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Trip Report Oregon Highlights (Long!)

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HIghlights of a recent (early December) weekend in Oregon:

COTTAGE GROVE

Picturesque town with historic center, south of Eugene. Visited several covered bridges in the area, including the only remaining covered railroad bridge in the western US (reconstructed using salvaged original materials following a 2010 storm). I was surprised that it and another bridge we visited smelled like freshly sawn wood - really neat effect.

Tons of blackberry vines in the area. If you are there when they are ripe (August, I think) you can pick all you want. Amazingly, we found a vine that actually had a couple of good berries left on it (they had not had a freeze yet). Also lots of apple trees, many planted by the pioneers and lots of them with apples still on them. From what I was told, you can pick the apples, too, if they are by the roadside and obviously not part of someone's yard.

EUGENE

Brunch at Glenwood (1340 Alder Street; http://glenwoodrestaurants.com). A favorite of one of my friends, and obviously an Oregon place: every table has a squeeze bottle of blackberry jam on it. Jam was great, my home fries and eggs were very good, biscuit and "Oregon beef patty" were just OK.

Smith Family Bookstore (768 East 13th, around the corner from Glenwood; http://www.smithfamilybookstore.com/welcome.html): Fun local bookstore with a nice selection of new and used books. Worth a browse.

University of Oregon (https://www.uoregon.edu): Attractive campus with lots of red brick buildings, roses still blooming in places, interesting student union building, famous track stadium. One of my friends is an alum, and his time there overlapped that of Steve Prefontaine, so he was a good guide. The Eugene Pioneer Cemetery (http://eugenepioneercemetery.org) is surrounded by the campus. My friend said pioneers crossed the Cascades in covered wagons as late as the 1920s! The tidy campus of Northwest Christian University (828 East 11th; http://www.nwcu.edu) also borders the U of Oregon.

The Duck Store (895 East 13th Avenue; http://uoduckstore.com): Fun U of Oregon merchandise, loads of "duck junk" (as my friend called it), and a nice selection of art supplies on the bottom level. They were having a 20% off sale on almost everything when we were there, which was a great bonus.

Saturday Market (http://www.eugenesaturdaymarket.org), which operates as the Holiday Market (Lane County Fairgrounds, 13th & Jefferson; http://www.holidaymarket.org) from mid-November to Christmas. Everything sold is supposed to be hand-made by the seller. Very eclectic (art, crafts, clothing, jewelry) and lots of "hippy" stuff (tie dye & such). Also a food court, and live music. Also, the Farmers' Market (http://lanecountyfarmersmarket.org) was in the same building while we were there. Attractive displays of produce (including nuts and cheeses and jams), much less crowded than the Holiday Market, and free samples from some vendors.

Skinner Butte (248 Cheshire Avenue; http://www.eugene-or.gov/facilities.aspx?search=1&CID=9&RID=55&Page=detail) Park, almost 100 years old, includes land homesteaded by city founder Eugene Skinner. View from the top is nice but not jaw-dropping. We were there at twilight so seeing all the lights (including Christmas decorations) was pretty.

Papa's Pizza (original location at 1700 West 11th; http://www.papaspizza.net): College employer of my friend, so it had nostalgia value. Pizza was tasty and filling (we ordered a half Mama's / half Pineapple Surprise) but not super spectacular.

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