Oregon is a storyteller’s dream.
From epic outdoor adventures to inspiring cultural experiences to delectable epicurean escapes, let Oregon be your muse. Here are just a few story ideas we’ve foraged to get you started.
Track Town USA: Painting a Pretty Future (Willamette Valley)
The 2021 International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships are right around the corner—the first time this event will take place in the U.S.—so it’s guaranteed to draw a crowd. And because of that, Eugene is getting ready: sprucing up streets, opening new hotels and making the city even more accessible for visitors to explore. The 20X21 mural project is an initiative that aims to create 20 (or more) unique outdoor murals throughout the city between now and 2021. Currently they’re more than half way done with 11 installations from artists around the world beautifying the streets. Of course, an event like 2021 is bound to draw a few fitness fanatics—and they’ll be right at home in the new EVEN Hotel, just one mile from Autzen Stadium. One of eight in the U.S., this hotel focuses on the wellness and health of its guests, with amenities ranging from guestrooms stocked with yoga mats and balance balls, a state-of-the-art fitness center, local running routes from the hotel and gentle reminders to stay active (like the “don’t think of them as stairs; they’re little hurdles” at the base of the staircase). And, next month, the city will have a bike-share program up and running. It’s easy to see why Eugene is called Track Town, USA.
Elkton Rising (Southern Oregon)
Did you know Southern Oregon’s rural town of Elkton (population 195) is hailed as the “Jewel of the Umpqua”? Elkton is home to the Elkton Community Education Center (ECEC), a popular community gathering place that sprawls across 30 acres. The ECEC is open year-round and features a Monarch butterfly pavilion, flower gardens, native plant park, nursery, library and is home to a replica of the historic Fort Umpqua. The center welcomes visitors to take guided (and non-guided) tours, attend special events and art exhibits, bring a picnic, or pick up some locally-grown produce at their produce stand. The ECEC prides itself on their volunteers and Summer Youth Employment Program, which helps provide youth in the area with an income and essential work experience that prepare them for success later in life.
What’s the buzz? (Hood/Gorge)
Though it’s steeped in pioneer history, The Dalles has bright things on the horizon. With a grand opening in August (and soft opening in April), the National Neon Sign Museum promises to be an illuminating attraction that will delight visitors of every age. Housed in the old Elk’s Lodge, the museum will not only display full-scale, one-of-a-kind installations, but will also eventually have collaborative space where museum owner and curator, David Benko, hopes visitors can learn how to bend glass and make their own neon signs.
Flying high in the Central Oregon sky (Central Oregon)
Sky-high adventure awaits in Bend. Big Mountain Heli Tours is upping the sight-seeing game, giving visitors a bird’s eye view of the lava rock, rivers and waterfalls, rolling sage brush hills and ponderosa pines that make up the scenic high desert. The company offers a variety of tours from wine tasting adventures, and trips over the snow-capped Cascades, to Sasquatch tours. They’ll even help you customize your own high-flying excursion. Any tour you choose will yield epic views of Central Oregon so you can see it in a way you never have before.
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