Shore Acres Park near Coos Bay Oregon

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Shore Acres Park

Shore Acres Gardens are located on a high cliff above the pounding surf of the Pacific Ocean and are definitely not hot dry gardens. 

These gorgeous gardens in a state park are lush, verdant, and quite remote. They are, however, worth the detour from Highway 101 to the Cape Arago Highway, south of Coos Bay, Oregon.

Begun in the early 1900s by Louis Simpson, a lumber and shipping baron, the gardens were carved out of a densely forested stretch of the Pacific Coast as part of an enormous and impressive estate.  No expense was spared.

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Shore Acres Park gardeners cottage HGIn the early 1920s Louis Simpson’s home burned to the ground, so he and his family moved into the gardener’s cottage (in this photo) while his new, and larger, mansion was being built.  The new home was not yet complete when the 1930s brought financial ruin to Simpson.

Shores Acres pond
To the south of the formal garden is a large lily pond, shown here in mid-July.

The estate was sold to the state of Oregon in the 1940s and became a park.  Over the decades since, the gardens have been beautifully maintained, but the partially finished mansion was razed.  An open meadow facing the Pacific is all that remains.

Two hidden treasures of the Shore Acres gardens are beyond a large lily pond.  A trail that appears to lead into the woods, leads instead to a formal rose garden just south of the lily pond that is more lush and healthier than any rose garden we have ever seen — ever.

Shore Acres Park coveAnother path goes to the sheltered cove where the Simpsons entertained the many guests who visited them.  Nothing remains of the cabanas and other amenities Louis Simpson had built on the cove’s sheltered beach.

To preview other Botanic Gardens in the West, go here.

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