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History Meets Romance at Heceta Head Bed & Breakfast

FLORENCE -- One of the most romantic places to stay on the Oregon Coast has a special light -- the Heceta Head Bed and Breakfast is a former lighthouse keeper’s home.

We slept well in the Captain’s Room, facing the ocean and the light, which was originally a five-wick kerosene lamp, when it was lighted in 1894.

Yet the peace and quiet of this place is not its only appeal.  It’s the sumptuous, seven-course breakfast.


The best of the Oregon coast, from fresh fruit to fine breads, is served in one course after another at a table set for a 90-minute meal.

Chefs Melissa Morgan and Michelle Korgan (who also does catering for weddings here), make such fabulous breakfasts that guests linger for hours at a big table in the antique-filled dining room.

We met the most delightful travelers, and learned about fishing, seafood restaurants, and other sights along the coast, while sampling seven courses.  Eggs benedict is the specialty; some prefer the pastries; and the iced frappé as a palate refresher between courses is very popular.

The setting of the Heceta Head Lighthouse  Bed and Breakfast is spectacular, perched high on a cape jutting into the Pacific Ocean. Spanish navigator Bruno de Heceta explored this coast in 1775, so guests are surrounded by history and natural beauty.

The lighthouse recently reopened after a two-year restoration, and a 1000-watt bulb still blinks for those at sea.

The lighthouse has public tours, but only bed and breakfast guests can visit at night. It’s reportedly haunted.

“The majority of our guests have never stayed at a bed and a breakfast before,” says innkeeper Steven Bursey, who has been at the B & B for 15 years.  “The majority come to stay at a lighthouse.  It’s very picturesque, very symbolic -- there’s a lot of history.”

Guests come from all over the world, but mostly the West Coast and mountain states.


“Since the recession, we’ve had a real upsurge in international guests,” Bursey reports.  “Germans especially seem to like the history and romance here.”

During the day, many guests lounge on the big verandah overlooking the ocean and a wide, sandy beach.  There are blankets and big chairs to stay cosy on cool nights.  At dusk, cormorants and common murres rustle in the evergreens nearby.

Guests listen to the bellow of sea lions from the rocks below, and spot seals and even whales, migrating to and from Baja, Mexico, to Alaska.

“I saw a big gray whale on my way to work today,” Bursey said.  “We’re on the migratory route, so you mostly see them in December and March.”

With windows open at night, you can fall asleep to the sound of the surf.

Guests are enveloped in old-fashioned comfort, from antique furnishings to stained glass windows.  Ocean-facing parlors have fireplaces.

Six bedrooms are on the second floor, allowing for privacy and get-away-from-it-all tranquility.  Some rooms have romantic four-poster beds.

Besides the great view, the Captain’s Room has a porcelain, claw-foot bathtub, and fluffy robes.

This is not a bed and breakfast where guests are bothered either.  At check-in, you’ll get a tour of the historic frame house, which is a good opportunity to examine old photographs, and the ocean view, from different angles.

But guests have a separate kitchen to themselves in late afternoon and for dinner, or can head to nearby Florence to try cuisine ranging from seafood to international.

The Heceta Head Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast is so popular, it’s often booked solid, so reservations are recommended.

Call 866.547.3696 or

By Kathleen Kenna

Photos: Hadi Dadashian