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Oregon House - Where the Forest Meets the Ocean
by Kate Clark

Nestled on a cliff overlooking the ocean and surrounded by the Siuslaw National Forest just a few miles south of Yachats, Oregon House offers a meditative, relaxing retreat on the central coast. Only three hours' drive from Portland, you enter a completely different world as you pull off Highway 101 and descend the driveway into three and a half acres of magic. A panoramic ocean vista framed by ancient spruces and firs opens up to the sounds of waves crashing, the creek bubbling and wind rustling through high branches. Drifting scents of salt air and cedar logs burning in a fireplace touch the senses.

Oregon House was built back in the 1950's as a private home. The beautiful mature gardens, carved out of the forest, with rhododendron bushes flowering in bright pinks and mauves are testimony to the care and love with which this white brick house was built - like the Taj Mahal - to woo a bride from another culture - in this case California. Four other buildings have been added over the years, extensions to the family home which originally served as guest and servant lodges, kennels, garages and laundry. These accommodations have been gracefully converted and arranged to provide guest lodgings with a variety of different touches. The accommodations range from a separate cabin where you can lie in the queen bed and simultaneously be warmed by the fireplace and gaze out at the trees and ocean, favored by couples who appreciate the coziness and privacy, to larger apartments with several rooms suitable for a family or group of friends. Several of the units have fireplaces, all have kitchens and private bathrooms. Many have decks or terraces to sit out and picnic or barbecue.

Loving additions have been made in the gardens, too, such as 2 arches bridges over the creek which runs through the property, giving a zen quality to one corner where a meditation space has been created. Practice yoga here, or just sit and gaze at the sunset over the ocean and allow the soothing bells of the wind chimes to harmonize with the ceaseless roar of the waves. Further along sit out on a promontory giving incredible views along the length of the coast to both sides, with the rocky crags disappearing in the distance and the mist, and the waves folding around the rocks creating tide pools where the sea anemones open their hearts to the sun and the wading birds play with the surf, catching crabs.

Walk down the lighted trail to the beach, ducking under the bent tree, guardian of the land and sign that this was long ago a trail that the local native villagers used to get to the caves where they traded their wares. The almost private beach is one of the most beautiful on the Oregon Coast - in fact on the Pacific Coast, equaling anything that Big Sur has to offer. Explore the rocks and tidepools or sit quietly in one of the caves and contemplate the beauty surrounding you.

This land is truly sacred and brings you back into right relationship with yourselves, your loved ones and with the earth. Within a few hours it works its magic, bringing the tensions, stress and pain of our disconnections and overwhelms to the surface to be seen and dissolved by the power of the ocean. Take a massage or another healing treatment to help release the stress. In this energy of purification, we are once again connected with our true selves and empowered.

Oregon House was founded in 1997 by Melita Marshall, who comes from England, and was inspired to create a healing and retreat center while she was living at the Findhorn Community in Scotland in 1990. She was further encouraged by her experiences at Esalen and Breitenbush. Having landed in Portland in 1995, she fell in love with the Northwest and within months knew that the central Oregon coast, near Yachats, with its powerful energies of forest and ocean, was where she wanted to be. She found there a remarkable community who immediately lent their support to her dream. It took a year from first finding Oregon House to complete the purchase and to be granted a visa to live here. "As soon as I set foot on this land, it completely took my breath away. I had no doubt at all that this was where my center had to be. But it was a much bigger commitment than I had expected on all levels, so it took a while to process through all the fears that came up for me. But then, I have discovered that this is what this land is about. It brings up shadow material to be looked at and dissolved."

Melita wants to offer a safe place for people to come to, either as individuals, couples, families or groups, to do their own healing work. Year round there are rooms available for individual retreats. In addition, the main house, with its beautiful large living room with fireplace and panoramic ocean views, is an ideal setting for groups to gather for a function which may be anything from a family reunion to corporate retreat or training in bodywork or other healing therapies. In the spring and fall, Oregon House invites teachers to come to give workshops. Massage and other healing modalities are offered on site.

"This is a space out of time," says Melita. "This is our home and we invite all our guests to take advantage of this space, away from the interruptions and distractions of telephones and televisions, to go quietly inside themselves, to rest and relax and feel recharged by the land and the ocean."

Eight miles to the north of Oregon House is the small community of Yachats. Drop in to Toad Hall and enjoy a latte and browse through the books and gifts. Eat great seafood in one of the small restaurants in the town. Then take a hike in the old growth forest at Cape Perpetua. Watch the migrating whales and sea lions navigate the rocky coast line, magnificent sunsets, dramatic winter storms, and the great sea birds fishing. Stroll the beaches exploring tide pools, and collect shells and agates. This is truly a very special part of Oregon to visit year round.