The best thing to do at North Fork 53? Absolutely nothing. With little to no cell reception and acres of deep couches and sun-warmed wooden decks overlooking the Nehalem River, Ginger Edwards’ cozy coastal farmhouse turned bed and breakfast is tailor-made for maximum book-assisted chill time—as is this organic farmstead’s yen for hosting classy, weed-pairing food events. But, beyond the just-baked cocoa biscotti and strolls through the garden, it’s also an eye-opening primer for sustainable farming and off-the-grid living.
“We were already doing the farm and we were just looking for the table,” says Edwards, who opened North Fork last winter across the road from her R-evolution Gardens farm in a forested thicket about 15 minutes northeast of Manzanita. “It’s the full experience, seeds in the dirt to vegetables on the plate.”
Painstakingly rehabbed over the course of five “grueling” months by farmer Edwards and her skater-punk-turned-welder/tincture-making husband Brigham, every inch of North Fork’s 1930s dairy farm is considered, from the gleaming copper pennies Brigham hand-pressed into the border around the downstairs bedroom’s claw foot tub to the stacks of books lining a hall nook (Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test; Oregon Birds), and the airy dining room’s self-serve bar of loose leaf Jasmine Pearl teas. An English Shepard named Roscoe often escorts lodgers to the farm’s wide front porch. North Fork’s chef preps organic produce plucked from the farm in the kitchen—it was a milking barn in the homestead’s past life. Portland’s loopy, neo-hippie charms have nothing on this place.
Edwards sees her homespun luxe operation as a lively introduction to a larger homesteader movement, whose acolytes seek to live off their own land and power and strengthen regional economies. In 2007, the Michigan native transformed a nearby Nehalem property into her own hydro- and solar-powered nirvana; so tightly managed she knows precisely how much firewood to cut to roast a chicken for her dinner. While North Fork is still on-grid for now, the four-room guesthouse’s new cob oven and permaculture garden are baby steps to turn the farmhouse into a self-sustaining operation that seeks to coddle and educate guests simultaneously.
“It’s surprising to me to see how unique people find the way we live. At North Fork, we’re adding alt-energy piece by piece so guests can participate as we build,” says Edwards. “A lot of people want to live more sustainably but it’s overwhelming. We can show you how to start.”
The complex, which hosts large scale events on the property all summer long, is already becoming the lynchpin of a passionate web of farmers and eco-friendly coastal business owners excited to turn this sleepy stretch of the Oregon coast into a destination for sustainable goods and food-centric adventures. The wealth of coastal products—herby soap to pear purée and sustainable beef—that line the worn shelves of North Fork’s curio cute farm store are an atlas of local makers.
For visitors though, this heady ethos simply translates to a roster of fun, informative classes (farm tours and cheesemaking to herb planting), deftly prepared breakfasts brimming with fresh eggs and fruits harvested just yards away, and plenty of conversation with the eclectic travelers that wander to this spot. But, really, you came for the nothing.
Visit North Fork 53's website to book rooms and check out a schedule of events.