Monday, October 24, 2011

My Vacation Wrap-Up

Well, I was so invigorated and inspired by my brief vacation in Oregon!

My son and I walked part of the trail along the Willamette in Skinner's Butte Park. It was wonderful to see so many people of all ages walking, jogging, biking, and enjoying the outdoors. I know that Eugene is a college town, but half of the people I did not look to be traditional student age. When I walk here at home, I am the only one, except during the hours that people walk their child to the school (and they are mostly going from the car to the school).

We visited the Perkins Peninsula Park bordering the Fern Ridge Reservoir.  I was happy to see a family of quail, as well as two white egrets (or herons) in the marshy area before we reached the park. I think I may have even spotted a loon swimming. It was cold and we were the only visitors, but the lake was beautiful.

One day we traveled east into the mountains to the Blue Lake Reservoir, only to find that it had been nearly all drained since it was after Labor Day. On the way home, we enjoyed a picnic lunch at a park on the bank of the beautiful McKenzie River.

We visited Dorris Ranch and were fortunate to see the workers harvesting the hazelnuts (filberts). I love hazelnuts in any form, especially mixed in chocolates, but visitors were not allowed to pick up even a single nut. There was no gift shop on the premises but we purchased some hazelnuts from another local grower at the Eugene Farmer's Market. We enjoyed the brief sunshine and the sight of the thousands of hazelnuts under the trees and in crates.

Across the street from the Eugene Farmer's Market was the Eugene Saturday Market. Although the sky was completely overcast and the air was chill, everyone was having a good time. I watched the performance of a father & daughter violin duo and threw a dollar into the little girl's case. I purchased a gorgeous pair of delicate ss & crystal earrings by Nome May for my daughter, and a hand thrown ceramic rice bowl from Bluff Cove Pottery for her S/O.

No trip to Eugene would be complete without a trip to Sweet Life Patisserie! He got a slice of decadent chocolate cake, and I chose the chocolate silk cake. We shared 1/2 and 1/2 so we got to taste both. Mine turned out to be a silken tofu cake on a crust. The chocolate overpowered the tofu, but I liked his regular (vegan) chocolate cake better. Alas, there was no carrot cake. The selections change, and it was supercrowded when we went on a Friday evening.

And I have to praise Laughing Planet burritos! They were delicious.

We visited the U of O's Jacobs Gallery at the Hult Center, where we saw the incredible photography of Katsui Shibata and the finely crafted woven sculptures of Sally Metcalf. I saw a hand-carved wooden log bench that was inlaid with smooth,black, round (ocean or river?) rocks. I've seen a lot of gallery furniture, but this topped them all. It was a nature lover's dream of a bench! 

We also visited the U of O's Museum of Natural History where I was happy to view the Susan Pavel exhibit of Salish weaving (I am a former weaver). The museum had a lot of exhibits on the native peoples of Oregon, and the building itself is constructed of huge logs and adorned with spirit carvings.

Last but not least, I became a member of REI and got some warm wool-blend REI socks.

I did not bring my heavy dinosaur of a camera, and son took the pictures. He is supposed to send them to me on a flash drive, so I hope to update this in the future.

I feel so fortunate to have seen so much of beautiful Oregon! As my son may be moving to another state next year, I probably won't get to visit there again. I encourage anyone with the time and means to travel to Oregon and enjoy its natural beauty.

Oh, and my airline ticket was free--it was a Chase bank promotion that I signed up for two years ago!  I had to take three flights there and three flights back, but I did it, sometimes with only 15 minutes to spare before boarding.

The strangest thing about my trip was that I only saw one deer, although we traveled for miles through the countryside and the wilderness. I guess the cougars keep them in check, unlike here, where they are as prolific as rats.

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