Getting into the Christmas Spirit... 9 months ago..

OK OK, I will admit it, I am the worst blogger ever. Sorry Dad. But at least I am getting to it eventually even if my 26th year of life is about 2/3rds over.
So let's go back to last December. Steve and I were still kinda new and he wanted to show me a place that his family goes to every year before Christmas out at the coast. Of course he wouldn't tell me exactly what it was but we decided to make a trip out of it. While trying to find a hotel we came across Yurts, which were considerably cheaper and it looked like a lot of fun so we decided to rent a yurt in Charleston. We checked into our yurt (sorry, I like saying yurt) and headed out to the surprise location. It was a state park called Shore Acres where there are amazing gardens that were once the home of a man named Louis J. Simpson. His grounds contained five acres of formal gardens and kind of reminded me of The Butchart Gardens in Victoria Canada, which I had recently visited. Simpsons house (pictured below...pretty crappy house eh?) burnt down in 1921 and after financial loses in the 30's the land fell into disrepair. The state bought the land in 1942 and kept the gardens, turning them into a wonderful tourist attraction.
Now here is the fun part.... during the Christmas season they cover the gardens in Christmas lights. Not just a couple lights here and there, but this last year they had over 300 thousand lights, and it was pretty cool! The park also decorated the garden keepers house (the only building still standing since the fire) with really cute Christmas decorations. You even get free cookies and Apple Cider!! OK call me a five year old but I absolutely LOVE this kind of stuff.
After the Christmas lights we headed to the Mill Casino in Coos Bay where there was even more Christmas Spirit in store for us. We got some hot chocolate and walked into this lodge like area with an awesome fire place and board games. They had just had a Christmas tree decorating contest and there were trees everywhere! It was a very fun night. Then I whipped Steve's butt at air hockey and we played the slots for a bit.
The Yurt was an adventure in itself. It turned out to be an extremely stormy night which sounded pretty cool on the yurt. We played card games and drank wine and tried to keep warm. A little tip for those who are Yurt bound in the colder months; even if it says space heater included, bring your own!! The yurt was so big the heater could not warm it up.
The next day the storm had passed and we decided to head back to the state park. We did not go into the gardens but they had a look out there, where the house used to be, and it was amazing! The way the waves hit the cliffs was so cool! I can not express how beautiful the Oregon Coast is. It is a place that you should definitely see for yourself. We then headed down to the beach and played in the water a little which turned my feet blue before heading home, cheerful and ready for Santa to come :)

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