Holiday lights at Shore Acres

The Newport 60+ Activity is sponsoring a trip to Shore Acres near Coos Bay on Monday, Dec. 10. The cost of the trip is $15. (Courtesy photo)

Are you in the holiday spirit? How about a trip to Shore Acres, by Coos Bay, to enjoy more than 325,000 lights and beautiful displays that include a life-size gray whale, giant butterflies, mushrooms, cluster flowers, Christmas trees, a ship sculpture, lighthouse and much more.

The Newport 60+ Activity is sponsoring a trip to Shore Acres on Monday, Dec. 10. The cost of the trip is $15, and a van will leave Newport at 1 p.m. are return around 9 p.m.

Shore Acres was once the grand estate of pioneer timber baron and shipbuilder Louis Simpson and his wife, Lela. It began as a private estate with luxurious gardens featuring trees, shrubs, and flowering plants brought from around the world aboard Louis’s sailing ships.

When fire destroyed the mansion in 1921, Simpson began to build an even larger replacement, two stories high and 224 feet long. However, financial losses in the 1930s caused both the house and grounds to fall into disrepair. In 1942, Shore Acres was purchased by the State of Oregon for use as a public park. Later additions were acquired from other owners between 1956 and 1980.

A community tradition was born in 1987 when the Friends of Shore Acres decided to “string a few lights” to help celebrate the holidays. That first season, 6,000 miniature lights, one Christmas tree and the decorated Garden House drew 9,000 visitors. Today, around 50,000 visitors view the light display and enjoyed hot cider, punch, coffee and cookies at the Garden House.

For more information or to reserve a seat for this trip, stop by the Newport 60+ Activity Center at 20 SE Second St., or call 541-265-9617. For a full listing of trips, events, presentations and classes, go to www.newportoregon.gov/sc.


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