Here in the tiny, off-the-beaten-track town of Coquille, you won’t hear the ocean, but you may hear the wind whipping through old-growth forest, the babbling creek, the wake-up calls from a host of cute animals and the sound of fellow farm-stay guests sitting down to a bountiful meal.
About 40 minutes from Coos Bay and 45 minutes from Bandon on Oregon’s South Coast, Dan Pennington and Micha Gross have been hosting guests at their eco retreat, Myrtle Glen Farm, since 2014.
All year round, guests to the property can stay in one of two cozy rental spaces, help out at the organic garden and orchard or play with or help care for the animals, including chickens, ducks, goats and alpacas. They can hike the trails into the 100-acre conifer forest, head into town (Pennington and Gross love to recommend their favorite spots), look for spawning salmon in the creek or just kick back in a hammock and enjoy the solitude.
When it’s time for breakfast and dinner, guests (one rental accommodates two; the other accommodates four) have a hand in preparing the group meal. “We highlight things we grow fresh, depending on time of year,” says Pennington. “In the winter, we’ll have eggs, goat milk, greens from the garden — kale, broccoli — along with garlic, squash, tomato sauces. We try to build a meal using almost exclusively our ingredients. The things we don’t source, we try to source locally and sustainably.”
Hearing about and tasting the fresh albacore from Charleston or the fresh cheese from Bandon is just part of the experience. Guests can also opt in to special workshop packages that change with the seasons. Winter brings orchard pruning, truffle hunting and indoor activities like spoon carving. Other times of year they’re leading guided tours mushroom hunting, homesteading, fermenting, working on forest photography and finding secret swimming holes.
To help with upkeep of the property, Pennington and Gross rely on longer-term farm trade volunteers, with whom they form deep friendships. They see their short-term guests as friends as well. “Sometimes we get so bogged down with what we’re doing, we don’t recognize the beauty of where we are,” Pennington says. “It’s good to take a deep breath and appreciate the experience as you should.”
If you go:
Round out your farm stay experience with a full South Coast road trip, taking in the trails, lighthouses, tidepools, state parks, natural areas, restaurants, shops and other attractions in this pristine stretch of Oregon coastline.
By Jen Anderson
Photo courtesy of the Myrtle Glen Farm