When summer is in full swing at the coast wild berries will be ripening for the next few weeks in Florence and surrounding areas. Berries can be found in many spots (some of which require a country drive and some hiking). However, if you want to take the easy way out, these places are all easily accessible from the Lighthouse Inn and have been good sources for berries for the past several years.
- The closest place to find berries is on Kingwood Street. Kingwood runs directly behind the hotel. If you are walking down to Old Town,there is a patch of berries on the west side of Kingwood just as you go down the hill toward Bay Street (basically in the Humane Society Thrift Store’s backyard). This is the closest place to find berries, but since it is so well-traveled, often the best berries are picked, but it is worth a try, especially if you are headed to Old Town in the first place.
- Venture north on Kingwood Street, and just past 9th Street on the West Side of the street near the Florence Airport and Military Museum you will find a few bushes with nice fat berries!
- Cross the Siuslaw Bridge heading South and on both sides of the highway just past the bridge are parking areas. On the east side (the overflow parking area for the Best Western Pier Point Inn) there has historically been a very large patch to pick from. In recent years, many eradication efforts have been undertaken to rid the parking lot of berries, but berries still keep growing!
- Finally, head east towards Mapleton to find some sweet and juicy berries along the roadside. Hwy 126 from Florence to Mapleton has many spots to pull over and pick berries. Please be safe and only pull over if there is a wide shoulder. However; one of the most prolific and close “patches” is in the town of Mapleton just past Riverview Market: Drive straight through the stop sign in Mapleton instead of turning right to head back to Eugene. On the right side of the road you will see a gravel parking area and an old warehouse. In this parking area there are many large bushes to pick from. Once parked here, a person can also walk across the bridge toward Mapleton School and find many bushes along this walkway.
Remember to wash your berries thoroughly before consuming them, bring an old wire coat-hanger to use as a hook to pull out-of-reach vines, only pick what you can consume (save some for the rest of us) and enjoy the berries along the coast!