Just a hop, skip and a river off I-5, Myrtle Creek in south Douglas County offers plenty of ways to enjoy a spring or summer day. Here are four great ideas to consider.
Story by Jennifer Grafiada Photos by Thomas Boyd
Off Interstate 5, exit 108, a bridge crosses the South Umpqua River and delivers you directly onto North Main Street in Myrtle Creek. Here you can find plenty of ways to pass the time this spring, summer or all year-round for that matter. If the weather is nice, include a stop at the local parks to play disc golf, pan for gold or hunt for painted rocks (ask the locals). Here are four suggestions.
SOCO Coffee Company
Your first stop off I-5 is a beloved local coffee shop famous for its organic fair-trade coffee drinks, homemade soups and breakfast burritos. Owner Denise Ware started working at SOCO when it opened 11 years ago. She took over as owner in 2017, and since has helped to expand the menu while maintaining the shop’s reputation for cheery customer service.
Buzz through the SOCO drive-through on your way to the sites listed below, or just cozy up inside and stay awhile. Word on the street is SOCO’s signature drink, the Lumberjack (blended with caramel, chocolate and peanut butter), will leave you thanking your lucky stars you made this stop.
Where: 411 N. Main St., Myrtle Creek
Treasures of the Heart
This adorable shop carries an eclectic mix of gifts from lines like Magnolia Home by Joanna Gaines plus items from local artisans. You’ll find baby onesies, kitchen gadgets, toys that will make you someone’s favorite aunt or uncle and plenty of exquisite decor items you don’t want your 2-year-old around (Ask me how I know).
The owner, Belinda Legg (above photo), is as friendly as can be (even if you bring in your 2-year-old) and the shop hosts frequent arts and crafts classes. Local artist Donna White teaches acrylic painting twice a week September through June, something she’s done since the shop opened in 1999. Her works are for sale in the shop. Other classes, taught by Legg, have included building fairy houses, wreath-making, chalk painting and decoupage. To stay in the loop, check out the store’s website and get on its email list.
119 S. Old Pacific Highway, Myrtle Creek
The Painted Lady Bed & Breakfast
The proprietors of this beautiful building, constructed around 1905 and recently remodeled, will gladly host you for an overnight stay in the upstairs suites and treat you to a homemade, five-course breakfast the next day. If you plan to be around for only an afternoon, however, make a reservation in advance to enjoy a good old-fashioned tea party.
On hand to make your tea-party experience complete are more than 100 fit-for-a-princess dresses (both children and adult sizes) as well as hats, tiaras, jewelry, boas, gloves and shoes. Tea, scones, chocolate-dipped strawberries and finger sandwiches are served on vintage china. Desserts are garnished with flowers from the owner’s garden. The idea is to make you feel like a queen — or at least your favorite character from Downton Abbey.
There’s also a dinner menu featuring comfort food like lasagna and enchiladas — should your appetite call for heartier fare — and a gift shop stocked with antiques, books and more frilly fun.
Where: 231 N.W. Third Ave., Myrtle Creek
The Grand Victorian Theatre
If you have a significant other you want to impress, try a change of pace from a movie and opt for live dinner theater at this unique spot. Owners Marcus and Joanne Ogle (above photo) were living in Coos Bay and looking for a career change last year when they purchased the theater, which until 2016 was a church. The previous owners sold almost everything, but the Ogles salvaged the old church’s sound board, stage lights and about 100 champagne glasses, so they could at least toast their new venture.
Since then, the longtime theater-lovers have upgraded the stage and sound system, redecorated with their own collection of antiques, assembled a talented cast of local actors and perfected a dinner menu that features grape salad, mozzarella chicken and prime rib. Vegetarian and vegan options are available, too. In June, the theater plans to offer plated meals and entertainment every week. The space is available to rent for special events, too. In July, the theater will present an Alice in Wonderland “Mad Tea Party.”
Where: 828 N. Old Pacific Highway