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HUGS TOUR SPOTLIGHTS DIVERSE ATTRACTIONS

Tour participants enjoy the view from the deck at Camelot By-The-Sea, an adult foster home. (The Pilot/Bill Lundquist).
Tour participants enjoy the view from the deck at Camelot By-The-Sea, an adult foster home. (The Pilot/Bill Lundquist).

By BILL LUNDQUIST

Pilot Staff Writer

Music lessons, an eclectic museum, and assisted living may not seem to have much to do with each other, at first glance.

They were all included on Tuesday's HUGS Tour, however, as part of organizer Jan Norwood's ongoing mission to shine a spotlight on places in Curry County that deserve to be better known.

HUGS is a somewhat smaller version of Norwood's famous Hospitality Tours, but is already growing. Tuesday's tour attracted 30 participants.

The Harbor Hills are alive

The first stop was at Cousins & Co. Music in south Harbor to listen to musicians and find out how to become one.

Owner Kim Banfield offers just about any kind of new or used musical instrument, from guitars to antique pianos and electronic keyboards, and the strings and supplies they need.

She can also arrange lessons for those instruments with a variety of local teachers.

Banfield created a small stage area in her store to be used for display, but now it is just as often used for performances.

To demonstrate, she sang an Eric Clapton song, accompanied by Michael Quale on guitar.

Quale said he learned his way around the frets and strings of a guitar 40 years ago by ear, a huge mistake.

"I decided to teach myself," he said, "and it was the stupidest thing I've ever done."

He explained that students taught to read music can perform pieces from sheet music, but he must hear a piece played before he can master it.

Banfield, who learned to play the piano by ear, agreed. "It's best to start from the beginning and learn to read music," she said.

Gil Kirk, a member of the River Ramblers bluegrass band, demonstrated some of the capabilities of a $259 Yamaha electronic keyboard.

With 95 background music styles at the touch of a button, and 278 "voices," the keyboard can sound like an entire band.

"It's really handy for smaller living quarters," said Kirk. Earphones allow it to sound like a big band only to the person playing it.

The keyboard can also tie in with a personal computer to store, retrieve or play compositions.

"It's a very intuitive, very versatile instrument," said Kirk.

He said it would take about a year of lessons to begin to master the keyboard, or less depending on prior piano or organ experience.

Call (541) 469-6316 for more information.

Antiques for sale or view

Banfield then led the tour to her second store, Cousins & Co. Antiques, now located in the basement of the historic Central Building at 703 Chetco Avenue.

The store features vintage furniture, gifts, collectibles, and artwork. Some of the items are on consignment and Banfield will soon begin ebay sales.

Predating most of Banfield's antiques, however, is the Central Building itself. It was built in 1915 as the administration building for the Brookings Company, which owned the mill town of Brookings.

From 1915 to 1921, the company cut and shipped about $5 million worth of lumber a year from Curry County to California, using five steam schooners.

The Central Building was designed by William J. Ward, a civil engineer who came to Brookings in 1907. He later served as mayor. Brookings' cemetery is named in his honor.

The building is now owned by Eldon Gossett, who has a real estate office upstairs. Part of the basement is now a museum of items people have donated over the years.

Christina Olsen, leading the tour through the museum, said that many of the bottles on display were found in and around the building when Gossett purchased it.

Buried bottles provided evidence that those who built the building were drinking while they erected it.

Still, the building is holding up well, but Banfield said it creaks like an old ship at times.

Camelot

From one of Brookings' oldest buildings, tour participants went to Brookings' newest adult foster care facility.

Camelot By-the-Sea is one of four adult foster care homes owned by Scott and Meong Dahlquist, but it undoubtedly has the best view.

Its location at the tip of Tanbark Point, in fact, gives it one of the best views on the entire Pacific Coast.

Scott said he finds himself making excuses to check the property so he can spend a half hour on the deck.

The Dahlquists still spend most of their time in Sacramento, where Meong, a registered nurse, works for Kaiser Permanente.

Burned out on city life in Sacramento, said Meong, they went for a drive, discovered Brookings, and plan to retire here in 10 years.

The home, which offers private or semi-private rooms, will eventually house five or six adults who need assisted living.

Meong said the home can care for ambulatory or non-ambulatory residents. All meals and 24-hour caregivers will be provided.

The Dahlquists say, "It feels like a home because it is a home."

"It's like family," said Meong. "That's the beauty of it."

For more information, call (541) 661-0600 locally, or toll free (888) 803-2278.

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