We talk an awful lot about trip ideas and the unique destinations on Oregon’s Adventure Coast but the people of the Coos Bay ~ North Bend ~ Charleston region are unique in their own right! Next time you visit, strike up a conversation with some of the friendly faces as you explore the many places that make Oregon’s Adventure Coast so unique.
Visit the locally owned stores and restaurants around the region and chances are you will engage in a memorable conversation with the business owners and employees and learn things about Oregon’s Adventure Coast you’ll never find in a brochure or magazine. Step inside our visitor center for some of the friendliest volunteers you’ll find anywhere.
We thought it would be fun to kick off this series with a feature on our own fearless leader, Janice Langlinais, who is approaching her 3rd year as the Director at Coos Bay - North Bend Visitor and Convention Bureau here on Oregon’s Adventure Coast.
Janice proudly hails from Lafayette, Louisiana a.k.a the heart of “Cajun country” and maintains a sense of humor about it. “When I would tell people that when I was an adult living away from Louisiana, I would be asked if we had alligators in the backyard and went to school in a boat,” she says. “I would laugh and say, ‘No, I was a City Cajun! I wore shoes to school.’”
OAC: What was your family like growing up?
J: I was the youngest of four kids, but my dad was the youngest of 16 kids! So, I have a lot of cousins, nieces and nephews out there. My dad passed away in 2000, but my mother just celebrated her 90th birthday. Interestingly, my older brothers both stayed close to home in Louisiana and Mississippi, while my sister and I ventured out. My sister and her family now reside in Wisconsin and Illinois. And I’ve made the Pacific Northwest my home.
OAC:Where did you attend college?
J: I went to college in my hometown, to the University of Southwestern Louisiana, now known as the University of Louisiana, Lafayette. But like most folks who come from a small-ish town, I couldn’t wait to move to the “Big” city. With a degree in Mass Communications in hand and 9 months of experience in my local TV station, I moved to Atlanta, GA. Unfortunately, so did thousands of other wide-eyed college graduates!
OAC: What was your first job?
J: Unable to get a job in my preferred field of TV production and marketing, I worked for a paper company (the irony of that and now living where a lot of their lumber supply came from is not lost on me.) I longed to get back into “my field” and was lured to moving halfway around the world, to Auckland, New Zealand, where a new subscription television service was about to hit the airwaves.
OAC:What eventually led you into the tourism industry?
J: After a few years in New Zealand, I landed in Austin, Texas where I lived for 25 years. I started out in TV, working for the local NBC affiliate in a variety of roles before I was lured away again, only this time, to the tourism industry in Texas. Working in the travel & tourism industry in Texas afforded me quite a variety of experiences. I started out traveling all over the state of Texas, meeting with small and rural communities to assess their tourism offerings and provide marketing and enhancement recommendations. I eventually moved up in the organization and spent several years ensuring that Texas was top of mind as a tourism destination all over the globe.
OAC:How did you end up in the Pacific Northwest?
J: My love of marketing had me pivoting back, and the draw of the pacific ocean brought me to Coos Bay. Where I not only get to work in a field I absolutely love, but in a location that is stunningly beautiful. I can be standing on the beach within a few minutes from downtown Coos Bay, riding an ATV in the dunes outside North Bend, and throwing a crab pot off a dock in picturesque Charleston any day of the week! And sharing my love of this place with visitors is why I do what I do.
OAC: What’s your favorite outdoor activity in this area and where do you go?
J: Oh gosh, I would say it’s a toss-up between hiking the forests of the coastal range - both in the Elliot State Forest where Golden & Silver Falls are located and along the rugged coast between Shore Acre State Park and Cape Arago State Park - and walking on the beaches of the entire south coast. While I love the beaches close to home - Bastendorff, Horsfall, and Sunset Bay - I also love the beaches in Bandon and Gold Beach. Wide expanses of white sand, surfers in the water, and a view of lighthouses and sea stacks! What’s not to love. Plus, you can walk miles without even realizing it.
OAC: How are you passing the time during the pandemic?
J: I’ve actually mostly been working. I’m blessed with a job that allows me to work from home when I need to and an office that allows me to social distance from others when I need to be in the office. We have been working hard to share up-to-date information with our residents and visitors and providing awesome images and videos to help our potential visitors dream about coming to see us when we can all travel again. I’ve also been reading a lot, going for long walks, playing with my cat, and Zoom calling with friends and family. It’s amazing that a technology that has been around for a while is now having a huge impact on our lives! I’ve started having other meetings that were mostly held over the telephone over Zoom!
OAC: What are your hobbies?
J: I love to read. Fiction primarily, mysteries and romance, fantasy on occasion. An occasional non-fiction book will sneak its way onto my To Be Read pile now and then! I love hiking and walking on the beach. I like making jewelry and recently started painting (but I’m not artistically inclined!) I love to sing and used to produce & perform in musical productions when I lived in Austin. I’ve been thinking about getting back into that here as there is a wonderful theatre community in Coos Bay and North Bend.
OAC: What message would you like to give all would-be visitors this spring?
J: First, I would say, while I cannot wait to see you all here, please stay home and stay healthy until we can travel again. I encourage you to dream about your next excursion away from home and hope that Coos Bay, North Bend and Charleston, i.e. Oregon’s Adventure Coast, are in your plans. We look forward to the day we can share all the amazing things there are to see and do here!
OAC: Where’s the first place you plan to visit when the shutdown has ended?
J: Locally, I look forward to eating in a restaurant again! Then, I might explore other parts of Oregon I haven’t seen yet. Which in reality is quite a few places!
OAC: Do you think that Coos Bay, North Bend & Charleston will change as a result of the crisis?
J: From the outside, I don’t believe so. We’ll still have our great restaurants and outdoor attractions, our gorgeous weather, and our friendly folks. We are such a caring community that I believe we will weather this crisis well. On the inside, though, I think we’ll find that we are a much closer, more caring, loving community to each other and to those that visit us. But I believe that to be true of all humanity. This crisis, like others before it, has shown us what is important in life - family, friends, community, our health, and the freedom to move around and travel as we please.
You can meet Janice and many other friendly and interesting locals at the Coos Bay Visitor Information Center. From there, they will have dozens of recommendations, personal anecdotes and plenty of information to share so you can get the most out of your adventure!
Note: for the safety of all visitors and volunteers at Visitor Centers in the area, new protocols will be in place when the time comes to visit, including a “you touch it, please take it” policy on all brochures in the center, Plexiglas across the main counter and signs encouraging visitors to wear face coverings while in the center.