Michele Grgas Thomas The Triplicate

It was 20 years ago this month that I first meandered into Bandon, Ore. I was on a work assignment in Gold Beach and decided to explore.

What impressed me most that afternoon was the charm of a sleepy coastal town. The faded Coquille River Lighthouse was the backdrop for magnificent haystacks and bird sanctuaries along the rugged coastline. Homes near the jetty were rustic cottages and fishing shacks the color of bleached cedar in the shadow of windy bluffs offering magnificent views.

As an "inlander" from the Rogue Valley, I was awed to discover an authentic beach town similar to some I knew as a child before development and tourists took over.

Bandon's waterfront and view properties reminded me of a jack-o-lantern's smile: a house here, a house there, and lots of space in between. Delightful!Last weekend I made good on my promise to visit my precious granddaughter monthly. But rather than set out early Saturday, I left Crescent City Friday afternoon and drove to Bandon, getting two hours of the trip out of the way.

I stopped at the Minute Cafandeacute; for dinner to go. The Minute has been around since 1914, and located in the same spot since 1936. A fire closed it down a few years ago, but owner Pat Taylor rebuilt it bigger and better. The wait staff is proud of their new digs and their diner comfort food.

I took my sandwich (and a piece of marionberry pie) to a Beach Loop motel and watched the sunset from my room where I could hear the (very) loud foghorn - ambiance!

Over 20 years, the opening of world-renowned Bandon Dunes golf course and the real estate bubble had an impact on Bandon. The lighthouse got painted, Old Town got a facelift, and the creaky crab docks were completely rebuilt. The improvements I've observed have enhanced Bandon's charm and appeal.

In 1993 I bought a postage size lot near the jetty. I met my neighbor Mary when I first looked at the property and she's still there. We've seen dozens of beautiful new homes, mostly vacation rentals, pop up around us in the spaces where the jack-o-lantern's teeth were missing. If Crescent City is looking for a good idea, visit Bandon.