We spent the last weekend in the lovely little coastal town of Florence. We had a wonderful time visiting with our friends Mark and Bridgett and their children, Gabriel (Gabby) and Morgan. It was good to get away for the weekend to spend some time with our friends and do some photography in a different part of the state.
Florence is a relatively small town located on the Siuslaw River. Fishing and logging used to be the primary industries, but these days tourism is the major contributor to the area's economy due to the Three Feathers Casino that opened there in 2004 as well as the 40 miles of sand dunes that stretch through the area. The Old Town area is very picturesque with several small and friendly restaurants, bars, shops, and a delectable coffee shop. We had a couple of very nice meals there, and managed to get in a little shopping as well, especially when Wanda found a shop with fairy figurines.
Mark and Bridgett are among our very best friends and we always have a great time when we see them. We met them several years ago at a social event we were hosting at our favorite watering hole. They were brought along by some other friends of ours, and we just seem to hit it off and found that we had many common interests. Since then we attended many events together including the Oregon Country Fair and the Shrewsbury Faire. At the Oregon Country Fair, Bridgett and Wanda make quite the eye-turning pair as they wander around the fair in the sarongs, jewelry and body paint. At the Ren Faires they turn eyes with their lovely costumes and happy smiles.
Since they both enjoy photography, it's always fun to attend events with them. Mark has an excellent eye for composition and seems to enjoy shooting from the odd angle just as much as I do. Bridgett has been known to pick up the camera and shoot from time to time too and I think she looks pretty good holding my big lenses. :) In any case, just about anytime we hang out with these guys, there are cameras and lenses to be found.
Unfortunately, since we all live busy lives and Florence is about 180 miles from Portland, we don't get to see this folks as often as we'd like. Fortunately, in the days of e-mail, instant messaging and cell phones, we do manage to stay in touch and can arrange to meet at various events. And, on occasion, we just meet somewhere along the coast and spend the weekend away from all of our kids. Of course, in the days of e-mail, instant messages, and especially cell phones, we can't get completely away from the kids, but we can get far enough away to have relatively uninterrupted conversations.
But sometimes, it's fun to do things with the family as well. Gabby and Morgan both enjoy the fairs as much as their parents do, especially when they get to play dress up and their parents dress up too. Our kids aren't so much into the fairs anymore, since they're quite a bit older than Gabby and Morgan, so it's fun for us to see them at the various events.
Family and friends are the two most important aspects of life, and we're lucky to have both. Our children and our grandchildren give us the joy of family love, and friends like Mark and Bridgett helps us maintain our sanity by providing the friendship, conversations, and adult companionship that everyone needs to have balance in their life.
Of course, these guys aren't our only friends, but they're the subject of this entry because we just visited them, and I teased Bridgett that I would blog about her. She seemed to think that I couldn't find anything to write about, so I just had to prove her wrong.