Written by btwood2 on 16 Aug, 2005
We pulled into the parking lot of the Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA) Visitor Center mid-day, mid-week, and were surprised how busy it was. Though we shouldn’t have been; more than one million visitors come to TCCA every year. A continuous stream…Read More
We pulled into the parking lot of the Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA) Visitor Center mid-day, mid-week, and were surprised how busy it was. Though we shouldn’t have been; more than one million visitors come to TCCA every year. A continuous stream of people was entering and emerging from the Creamery visitor center’s glass double doors. A Red Cross blood drive mobile was parked by the curb, and inside the center, a table where people could sign up to donate. Not much of a line there, but substantial lines had formed at the ice-cream counter and Farmhouse Café. We decided to take the self-guided tour first. Maps and wall signs make it quite clear where to begin and how to continue.
A brief video plays continuously, introducing us to the dairy farming traditions of the Tillamook area. Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA) is a cooperative that began in 1909 with ten cheese factories. Today it’s owned and operated by 150 local dairy families. Pride in the co-op’s history and high-quality products is evident from the video and the many entertaining and informative displays. Here’s an "udderly amazing" cow fact: The average cow yields 10,000 gallons of milk in her lifetime.
Getting in line for a taste of cheese was what we did next, deciding we were ready for a little snack before going upstairs to view production. Even waiting in line is educational and not boring at TCCA. Since not an inch of wall space is wasted, this is where I read that besides milk, famous cheese, and other dairy products, Tillamook cows create another less –um, tasty product: 322,500 TONS of manure annually. Manure management can be challenging. Though some of it is used to fertilize fields, excess animal waste can find its way into waterways, resulting in hefty fines (up to $20,000) for pollution.
Squeaky curds were just too rubbery for my taste, but interesting nevertheless. And yes, they really DO squeak when chewed. Far better were the other samples, especially the extra sharp and the vintage white extra sharp (aged 2 years). The cheese-tasting area ends too soon in the Northwest Gourmet Foods Shop, full of tempting products dairy and non (smoked seafood for one). We got even hungrier as we passed the fudge counter, which was too busy selling to hand out free samples.
Yep, we decided it was time for a bite at the Farmhouse Café. We grabbed a menu and got in line. I’d hoped for "cheesier" selections; this was your basic burger-sandwich-soup and salad menu, with the exception of the Favorites section, 7 sandwiches that included grilled cheese. I chose the Cheese Works, cheddar and Swiss on sourdough, accompanied by fries and chocolate milk. Bob chose a ham and cheddar. Suggestions for Tillamook: Add fondues and cheese and fruit appetizers to your menu. More truly cheesy choices, please!
No longer hungry, we went upstairs to view the cheese making and packaging areas. Shower-capped women and men in white stand at stations along the lines, efficiently separating, weighing, and watching. Forty pound blocks of cheese slide along large belts coming from beyond the observation area to cheese-cutting machines, where they are cut into two pound "baby" loaves, manually separated and placed on narrower belts, then go through a packaging machine, and are inspected yet again before being transported up and away out of the observation area.
Modern-day cheese-making at Tillamook is regulated by the high-tech Cheddarmaster. But before entry into its yaws, it begins with the many pastures of contented and well-fed cows easy to spot barely beyond city limits, in all directions. It continues with the freshness of Tillamook milk, quickly stored in silos after passing quality testing. After being cooked in giant vats, Amatto vegetable coloring and rennet for coagulation and ripening are both added to the milk until it curds. At this point, nascent cheese enters the Cheddarmaster, all automatically and computerized, draining the whey from the curds and matting, turning, testing, milling and salting the curd. Into the curd towers for compression, then cooling and aging. Old-fashioned dairy tools, products, memorabilia and cheese videos can be viewed in the center of the large hall and between the full-length windows overlooking cheese production.
Quality control: Lest you think cheese-making is purely automatic, Tillamook still employs real human Master Cheesemakers, skilled in their craft and dedicated to upholding the quality of their product. Apprentices are required to learn cheddaring the old-fashioned way, to gain an appreciation and true understanding of the intricacies and complexities of the process.
Dessert! The upstairs ice cream counter was doing brisk business, and we got in line where we could study the flavors. Bob and I shared a German chocolate cake ice cream cone, and as each creamy bite melted on my taste buds, I decided that never again would I buy cheap ice cream.
Address: 4175 Highway 101 North Tillamook, OR Phone: 503-815-1300 Hours: Open daily 8 AM to 8 PM summer; 8am to 6pm fall, winter, spring
Since Paradise Cove, the RV park at which we were staying, was only a mile south of Wheeler, we soon took the opportunity to check out this little town, about which we knew exactly nothing. First order of business was mailing a letter.…Read More
Since Paradise Cove, the RV park at which we were staying, was only a mile south of Wheeler, we soon took the opportunity to check out this little town, about which we knew exactly nothing. First order of business was mailing a letter. We were immediately charmed by the trapezoidally shaped post office, so built to make best use of the space between two streets coming together at a rather acute angle. In fact, though Wheeler doesn’t have all that many back streets, the few they have show that their builders didn’t seem to care much for straight lines and neat corners. They meander pleasantly along the hillsides of the town, where it’s also clear from exteriors of businesses as well as homes that inhabitants are not only free to express their personalities, but take delight in doing so.
In the abundance of antique and collectible shops, it’s easy to lose yourself in yesteryear. Our favorite was Wheeler Station Antiques, appearing deceivingly small from the outside. Inside, it’s a multi-level antique mall plus snack, ice cream parlor and espresso bar, and visitor center. Not junky or dusty, each section, meticulously maintained by its vendor to the smallest detail, is a feast for the eyes. You think you’ve seen it all, but there’s another short stairway leading you to yet another small space full of potential treasures and nostalgia.
Wheeler Hotel: Walking along the shops on Wheeler’s main street, Highway 101, I was drawn to what appeared to be a small time-warped office, with tomato-red walls and hanging chandeliers. A Civil War era jacket was hanging on the coat tree next to the roll top desk. Had I stumbled onto a museum of sorts? The building itself was the Wheeler Hotel building, and Wheeler Hotel was neatly painted in red on the glass doors at the top of the stairs. No "private" or "keep out" signs to discourage me, and I soon found myself wandering its halls admiring the tasteful and unique décor. My eyes fell on notes clipped next to the doors of some of the rooms, on which was written "Welcome, _____" with keys stuck in the door. Though tempting, that bold I’m not, so I walked on finding what I later learned is the "common room", pictured here.
In the meantime, Bob was chatting with one of the shopkeepers below, and I called him on cell phone, suggesting he might want to come upstairs to see my find. He’d no sooner arrived, than one of the guests emerged in stocking feet to get some ice from the frig. It was her first stay here and she was totally loving it. Views from the common room and every room and suite overlook Nehalem Bay. The guest raved that even her Jacuzzi had a gorgeous view! As we conversed, proprietor Winston came to say hello. He and his wife (and 9-year-old son, I later learned from one of the newspaper articles on the wall) live in the back part of the hotel. This interesting and creative couple (originally from L.A. and New York respectively) was motor-homing around the U.S. when they discovered Wheeler and the then very dilapidated and falling-apart old hotel, and decided to settle down here. The year was 1998. After 2 ½ years of hard work renovating and beautifying, they began taking guests in 2001.
Time flew by, with Winston graciously showing us some of the rooms not yet occupied by guests. Take a look at them yourself; you can view each room on Wheeler Hotel’s website. Nightly peak season rates range from $60-110 and include expanded continental breakfast, free DVDs you can view in your room, and the morning paper delivered on your doorstep. Winston showed us how for larger families and groups, several of the rooms can be connected to form suites of 2 or even 3 rooms, from $125-240 nightly. The hotel has a massage room, courtesy phones, and high-speed internet access as well. Back woods of Oregon? Hardly! More like best of both worlds.
Like many of Oregon coastal towns, Wheeler began as a mill town in 1910, named for its founder, lumberman C. H. Wheeler. When the railroad connected Wheeler with Portland in 1911, growth and commerce thrived. Lumber and shingle mills did excellent business, and finished wood products were transported by rail to Portland. An early arrival to Wheeler was Dr. Harvey Rinehart and his bride in 1913. He was to establish the Rinehart Arthritis Clinic, which became quite well known, attracting patients from far and wide. For some time, the clinic was housed in the old Wheeler Hotel. In the 1940’s, Dr. Rinehart’s son Robert and daughter-in-law Dorothy, both MD’s, joined him in Wheeler to practice medicine. Between 1953 and 1989, Wheeler even had a hospital.
But by 1990, due to geo-economic-political changes, no more physicians were practicing in town. The end of that year, grandson of Dr. Harvey and son of Drs. Robert and Dorothy, Dr. Harry Rinehart, was called up for the Army Reserves during Desert Storm. By 1992, he was working in Wheeler as an employee of Tillamook County General Hospital. In one of those twists of history where things come around full circle, Dr. Harry Rinehart is now the medical director of private non-profit Rinehart Clinic, the third generation of Rineharts to be providing medical care for Wheeler citizens!
The Tillamook Burn is remembered by old-timers in Wheeler and other old lumber towns in Tillamook County. This refers to a big fire, or series of fires actually, between 1933 and 1945. The 1933 fire was the biggest, burning 240,000 acres of forest. Coming during the Depression, it compounded the region’s economic woes. Salvage logging of the burned areas was carried out until as late as 1955. Before then, massive replanting of the Burn with Douglas fir had begun, much of it by ordinary citizens and even school children. The oldest of these replanted forests are now 70 years old. In 1973, the Tillamook Burn became part of Tillamook State Forest, which also includes some unburned old forest. The state has designated up to 85% of the forest as loggable, engendering controversy between logging interests, who are eager to maximize their yield, and conservation groups, who are pushing to have the percentage reduced to 50%, which would have less impact on purity of water and wildlife habitats.
Written by btwood2 on 18 Sep, 2004
Summer 2002: our first summer of full-time living in our new motor home on the Oregon Coast! My husband Bob and I had been moving gradually up the coast in our slow, snail-like fashion, and were camped just south of Florence. We’d been…Read More
Summer 2002: our first summer of full-time living in our new motor home on the Oregon Coast! My husband Bob and I had been moving gradually up the coast in our slow, snail-like fashion, and were camped just south of Florence. We’d been experiencing either smoky or cloudy weather. Although clouds and mist are typical on the Oregon Coast, the smoke came from the lightning-caused Biscuit-Complex Fire that burned half a million acres that summer. We’d often see huge fire cumulus clouds in the east. Sometimes ashes would fall like rain throughout the day.
A perfect day: This Saturday dawned clear and sunny, with a few billowy natural cumulus clouds – a wonderful day to explore! So off we went in our tow car, a Hyundai Elantra, stopping here and there along the coast, taking short walks, and enjoying the scenery. I’d taken my leather backpack-purse, but didn’t really need it at the stops we were making. So I took out my camera and put the purse in the trunk, looking around to make sure no potential thieves were lurking. We walked to an ocean overlook, then back to the car and took off up the coast.
Our next stop was Heceta Beach, by Driftwood Shores Resort. On this beautiful sunny day, there were only a few parking spaces left on the state beach parking lot. We took one on the end of a row of cars, so there’d be less of a chance of someone banging their car door into our shiny gray new car. We walked down to the beach, where people were strolling and dogs were gamboling. It was midday and getting a bit hazy, with mist from the breakers moistening the air. Almost intoxicated by the warm sea breeze, we walked at leisure, approaching Heceta Lighthouse in the distance. An hour later, we turned to head back to the car.
A startling discovery: As Bob unlocked the front doors with the remote key, I stepped on shattered glass next to the passenger side, and couldn’t believe what I saw. The passenger window was gone, more glass tinkling down inside the door as I exclaimed and opened it. The glove box was hanging open. We quickly discovered that Bob’s camera, lying covered on the floor of the back seat, and our $2000 "brake buddy" in its plastic container on the back seat, were still there. As Bob popped the trunk and I looked inside, I got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach; my purse was gone.
Our immediate hope was that maybe the thieves had found the cash (about $25) and thrown the purse out nearby, with credit and debit cards, gift cards, checkbooks, driver’s license, RN license, ALL our camping membership ID cards, and address book still in it. Fat chance. We walked around looking under bushes and in trash containers, to no avail. As we drove back to Florence, I kept looking by the side of the road, vainly hoping to spot my purse, which had been a gift from my mother, my favorite and only purse. We followed the "Police" sign to a side street in Florence. The police station was locked and looked closed. It was before 5 pm, and we’d seen that the library down the street appeared to be open. The librarian, sympathetic to our tale of woe, made some phone calls. She found out that since our car had been broken into outside of city limits, we’d need to go see the state police, whose office was north of town, where we’d come from. She spoke to an officer there, who told her to have us come on over. As we drove up, he appeared just about to take off in his patrol car, but when we gesticulated wildly to him, he got out of his car and invited us in his office. He shared with us that "car clouts" are very common on the Oregon coast, and even more so with the slashed state budget, decimating the ranks of state patrol officers. Druggies looking for quick cash make a coastal run, breaking into one car per community and taking what they can get. Another car had been broken into earlier that afternoon beachside a little further north. He told us they move fast, trying to avoid confrontations. I filled out the police report, but he was skeptical. I gave him our cell phone number anyway just in case my purse would turn up.
The two tasks that remained to us which would take up the next three days were (#1) phoning all our cards, banks, etc. so that they could be stopped and accounts changed, and (#2) getting the car window fixed. No body shops on the coast; the nearest were in Eugene, so we drove there Monday, called around from the Visitor Center checking prices, and got our window replaced.
Lessons learned: We were lucky; it could have been so much worse. We stopped leaving valuable items in the back seats. I learned never to leave my purse in the trunk. I learned to slim down and take only essentials with me when touring in the car. Bob disabled the lever that pops the trunk open from beside the driver’s seat. That’s how they’d gotten in. Alarms didn’t ring because only the car doors were alarmed, not the windows, not the trunk. We also reconsidered parking at the end of rows of cars. Scratches and dents on the side of a car are not as bad as shattered windows and stolen valuables.
A happy post script to the story: One of the things that made me the saddest about the theft of my purse was the loss of over $100 left on a Copeland Sports gift card, a going-away gift from co-workers. I’d been told gift cards are like cash; when they’re lost they’re gone. At the Eugene Copeland’s a few weeks later, an exceptional employee went out of his way to see what he could do to re-issue the card. Apparently they’re tracked, and since I knew who and where the card was bought, he found the balance had NOT been cashed in, cancelled it, and promptly issued me a new one.
Written by Migin on 16 Jul, 2004
(The following is meant to give my journal Columbia River Gorge: Geology, Myth & Legend context rather than to be an exhaustive study.)
The Geology of the Columbia River Gorge has shaped a startling beautiful place. It remains as a reminder of the volatile forces that…Read More
(The following is meant to give my journal Columbia River Gorge: Geology, Myth & Legend context rather than to be an exhaustive study.)
The Geology of the Columbia River Gorge has shaped a startling beautiful place. It remains as a reminder of the volatile forces that have been Earth‘s geologic history.
Rising far to the north at Lake Columbia in British Columbia the Columbia River, a Washington and Oregon’s boundary for most of the length of both State, travels 1214-miles before joining the Pacific Ocean at Astoria, Oregon. Meandering a southwesterly course to confluence with the Snake River at Pasco, Washington, near Kennewick it turns westwards to run through a gorge, 100-miles-long and 3,000-feet-deep, created by the incessant movement of the water over millennia.
Water, and ice, and plate tectonics, and geologic uplift, and volcanism … and time.
This is a volcanic landscape, even where it's hidden beneath a mantle of trees, moss, or fields, or water. Beginning about 17-million-years-ago some 41,000-cubic-miles of basaltic flows aided the creation of the much of the Northwest, changing the course of the river a number of times. Uplifting along geologic faults as crustal plates push against each other and the volcanic flow created mountains, giant folds in the land. The land splits and the gorge is formed.
The Gorge bisects the High Cascades Mountains; an extension of the Sierra Range running from the tip of South America well into Canada. They are large, angular, snowy, and due to plate tectonics and volcanism still growing. The most famous would probably be Mount St. Helens (8,364-feet tall) whose explosive 1980 eruption was a reminder of the forces involved. The tallest of the Mountains are: in Oregon Mt Hood (11,239 feet) and in Washington Mount Rainier (14,410), and Mount Adams (12,276). All four are visible at some point when traveling from Portland up the gorge.
[The resulting landslide when the north face of St Helens blew off had a volume of over half (0.56) a cubic mile, reducing the mountain 1,300-feet in height. The cloud of ejected debris, smoke, and dust hung on the horizon looking like a nuclear blast.]
Permanent glaciers dot the range today. During the Pleistocene, the last ice-age, a thick glacier covered much of North America. Glaciers are not large smooth continuous chunks of ice, but craggy and broken, with deep crevasses. The shortest distance is a straight line doesn’t apply here. In some places the ice acted as a dam retaining water as a lake, a tricky balance in temperature between frozen and non-frozen water. A number of these lakes existed throughout the world, some for extensive periods of time. The volume of these lakes increased, sometimes dramatically, as the ice melted.
What remains of Lake Bonneville is the Great Salt Lake of Utah. At one time it covered almost 20,000-square-miles. About 14,000 years ago the earthen dam at Red Rock Pass, Idaho, eroded to the point of collapse. Water seeks the course of lowest resistance. Over a period of several weeks the lake’s level dropped 300-feet as the water rushed out. It flowed into the Snake River and filled the gorge known as Hell’s Canyon lying between Oregon and Idaho. Peak flow is estimated at 33 million cubic feet per second. The Snake then empties into the Columbia, which carried the flood through the gorge.
[The ten-mile wide Hell’s Canyon, world’s deepest, is 8,000-feet at its deepest and averages 5,500-feet. The flood did not carve it but did enhance it.]
Ancient Lake Missoula stretching over 200-miles, primarily in modern day Montana, contained 520-cubic-miles of water, maintained by a glacier ice-dam blocking the Clark Fork River. Periodically the ice-dam failed and floods ensued. About 13,000 years ago the ice-dam broke for the last time. And although this time period, as the last ice-age came to a close, saw global flooding of low-lying regions, the Missoula Floods were, probably, the largest ever seen. Moving at speeds of up to 65-miles-per-hour the water scoured topsoil and rock in its path, leaving behind what is known as channeled scabland, an indelible mark on the landscape. Reaching depths of 800-feet the swiftly moving water submerged Crown Point, as it moved into and down the narrow Columbia River Gorge. The lake is estimated to have drained in about 48-hours.
[The cliff-face at Dry Falls, Washington, once supported the world’s largest waterfalls.]
[Upon reaching the upper end of the Willamette Valley flood waters spread out and as the water slowed in filling this wider space the soil dropped out, settling to the valley floor to enhance the top-soil already there. The Willamette Valley, named for the river running through it, has some of the richest farmland in the world.]
Five-hundred years ago part of Table Mountain, on Columbia’s north bank, broke off, the massive landslide creating a 5-mile 200-foot tall natural dam, a lake 80-miles long and perhaps 100-feet deep forming behind. Gradual erosion undermined it to the point where -- that’s right -- it flooded, a wall of water up to 50-feet high broke through sweeping everything in its path, shifting the riverbed south. What remained of the natural dam, a series of large boulders and wild white-water rapids, is the source of the name for the surrounding mountain chain: Cascades.
These events gave rise to myths about the creation and destruction of the "Bridge of the Gods" and a number of the Cascade Mountains. Some, especially those involving Loowit, saw a popular resurgence after the eruption of Mt St. Helens in 1980.
Beacon Rock marked the end of the rapids. Now a State Park, at 848-feet tall is the world’s second largest monolith, behind Gibraltar, and the core of an ancient volcano. Featured in William Clark's journal, it was at here that they noted the tidal influence and knew they were close to the ocean. However, some scientists claim the tidal influence isn’t actually measurable here and that their "observation" was a surmise based upon what they expected to find due to other information they had. Hmmm … whatever.
In 1896 the Cascade Locks were built to ease progress down river. This was followed in 1937 by the Bonneville Dam a primary power source for the region, allowed ships to proceed 100-miles further up river than was originally possible. The river runs deep and placid compared with the wicked and mercurial channel that Lewis & Clark, as well as all those early along the Oregon Trail, had to navigate. The cascades are now all submerged behind the dam.
People lived in the flood zone, for all three events, but the physical evidence in the immediate affected area was destroyed by each catastrophic inundation. As it stands, the oldest physical evidence for human occupation in Oregon is at Fort Rock Cave, in eastern Oregon, where a pair of sandals dating to 9000bce have been discovered. The anecdotal evidence comes from the verbal histories of the various tribes mostly expressed in their mythology. So we know they were there when the amazing and amazingly blue Crater Lake, in southern Oregon, was created in an explosive event within Mount Mazama such as the one that truncated Mount St. Helens.
There are about 70 waterfalls located in the Gorge, the largest concentration of waterfalls found anywhere in the world. Most are on the Oregon side where the gorge walls are steeper and more abrupt. Some are seasonal, run-off from snowmelt, and some are lost beneath the waters beyond the dam. The basaltic flow layers are clearly visible in the cliff walls of such places as Multnomah Falls.
Viewing the Scablands from the air:
Flying in or out of Portland, coming from or going to the east, try to get a seat on the side that will let you see out a window looking north. Also, an early (7-8am) flight leaving or late afternoon/early evening -- do your math if your coming the other direction so that you’ll be in the air above eastern Oregon/Washington and Idaho around 8-9am or during the corresponding later time periods. On a clear day the oblique light will throw the scablands below into high-relief allowing you to get the big picture and truly appreciate how amazing and beautiful they are -- and what a large area they cover.
--Beautiful but slow loading Relief Map without counties overlaid or with.
--Cascadia Geology (Nice set of links with descriptions.)
--Learn More About Oregon Geology
--Oregon Department of Geology & Mineral Industries
--USGS: Cascades Volcanic Observatory (An absolute wealth of information and photos.)
--U.S. Geological Survey: Oregon
--Geologic Time (Global geology.)
--The Geologic History of the Columbia River Gorge (pdf)
--Columbia Plateau-Channeled Scablands: Field Course, Internet Resources
--Glossary of Technical Terms Related to Ice-Age Floods
Written by Migin on 28 Sep, 2004
Growing from an idea born in the 1940s to open as a 70-acre garden in 2001 (it will expand to 240-acres over the next decade) the current 80-acre Oregon Garden, divided into 20-plus specialty gardens, showcases various plants and plantings. In total there are…Read More
Growing from an idea born in the 1940s to open as a 70-acre garden in 2001 (it will expand to 240-acres over the next decade) the current 80-acre Oregon Garden, divided into 20-plus specialty gardens, showcases various plants and plantings. In total there are 3,000 varieties of plants now in the garden.
Some Features and Amenities of Interest
--Interspersed are water features, fountains of various types, pools, ponds, waterfalls, streams, and a wetland. An example: the Sensory Garden contains an 8-foot high water curtain, a fountain of downward jets spaced maybe a foot apart along a simple curved pipe-like 20-foot wide frame, and spurting a steady stream of water from each that sways in response to the wind.
--Some water features are expansive enough to comprise the whole of the specialty garden. The 1-acre A-Mazing Water Garden is a series of frog resident water lily covered ponds crisscrossed with paths. There is an 80-foot long water wall running along one side, like a waterfall but with a lighter flow -- a water trickle.
--Inhabited by many local birds (158 different species have been seen throughout the garden), the extensive wetland area is actually a part of the water reclamation and treatment system for the area. During periods of low flow, summer in particular, treated water discharge from Silverton raised Silver Creek water temperature, which can affect its ecology. Now passing through ponds in the wetlands area water temperature lowers, is used for garden irrigation, and returns to the water table indirectly. The wetland was constructed, dug out, built up, 158,000-cubic-yards of soil moved in its creation, but this isn’t apparent -- everything seems well established, grown-in.
--The Bosque is a plaza with 40 maple trees planted in square containers, many of which are sunk in a raised pool to (hopefully) create the illusion that the trees are growing in the water.
is sprinkled throughout the garden. A bronze bust commemorating Bobbie the Wonder Dog sits atop a raised pedestal at the head of a long narrow raised pool fountain. Bobbie, a Scotch Collie, lost on a family trip to Indiana in 1923, walked for six months and over 2500 miles to find his way home. There are more commemorations for Bobbie in downtown Silverton.
--The Pet Friendly Garden is in fact a teaching tool for humans instructing you on which garden plants are safe for pets and which are toxic. If your pets spend time outdoors, you should check this out.
--A Children's Garden has a large sandbox with "dinosaur bones" to excavate, and animal topiaries amongst the features that should appeal to kids. There is a child‘s size amphitheater here that is well used for educational lectures and demos for kids.
--The Axis Fountain forms the heart of the garden. It sits on a rise at one end of the Oregon Way, a series of diagonal paths that cross each other again and again so that the lawn between forms a series of green diamonds when viewed from either end. The way is bordered either side by triangular flowerbeds tucked into the angles.
--The Gordon House is Frank Lloyd Wright’s only design built in Oregon; rescued from demolition, moved to the garden, rehabilitated, and opened for touring; it’s also the only publicly accessible Wright in the Northwest. My entry on the house is here.
--The Rose Garden contains 40 varieties and a number of complimentary plants.
--The Northwest Garden showcases native species and varietals.
--The focus of the Oak Grove is the Signature Oak. It’s over 400 years old and looks it; gnarled, moss covered, some of its thick limbs so heavy they’ve drooped and grow outwards along the ground.
--The Market Garden contains many food and other useful plants. One elegant curved metal arbor supports a burgeoning hops plant while a straight wooden one is climbed by grape vines. These represent two leading products out of the region: beer (66% of the world’s hop supply comes from the U.S. Northwest) and wine.
--The Conifer Garden includes one of the largest collections of miniature conifers (cone bearing plants) in the country. Some are quite strangely shaped. A few of the larger ones look as if they’ve leaped from the pages of a Dr Seuss book. There are substantial standing stones in one hollow that commemorate contributions from the Western Division of the American Conifer Society to this garden’s formation.
--Contributors are also commemorated in the Honors Garden where a series of cedar posts interspersed with plants in a spiral setting hold brass plaques with names of those who made special contribution to the Oregon Garden‘s development and creation.
--Music in the Garden is a summertime feature. A musician sits under a canopy playing an acoustical instrument for about 4 hours. It’s a very casual, not like a concert but more like having a radio on. People pause, listen, and move on.
--The Visitor Center houses a gift shop and the Garden Café that has both inside (next to large windows) and outside seating with sweeping views of the garden. The menu as it was on my last visit is visible in the images below.
Visiting on a bright summer day places you in the midst of color so vivid and intense the flowers seem to glow like neon. I actually found it painful to look at some of the larger solid colored flower beds. They planted 40,000 summer annuals for 2004. That’s lots of neon (blue), argon (red), etc. Planned as an all-season garden (admissions are lower in winter) there is always something in bloom. I’ve also been here in early spring with a predominantly gray overcast sky and still found it colorful. Much of the garden is unaffected (like the many water features) by seasonal change, always colorful, or appeals through texture and contrast.
The various sections of the garden (the advantage of the gently hilly terrain they created) are laid out in such a way that the view around you is usually fairly restricted to the specialty garden you are currently exploring, even some of the more apparently panoramic areas, probably meant to focus and intensify your immediate experience. There are some viewpoints where you can really get the bigger picture.
A guided-tour Tram (at an additional $2 fee with ages 3 and under being free) roams the garden, taking about 20 minutes to complete its loop. A nice alternative to a self-guided walking tour, it makes stops a various points so you can hop off to explore. Each of the five stops has a large (probably 3 by 5 feet) "you are here" map with a descriptive list of points of interest near that stop.
The Oregon Garden Guide duplicates much of the information on the main website, and expands on some of it. Upon entry to the garden, you will be given a magazine version of the Guide with a map (map available online here) and oodles of other information including, yes, advertisements for local shops, restaurants, and attractions. Although it lacks some details, it includes others not available on either website. We were also given a copy of Dig: The Magazine of Northwest Gardeners on this last visit, but I don’t know if that is an ongoing or short term extra. It includes listings for garden and plant events in Oregon for the current year.
The gardens are located on the outskirts of Silverton, a town noted for its murals, and less than half-an-hour from Salem.
Other Useful Information
--The garden has many benches scattered through out it. An important feature if you decide to walk the whole 80 acres as we did. There are 14,000 feet of pathways.
--Pets are permitted, on-leash (maximum 8 feet), but clean-up is your responsibility.
--Smoking is not permitted. Other restrictions are listed at the visiting link (listed below) near the bottom of the page.
--The garden hosts a number of events throughout the year: teas, special in-depth tours, demonstrations, and plant shows.
--There is a Summer Concert series. The season, just completed, included performers as diverse as the Oregon Symphony Orchestra (which performs every year), Little River Band, and the Duke Ellington Orchestra. These concerts take place after regular garden hours and have a separate admission. Tickets are $20 for non-members.
(Detailed info on visiting the garden.)
879 West Main Street (1 mile south of Silverton on OR214)
PO Box 155
Silverton OR 97381
May to September: 10-6
October to April: 10-4
Oregon Garden Admission
--Oregon Garden members are given discounts at many other gardens throughout the U.S. and Canada. If you are a member of some other garden, check to see if there is a reciprocal program that would give you a discount here.
May to Oct - $8 Adults, $7 Seniors (60+), $6 Students (8-17)
Sept to April - $5 Adults, $4 Seniors, $4 Students
-- Free – Visitors under seven and members
503/874-8100, toll free 877/674-2733, fax 503/874-8200, firstname.lastname@example.org
Giftshop: 503/874-6016, email@example.com
Gordon House: 503/874-8826, firstname.lastname@example.org
It was a mural that started the whole thing. That was 1992, trickle-down economics had trickled out, the cupboard was bare. Wondering how to get people on their way to Silver Falls State Park or to Mt Angel to stop in Silverton instead of just…Read More
It was a mural that started the whole thing. That was 1992, trickle-down economics had trickled out, the cupboard was bare. Wondering how to get people on their way to Silver Falls State Park or to Mt Angel to stop in Silverton instead of just driving through, they had the idea -- start small, give them something to look at, not requiring much time commitment, quick and easy, just get them to stop. So they had a mural painted. Look at our mural, they said. And people did. It was quick, it was easy. Some of those people looked around and decided to explore. Let’s do lunch.
Aha, it worked. Quick, paint another one. Hey, all you who looked at the mural, we’ve got another one. Come on back over. People did. As Linda Ellerbe says, "and so it goes." There are now eleven murals in Silverton. And so it goes. The tour is a walk through history, not only of what actually was in Silverton, but reflective of the hopes and aspirations of much of small-town America.
The Mural Walking Tour Map (pdf) contains locations for many city services and amenities, and an error - the lower left two locations should each be one block north. The second from the top left marks the location for two of the murals. Most murals have an accompanying explanatory plaque or panel.
Silverton Mural Society
PO Box 880 Silverton, Oregon 97381 USA
Vince Till, president
(*d items are subjects covered more fully by entries elsewhere in this journal.)
*Bobbie, the Prodigal Dog
Lori Lee Webb. 2004.
Location: S. Water and Lewis Streets.
When separated from his people in Indiana Bobbie the collie traveled somewhere between 2551 and 2800 miles on his own to return home to Silverton in 1924. The mural illustrates this true story.
The Four Freedoms
David McDonald. 1992/3.
Location: Second and E. Main Streets.
This mural, recreating paintings by Norman Rockwell, and inspired by President Franklin D. Roosevelt "four freedoms" W.W. II rallying cry consists of five panels, one for each freedom and an explanatory panel. Captions on an easily overlooked sloped ledge define each freedom. From left to right: of religion, of free speech, from want, from fear.
*Gallon House Bridge
Lori Lee Webb. 2000.
Location: Lewis and S. Water Streets.
Commemorates Gallon House covered bridge just north of town. The poem written onto the curve of road refers to events giving the bridge its name (dispensing of illegal alcohol) as well as other events the artist imagines might have taken place there.
David McDonald. 1996.
Location: 205 S First Street, at Lewis.
Silverton native Homer Davenport was in his time a well respected and influential political cartoonist (some are reproduced within the mural) and the first importer of Arabian horses into the US. Homer Davenport Days are held the first weekend in August with a parade, food, entertainment, and the quirky ‘Davenport Races.’ The International Cartoon Contest really does draw entries of political cartoons from around the globe.
The Mammoth: The World’s Largest Camera
David McDonald. 1992.
Location: 441 N Water Street, at Park.
This extraordinary image is based upon an actual 1400-pound (fully assembled with plate holder) camera, and upon a photograph of that enormous camera preparing to take an equally enormous photograph, on 8 by 4.5-feet plates, of a train in 1900 (for which it was purpose built). A story you can read here. Compare the photo in the article with the image below. Essentially a publicity ploy (for the Chicago and Alton Railway), this mural serves the same purpose in Silverton.
Old Oak Tree
Lori Lee Webb (?)
Location: 213 E Main Street, between Water and First Streets.
This tree was found guilty of blocking traffic (as Homer Davenport wrote in The Country Boy), so, chop, chop, and... timber. In the early days, wagons just drove round it, and it stayed, like a roundabout, until the city achieved a certain size when its presence became an inconvenience. The trunk is enshrined in a nearby park. A rare preserved instance of an occurrence probably duplicated endlessly worldwide.
Location: 1787 Pine Street.
While not the route followed by Lewis and Clark the Oregon Trail (Map showing both routes) was a long incredibly arduous trek requiring an amazing amount of stamina and commitment to complete. Many didn’t, one in ten died, dotting the trail with graves and the detritus of the weary, unable or unwilling to transport it farther. Those following the trail did so for so many reasons: get richer, stop being poor, convert the natives, preserve their own beliefs, ‘advance’ civilization or get away from it, because it was there… Nature abhors a vacuum, real or imagined, and so does America (apparently). They came. Possibility, opportunity, advantage. Maybe the only thing they had in common was the willingness to take a risk. Covering a period of decades this is still perhaps the defining moment of Oregon history. It doesn’t matter that Silverton was not directly on the Trail, any and all Oregon communities can claim decent. Unfortunately, this mural fronts a field that‘s fenced, you can‘t really get close to it (hence no attribution or year of execution -- I couldn‘t see them). After that build up I bet that‘s disappointing. I agree.
The Red Sox
Kelly Farrah. 2002.
Location: 500 block of ‘C’, between James and Water Streets. Behind Silver Creek (bowling) Lanes.
The Red Sox (one of Boston’s minor league teams) played ball, fairly successfully, in Silverton from 1937 to 1954. It was the mill workers of the Silverton Timber Company who filled the roster, supplying also the coach and manager, and community support that made it work. Several players went on to the majors, including Portland native Johnny Pesky. One of the more striking features of the mural is the diamond annotated with the names of all players for every position, all the short stops together, etc.
America‘s game, some say, or perhaps, as other say Baseball as America. (Northwest baseball tip #1: Ichiro!)
Santa and Mrs. Claus
Location: W. Main and Fiske Streets.
Roger Cooke. 2002.
Captioned: Silverton, the town that still believes. The caption says it all.
*Silverton: City of the Falls
Lori Lee Webb. 1998.
Location: Main and Water Streets, by the bridge.
Commemorates nearby Silver Falls State Park and its 10 falls. The fall pictured appears to be South Falls.
Our Twentieth Century
David McDonald. 2000.
Location: C Street between Water and James Streets.
My favorite by far. A collage of events and people significant to and representative of 20th-century America, unlabeled but mostly obvious. Raising the flag at Iwo Jima is such an iconic image as to be instantly recognizable. Lucille Ball, Charlie Chaplin, Charlie McCarthy. The woman in the long dress draped with sash reading ‘equality’ carrying an American flag seems an obvious choice for the suffragette movement. Other things are perhaps less obvious. The baby may represent Louise Brown, and the other ‘test tube’ babies. Is the breached red brick wall symbolic of the breaking of the Berlin Wall?
The mural is clearly nostalgic, but also cautionary, reminding us of both the successes and failures of our last century, while reinforcing the idea that the events continue their influence. A suited astronaut with the Earth over his shoulder is clearly the moon landing. The shuttle launch reflected on his helmet brings the program into the present.
Many of the images are multi-representational, but not everything can be included after all. The radioactive shelter icon represents not only the shelters themselves, but the entire cold war, nuclear proliferation, possibly even the Cuban missile crisis specifically, a headline for which fades into the painted cement blocks nearby. Louis Armstrong is more than a man with a horn, he’s an entire musical genre. Jackie Robinson stands for far more than the integration of baseball. You could make an entire day of listing the connections branching from the various images, probably surprising the artist with some he never anticipated, or perhaps never meant.
Between the panels are quotes arranged in columns. From the dark tensions of, "We will bury you," to the inspiration of, "I have a dream," through the energetic burst of, "Awop bop aloobop alop bam boom!" to the imaginative blessing of, "May the force be with you," each set of words evokes moments and moods that like the images expand like ripples.
Part of what appeals to me is analyzing the choices McDonald made and considering what choices I would’ve made. Why include the television remote while excluding any overt reference to computers? Why choose a medic helicopter against a peace sign with a purple heart hanging from it to represent the Vietnam War? I can guess, but I could be wrong. It’s a mural made for contemplation, so take your time.
There are two reasons to go to Silver Falls State Park, the waterfalls, and then there’s everything else. Annually about 750,000 people come to the park for one thing or the other.
Oregon is blessed with many waterfalls. The Columbia River Gorge (My Gorge Journal…Read More
There are two reasons to go to Silver Falls State Park, the waterfalls, and then there’s everything else. Annually about 750,000 people come to the park for one thing or the other.
Oregon is blessed with many waterfalls. The Columbia River Gorge (My Gorge Journal ), that natural boundary between Oregon and Washington, has the largest concentration of falls in the world. The lushly beautiful northwestern rainforest of Silver Falls, one of the largest State Parks (8,700 acres), has ten falls linked by a single path.
[Waterfall facts: A single drop (unbroken top to bottom) is properly called a fall, multi-drops (dropping to ledges before dropping again) are falls. Groups, like Niagara, are falls regardless of the drop total. A non-seasonal continuous flow defines year-round fall(s).]
The falls range from 27 feet to 177 feet-tall, with both single and double drops. Four overhang the trail, letting you pass behind a wall of water of various density and width. I fully understand that this seems completely thrilling and romantic to most people, myself included, I just don’t fully understand why. But standing behind this liquid wall looking outward through the distortions of the water at a world become surreal, with the wet smell of earth and rock surrounding you while the spray cools your skin is a fairly magical moment. This isn’t a new experience, Vision Quest ceremonies were once held behind the curtain of North Falls. I leave it to you to develop your own theory as to why it resonates for you.
The path, known as the Trail of Ten Falls, twists past large Douglas fir (and other conifers), moss-draped trees, large ferns (smaller ones sprout from the cliff face, from the sides of trees…), wildflowers, and crossing creeks, outflow of the falls you pass. You’re getting a geological tour as well. The volcanic eruptions known as the Columbia River flows (instrumental in creating the Gorge as well) covered an area of 25,000-square-miles, laid down in at least four recognizable layers. Here, the basaltic flows overlaid the previous limestone deposits. Erosion from Silver Creek and its tributaries have contributed to the canyon’s shape, carving out the softer underlying stone to create the grotto like overhangs behind some of the falls. The canyon walls reveal the story. Behind the falls, don‘t forget to look up as well. In some places, decomposed trees (caught just standing around by the lava flows) have left lava-casts of their shape in the roofs of these grottos.
The path, a series of inter-connected trails (see resources below for map links), is 8.7 miles long, configured as two uneven, but overlapping, loops. Mostly narrow, unfortunately unpaved (although roughly graveled),and often not an easy grade – in a couple of places, the rise in terrain has even necessitated inclusion of sizable flights of stairs (marked on the trail map), although some stretches are not only level but covered with pavers. The whole experience can be tranquil, it can enervate, or it can exhaust; certainly doing the entire trail ensures sleeping soundly that night. More lasting are the memories.
Open: 6am-9pm (June 1 to August 31); 7am-8pm (September); 7am-7pm (October); 8am-5pm (November 1- February 28); 8am-6pm (March); 7am-8pm (April l 1-May 31)
Fees: $3 Day Use fee, payable at the yellow box. Boxes will be found next to the North Falls parking area or on your way into the South Falls/Lodge area. Display the receipt on your dashboard or risk having your car towed. A camping permit serves this function.
Charges for overnight stays depend upon your chosen option. (See camping below.) Discovery Season (October 1- April 30) has lower rates. Rates are posted on the Park’s website.
Contact: (State Park info) 800/551-6949, (camping) 503/873-8681, (reservations) 800/452-5687, (Conference center) 503/873-8875; Feedback & Info
Getting to Silver Falls: Highway 214 passes through the park and all the parking for the falls.
--15 miles from Silverton: Drive south on Hwy-214.
--26 miles From Salem: Take Highway 22 east to the junction with 214. Turn left on 214 and follow it into the park.
Abridged Falls Tour
It’s possible to see nine (or possibly all ten) waterfalls without (for whatever reason) doing the entire trail. It requires parking your vehicle four times, viewing one fall from a distance, and backtracking quite a bit. This shortened tour will function too as a comprehensive sampling (at least a little taste of everything) of the trail, is a good workout and sleep inducement. All turns are lefts, unless originating in Silverton, which makes the initial one a right. Total distance walked: about 4 miles. Option B adds 1.2 miles, Option C adds .6 miles.
Parking #1 (1 Fall): Follow signs leading to South Falls and the Lodge. Then follow signs specifically to the Lodge. Park. Visit the lodge (see below). Get maps and other brochures. Walk to the fall overlook. Hike down the trail (about .2 miles) to stand behind the falls. Backtrack. (Option B: The one fall not included in my truncated tour is .6 miles further along this trail, adding 1.2 miles to the total -- if you’re up for it.) Return to your vehicle. Total of about .5 miles.
#2 (6 Falls): Proceed 2 miles east/northeast on Highway 214 to Winter Falls parking. The trailhead is beyond. Follow trail down to North Falls. Continue on. At the fork, go left. Next up are Middle (another walk behind) and Drake Falls. At the next junction, continue on a few feet to Lower North Falls. Backtrack and turn left to visit Double Falls. Backtrack to the fork. Proceed on (without turning) to Twin Falls. Backtrack to the fork, turn left, and return to parking. Total: 3 miles.
#3 (1 Fall): From Winter Falls drive east about .5 miles to the next parking from where you can see the entire distant North Falls. Total: zero.
#4 (1 Fall): Again travel eastwards. From the parking walk over the pedestrian bridge and turn left and proceed to Upper North Falls, the coolest part of the canyon in my opinion -- like air-conditioning. Backtrack to parking. (Option C: If you have the time, you can go straight by the bridge and visit the walk-behind North Falls, adding another .6 miles to this segment.) Now you can continue on to Silverton, Salem, or visit somewhere else in the park. Total .4 miles, or 1 mile.
And the Other
The park contains an additional 25 miles of hiking, biking, and horse trails; swimming, picnicking facilities, a children’s playground, camping, cabins, a conference center, a visitor center housed in an historic lodge, and lots of opportunities to bird- and animal-watch. Last trip I saw six chipmunks, two deer, a number of butterflies, and numerous birds. Fishing is all catch and release, with barbless hooks only.
Built as the park’s food concession in the 1940s, this Adirondack-style building is now used as a visitor center. The Lodge contains a series of interpretive displays, a small gift shop, a snack bar, indoor seating (outdoor seating is also available), and a large stone fireplace. Walls are either windowed or hold historical photos of the falls. Maps and brochures are near the main entrance. The gift shop, run by Friends of Silver Falls, includes a selection of books and videos on Oregon subjects, and a map full of round-headed pins showing the home locations of many visitors over the last few years.
The immediate area around the lodge has multiple picnicking areas, children’s playground, additional snack facility, and ample parking. Last trip here, I found someone painting the view of the creek -- easel and all. It’s a lovely area. The paths are level, with pavers, and fully ADA accessible. There is a great view of South Falls.
There are a number of campgrounds and options. Tent sites, horse camps, youth camps, group camps, RV (singular and group), both one and two room rustic cabins (locking doors and electricity, but no inside cooking or plumbing) are available. The Silver Falls Conference Center also does lodging with meals. Quiet hours in the campgrounds are 10pm-7am.
--Bear and Mountain Lion (Cougar) inhabit more remote areas. Use caution. Report any sightings to park rangers. The visitor center has brochures instructing what to do should you encounter the more dangerous wildlife.
--Hiking trails can be slick in damp weather.
--Damaged by winter storms trails can be closed until repairs are complete, which on a meager budget sometimes takes a while. Check park website for updates.
--Pets allowed on leash only (except in pet exercise area), but are restricted from the buildings and most of the Trail of Ten Falls.
The *d maps are available in hardcopy at many tourist info stations, various attractions about the state, and at the park.
-- Trail Map* (pdf)
--The Park Map* includes a detail map of the campgrounds. (pdf)
--Bird List (text file)
--Friends of Silver Falls State Park has lots of information on the park. Unfortunately, the last update was in 2002.
--Interactive Park Features Map
Written by Brent Don on 14 Jul, 2000
Wednesday started off in Eugene City and took us up to Corvallis and Albany later in the day.
•Eugene City Brew
844 Olive Street
Eugene, OR 97401
Eugene City Brew is located on the lower level of a restaurant, which gives it an appropriately dark pub atmosphere — even…Read More
Wednesday started off in Eugene City and took us up to Corvallis and Albany later in the day.
•Eugene City Brew
844 Olive Street
Eugene, OR 97401
Eugene City Brew is located on the lower level of a restaurant, which gives it an appropriately dark pub atmosphere — even when you’re drinking there at nine in the morning like we did.
We ordered the sampler to get the full Eugene City experience and we were thoroughly pleased with almost the entire selection. We were particularly fond of the stout, which had rich coffee overtones and was heavy enough to rank as a meal in its own accord. After polishing off the sampler we each ordered a glass of our favorite to go with our meals.
All in all this was a spectacular way to start the day: a great selection of beers, good food and a great drinking environment.
•Wild Duck Brewery
169 West 6th Street
Eugene, OR 97401
Wild Duck had a great bar, which we naturally gravitated towards, and lots of merchandise such as pint glasses and T-shirts for sale with their distinctive logo.
The most unique beer we experienced at Wild Duck was their Hefeweizen, which was unusual in being very clear. Hefeweizens are generally cloudy due to the fact that it is an unfiltered beer, but Wild Duck’s process produces a remarkably clear beer with the same distinctive qualities. Served with the obligatory lemon wedge, it was very refreshing.
199 East 5th Avenue
Eugene OR, 97401
Steelhead is located in Eugene’s market district and has a lounge atmosphere. We relaxed in high-backed, plush chairs looking out on the street and enjoyed a variety of their lighter beers, including their amber and Hefeweizen.
420 Northwest 3rd Street
This was our first introduction to the Oregon brewing dynasty that is McMenamins. At last count, McMenamins owned and operated 28 pubs throughout Oregon. About half of the establishments brew the beer on location and the other half import it from their sister pubs. Their shared menu of beers means that you can find familiar micro-brews up and down the state.
The pub we chose for our first McMenamins visit was a small pub in the Irish tradition — high wood booths and a friendly atmosphere. This location didn’t brew their beer in-house, but that didn’t keep it from being good. I took a liking to their stout, which I would revisit in future visits to other McMenamins.
By this time we had worked off our early lunch at Eugene City, so we sampled some of the fare the restaurant had to offer. This McMenamins had more traditional pub food than the lavish brewery meals we’d been having recently: soup, salad and sandwiches were abundant. Inexpensive and good food.
•Oregon Trail Brewery
341 Southwest 2nd street
Corvallis, OR 97333
Oregon Trail is actually one of the older micro-breweries in Oregon, having been opened in 1987. It’s located at the back of a world market amongst art shops and a deli.
Their beer selection was nothing spectacular – this was a smaller brewery than most of the others we hit on our tour — but at the same time we weren’t displeased with anything we sampled.
•Oregon Trader Brewing Company
140 Hill Street
Albany, OR 97321
Housed inside Wyatt’s Eatery, the Oregon Trading Brewing Company was our dinner destination. The dining area is very spacious, with very high ceilings and art posted along the walls. The food was typical of an upscale brewery, but the beer selection was a little more exotic.
The brewers at Oregon Trader like to experiment with interesting seasonings in their beer. Their Hefeweizen is brewed with berries and their Hollybock has cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg added to spice it up. I chose the most extreme brew they offered to go with my meal — their Green Chili Lager. This spicy brew was definitely unique, but after a few sips I was less interested in its exotic flavor than I was in its lingering aftertaste. If you’re looking for a unique beer you should at least try it, but it definitely is an acquired taste.
As we moved farther north we started to pick up a little buzz amidst the brewery community. At one stop we told our bartender that we were headed north on a brewery tour and he said: "Oh yeah? You guys are going to stop at Edgefield, right?"
The only thing we had learned about Edgefield from our research was that it was a McMenamin’s establishment, so we didn’t really have any desire to go to yet another iteration of this franchise. We told the bartender as much.
"Oh no, it’s not just another McMenamin’s," our bartender admonished us with a twinkle in his eye. "Trust me, you want to check it out. It’s incredible."
Intriguing. Incredible was definitely on our to-do list.
Written by kmikewood on 06 May, 2003
The lovely tourist town of Sisters in the high desert country of central Oregon is named for three drowsing volcanoes that delight and inspire. North Sister is Faith, and at an elevation of 10094 feet is just a smidgen taller than sibling Hope, and about…Read More
The lovely tourist town of Sisters in the high desert country of central Oregon is named for three drowsing volcanoes that delight and inspire. North Sister is Faith, and at an elevation of 10094 feet is just a smidgen taller than sibling Hope, and about 300 feet shorter than Charity to the south. The sisters are part of a seven mountain contingent which includes Mt. Jefferson, Three Finger Jack (some say it’s named for a trapper who lived in the area and whose hand was not as fast as the jaws of his trap), Mt. Washington, and Broken Top, which lost its head in a volcanic eruption eons ago.
Visitors can find pleasurable exercise ranging from leisurely day hikes to more serious backpacking or mountain climbing, horseback riding, water skiing, wind surfing, rafting, fishing, biking, and golf. Winter months beckon alpine and cross-country skiers. Less athletic warm-weather visitors can pick huckleberries, bird watch, or just revel in fields of wild flowers. Year-round the natural scenery is a tonic to the senses and an inspiration to painters and photographers.
On a roadmap, Sisters is the top of a triangle with its base angles at Bend and Redmond, each 20 miles away. The leg running northwest from Bend is Highway 20 -- a bit wobbly as it crosses through the tiny settlement of Tumalo, location of the Tumalo Feed Company, a restaurant which boasts the best steaks in Central Oregon and where martinis are served in canning jars that will fill your glass twice. Highway 97 connects Bend and Redmond and forms the base of the triangle. Sisters has a population of only 911 year-round dwellers, one of whom exults that the nearest traffic light is 20 miles from town. All three points of the triangle share equally in views of dark buttes and perennially snow-clad peaks.
Logging and cattle have long taken a backseat to tourism as Sisters’ main source of income. The town fills up for the annual outdoor quilt show on the second weekend in July. B&Bs near Camp Sherman on the Metolius River must be booked well in advance of the summer months, when events and activities are most numerous and when outdoor weddings take place at the scenic locales of Black Butte, Smith Rock, Eagle Crest (a popular time share destination), and other sites in town not far from Sisters.
Golfers can select from courses such as Aspen Lakes in Sisters, three courses at Eagle Crest, and two at Black Butte. Also nearby are courses in Redmond, Prineville, and Crooked River Ranch.
Within a 100-mile circle of Sisters is some of the finest lake, creek and wild river fishing in the American West. The Metolius River springs from the ground near Camp Sherman. Toss bread crumbs into the stream from the Camp Sherman bridge and watch trout the length of your forearm gobble them up.
Visit Sisters, Oregon, if you have the chance. You will feel like part of the family.
Written by auntieanne on 14 Dec, 2000
Simply strolling through downtown Portland is an experience in itself. The downtown's short blocks and scenic fixtures make for a pleasant walk. There are also many retailers, restaurants, galleries, and specialty shops. What I most enjoyed about down town were the many…Read More
Simply strolling through downtown Portland is an experience in itself. The downtown's short blocks and scenic fixtures make for a pleasant walk. There are also many retailers, restaurants, galleries, and specialty shops. What I most enjoyed about down town were the many waterfalls constructed in the area. You may also want to visit Pioneer Square, a sort of commons area with an amphitheatre where many people (young and old, but mostly young) hang out and visit. At noon each day a sort of weather machine emerges to display the current weather conditions. So put on your walking shoes, grab a cup of coffee -Starbucks are located about every 10 feet- and take in the downtown Portland culture. Close