Bandon’s Old Town, much of which dates from after the 1936 fire, is a half-dozen blocks of shops, cafés, and galleries squeezed in between the harbor and a steep bluff. The renovated waterfront invites relaxed strolling, and crabbers and anglers pull in catches right off the city docks. The small commercial fleet based here pursues salmon and tuna offshore.
Preservation buffs should check out Masonic Hall (2nd St. and Alabama St.), one of the few buildings to have survived Bandon’s 1914 and 1936 blazes. A photo in the historical museum shows the same building and surrounding structures on Alabama Street (then called Atwater) circa 1914. The photo depicts boardwalks leading to a woolen mill, old storefronts, a theater, and the Bandon Popular Hotel and Restaurant, outside which a horse and buggy await. The scene today has changed dramatically, but nonetheless an early-1900s charm still pervades the neighborhood.
Throughout Old Town are artists and artisans pursuing their crafts and selling their wares. 2nd Street Gallery (210 2nd St., 541/347-4133, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. daily) has a little of everything, from functional and art pottery to blown glass to paintings and sculptures. Winter River Books and Gallery (170 2nd St., 541/347-4111) has crystals, objets d’art, and a wide-ranging assortment of travel titles, photo essays, and fiction that makes this the best bookstore on the south coast.
Close by, the Bandon Driftwood Museum and Art Gallery (130 Baltimore Ave., 541/347-3719, 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Sun. summer, call for winter hours) shows off an interesting collection of natural sculptures, from gnarly root balls to whole tree trunks. It’s housed at the Big Wheel General Store, where you’ll also find the Fudge Factory and 24 flavors of homemade ice cream and butter fudge.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel