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With a nod to original Norwegian settlers of Prosper Village, the Norwegian House is decorated with artifacts from Norway as well as 1900-era Bandon photos. One hundred years ago, Prosper Village was a busy Scandinavian immigrant town of 500 souls engaged in wooden ship-building, gold-mining, fishing and logging on the Coquille River. The East bedroom has a king sized bed as well as toddler bed (for your luggage if you didn't bring a toddler!). The West bedroom has a queen size bed and a handmade junior bed from 1885 (fits a child up to 4 feet tall). The house has one bathroom downstairs, which was added after the house was built, with original clawfoot bathtub. The kitchen still has its original ceiling-height cabinets and wood counter top. The house still has two built-in ice-box coolers in its exterior walls... very curious that they survived all this time! When the Norwegian House was built, in 1905, the Wright brothers had recently made their first successful flight at Kitty Hawk. One year after the house was built, San Francisco experienced its great earthquake and fire. The first Model T car would be produced in 1908, and the tea bag was also invented. The first men to reach the North Pole did so the following year. When the Norwegian House was built, there was no stainless steel, no pop-up toasters, no antibiotics, and no sliced bread! And the house has not been substantially remodeled since. The Norwegian House was built with no electricity, but spring water may have been piped down the hill from day one. If you appreciate history, you will be delighted by this cozy, quirky old house. Come take a step back in time to a more self-sufficient era!
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Please allow me to suggest a lovely day of tourist activities for you, within easy driving distance of the Norwegian House.
Find a way to crawl out of bed, dress warmly in layers (take a windbreaker and hat) with walking shoes on your feet.
Drive 5 minutes south on Hwy 101 to Bandon, to The Station Restaurant (right hand side of the highway). Fill up on crab omelette, toast, and coffee. You're going to need it.
Back in the car, keep driving south on 101 for 34 minutes, past Langlois, past Sixes, to Port Orford. Follow the big white arrow on the road to the boat harbor. This is a really interesting, beautiful, and strange harbor. Fishermen trailer their boats out onto the dock, and a big sling lowers the boat into the water. You can watch that all going on, and also look into huge plastic boxes full of sea urchins, crabs, and fish. Parents of small children, put a rope on your child! Last time I was there, there was no railing, just a low piece of wood at the edge of the dock, to trip over and fall 2 stories down into the ocean! If you go stand on the west side of the dock, you'll see kelp beds heaving up and down with the tide, sea otters frolicking about, and one time I saw an enormous grey whale right up near the dock, blasting wet smelly air about 20 feet high. What a thrill!
Next, get back in the car and drive back north on 101 just a minute until you see the little brown signs for Port Orford Heads State Park and/or Lifeboat Museum. You'll wind around on a residential street, but you'll end up at the Park. You might want to call ahead (541) 332-0521 to see when the museum is open, but my favorite part is the easy hike around the bluff to absolutely breathtaking scenery and history. Take the trail, and thank me later!
Head on down to the big white arrow, and you'll see The Crazy Norwegian restaurant (closed Monday and Tuesday). Eat lunch there. Very good food, and wonderful pies, so save room. You might want to proceed to Battle Rock and read the historical plaque... pretty cool. Not sure if climbing on the rock is such a good idea.
On your way back to Bandon, you'll see signs on the left for Hughes Historical House at Cape Blanco (United States' most westerly lighthouse is there, too). It's a few miles off the highway, but if the house is open (April-Oct. 31, Tuesday - Sunday, 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.), it's pretty neat to walk through.
Next, heading north on Hwy 101, you'll drive over the Sixes River (wonderful salmon fishing!). Look left, and you'll see the grange hall, which has a very quirky and unique second hand store. Bingo is played in the hall, with the help of an overhead projector (the way it used to be played).
Next you'll come to Langlois... the market on the left has very friendly people and serves world famous hot dogs with homemade secret recipe mustard and home made pickles. Delish. But don't get too full, I'm sending you out to dinner!
Head back home to the Norwegian House, shake the sand out of your shoes, have a little nap if you have time... but you need to get to your dinner destination 20 minutes before sunset, so don't be late! Dress warm and not fancy.
The restaurant at Bandon Trails (the first 8 hole course you come to at Bandon Dunes) is a magical little cafeteria overlooking the golf course. From the Norwegian House, go north on 101, over the bridge, left at Bandon Dunes, wind around a mile or 2, then make a left into Bandon Trails parking lot. Hike up the dune, and you'll find the restaurant on top. They close when the sun goes down, so get there on time! The menu is ala carte... you can order crab in rice wine, a separate salad, hamburger sliders (and share?) then dessert... the food is delicious and fancy, but small and rather inexpensive. And the place has a Japanese feel to it... lots of glass, sort of outdoors... and the golfers work their way past while the deer graze and the sun makes a spectacular descent. Perfect ending to a perfect day.
For an alternate full day of fun in Bandon, look at vrbo's Irish House page!
Year Purchased: 2012
About the owner: I am a mother of four grown children and grandmother of five grandsons. I enjoy history, antiques, decorating, genealogy, knitting, quilting, and watching Downton Abbey.
Why the Owner Chose Bandon: My husband and I have had our eyes on this house for quite a few years. We lived two doors down in the Swedish House, while our two youngest went to high school. The rural setting is so serene... it really hasn't changed in 100 years. I love watching flocks of birds pass overhead, I love the sound of the surf at night, and the smell of fresh ocean air. I enjoy the simplicity of this house, which has never been insulated and has original windows and walls. Here, it's easy to imagine life in 1905.
The Unique Benefits at this House: Prosper Village is such a perfect place on the earth... you can walk up the road one way and see the Highland cattle and pigs in the fields. In the other direction, you can walk along the Coquille River and watch fishermen in their little boats catch salmon. Across the river is a wetlands reserve where you can watch waterfowl. Walk a little farther, and you'll go past cranberry bogs, see them harvesting in late fall.