09 May The Surprises in Langlois, Oregon (part 1)
Langlois, Oregon, an “unincorporated community” 17 miles south of Bandon and 13 miles north of Port Orford is one of those “blink and you’ll miss it” kind of places. It has a population of fewer than 200 souls, and from the highway one will see a restaurant, market, coffee shop, farm store, library, and post office. Langlois, however, is much more than meets the eye. Despite its relatively uneventful history, it’s taken on a fairly hip vibe recently, and it seems to just be getting hipper.
Langlois sits just under 2.5 miles from the ocean as the crow flies and just north of where Floras Creek meanders its way under the highway on its way to the New River and the Pacific. Approaching it from the north, one notices rolling hills, flat farmland, and most of all, verdant green as far as the eye can see.
The town of Langlois was founded in 1881 and named for an early Oregon pioneer, William Langlois. A cheese factory was built in the town in 1925 and produced cheddar, and then blue cheese. The cheese had a good reputation for its taste, but the factory burned to the ground in 1957 and was never rebuilt. Once known as Dairyville, Langlois was once the most populated town in Coos County until it was surpassed by Brookings.
Today, Langlois has declared itself World Famous, and there are signs reading “Welcome to World Famous Langlois, Est. 1881″ at the north and south ends of the town to proclaim it to all travelers. These signs are more than just a friendly hello to anyone driving into town. They are hard-won and represent the tenacity and perseverance of the town. Back in 2014, a resident asked ODOT to change the speed limit from 40 to 30 mph through town as many people walk along the highway to visit the various establishments. After an investigation, ODOT not only denied the request but shortened the speed zone, noting that Langlois lacked “roadside culture.” Langlois residents met with ODOT a number of times and were encouraged by ODOT to erect welcome signs to add a little of this “roadside culture.” The good people of the town took the suggestion to heart and, after forming a volunteer committee, designed signs, raised money, and with some help from the county, ODOT, and Coos-Curry Electric Co-op installed two 6×6 signs, one on either end of the town.
Locals are adamant about its world fame, but there are different ideas as to the origin of that fame. Whether or not Langlois is indeed world famous, it is certainly more than meets the eye. It’s possible to spend a full day or more in the tiny community hiking, windsurfing or kiteboarding, drinking excellent coffee, enjoying a locally sourced meal, appreciating art, browsing books, selecting local microbrews, shopping for wool for a fiber art project, enjoying beautiful produce, catching a concert at the Cheese Factory, and much more!
Before travelers plan to stay in a small town, they typically want to know where they will be able to stay. This is a fair question! There are a few options available. Floras Lake House Bed and Breakfast is located off of Floras Lake Loop Road and is just a few steps away from Floras Lake as well as a myriad of hiking and biking trails that lead through forests and to the ocean. It is also the center for windsurfing and kiteboarding on Floras Lake, offering lessons and rentals. The B & B is more than just about outdoor activities, however. There are 4 beautiful rooms in the charming building, each of them tastefully furnished with views of the lake. Breakfast is buffet-style and includes home-made granola, a hot dish that changes daily, and gluten-free options.
Also at Floras Lake is the Boice-Cope County Campground with 31 sites. There are 18 paved RV-oriented sites (including water and electricity) and 13 tent sites. Reservations are highly recommended.
The Bandon/Port Orford KOA campground is a family-friendly spot with a playground, pool, hot tub, bike rentals, pancake breakfasts, and more. It is located just 3.4 south of Langlois.
Langlois is an intriguing place that deserves much more attention than most travelers give it. Be sure to slow down through the town, stop for a bit, or even better, stay a night or two to see some of the surprises in store for you!
Check out next week’s post to read about some of the great spots to eat, hike, shop, sightsee, stay, and even windsurf and kiteboard in Langlois.