GUEST BLOG POST: Hike the Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon

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Phil and Julia on the Pacific Crest Trail with South Sister in the background

Phil and Julia on the Pacific Crest Trail with South Sister in the background

The new movie “Wild” tells the true story of one woman’s solo hike along 1,100 miles (1,770 km) of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. Known as the PCT, the 2,650 mile (4,265 km) wildland route connects Mexico and Canada, with 457 (735 km) of those miles in Oregon. Eugene residents Julia Frantz and Philip Pfanner spent five months hiking the entire PCT. Julia shares her trek along the Lane County portion, which journeys by Diamond Peak and through the Three Sisters Wilderness, in this guest blog post. 

Pacific Crest Trail maps are available at the Eugene, Cascades & Coast Adventure Center.

I awoke early to the lapping water of Crescent Lake, the sun shining through the fabric of our tent, and the cold, fresh air. We were at mile 1,893 of the Pacific Crest Trail, and had been hiking from the Mexican border for just under four months. At this point in our hike, living in the wilderness and sleeping on the ground felt normal. We’d fallen into a routine of waking with the sun, lounging in bed for awhile (Phil read, I slept), making coffee, eating our beloved daily Pop-Tart, and then starting our day of hiking. Each day had a purpose: to walk until dark (usually 20-25 miles), each step getting us closer to our final destination of Canada. Continue reading

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Falling Sky brewer’s dinners dazzle the tastebuds

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Falling Sky Brewing will hold a Winter Brewer’s Dinner on January 25, 2015, to help kick off this year’s KLCC Microbrew Festival. Adventure Specialist Gabrielle Lent attended the Fall Brewer’s Harvest Dinner and wrote about the mouthwatering evening. Tickets to this year’s Brewer’s Dinner can be purchased on Falling Sky’s website.

Falling Sky Brewer's Dinner

Falling Sky Brewing’s Fall Brewer’s Harvest Dinner

I’ve always liked Falling Sky Brewing. Last fall, my Facebook alerted me to their Fall 2014 Brewer’s Harvest Dinner. I had never been to something like this before. I scanned the menu, accepted the reasonable fee of $39 a plate, and decided yes, I had to be there. The dinner sounded like an excellent excuse to get dolled up and enjoy a meal that aimed to dazzle my ‘buds and sedate me through my stomach.

The atmosphere was casual. I grabbed a small plate from one of the community tables and lined up to receive the first of six courses; the Charcuterie Bonanza. The buffet-style mix and match of snacks allowed diners to experience pork carpaccio, smoked lox, kale and white bean bruschetta spread on a marbled rye crostini. There were sweet potato brioches and amazing pickled vegetables, as well as lamb ham, a hybrid meat unique to the brewery. These appetizers were paired with pitchers of Cloud Gazer Vienna Lager, and a new release, the Mandatory English IPA. Both beers worked well to refresh the palate between wandering bites, though I did favor the Lager. Continue reading

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Your guide to a holiday weekend in Cottage Grove

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Christmas lights galore at the Village Green Resort & Gardens

Christmas lights galore at the Village Green Resort & Gardens

I saw a gorgeous light display, wondered the aisles of a used book store, checked out a new (to me) restaurant and enjoyed a fabulous holiday show all in one place last weekend – Cottage Grove. This All-America City is 22 miles south of Eugene and known for a rich gold mining past and historic covered bridges.

My sister had read rave reviews about the Cottage Theatre’s production of “She Loves Me,: so I built my Saturday around the show. I invited a friend to join me and couldn’t have come away with more holiday cheer and wonder.

Here’s a recap of where we went:

Village Green Resort & Gardens
We started our evening with a walk through the Christmas light display at the Village Green Resort & Gardens. What a treat! The resort is decked out for the holidays. We sipped delicious mulled wine and hot chocolate from the lovely outdoor bar as we walked through tunnels of twinkling blue and green lights that made us feel like we were underwater. Coils of rope lights hung from the trees to look like ornaments. My only regret was that my daughter wasn’t with me, because the display is perfect for families. She would’ve loved sitting around the fire pit and munching on s’mores from the packages available for purchase. A roaring fire in the lobby added a nice seasonal touch.

Kalapuya Books
After visiting the Village Green Resort, we headed to downtown Cottage Grove. I’m a sucker for used bookstores. So, despite the galleries, museums, restaurants and boutiques around us, we ended up browsing Kalapuya Books. It was my first time there and definitely not my last. It was such a cool atmosphere! Plus, they had a great selection of books about Oregon. I bought one about pioneer women. There was a treasure hunt going on, so folks were coming in looking for clues, which only reaffirmed Cottage Grove’s small town charm.

The Cottage Theatre, Image credit: Maximillian Arnold

The Cottage Theatre, Image credit: Maximillian Arnold

The Axe & Fiddle Public House
The bookstore opened up into the Axe & Fiddle Public House, a local favorite. We found a quiet table at the very front of the restaurant with windows out onto Main Street. The bartender excitedly told us that her friend was the male lead in the play we were going to see. We had spent too much time at the bookstore, so we ordered a quick round of nachos before we were on our way.

Cottage Theatre
We hopped back in our car and headed to the main event of the evening – the Cottage Theatre’s performance of “She Loves Me.” Right away we were welcomed by friendly staff. Our seats were in the front row. They weren’t kidding when they said “pull your legs in during the show” because actors walked continuously in front of us. It was quiet entertaining and enjoyable! Plus, the costumes and set were first rate. The female lead did an excellent job singing. It was set to live music so you could see the musicians up above the stage – very cool. The show runs Fridays – Sundays through December 21. You can purchase tickets on the Cottage Theatre’s website by clicking on “Get Tickets.”

 Taj headshotAbout the author:
Taj Barnhart Morgan is the Web Content Manager for Travel Lane County.  A journalism graduate from the University of Oregon, Taj has two decades of special event management and hospitality marketing experience in San Diego, CA, and Maui, HI. Passionate about mothering, and back to her Oregon roots, she is discovering Lane County all over again through the eyes of her daughter.

 

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Holiday gifts for sale at the Adventure Center

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Eugene Ale Trail gift package

Eugene Ale Trail gift package

Share Oregon adventures, locally-made gifts, craft beer and South Willamette Valley wines with your loved ones this holiday season. The Eugene, Cascades & Coast Adventure Center is the go-to place for products made in Lane County and Oregon-inspired presents.

Craft beer enthusiasts will love the Eugene Ale Trail gift packages. Priced at $15 – $30, each includes either a $10 or $25 gift certificate to a local brewery, a branded mason jar, a bottle opener magnet, a bag of Doug’s Nuts and a Eugene Ale Trail passport. The passport guides beer travelers to 11 of the area’s best breweries, from Agrarian Ales, whose tasting room is in a 1920s dairy barn on an organic hop farm, to Falling Sky Brewing, an urban gastropub that nails it with stellar food, beer and hand-crafted sodas, to Oakshire Brewing, whose single batch beers can often only be found in the tasting room.

Gifts available at the Adventure Center

Gifts available at the Adventure Center

“From lavender and alpaca products to local beer and wine, people are often surprised by the wide array of locally-produced gifts we have available,” said Samara Phelps, Adventure Center Manager. ” We carry items that represent Lane County and Oregon as an extension of our brand. Visitors and residents often want something to take home or send to friends and relatives that genuinely reflects our region.” In addition to gift packages, the Adventure Center also offers a selection of 53 different Lane County wines and beers. More than 20 different types of food products are available ranging from jams, jellies, nuts and sauces to fish, chocolate, and cinnamon.

Books, guides and atlases make great gifts for adventurers, inviting them to explore area hiking trails, waterfalls, wildflowers, birds, lighthouses and local history. Include an annual forest, recreation, or park pass to help them on their way.

Create your own holiday memories by embarking on a Christmas tree hunt in the Willamette National Forest. The $5 permits are sold at the Adventure Center.

For more holiday gift ideas, see our photo album on our Facebook page. Save 20% of your purchases with our Winter Daily Deals. Each day of the week offers a different Daily Deal.

The Eugene, Cascades & Coast Adventure Center is located at 3312 Gateway Street in Springfield and is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 541.484.5307 or visit www.EugeneCascadesCoast.org/Adventure-Center

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Christmas tree permits on sale at the Adventure Center

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Misty late fall weekends call for a different kind of adventure in the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region. This one unites the chilly outdoors with the warmth of the holidays. Hiking and Yuletide cheer. The forest with the centerpiece of Christmas glee. For many locals, the seasonal celebration begins with the annual hunt for the perfect tree.

And it all starts at the Eugene, Cascades & Coast Adventure Center. Christmas tree permits are now on sale at the Springfield visitor center. The $5 pass allows for the removal of one tree less than 12 feet tall on National Forest Land. Five tree permits per household are allowed.

Read about The Ultimate Christmas Tree Hunt that our Adventure Specialists went on.

Watch their DIY video:

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Celebrate the first two years of the Eugene, Cascades & Coast GeoTour!

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Join fellow geocachers to celebrate the first two years of the Eugene, Cascades & Coast GeoTour. Enjoy a light lunch, share stories, and see who wins the Oakridge – Westfir and Territorial Edition trips. Revisit the sites and experiences from all four editions of the GeoTour with a slideshow of your photos. Share images that you would like to be included in the show on the cache pages on Geocaching.com.

Eugene, Cascades & Coast GeoTour

Eugene, Cascades & Coast GeoTour

2nd Anniversary Event Details

WHAT: Good company, trip giveaway, slideshow and light lunch (You do not have to be present to win the giveaway.)
WHEN: Sunday, November 23, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
WHERE: The Adventure Center, 3312 Gateway St Springfield, OR 97477
WHY: We love geocaching and geocachers!
RSVP: On the cache pages on Geocaching.com

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Thanksgiving dinners, markets & other tasty holiday treats

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Image credit: Caroline Harben

Image credit: Caroline Harben

Our mouths are watering in anticipation of Thanksgiving weekend in the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region. This is the time when the South Willamette Valley bounty takes center table at local restaurants, markets and homes.

Our chefs are already busy planning their Thanksgiving menus. Executive Chef Rob Sigmund at Amici Restaurant & Bar will put an Italian twist on the traditional turkey dinner. Spend the holiday on the Oregon Coast with Thanksgiving dinner at The Bay View Restaurant and Lounge at the Best Western Plus Pier Point Inn, where the view of the Siuslaw River will leave you going back for seconds. Find more restaurants open on Thanksgiving on our website.

Sarver Winery by Rick Obst

Sarver Winery by Rick Obst

You can still enjoy the flavors of local chefs in the warmth of your own home by ordering a ready-to-heat and serve turkey dinner. Cornucopia Restaurant & Catering lets you choose from roasted turkey or a glazed ham with all of the fixings. Partner that with more pie, rolls and stuffing from the Creswell Bakery.

In Eugene, Thanksgiving on the Territorial Wine Trail has become an annual tradition. Enjoy open houses, new releases, live music and special pairings at the region’s award-winning wineries.

Felted Santas at the Holiday Market

Felted Santas at the Holiday Market

The celebration continues at Eugene Saturday Market’s Holiday Market. This is the best place to shop locally for holiday gifts for the culinarian in your family and take part in Small Business Saturday, which encourages holiday shoppers to support small, local retailers. Find one-of-a-kind gifts sold by the person who made the item (or their family member) in more than 200 booths. Learn more about some of the artists and how our Social Media Manager, Molly, found the perfect gift for her hard-to-please sister at last year’s Holiday Market in her blog post, “Holiday Shop ‘Til You Drop at the Holiday Market.” And don’t leave without grabbing a bite from the International Food Court.

Wherever your holiday takes you, we hope that you’ll give thanks for our bountiful region. We know we will!

Happy (early) Thanksgiving!

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First ever North American Truffle Dog Championship coming to Eugene

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2009 Truffle Festival, Eugene, Oregon

Image credit: Oregon Truffle Festival

Eugene, Ore. – The Oregon Truffle Festival is pleased to announce the first ever North American Truffle Dog Championship January 21 – 22, 2015. Named The Joriad™ for the Jory soil that nurtures Oregon’s grapevines, the two-day competition begins with a series of qualifying events at the indoor Oregon Horse Center in Eugene. This is a rare opportunity for the public to see trained truffle dogs hunt for the fragrant hidden delicacies. The sport is intense, highly-competitive, and seldom seen. Spectators are invited to cheer on truffle dog teams as they search for truffle-scented targets.

Finalists from day one will advance to the second day of competition, The Joriad™ Field Trial, where dogs will go head-to-head in a nose-to-ground competition in native Oregon truffle habitat. This portion of the competition will be closed to the public.

Image credit: Oregon Truffle Festival

Image credit: Oregon Truffle Festival

The event culminates with The Joriad™ Awards Gala and Dinner at Willamette Valley Vineyards on January 22. Information on purchasing tickets for the gala can be found on the Oregon Truffle Festival’s website.

The Oregon Truffle Festival continues that weekend in Eugene with three days of forays, feasts, and cooking classes. Truffles will be available for purchase at Sunday’s Oregon Truffle Marketplace, which is open to the public.

Tickets for The Joriad™ Qualifying Competition can be purchased here: https://kiosk.eztix.co/kiosk-optimised-event/32553/39653

Tickets for the Oregon Truffle Festival Eugene weekend, January 23 – 25 can be purchased here: https://kiosk.eztix.co/kiosk-optimised/tag/32553/eugene

Oregon Truffle Festival Website: www.OregonTruffleFestival.com

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Fishing for fall drive? Try the Aufderheide Scenic Drive

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Aufderheide Scenic Drive

Aufderheide Scenic Drive

The Eugene, Cascades & Coast region has welcomed an unseasonably warm fall, which means we’ve had to be patient to feast our eyes upon the brilliant brick reds, caramel yellows and pumpkin orange hues that usually dot our scenic bikeways, riverbanks and mountainsides in October.

This week brought golden halos to the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, priming our favorite fall drive for a day of adventure.

Now is the time to tour the Aufderheide Scenic Drive from Highway 126 to Highway 58. Read where you’ll see the best fall colors on the most recent Oregon Fall Foliage Blog post.

Don’t forget to check our website for great fall deals.

Office Bridge, Westfir

Office Bridge, Westfir

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