This is a Relaxing Day Trip to Old Town in Florence, Oregon
I am happy that you have decided to take the Oregon weekend trip to Old
Town with us. Grab your camera and binoculars, maybe a snack if you
wish, and we are off. Our journey will take us the long way around from
Eugene to Reedsport, and then into Florence before returning back to
Eugene. We have chosen Eugene as our starting point because it is
centrally located for most all of our day trips. Are you ready? Then
here we go!
We start out trip to Old Town with a short drive south on I-5. Just
before we reach Cottage Grove, if we turn off at Exit 176, a short
drive would take us to the Saginaw Vineyard, but that will be for
down I-5, we soon reach our turn off, Exit 162, to Reedsport (Highway
38 and 99), also known as the Umpqua Hwy. We are now leaving Lane County and entering Douglas County. From here, it is about 56 miles to Reedsport.
As we drive along enjoying the sights, we spotted this raccoon. We pulled over to take this shot.
Now is a good time to talk about our philosophy on day trips.
This is what we are talking about when we say enjoy the drive as much as the destination, in this case Old Town.
you are driving and something catches your eye, pull over and stop.
Check it out you will be amazed at the things you will see and enjoy.
Besides, it gives you a chance to slow down and relax. You do not have
to race to your destination. As the old saying says Stop and Smell the Roses, you will be glad you did.
Ok, time to continue on to Old Town. The next town we come to is Elkton and another surprise.
As we pull into the quaint town, there, walking in front of us, slowly crossing the street, is this wild turkey. Good,
an excuse to stop and see the often missed pleasures of a day trip. A
few moments later and we are off.
As we journey on our way we come to Scottsburg. There is an historical
marker here, you might want to stop and look. We have been traveling on
has been running parallel to the Umpqua River and now as we pass over
the Scottsburg Bridge, you get a wonderful view of this river.
past the bridge we find ourselves driving through old growth
vegetation. With moss on the trees, ferns all around and all the other
plant life, it is like going back in time to an age long forgotten.
Just down the road is Scottsburg Park. This is a small park, right on
the river. There is a play ground for the kids if they need a rest. The
park also has a boat ramp to the Umpqua River.
Our next stop is a must for this day trip. We will be stopping at Dean
Creek Elk Viewing Area. Elk can be seen here all year. This is one of
the reasons we decided to take this route today. I have a hint for you.
The viewing area is almost always to far away from the elk to see them
clearly. So along the road there are several pull out sections. Use one
of these to get a much better view of these magnificent animals.
After sometime with the elk we move on to Reedsport. As we get to Hwy
101 we are going to turn north toward Florence. Well that was the
original plan anyway.
We have decided at the last moment to take a 6-mile detour to see the
Umpqua River Lighthouse. This is one of those times when it pays to be
flexible with your day trip. We still have plenty of time left in the
day to see the Lighthouse and still spend time at Old Town in Florence.
south it is, we follow the signs to the Lighthouse. A bit of caution
here, just keep to the right and you will go straight to the
Lighthouse. I made the mistake of going left and found myself in a camp
ground. Nice place but not where I was headed. Ok, Ok even I make
errors but I do learn. Hopefully you will also.
at the Lighthouse we find that we are also at a whale watching site.
What a stroke of luck, today we actually get to see whales. We can see
the water spouts and see them moving through the water. This has been
worth the 6-mile detour. This again is why you need to be flexible with
With time well spent we now go north to Florence. As we
cross the Siuslaw River Bridge we make a quick right turn and then
Tada! We made it to Old Town. There
is a large parking lot and some parking along the street. Some 60 shops
and eateries are located in this charming historic Old Town.
a considerable amount of time here in Old Town it is time to head home.
However we still have some extra time to enjoy and I know just the spot.
outside the north end of Florence there is a fascinating place,
Darlingtonia Botanical Wayside. As we drive north the sign is hard to
see because of the trees, but there it is.
make a quick right and 200 feet ahead is Darlingtonia Botanical
Wayside. This is a short walk through beautiful foliage. There is an
easy path that even a wheelchair could use. What you have discovered is
an insect eating plant.
This is a must see. Not just for the unusual plants but also for the peaceful area.
Well, time has come to head back home and although we have spent 5
hours or so it will only take about hour and 15 minutes to get back
home. Of course that depends on how many stops we make on the way back.
head back south for about 3 miles to Hwy 126. This will take us all the
way back to Eugene. As we head east on Hwy 126 (also known as the
Florence-Eugene Hwy) we go through Mapleton where we make a sharp right
to continue on. Just outside of Mapleton, on the right, you will see
the Gingerbread Village Restaurant. You can get gingerbread pancakes
and waffles along with other gingerbread foods and really good coffee
at this location.
We are only 15 minutes from Eugene now as we pass by Fern Ridge Reservoir.
As we have arrived home from our trip to Old Town we hope you had a
great time with us and will come back for another day trip soon.
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