A giant grey whale rose out of the water to a backdrop of ten thousand lights. It wasn’t quite what I had expected when Peggy and I drove over to Coos Bay, Oregon to check out the Holiday Lights display at the Shore Acres State Park. I thought we’d probably see sheep, cows, donkeys and a baby J or two. There might even be deer. They’ve become a common fixture on people’s lawns at Christmas. But frogs leaping into ponds, pelicans flying across the sky, a parade featuring an earthworm, turtle, grasshopper and snail— no way! And these were just a few of the sky, sea and land creatures on display, all created out of holiday lights.
It wasn’t all about the wildlife you normally find on the Oregon coast, however. Some 320,000 thousand lights decorated the hundreds of shrubs that turn Shore Acres into a floral delight during the spring, summer and fall. There were lots of Christmas trees. A choral group sang traditional carols. The historic garden house on the site reminded me of fantasy gingerbread homes. And Santa was there! So what if he happened to be taking a bubble bath with a tiger and a moose. Fortunately, he was wearing his long johns. Old men with round bellies that shake like bowls full of jelly shouldn’t be seen in public with their clothes off.
The Shore Acres Holiday Lights display is a tradition that goes back to 1987 when Friends of Shore Acres decided to ‘string a few lights’ for the holiday season. It’s been growing ever since, both in number of lights and number of people who visit. This year, the visitors should top 50,000. Volunteers do all of the work. Lights are donated.
Peggy and I discovered Shore Acres two years ago when we were staying at Sunset Bay State Park, which is located a mile down the road. The flower garden reminded us of England. As soon as I saw a newspaper article about its Holiday Light display, I knew we had to return. Peggy lives for holidays. Since we were heading back East for Christmas, she wouldn’t have the opportunity to break out her seven large boxes of decorations and turn our house in to a museum of Christmases past, present and future. I figured the lights provide a substitute. They did.
NEXT BLOGS: I jumped ahead in our recent North Coast travels to include the Shore Acres display for Christmas. My next three posts will serve as a wrap up for 2016 featuring some of our favorite photos from the year. Twelve of them we used in our annual family calendar. In January, I will return to our drive up Highway 101 to be followed by our visit to Sunset Bay State Park in Coos Bay, which, in its own way, is as special as Shore Acres.
35 thoughts on “A Truly Unique Set of Holiday Lights… The North Coast Series”
Wish we could be there. I have had a tradition of looking at Christmas lights since I was a child and will go out again this evening. Planet Monkman here is great but they are in hiatus this year after a move, and there is nothing like you have shown. Thanks.
Thought I answered this, Raile, but I’ve been a bit distracted by grandkids. Anyway, Peggy loves Christmas lights so I get to see lots of them. 🙂 This was the most unique set I’ve seen. –Curt
I like these lights but not in a house next to me thank you!
I agree with you, Andrew. 🙂 But Peggy would be delighted to have them around. –Curt
They are gorgeous but the more impressive because they’re created by non professionals (perhaps they are after all these years) from donated lights! Happy Christmas to you bot and all the family.
We were certainly impressed, AC. Have a great holiday and a Happy New Year. –Curt
What a fabulous display! And kudos to you both for the wonderful photos.
Merry Christmas Curt and Peggy, and may 2017 be all you could wish for.
Thanks Alison. And a great holiday season and New Year to you and Don. Looking forward to sharing 2017 with the two of you. –Curt
Thank you as always Curt! A joy to read! Peace, great health and joy to you and Peggy. – Rahjta
Thanks, Rahjta! And the best back to you. –Curt
A dazzling display of lights. Merry Christmas to you and Peggy.
And to you Gerard! –Curt
For the first time reading a blog I can honestly say I wish I was there. Toss back some eggnog for me, make it a double.
Not too far from you, and indeed special. I think it will become a holiday tradition for us. Working on the eggnog. 🙂 –Curt
Goin’ hiking because the people you meet on the trail on a holiday are NOT the people sitting at home, eating in front of Netflix. In other words, hikers are my people. But first, bacon.
Don’t forget the bacon! I had a friend who backpacked with me for years and always brought a can of bacon. Best thing I ever ate out on the trail! 🙂 –Curt
“Can” of bacon? (shudder)
My thoughts too until it was sizzling in the frying pan… Pig travels well. 🙂
Oh, I see. I was trying to figure out how they kept it crispy in a can.
Our neighborhood got a bit more cheerful than last year, but nothing to compare with this!! All the best!!
We had to go a ways, G. 🙂 In addition to Pacific Coast Christmas, we were just in Boston for some Atlantic Coast Christmas. Different but also beautiful. –Curt
Wow impressive for sure! My favorite is the whale! Terrific photos. Happy new 2017!
All of the wildlife was fun, Peta, a unique approach. Thanks. And Happy New Year to you. –Curt
This must be one of the most impressive on the West coast. I know of three great holiday light shows in the USA. I love how Fresno, CA has embraced its Christmas Tree Lane tradition, with two only-pedestrian nights where residents welcome visitors with hot cocoa and cider in their driveways and sidewalks. People can drive through the neighborhood for the whole month of December. In Maine, the Botanical Gardens of Boothbay turn also gittlery and shimmery for the holiday seasons. Quite extraordinary. Two years ago I visited Saint Augustine, FL and it is also quite something at this time of year.
Hope your Christmas was as gorgeous as these lights, Curt.
Peggy loves Christmas display lights, Evelyne. So if there is one around, I can pretty much count on us going to see it. 🙂 Our latest was in Boston, which we managed to hit between visiting our kids in Connecticut and North Carolina. And we’ve had a very nice Christmas! Thanks. –Curt
I love Christmas lights too, so I totally back up Peggy! 🙂
Glad you spent a nice Christmas. See you in 2017!
🙂 Right, see you in 2017!
This is a little disconcerting to me. When I go to see a Christmas light show, I expect the usual Christmas symbols and themes. Sometimes they throw in lights that outline a bear or butterfly and I can only wonder — why?
There were many beautifully decorated Christmas Trees between the animals, but I went for the animals. 🙂 –Curt
What an amazing wonderful display, and good to see some variations on the usual reindeer/Santa/lambs themes. In my role as killjoy, though, I must point out a shocking news item a few days ago. The annual Christmas light displays in New York use more electricity than the entire annual use of some countries e.g. Ethiopia. A quick internet search shows that they have just switched to LEDs in NY – better, but we’ve got to think about the environment now.
It was all LEDs, Hilary, for what that’s worth. Las Vegas whose use of electricity for lights now claims that all of its electricity is naturally powered. Maybe we can do it… –Curt
We have Christmas lights here in Tennessee, but nothing, to my knowledge, like these formations — love the picture with the reflection and Peggy’s find. Thanks for sharing these.
The lights were indeed different. I suspect we have created a Christmas tradition for ourselves, Rusha! 🙂 –Curt
Thanks for the link, Curt. Can’t count the number of times I’ve been and watched the display grow and grow and GROW. My last visit was in 2014, but the only new addition I noticed from your post was the porcupine, raccoon, deer and rabbit bit. It’s sure a lot of fun as long as the weather cooperates. For some reason my very first visit in 1994 still sticks in my mind because it was bone chilling freezing that year. Shore Acres sure has a lot to offer any time of the year!