We had dreamed up the idea of moving to Oregon and had started our road trip up the coast to begin seeing homes for sale. Having already fallen in love with the lake house, it really set a high standard for everything we would see afterward. The idea of having a dock on the lake, the serenity and peacefulness of the forest, were incredible hurdles for the other homes to bound over. We had just left Florence and were headed for Yachats (pronounced ya-hots), another great beach town.
There were three places on our list to see in Yachats. It was pouring rain that day but we were determined to move forward and see more homes. Also, we really thought it would give us a good idea of whether or not we would love a place – seeing it at its worst on a gloomy, stormy day vs. seeing it in all its glory in the sunshine. First, we stopped at the Fred Meyer in Florence to grab some food items to re-stock our fridge in the Blumebulance. On our way out of the store, Dennis pointed up at a sign over the florist area. It read “Bloomers”, how fun! It’s rare to find anything with my name on it – having the name Blume is wonderful but there certainly aren’t any other people with the same name. There are no license plates with my name on them in the souvenir shop or baseball caps with my name emblazoned across the front. So, I love when I find things with the word “Bloom” on them. Bloomers was my nickname in high school – it was a play on my name and the fact that we wore bloomers under our skirts on the flag team. I also adore the art of Mary Engelbreit and her “Bloom Where You Are Planted” series. SIDE NOTE – There are a LOT more houses for sale in each of the towns we visited. We were sticking to a budgeted amount ($230k or less) and had narrowed down our list of 274 homes to 79 homes based on location and amenities. As we traveled, we added approximately another 20 homes to those as they were listed for sale during our travels. With our fridge restocked and our bellies full, we got back on the road. (Do you ever sing that Willie Nelson song when you’re on a road trip? You know the one… “On the road again…”) The first house was a super cute beach house. Turquoise with white trim on the outside (I know, I know, you know I am in love with turquoise), with a one car garage, a little bit of property on the side of the house and surrounded by a row of super tall ocean pines. The beach was just a quick walk down the same street and the waves were magnificent! Dennis was blown away by the size of the surf. The pines swayed in the wind and protected the house from being beaten with the rain. It was a very nice little spot. And I loved the address – 19 Surfside, short and sweet! I loved the placement of the house with the extra bit of property on the one side and no neighbor there – the home faced that side. On the other side, though, was a two story home that seemed to tower over the little beach cottage. It would certainly have been a great vacation rental but it still wasn’t just right for us.
Aquavista Loop was our next stop in Waldport with two more homes to see. Both were modular/trailers but right on the beach! If you haven’t already noticed, I’m not as picky about the home when it’s near the sand. The first one was cute but very old, vintage but not in a cute way. It was a single wide trailer that didn’t leave a lot to the imagination. It didn’t have any of those fun vintage details – lamps, rugs, wallpaper. I did like that it was 3 houses down from the sand and that there was an empty lot to the West of the property that made the space feel more open. It had potential to be really cute once it was fixed up but it needed a lot of fixing and was already near the top of our budget – not leaving any funds for fixing it up after purchasing it. It did have a garage – a huge bonus being right on the beach like that. Most beach homes only had street parking and even that was very limited. The other home on Aquavista Loop was so far in disrepair we just drove by. Not interested…
As we drove up the coast to our next destination, we stopped to take in some of the ocean air and the view of the coast. It’s hard to believe it was warm enough outside in late October for Dennis to be wearing shorts and a sweatshirt and for me to be in a dress with a cardigan. It was really much warmer out than we thought it would be. I brought an entire bag filled with warmies (hats, scarves, arm warmers, and sweatshirts). I hardly touched them! The few that I did use were worn at night, in the campgrounds, sitting by the fire. We took a little path from one of the vista points and walked out over the ocean. I just love that salty-fishy ocean smell that wafts up the cliffs and the breeze that blows in my hair.
After our brief excursion, we landed in Bay Shore near Waldport to see the next three houses on our list. The first of the three had an unusual architecture with a rooftop patio. We were excited to see it. As we pulled up, the home was on the front end of a cul-de-sac. It didn’t give us that rural feeling we were looking for nor did it give us the beach front (sandy beach) that we were also excited about. Instead it was in a bay – and as I mentioned in a previous blog, we had learned that the bays were windier and colder than the sandy beaches. This home had a trend that we were noticing too with some of the beach areas where the properties weren’t defined. Not that we needed a fence as that was something we were excited to get away from – little boxes with fences around them. But we were looking for either more property or possibly trees or some delineation from one property to the next. The idea of being outside, relaxing in a lounge chair felt odd, like I would be sitting in the neighbor’s yard.
The second house on our list was just down the street from the first. Bay Shore is a very cute community of homes, even though it wasn’t turning out to be what we were looking for. It was definitely a nice place to live. We drove around the block twice looking for the next house. The map app on my phone got us there the first time, but it wasn’t the house in the photos on Zillow, so we circled the block again thinking the app had gotten stuck on the wrong place or something. On the second stop at the home, I realized that what we were seeing was the front of the house and the pics on Zillow were of the back of the home. The pic of the back of the home on Zillow was so cute. It had a little wood porch and faced the ocean. It was a blue house with a little red door and adirondack chairs on the porch. We got out of the van to walk around a bit. Sure enough, the back side was what we had viewed in the photos but it wasn’t the open expanse that it seemed to have in the pictures. I had imagined the home sitting on the corner with the sand and beach grass overlooking the ocean a block or so away. Instead this home (unlike the others) did have a huge ten foot fence blocking any view it might have had. The fence confined the space and made it feel incredibly small. Aha! I now knew why the other homes on the previous cul-de-sac didn’t have fences marking off the perimeter of each property. After viewing all of the homes on the trip, I realized that using more creative placement and trees/shrubs makes a nice marker of space without blocking the view like a large fence does. In hindsight, I hadn’t even thought about the idea of taking the fence down. hmmm!
The third house in Bay Shore created a hilarious situation. We drove past the home, slowly checking it out and went up around the block to see it from the other street – it was a corner house. Driving back up the other street along the opposite side of the house, we stopped at the stop sign and began imagining ourselves living there. The house was absolutely adorable. White siding, red and blue details placed perfectly – anchors, birds, and all sorts of charming beach decor. It had a larger sized lot and the placement and view were great. We could see the bay from the yard. I pulled into the driveway so that we could sit and look at it a bit. We decided we wanted to call the real estate agent and see the inside. I pulled the home up on Zillow to find the phone number for an agent. I wrote down the number (my phone wouldn’t let me auto-dial from Zillow) and then called the agent. She was very confused by my call at first. She told me she had retired from real estate and wasn’t sure how I got her number. I apologized profusely and told her that I had found her number on Zillow attached to the house we wanted to see. She asked out of curiosity what the address was and said “Oh! I sold that house 14 years ago!” We both laughed and I asked her how this might have happened. She said that Zillow doesn’t always update homes when they’ve gone off of the market. We were suddenly realizing that we were parked in the driveway of a home where people lived! We were mortified. I looked all around, searching for that “for sale” sign I had first noticed when we first pulled up and there it was, across the street on an empty lot. Oh goodness. We were so embarrassed and I still hope to this day that the home owners weren’t sitting inside pondering what our huge van was doing lurking in their driveway for twenty minutes! We drove away with nervous laughter and red faces. Onward and upward, as they say… Click here to read the next part of Our Oregon Adventure, Part VI…