, sometimes 24/7, to keep them safe for travelers. But it is some of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful, country you will ever see no matter the season. The Tetons are here, of course, outside of Jackson. But Thayne is located between the Salt River Mountain Range in Wyoming and the Webster Mountain Range in Eastern Idaho (where the Caribou National Forest resides): ) where the mountain scenery is just as spectacular in its own way. 

We have posted photos from this area taken by a family member before but this one kind of says it all to us as to the cold, snow and extreme beauty of the high Rocky Mountain Winter.  Stay warm.  Stay safe!


The Stained Glass Window

At the beginning of the 20th Century, the use of stained glass in windows, from churches to private homes, grew rapidly in popularity. American architects and glass workers traveled to Europe, studied medieval windows and the creations of Rouault, Chagall, Albers and other European painters. Soon, Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan incorporated stained glass into their new ground-breaking architectural designs. Private glass studios in the United States created lamps, vases and windows for private homes, churches and civic buildings. This practice extended into the Art Deco Era of the 1920s and didn’t recede until the Depression and World War II. Today, we often find old stained glass windows from this period in antique stores and flea markets. Now and then, one may spot a window still in place in a home built during the heyday of U.S. architectural stained glass. Today, contemporary glass workers design and create for private residences, commercial and civic buildings throughout the country.

Somewhat recently a family heirloom popped up on the horizon bringing with it great memories. It is a stained glass window that lived in a family home of 2 generations ago. I remember sitting at the dining room table in this home as the sun shone through the glass causing streaks of color to dance on the white tablecloth much like a spinning prism. It was fascinating. The colors were as warm as the sun unleashing a child’s imagination. Visions of faeres and butterflies floated about in those multi-colored reflections creating an atmosphere of warmth and safety.

The oldest family member of this 3rd generation had different memories:  It was a beautiful window, hand-made and quite old, I think. When the light was just right, it would cast colors on the crystal kept in a glass case in the dining room.

The color reflections were something everyone remembered.

The introductory paragraph to this post was written by a family member who also took this photo. We all have so many memories coming from this one, beautiful heirloom. It is amazing what good, fun memories emerge from one very old thing that was an everyday part of life at the time. It has been lovingly restored to its original detail down to the dark green frame and hangs again in a home that loves it.

I thought you would enjoy seeing this restored beauty that was probably made around 1915. So from our family at to yours, envision the magic of the sun-created colors.

New Year’s Day On The Oregon Coast

Sunset Bay State Park near Charleston, Oregon is a beautiful Oregon Coast setting surrounded by rocky cliffs on two sides, a large beach area in the center and picnic grounds and facilities. Seagulls hang out scavenging lunch leftovers. Seals and Sea Lions occasionally wander in. This is a great place to go tide pooling also, and we have done so discovering Turban Snails, purple Sea Stars, Sea Anemones, Muscle Clams and more. The Bay is a fun place to visit, swim, picnic and hike around.

One outstanding adventure happens in the Bay every January 1, New Year’s Day. That is the Polar Bear Plunge. Enthusiasts flock to the beach in all kinds of garb to take the plunge in celebration of the New Year.

This year will be the 29th Annual Polar Bear Plunge in the Bay starting at precisely 9:00 am on New Year’s Day. The one rule dictates that you must completely immerse yourself. “Spend one to 5 minutes here in the water and you’re sure to start your New Year off right,” the promotional information tells us!

Is it cold? You bet! The average summer temperature of the Pacific Northwest Ocean is 55 degrees. Surfers wear wetsuits to insulate themselves from the cold, summer waters when they are riding the waves here. It has to be pretty darn hot in July for many to venture into these waters to swim.

This event can be a bit crazy, but mostly it’s fun for those who venture out here to dip in the ocean or just to watch. A great way to celebrate the coming New Year! You can watch some of the fun from 2012 in the following video.

We are just about an hour from Sunset Bay so do stop in to see us on your way to the Polar Bear Plunge, or stay with us for a night or two at

Happy New Year From Sunset Bay, Oregon!

Pictures of the Day

We thought you would enjoy some of our favorite photos gathered together here. Some have been posted previously but some haven’t. All were taken by family and friends. Enjoy!

 This is a real Wyoming Winter year in the high country near Jackson. Over a foot of snow and minus 12 degrees when this was taken by a family member.

A warmer day a few years ago in Winchester Bay, Oregon. Sunset in the Bay. Photo credit goes to me.Another Wyoming Winter photo by a family member. The roads are constantly plowed by hard-working staff. They often work 24 hours a day, including Christmas and New Years, to keep the roads in this high mountain country safe and to enable locals (and some crazy tourists) to get around.

You’ve seen this one before. That’s me on the beach at Bandon, Oregon. Taken by a family member who was standing on the Dunes. This was my first ever hike along the Pacific Ocean Shore. It was December.

We love the photos this family member takes and think the Wyoming  Winter ones this year are awesome!

This was taken on Cape Perpetua at the Devil’s Churn on Highway 101 on the Oregon Coast by a young family member. He braved the elements of crashing waves to get this photo. We have posted this one before but it’s definitely worth a repeat!

Here is one more Wyoming Winter high country taken by a family member. I love the lone tree.

This was taken by our friend, Brock Thorne of Vernal, Utah. He hiked to get this one out in the Utah wilderness. Another repost-worthy photo!

This is one of mine taken at Lake Marie up out of Winchester Bay, Oregon near the Umpqua River Lighthouse. If you hold it upside down it looks the same. In fact, I’m not sure if it is upside down here or not.

This is taken (by me) on a farm in East Nebraska one summer morning.  Sunrise Blaze!

Poppies (Mexican poppies) with snow on the Santa Rita Mountains in Southern Arizona.  I won awards with this photo and maybe a couple of bucks!

Dawn on the Huron River in Huron, Ohio. Photo credit is mine. The colors are real!

This photo is very old taken in the late 70s by me. Laramie Peak is the highest Wyoming Peak in the Laramie Range in the northern part of the Medicine Bow National Forest. 10,276 ft high. You can see signs of winter in the small, snowy patches.

Oregon has 50 historic covered bridges which are among the greatest number in any state in the US. This one is particularly picturesque. Photo credit goes to me. I love the holiday wreath and especially the reflection in the water.

I love windmills but particularly the old, wooden ones. They are getting harder and harder to find, but this one is somewhere along the Wyoming high country back roads. It is still a working windmill! Yes, it’s my photo.

One of my favorite places of all time is the Redwood forests on the Northern California Coast. I love to hike among the tall trees where it is ever peaceful and quiet, especially on the high trails. From the ground looking up, the trees are awesome. But hiking near the tops of them is even more awesome. This photo is of a landmark Redwood named simply, Tall Tree. It was measured in 1957 at 359.3 ft high. A redwood tree can grow 3 to 10 feet per year so it could be between 180 ft and 600 ft taller now. This photo is zoomed from the ground looking up.

We hope you have enjoyed our “Pictures of the Day” collection for 2017. If you are visiting the Oregon Coast during this holiday season, do stop in and say hello to us at or even stay a night or two. It’s Whale Watching week right now so bring your binoculars along. See you on the coast!