Subject: Re: An Oregon Vacation
Hi, Jerry:

I'm sorry to be so slow in replying to your message about a week in Oregon. I'm always more than thrilled to share the eclectic wonders of my home state!

Will you be flying into Portland? That makes the most logical gateway to our Paradise, especially if you think of your trip as a loop, starting with a wander down the Willamette Valley, then heading north up the coast & returning to Portland.

There are some fine wineries in the northern Willamette Valley, but take another day to come to the southern area, for King Estate . This winery is so lovely & you'll think you're in Tuscany! Another well-known winery is Hinman/Silvan Ridge In July, there often jazz concerts under the stars out there, so check the website for schedules. The wines both these wineries produce can hold their own with the best French or Italian wines. There's a winery right on the interstate, I-5, near Salem (Willamette Valley Winery) but I'd give that one a skip.

Outdoor concerts? Both the Portland & Eugene areas have them in abundance, since July is heaven here. When you have your dates, I'd be happy to help suss out event listings for you.

Funky shopping? Oh, yeah. We invented it. They say about Eugene that we are America's Living Theme Park of the Sixties & tie-dye is always the appropriate sartorial choice. Our outdoor Saturday Market, with both craftspeople & local farmers, is an institution all its own. We're also pleased that a Sunday Latino Market follows funky Saturday with a lively, colorful market as well. There's a Saturday Market in Portland too, but it's way too civilized for our Eugene tastes. Also, since we are the home of Nike (Phil Knight is a UO alum), the Niketown shops in Portland & Eugene are legendary.

Sports? Golf I can't help you with (is that the game played with the little stick?) since I'm a soccerhead & rugby fan. But Eugene is runners/walkers/bikers valhalla, with miles of bike trails by our sparkling rivers. Steve Prefontaine is still a local hero (I work out on his track every week) & anyone can direct you to the portion of the bike paths known as Pre's Trail, & some folks can even find the rock cum shrine which marks the spot where his little car went out of control on the night of his death up in Hendricks Park. Parks & Rec runs river raft trips down both the Willamette & McKenzie Rivers all summer, as do all kinds of guide services. You can also rent canoes or kyaks to float around Eugene. I know there are a few golf courses here in the Eugene-Springfield area, but I couldn't recommend one over another. The course at Salishan, however, gets rave reviews from duffers.

Eugene's dining is pretty eclectic: great vegan/vegetarian all the way to carnivore overload. I guess I've never seen a Polish restaurant here, but that's about the only cuisine not represented. Oregon Electric Station, owned by former runner Alberto Salazar, seats diners in old railway cars & features all kinds of Pre memorabilia. If you have a special food preference, I could offer suggestions.

Then there's the coast. Oh my, is it beautiful! The coast & all its beaches, dunes, coves, headlands & tidepools, is public property, belonging to the people of the state of Oregon, so visitors can access any bit of it they can get to. From the famous seastacks at Canon Beach, to the misty headland at Cape Perpetua, to the caves & coves around Depot Bay, to the sand dunes around Florence, it's more than you can take in. I've camped & hiked our coast & its hidden valleys almost all my life & still have yet to feel sated.

And of course, we'll have to try to organized a GTG somewhere during your visit. As you can probably guess, I rarely leave here in summer: between the abundant garden, the glorious coast, & the high-country camping & hiking, there's nowhere else I want to be in July.

Gail In Eugene but never for long