2019 Christmas Parlour Tour – Tickets and Info

Photo of historic house with lights.

On Sunday, December 8, 2019, from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., enjoy the sights and sounds of an old-fashioned holiday celebration in Historic Downtown Albany. The Christmas Parlour Tour is an “insider’s” peek into the past. Step inside some of our most intriguing historic homes and travel back through several eras including Art Deco and Victorian.

Participating historic homes and buildings throughout the Hackleman, Monteith, and Downtown Commercial Districts open their doors to tour participants. Meet the owners and learn about the architecture, the original occupants, and the ins and outs of restoring historic structures.

Photo of the horse-drawn wagon during the Christmas PArlour Tour at night in front of a Christmas treeYou can opt to ride a vintage trolley or horse-drawn wagon to the various stops, or drive, walk, bike or hike the tour on your own. Tickets are $15 per person and available for purchase online ahead of time (see the “Online Tickets” section below this blog post). Tour proceeds benefit the non-profit Monteith House Museum. Tickets will also be available on the day of the tour at Albany Visitors Association.



  • The Monteith House Museum will be lit by oil lamp and fire light.
  • Take a moment to warm up at the Carnegie Library. This is the only time all year its fireplace is used—and the soft warm glow transcends time.
  • Christmas music will be played at various locations.
  • The Whitespires Church encourages visitors to ring the bell in its tower.
  • Light refreshments are included in the ticket price.

Purchase Tickets Day of Event In Person

On Sunday, December 8th, you can purchase your tickets at the Albany Visitors Association 110 3rd Ave SE. Ticket sales begin at 1:00 p.m. and continue until 6:00 p.m. The tour hours are 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Music, refreshments, horse-drawn wagon rides or vintage trolley rides are included in the $15 ticket. Well-behaved children under 12 are admitted free with a paid adult. Proceeds benefit Monteith House Museum.

*Online pre-sales are available in the “Online Tickets” section below.

Additional information

The Christmas Parlour Tour is “self-guided.” You can tour the homes in any order you like. Spend as much or as little time at each location as it suits you. Several of the buildings are within walking distance of each other, while a few may be outside your comfortable walking distance, requiring your own vehicle or the provided trolley or horse-drawn wagon. Visitors usually take three to four hours to fully enjoy the tour.

Photo of Cumberland Community CenterAnd as long as you’re in Albany, do a bit of holiday shopping. Find unique gifts in antique and specialty stores. Indulge in a pastry or a decadent cup of hot cocoa, a frothy cappuccino, or a farm-fresh dinner in one of the many eateries and bistros downtown. Take a ride on the Albany Historic Carousel, which is beautifully decorated this time of year.

Albany’s Annual Interior Tours were created by a group of friends and neighbors to share the past through the architecture of historic dwellings. They are coordinated by Albany’s Historic Interior Home Tour Committee and sponsored by the Monteith Historical Society.

For more information about Albany’s Historic Interior Tours and other Albany events and attractions contact the Albany Visitors Association: 541-928-0911.

Online Tickets

Please fill out all fields completely. An email confirmation will be sent once your ticket is paid for. Online ticket sales will close on December 5, 2019 at midnight to ensure staff have adequate time to process your transaction. You’ll need to check in at Albany Visitors Association the day of the event to obtain your tour pass and map, and to board the trolley or wagon.


Tickets are no longer available.

February in Albany – So many ways to fall in love

Photo of shabby chic antiques and Valentine crafts at Vintage Roost Seasonal Shop

We like to think of February in Albany, Oregon, as a time to establish new traditions and fall in love with the lush Willamette Valley all over again. 

AVA pulled out a curated list of events (something for everyone in the family) from our regular calendar to help you create your own itinerary for a February visit. You might find so much to do that spending the night at one of our local lodging properties just makes sense—go ahead and link to our “Sweet Dreams” page and find the perfect spot for a romantic getaway. (And check back here soon for any specials our hoteliers maybe running.)

The Highlights

Jan. 31 and Feb. 1st Have you pieced together your Albany road trip yet? Hope you remembered to stitch the Willamette Valley Quilt Show in. So don’t hem and haw, see you on January 31st and February 1st at the Linn County Expo Center. (Ooooph—these puns!)  Learn more about the show on our blog.

Feb. 1st The Vintage Roost’s Valentine Shop opens Feb. 1st and is filled to the brim with handmade gifts, antiques and vintage charm, chocolates and delicious baked goods, and much MUCH more. For information call 541-990-4191. The show continues Feb. 7th and 8th. The charming Roost is located at 935 NW Scenic Drive in Albany. Visit their Facebook page for more information.

Photo of the Albany Crab FestFeb. 1st Get to crackin’! It’s time for the Greater Albany Rotary Club Crab Fest on Saturday, noon to 7 pm. This annual festival features fresh Dungeness crab, pulled pork, clam chowder, live music and great wine and beer from Calapooia Brewing,140 Hill St SE in Albany. Raffle prizes awarded throughout the day. For information and tickets visit the event website.

Feb. 1st and 2nd The Mountain Top Mud Bogs open up for a splattering good time at the “2020 Winter Wheeling” event. New challenges and courses have been created at this Scio-area open-wheeling mud bog. More info on the organizer Facebook page.

Feb. 6th  Have fun in style with your BFF at Albany Antique Mall’s 10th Annual Ladies Night Out. Enjoy tasty chocolate, good company and great deals (special sales offered by most dealers). For information visit the event organizer website.

Feb. 7th – First Friday in Downtown Albany

The theme for this month’s downtown Albany First Friday is chocolate and romance. We’ve listed only a couple of places to get started, but visit the event organizer’s Facebook page to get the full lowdown about participating shops and restaurants, and their extended hours of operation.

  • Photo of several small art pieces.Feb. 7th First Friday at Gallery Calapooia on First Avenue in Downtown Albany runs from 5:30 to 8 pm. Come see the “Big Show of Little Art” and check out what local students and artists from around the region have created with pieces all the same diminutive size of 8” by 8”.
  • Feb. 7th Another First Friday event at Urban Ag Supply, from 6 to 8 pm. Dive head first into chocolate tea! Well, not literally, but at least steep in the delights of Oregon company Inspired Leaf and sample Toffee Chocolate Hazelnut, White Chocolate Orange and Salted Dark Chocolate. For more info visit Urban Ag Supply online.

Feb. 8th It’s a sweetheart of a day when you run for a great cause at the 6th Annual Sweetheart Run. This event will be a chip-timed run with family activities designed to demonstrate community participation in support of Parks and Recreation programs. It all takes place starting at 10 a.m. at Sankey Park’s Historic Weddle Covered Bridge in Sweet Home. Registration and event info on the organizer’s website.

Graphic of Scarecrow and event information.Feb. 8th and Feb. 15th The much beloved “scatterbrained” scarecrow from Oz has a story to tell all his own, so save the date for a family-oriented performance of “A Scarecrow in Oz” at the Russell Tripp Center. Children will love this short play that takes place at 2 p.m. on both performance dates. Tickets and other info online.

Feb. 9th is Oscar Night at the Pix Theater in downtown Albany. Come dressed to the nines and get ready to root for your favorite stars at this FREE live broadcast on the big screen. Doors open 4 p.m. See you there!

Feb. 9th Time to plan your most romantic day ever, at the Albany Bridal Show from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Albany Golf and Events Center. This annual event (its 20th anniversary!) is sponsored by Merrime Bridal & Soirée and The Natty Dresser. Tickets are available online at Eventbrite.

Feb. 12th Ever wonder what life was like for women and children during the Civil War era? Plan on attending another fascinating Albany Regional Museum’s History Bites presentation at noon, and peek into the past through 1860s garments. This is a free event, although donations are gratefully accepted by the non-profit museum. You can check out the rest of the exhibits while you’re there!

Feb. 14th – 16th “Racking” your brains about how to enjoy the cold weather? Grab your “deer” pals and head over to the Willamette Sportsman’s Show at the Linn County Expo Center. Check out all the info, including discounted admission opportunities and hours on the organizer website. (Ooooh—not again with those bad puns!)

Feb. 14th Romance is in the air and on the train—the Santiam Excursion Trains that is. Make it a sweet evening and dine aboard with fabulous food from Honeybrine Catering. This is a 21-and-over evening. Make your reservations online.

Photo of women enjoying high tea service at the IVY Tearoom in Albany, OregonFeb. 14th and 15th Take your valentine to tea and steep your day in romance. The IVY Tearoom in historic downtown Albany is serving up a romantic tea at noon. Seating is limited so make those reservations now: 541-928-7330. 

Feb. 21 – 23rd Come check out the fun at the upcoming Linn County Kennel Club Dog Show and fall in love with pups! This three day event includes activities for the kids, canine agility trials and the much-adored puppy competition. So mark your calendars for Feb 21 – 23 at the Linn County Expo Center. More info on the club’s website.

Get ready for the Third Annual Willamette Valley Quilt Festival

It’s not too early to plan ahead for the most popular winter quilt show in Oregon, as the Willamette Valley Quilt Festival arrives on January 31 and February 1, 2020, at the Linn County Expo Center.

A show patterned from innovation

Photo of a Quilt from the 2019 Willamette Valley Quilt FestivalAs Americans, we possess a rich legacy of quilt-making and design, so it’s not surprising quilt festivals have become increasingly popular over the last decade. Quilts are complex works of colorful folk art, as mysterious as a corn-maze — and festivals are the perfect place to showcase local talent.

Several years ago, two Albany business owners teamed up to plan a winter quilt show. The Rich family (of Rich’s Sewing & Vacuum) and their staff, and the owners of Albany’s Bolts to Blocks (Barb and Pete Schoonover), launched the first Willamette Valley Quilt Festival in 2018. Their idea was to hold the event during the rainy season and provide quilt designers a creative outlet to counteract the mid-winter blues.

Last year’s quilt festival was a rousing success and attracted thousands of visitors to the Linn County Expo Center. There were over 300 quilts on display and a wide assortment of vendors, classes and demonstrations.

At the 2020 show (January 31st through February 1st) the number of vendors has once again increased and will include booths filled with tools, machines, handcrafted items such as handbags and scarves, quilting kits and templates, fabric, clothing, home decor and, of course, an amazing gallery of quilts.

Quilt contest

Photo of a a couple of quilts hanging up at the Willamette Valley Quilt FestivalThe quilt contest portion of the show will interest art and craft lovers, whether they sew or not. Wide aisles beckon with a cornucopia of pattern. Quilts of all sizes reflect the imagination of their creators. You’ll  even be able to vote for your favorite, if you can decide which you like best.

A $3,000 Babylock Soprano sewing machine will be awarded as the contest’s grand prize. The “Mayor’s Choice Award” from Albany Mayor Sharon Konopa and the Albany Visitors Association will be filled with goodies like wine from Springhill Cellars Winery and gift certificates to local restaurants and businesses.

Classes and demonstrations

Whether you are an experienced quilter or just starting out, workshops will be offered throughout Friday and Saturday at the main festival location (Linn County Expo Center). Instruction topics include using Oregon-made templates by Westalee, ruler work, embroidery, quilt design and laser-cut appliqué.

On Thursday, January 30, a special pre-show workshop will be taught by the festival’s 2020 Featured Quilter, Sheila Sinclair Snyder, owner of Licensed to Quilt in Junction City, Oregon. Snyder will guide participants in creating quilt paintings on rustic barn wood. The workshop will be held at Bolts to Blocks new location, 950 SE Geary, Suite C, in Albany.

All classes require pre-registration; contact Rich’s Sewing & Vacuum of Albany to reserve your space. (See contact information in the “What to know if you go” section.)

Demonstrations and presentations conducted throughout the main expo hall are free with paid admission.

What to know if you go

Photo of a quilt hanging up at the Willamette Valley Quilt ShowThe 2020 Willamette Valley Quilt Festival will be held 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday, January 31 and February 1. The event is inside the main exhibit hall at the Linn County Expo Center, 3700 Knox Butte Rd. in Albany, Oregon. Admission is $7, parking is free. Tickets may be purchased at the show or pre-paid online.

Pre-show activities on Thursday, January 30th and workshops on Friday and Saturday require registration. Contact Rich’s Sewing & Vacuum in Albany for workshop pricing and times. For more information telephone 541-926-4842.

Staying over 

If you are traveling to the show and plan to spend the night, get a special Albany Visitors Association rate with our featured hotels, the Best Western Plus Prairie Inn or Quality Inn & Suites by asking for the “AVA Rate” when reserving your room.

Best Western Plus Prairie Inn 541-928-5050

Quality Inn & Suites 541-928-0921

For other great choices, connect to our website’s “Sweet Dreams” lodging directory.

Food and fun 

Photo of a red and white quilt at the Willamette Valley Quilt ShowWhile at the show, enjoy delicious food truck selections from Grindz Hawaiian, Natalie’s Mexi-Kart, Dajoy’s Kettle Korn and Double J BBQ. An onsite espresso bar and catered kitchen selections will be operating within the main exhibit hall.

For ideas about where to meet friends for dinner after the show, make sure to visit the Albany Visitors Association booth in the main exhibit hall. We’ll have restaurant guides, city maps and everything you need for a great night or two on the town. We can also help you find places for breakfast and brunch, desserts and more. Check our “Spirited Cuisine” page for a full list.

You can also download the “Albany Explorer App” for iPhone or Android. Simply search for the Albany Explorer App in Google Play or Apple App Stores. The app is jam-packed with fun things to do.

And no trip to Albany is complete without a fun-filled visit to the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum. Ride tokens are $2 each and admission is free.

We also recommend stopping by the Albany Regional Museum and Monteith House Museum to learn more about Oregon pioneer history and the local culture, and take a self-guided tour through one of our four National Historic Districts. Visit our “Dive Into History” web page for more information on Albany’s historic roots.

See you at the show!

Celebrating the celebrated – the gift of Oregon truffles

Photo of the interior of Sybaris Bistro and patrons enjoying dinner in Albany Oregon

What is the perfect holiday present for a foodie friend? We suggest a gift certificate to one of our celebrated restaurants where Oregon truffles and Willamette Valley wine and spirits intersect. At Sybaris Bistro, Chef Matt Bennett creates dishes worthy of the James Beard House. So don’t journey afar to dine on sublime — visit Albany and celebrate the rest of the season in January and February.

Once your friends (and hopefully you) receive their gift certificates, stay tuned for 2020’s Oregon truffle bounty at Sybaris. Telephone 541-928-8157 to secure a gift certificate.

You can read about their 2019 Oregon Truffle Feast in the blog-post below.

Historical appreciation

What do wild Oregon-grown truffles have in common with James Beard and Albany, Oregon? Quite a bit as it turns out—and the 2019 Oregon Truffle Feast at Sybaris Bistro illustrates the connection perfectly.

Photo showing food from the kitchen being placed onto the hot plate for wait staff at Sybaris Bistro in Albany OregonMaster chef James Beard was a writer, teacher, and champion of American cuisine. Born in Portland, Oregon, Beard was a big fan of Oregon’s truffles, that at times were dismissed by European chefs as “false truffles.”

Beard was still a young cook when he established his home and career in New York City. He authored cookbooks, became a television cooking show personality, and opened a cooking school in Manhattan (as well as Seaside, Oregon). In the 1950s he was dubbed “… the face and belly of American gastronomy,” as noted by David Kamp in The United States of Arugula.

Beard’s legacy for cooking with fresh local and seasonal ingredients was handed down to many a talented chef after he passed away in 1985. His personal home in New York City became part of a working foundation that showcases talented chefs and regional American cooking.

To cook at James Beard House is an honor for chefs—and Sybaris Bistro’s owner, Matt Bennett, is no exception.

An Oregon Truffle Feast

Chef Bennett was invited for his third appearance at Beard House this past January, where he served his unique interpretation of Pacific Northwest Cuisine—building a seven course menu featuring wild Oregon truffles.

In preparation for the New York dinner, Bennett and his team prepared and hosted two Albany, Oregon-based suppers to coincide with Oregon’s Truffle Festival. Both dinners were sold out almost as soon as they were announced.

Menus for the Albany and James Beard House dinners were similar with minor variations. They both featured a series of gastronomical delights such as hazelnut foie gras with black truffle, black truffle miso marinated black cod, double white truffle pheasant breast with truffle buttered cabbage, and the pièce de résistance: a black truffle pot de creme with hazelnut oil gelato and truffle and hazelnut streusel.

All ingredients, including wine pairings, were sourced by Bennett, his wife Janel and the Sybaris staff. They were transported by the bistro team in coolers shipped in place of personal luggage. Carefully watched over and guarded, the truffles, black cod, pheasant, Dungeness crab and Oregon-grown vegetables safely arrived in New York.

A local culinary genius

Photo of plates of truffle infused menu items sitting on the hot plate at Sybaris Bistro in Albany OregonAVA was lucky enough to have a seat at Sybaris’ truffle feast. Chef Bennett regaled diners with tales about Oregon truffles, the reasons behind the menu he created, and a bit about James Beard’s gastronomical history and the famous house where his truffle feast was to be featured.

We delighted not only in Sybaris’ ambience, with its enormous fireplace and cozy crackling fire, exposed brick walls, plank tables, starched napkins and stellar tableside service, but in chef’s creativity and delicious sense of humor.

A sometimes overlooked ingredient (pig’s foot!) was used to construct a sausage-like croquette with wild mushrooms and white truffle verjus. Bennett’s unusual selection was a bit of tongue in cheek homage to the French method that utilizes pigs to harvest truffles. Bennett is well known for his dishes that are metaphors for their inspiration as well as their roots.

Photo of the interior of Sybaris Bistro in Albany OregonSybaris Bistro’s dinner menus change monthly, featuring locally sourced fresh ingredients in season. It’s no wonder Bennett captured the attention of the James Beard Foundation—he warm-heartedly embraces the core Beard value to cook with what is available within reach.

If you want to experience Sybaris in a Beard-like manner, stay tuned to their Facebook and website. Bennett and his culinary team create special themed dinners to celebrate holidays with limited dining events such as “A Dickens Dinner” or Valentines Day. These menus typically feature multiple courses with additional wine pairings. They’re a great way to jump into Bennett’s “style de cuisine” and either celebrate the end to an extended weekend or start one out.

Whatever draws you to Albany, a visit to Sybaris Bistro in 2020 should definitely be part of your travel itinerary.

*Blog content copyright 2019 by AVA, written by Maddie MacGregor. All photos (except for Chef Bennett profile), by AO Films.

What to know if you go

Photo of two women drinking wine and laughing at Sybaris Bistro in Albany OregonAlthough not required for regular dinner service, reservations are advised. Sybaris is enormously popular with the locals as much as with culinary travelers. Specially themed dinner events almost always sell out ahead of time, so make those reservations early.

Sybaris is located at 442 First Ave W, in Albany, Oregon. The bistro is closed Sundays and Mondays, and open from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Telephone 541-928-8157 for reservations or to purchase a gift certificate. Check out the monthly menus (gluten-free included) on their website at https://sybarisbistro.com.

Let there be lights – the holiday contest

A historic home in Albany Oregon lit with Christmas lights and decorations on the exterior

The 2019 Winners of the Albany Light Contest

First of all, congratulations to all of this year’s winners in this colorful display of community holiday spirit, and thanks to all of the participants. Below is a map and list of winners for this year’s contest. So, travel around at dusk and enjoy all of the submissions. Bundle up, pack the popcorn, a thermos of hot cocoa and warm up the car. It’s time to see the lights!

Download pdf of Light Contest Winners

And the winners are…

  • “Snowman Santa Christmas Lights,” 1350 NW Springhill Dr., Albany, OR 97321
  • “Candy Cane Come Back,” 3030 Lawnridge St. SW, Albany, OR 97321
  • “Christmas Dragster,” 2820 Lawnridge St. SW, Albany, OR 97321
  • “Best Dressed Historic Home,” 240 4th SE, Albany, OR 97321
  • “Santa, Stop Here!,” 4219 Winners Circle Ave. SE, Albany, OR 97322
  • “Christmas Spirit on Waverly Drive,” 1924 Waverly Dr. SE, Albany, OR 97322

 And the runners-up are…

  • “Santa’s Landing,” 626 34th Ave. SE, Albany, OR 97322
  • “Lights, Lights & More Lights,” 1327 North Albany Rd. NW, Albany, OR 97321

Winners will receive a Winner Award Certificate and a $50 gift card to Albany’s downtown first-run movie house, The Pix Theatre.

The Contest Details for 2020

Are you the Albany neighbor whose fantastic yard decorations are on everyone’s holiday must-see list? Then make sure you enter the “33rd Annual Night Time Magic Holiday Light Contest” in 2020. Albany Visitors Association hosts this fun event for our community each December.

Photo of Albany Oregon lit with multi-colored Christmas lights in the shape of Santa Claus

Christmas In Albany by Dina Ratzlaff

You can take inspiration for your display from a family tradition, a favorite holiday movie or book, music and other creative arts, or whatever strikes your fancy. Lights can be any color, as well as clear. If you have large exterior decorations, light them up!

Once all entries have been received and the judging is complete, we will publish a map of the participating addresses so that visitors can take a festive tour of the neighborhood.

Entry forms

Entry forms are available at the AVA office, M-F, 9 – 5, Sat 9 – 3, at 110 3rd Ave SE, Albany, OR or download a PDF entry form. Deadline for the 2020 submissions will be announced at a later date *The contest is open to Albany city-limits residents only.

Telephone us if you have any questions: 541-928-0911.

*Large photo at top of page by Cathy Webb.

Holiday Weekend Road Trip To Albany

Photo of horse-drawn wagons decorated for Christmas Carling in Albany, OR. Photo by Anthony Shelar

Searching for a jolly weekend getaway? Look no more — visit Albany from October through January and discover a unique blend of history and hip. Create a new family tradition this holiday season by exploring some of our favorite ideas below.

The essentials

Our lodging partners recognize holidays can be exhausting — especially if you’re away from home. Have no fear, the world will appear much brighter after a little pampering! Sink into a deep and comfy oversized chair next to a crackling fire in a festive lobby. Enjoy a complimentary hot breakfast, free WiFi, free parking, fluffy pillows and hot coffee. 

Several Albany hoteliers have partnered with Albany Visitors Association to bring you cozy accommodations for the holidays. From November to January, the Phoenix Inn & Suites, Comfort Inn, Quality Inn, Holiday Inn Express, and Best Western Plus Prairie Inn usually offer holiday specials. Book direct and mention AVA to take advantage of great rates.

Photo of a room at the Historic 206 and 1/2 Hotel in Albany Oregon.For history and architecture buffs, the newly restored Historic 206 ½ Hotel provides a satisfying immersion into Albany’s downtown roots. Its proximity to restaurants, shops, coffee houses and bakeries and the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum make it an explorer’s dream.

Find your own good night’s sleep; view AVA’s lodging directory.


The entertainment

Trolley of Terror Climb aboard a spookily decorated trolley and be treated to a candlelit tour of the historic (and reportedly haunted) Monteith House. This is a family-friendly event and is appropriate (not too scary) for all ages. Each tour takes about an hour. Be forewarned: tickets generally sell out weeks before the tours, so reserve your spot today: 541-928-0911. AVA can securely process your payment over the phone. Tours begin on October 18th, at 6:00 p.m. (and hourly up to 9:00 p.m.) over two consecutive weekends. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children 12 and under. 

VIP Ghost Hunt Join a group of professional and amateur ghostbusters as they set up monitoring equipment inside the Monteith House and search for spectral evidence. Adults only please, as the hunt extends into the “witching hour.” Cost is $55 per person and event admission is by reservation and pre-payment only, 541-928-0911.There are two dates set for the hunt: October 19th and 20th, 10:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.

Albany Veterans Day Parade

Albany is famous for the size and scope of its historic Veterans Day Parade — it is the biggest memorial parade in the state and has the distinction of being the largest parade of its kind west of the Mississippi River. Traditionally held on the actual holiday, the 67th annual parade begins at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, Nov 11, 2019. 

Marching bands, bagpipes, living history re-enactment brigades, horses, llamas, canines, troops, veterans, floats and military vehicles make their way up Lyon Street and through downtown Albany. You’ll want to find a place to watch early as this is one of the highest attended events in our city. For more information, visit the event website.

Thanksgiving in Wine (and libations) Country Although the grapes were harvested earlier in the year, there’s still plenty of ways to sample the area’s bounty. Take your time — the Willamette Valley is a prize-winning international wine-growing region. We are also part of the craft-brew revolution. Plan several days in Albany and visit some of the best distilleries, breweries, ale-houses, tap houses and meaderies in the valley.

Start with a short drive from your hotel to the picturesque countryside. As you cross the Willamette River, you’re two miles from Springhill Cellars Winery. Over Thanksgiving weekend (Nov 29th – Dec 1st) the winery hosts its annual Federweisser Festival. Federweisser is a young, newly fermented varietal. Accompanying it (and Springhill’s French-method Pinot Noir), you’ll enjoy German music, handcrafted sausages and sauerkraut and a barn dance on Friday night. Visit Springhill’s website for more information.

Following your Springhill adventure, visit Deluxe Brewing and Sinister Distilling Company. The tasting room is open seven days per week and the flights they are a-flying! Take a free tour of the brewery and enjoy some of the best limited-edition whiskey in Oregon. Check their website for tasting hours.

A short walk from Deluxe and Sinister, enjoy brew pub gourmet grub and live music at Calapooia Brewery. And within close proximity, Three Sheets Brewery, No Rails Ale House, Growler Garage, The Barn at Hickory Station, and Vagabond serve up excellent brews, ciders and meads.

If you crave vibrant cocktails and a lively atmosphere, sample local wines and a charcuterie plate at Sweet Red Bistro; cocktails and tapas at the sophisticated Vault 244; or happy hour drinks and famous pork belly fries at Frankie’s.

Small Business Saturday – Shop Small

Photo of small shops along First Ave. in downtown Albany, OregonIf you’re visiting Oregon from a neighboring state, you know we are one of the best places to shop small and unique on the West Coast—our entire state is sales-tax free!

Stroll through our Downtown Historic District and visit galleries, hip clothing boutiques, gift, garden and pet stores, a men’s haberdashery, and shops that feature antiques and vintage furnishings, jewelry and books, and even fly-fishing paraphernalia. Most downtown businesses participate in Shop Small 2019 (the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Nov 29th) with special sales.

You should have enough change left in your wallet to splurge on a first-run movie at the historic Pix Theater or enjoy a live theatrical performance at the Albany Civic Theater.

Christmas Storybook Land Bring the family to an enchanted “forest” of trees, miniature buildings, holiday lights, snowy scenery, mechanized displays, and visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Costumed characters roam the aisles, mesmerizing both toddlers and school-aged children. This enormous seasonal village is built by volunteers and is open Dec 6th – 20th at the Linn County Expo Center. All ages will love this activity and we think you’ll want to make it part of your new holiday tradition. This is a free event, although you are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for a local food pantry.  Hours vary, so visit the event website for admission information.

Christmas Parlour Tour

Photo of historic house with lights.Albany’s historic homeowners typically celebrate the holidays by hanging cedar swags, colorful lights and other seasonal regalia along porches and eaves. However, the Christmas Parlour Tour is an “insider’s” peek into the past. 

Participating historic homes and buildings throughout the Hackleman, Monteith, and Downtown Commercial Districts open their doors to tour participants. Meet the owners and learn about the architecture, the original occupants, and the ins and outs of restoring historic structures. 

You can opt to ride a vintage trolley or horse-drawn wagon to the various stops, or drive, walk, bike or hike the tour on your own. Tickets will be available online in mid-November. Tour proceeds benefit the non-profit Monteith House Museum. This year (2019) the tour will be held on Sunday, Dec 8th, from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. Telephone 541-928-0911 for more information.

Downtown Twice Around Christmas Parade Looking for family fun and a traditional Christmas event? Enjoy an evening parade in Downtown Albany, as decorated floats and vintage vehicles usher Santa and Mrs. Claus to the community tree lighting — after circling “twice around” downtown. This year (2019), the event is held on Dec 1st, from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Visit the organizer website.

Christmas Caroling Wagon Ride  Another affordable family event is Monteith House Society’s Christmas Caroling By Wagon. Beautiful draft horses are decked out in sleigh bell harnesses and vintage trolley and wagons are draped in colorful lights. After shouting “Jingle jingle all the way” through downtown, the ride ends at Monteith House Museum for holiday refreshments.

Caroling will be held this year (2019) on Dec 14, 15, 20th, 21st, and 22nd, in hourly slots between 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Ticket prices to be announced closer to the event. Telephone AVA 541-928-0911 for more information.

Get your Trolley of Terror tickets

Photo showing candle light tour of the Monteith House during the Trolley of Terror in Albany, Oregon

Back by popular demand, the Monteith Society is once again hosting a fun and spooky historical experience this October: a candlelit tour of the Monteith House Museum and ride on the 2019 Trolley of Terror; sponsored by the Monteith Historical Society.

Climb aboard the vintage spookily decorated trolley and hear stories from Albany’s past as you ride through the Historic District’s “haunted” places. Don’t miss this opportunity to get the inside story on Albany’s historic haunted homes and businesses. Tours begin at 6pm, 7pm, 8pm and 9pm on October 18th,19th, 25th and 26th.

Ticket info

The Trolley of Terror sells out every year almost a month ahead so be ready to pounce on your preferred date. Telephone AVA, beginning Thursday, September 19th, at 541-928-0911 or stop by our office Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (110 3rd Ave SE) and pay for your tickets in person. Only pre-paid tickets will hold your reservation. You can securely pay over the phone with us using a credit or debit card. We use PayPal to process payment.

Ticket pricing Adults, $12. Children 12 and under, $6.

VIP Gost Hunt

And for the adults only, don’t forget to ask about the VIP Ghost Hunt. Very limited availability, super popular. This is where you get to follow professional “ghostbusters” as they set up their equipment at Monteith House during the witching hours of the night!

Ticket pricing Adults, $55. There are no discounts for children as this may not be appropriate for most kids. It requires staying up late (past midnight), hunting ghosts, discussion on hauntings and over a four-hour activity.

September is Simply Spectacular

Photo of a horse standing in a filed with buckskin (tan and black) coloration

If you thought Albany and Linn County slowed down to a crawl once school started, think again! We figured you’d like to know about several September events coming your way—and we’ve highlighted a few below. We add to this list throughout the month, so check back regularly and you might discover a few more that you just can’t miss.

Sept 6th – First Friday Downtown Albany

Get in on extended hours fun at your favorite Albany shops, restaurants, galleries and more. It’s time for First Friday in September, and here’s a few of the highlights:

  • Natty Dresser’s 5th Birthday Bash Come by the store and share a piece of birthday cake, a little sparkling wine, and live music by Lonna Capaci. You can start planning your own white-tie “Downton Abbey” movie attire—Oscar and his staff can help you with a haute haberdashery special.
  • Family Night at the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum For $5 per person admission, you’ll receive unlimited rides between 5:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Children 3 and under, free.
  • Fall arrives at Urban Ag Supply Catch the local growing vibes at this hip garden store. Lots of cool house plants, planters, seeds, fertilizer, and locally made artisan gifts.
  • Artist Reception at Gallery Calapooia Come meet the artists of the month: Melissa Babcock Saylor will display new paper collage works and Dennis Johanson’s will exhibit his pottery. There’ll be refreshments and music until 8:00 p.m.
  • “Sweeteasy” Sweet Red Bistro presents their 1920s version of a speakeasy-themed party. This event starts later (9:00 p.m.) and runs until 11:45 p.m. Dressing in flapper mode encouraged. There will be NO prohibition, wink wink.

Photo of classic antique cars lined up in front of buildings in Downtown Albany Oregon. at the Antiques in the Street annual eventSept 7th Antiques In the Streets Come early and stay late. Find your perfect vintage lamp, dining chairs, or that one of a kind piece of antique jewelry and much much more. Dealers will be dealing from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and the Classic Car Show will please the hotrod fans in the family. Food and music too.

Sept 7th Albany Farmers’ Market Fall is nearly here and so is comfort food. Stock up on farm-fresh onions, peppers, garlic, herbs, squash, and other fall crops. Grab a coffee to go and munch a cookie or a pastry while you peruse the booths. Be sure to bring your reusable shopping bags and help our Oregon farmlands stay “green!”

Sept 7th Albany Beer Run Hmmmm. Maybe we should say walk instead of “run?” But whatever you choose to call it or however you manage to participate, the Calapooia Brewing Company is providing both fun and the run (and the beer). The $25 admission fee gets you in the door from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The Corvallis Lions Club will donate profits to Senior Dog Rescue of Oregon. This event is also dog-friendly for well-behaved canines on leashes. If you pre-register, you get a commemorative t-shirt and auto decal. For preregistration visit the event website.

Sept 10th Farm-to-Table Dinner at Midway Farms Join Midway Farms and eat a delicious 100% gluten free farm-to-table dinner. Castor is preparing the dinner from produce grown at Midway Farms. Seasonal cocktails and wine will be available. Come celebrate the bounty for $40/per person (buffet style dinner). Cocktails and wine are additional purchase. Tickets/RSVP required through Eventbrite. 

A antique historic photo showing the Venetian Theater circa 1900, in downtown Albany, OregonSept 11th History Bites at the Albany Regional Museum Our favorite noon time presentation is back at the museum. This month it’s all about “Theaters of Oregon.” Darrell Jabin toured and researched dozens of Oregon theaters to produce an entertaining presentation covering the unique architecture and history of Oregon Theaters. Light refreshments will be served. There is no charge for this program and a suggested donation of $2 for adults $1 for children is encouraged to support ARM’s programs.  For more information telephone 541-967-7122 or visit armuseum.com

Sept 14th – 15th NW Buckskin Club Horse Show Come watch these fabulously colored horses trot their stuff at the Linn County Expo Center. Competitions, vendors, food. For more information visit the event Facebook page.

Sept 14th Second Annual Millersburg Celebration Come see what Millersburg is all about. This is great event brings several communities together for a fun day in the park including live entertainment featuring Jackson Michelson, a Kids Fun Zone, car show, half-marathon run/walk, beer and wine garden, vendors, food trucks and business expo.  This event is free. For information visit the event website.

Sept 15th Farm-to-Table Dinner and Auction This fund-raising dinner and silent auction will help the Albany Regional Museum continue to provide education, and historical archives and exhibits to visitors and the community. Sybaris Bistro will be preparing the multi-course menu. For reservations (required) and ticketing, visit the event website.

Photo of Albany Oregon Festival Latino featuring cooks making traditional Mexican food on the grill.Sept 15th Albany Latino Festival This free event includes cultural performances, children’s activities, delicious food, a fun run, and a community resource fair, including a legal clinic. Hosted by Linn-Benton Hispanic Advisory Committee. The festival is held at Monteith Riverpark, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Sept 18th Albany Business Extravaganza Come see us on Sept 18th at the Albany Business Extravaganza. We will enter your name into hourly drawings for free rides to the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum at our booth. Check out what other businesses are up to and sample their wares.  From retail to wholesale, discover and make new connections. The event runs from 2:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Linn County Expo Center. Sponsored by the Albany Chamber of Commerce.

Sept 20th The Greater Albany Rotary Club and the Albany Downtown Association cordially invite you to the 8th Annual Craft Brew Smackdown. Breweries, cider houses, distilleries and wineries will serve attendees their very finest local brews at various downtown businesses. Get your pass online and receive an extra two drink tickets. Tickets are $20 for an event tasting glass and 10 tasting tickets; you will be able to buy additional tickets along the route. Purchase your tickets online and you will receive two extra tasting tickets.

Sept 20th (and other dates Sept – Oct) “Mama Mia” at the Albany Civic Theater This sunny and funny tale unfolds on a Greek island paradise. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter’s quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother’s past back to the Photo of a swallow flying upside down at the historic State of Oregon Heritage Site, Thompson's Mills.island they last visited 20 years ago. The story-telling magic of ABBA’s timeless songs propels this enchanting tale of love, laughter, and friendship, creating an unforgettable show. Get your tickets at albanycivic.org

Sept 21st (and Oct 26th) Cider Pressing at Thompson’s Mills You know fall is on the way when it’s time for apple cider! Come press your own at historic Thompson’s Mills from 11 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the 21st, or save the date for Oct 26th if you can’t make it in September. Thompson’s Mills is a State of Oregon Heritage Site and admission is free; donations accepted per gallon of cider. For more info visit Thompson’s Mills State Heritage website.

Sept 24th Sweet Home Farmers’ Market 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Another great opportunity to buy fresh from the people that grow the ingredients you love to cook with.

Sept 26th Lebanon Farmers’ Market 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. A second opportunity this week to discover what’s fresh and healthy at the local farm and ranch.

Sept 26th Brownsville Farmers’ Market 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. It really is possible to take an afternoon to explore the countryside and shop local for a true farm-to-table dinner. Start in Lebanon, then make the short drive to Historic Brownsville. After you finish shopping, grab a coffee and a pastry or a glass of wine in downtown Brownsville. Any way you do it, it’s sure to be delicious.

Sept 28th Family Dinner Series – End of Summer Bounty – 6 p.m. at The Warehouse, 315 Lyon St. Celebrate the end of the farm-to-table dinner series and enjoy  locally grown and produced appetizers, entrees, sides, desserts and beer and wine. Participating producers include Wahl Family Farm, Deluxe Brewery, Camron Ridge Farmstead, and Camas Country Mill. There’s bound to be some magic when The Warehouse chefs are at work. Complete dinner is $45 per person. By reservation only: 541-704-0076.


Photo showing candle light tour of the Monteith House during the Trolley of Terror in Albany, OregonBack by popular demand, the Monteith Society is once again hosting a fun and spooky historical experience this October: a candlelit tour of the Monteith House Museum and ride on the Trolley of Terror; sponsored by the Monteith Historical Society. Why visit a haunted house when you can take in a haunted tour of a whole town?! Climb aboard the Trolley of Terror and hear stories from Albany’s past as you ride through the Historic District’s haunted places. Albany’s oldest building, the Monteith House, was built in 1849. Don’t miss this opportunity to get the inside story on Albany’s historic haunted homes and businesses. Tours begin at 6pm, 7pm, 8pm and 9pm on October 18th,19th, 25th and 26th. 

Ticketing and reservation info – This event sells out every year almost a month ahead! Read more on the Trolley of Terror ticket info blog.

Even more events for you to enjoy

*Make sure to visit our monthly events calendar for even more September/October fun.

From art to bicycles – it’s high summer in Albany

Photo of kidds and families biking with helmets on the annual covered bridges tour

Mid-summer is officially upon us in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and Linn County is abuzz with exciting fun things to do. You can start out celebrating First Friday in downtown Albany, then take a short ride to the Linn County Expo Center for the Mother Earth News Fair. If gardening and milking goats isn’t your thing, maybe vintage Chevys are. And, the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum is turning two years old on August 17th with a family carnival fundraiser that’s not to be missed.

Look for whatever gets you out and movin’ in our list of featured August events below:

Month of August Threads In Time Living Rock Studios in Brownsville is hosting a fiber art show Wednesdays through Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be demonstrations of spinning and weaving, hands-on fun for kids, handmade quilts on display, and lots of beautiful handicrafts for sale: yarns, tapestries, scarves, shawls, and woven items. Living Rock is a free museum filled with Oregon history and unique rocks and minerals. Donations are gratefully accepted.

photo of the Albany Regional Museum exterior with blue skies, big white clouds and hanging flower basketsAug 2nd First Friday at the Albany Regional Museum The museum is open late (until 8 p.m.) for your enjoyment. Stop by and enjoy art, refreshments, and learn more about Albany and Linn County history. Admission to ARM is free, but your donations help run the museum for everyone.

Aug 2nd First Friday at Gallery Calapooia So many great First Friday events in downtown Albany, and it all starts with a reception at Gallery Calapooia, on August 2nd, from 6 to 8 pm. This month, Lori Garcy and Cindi Conder are the featured artists. Come meet them and see their latest works.

Aug 3rd Mid-Summer Arts in the Park features performances from local dance, music, and theater companies, and much more, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m on Saturday the 3rd at Monteith Riverpark. This fun and interactive event is all about hands-on ways to get involved, from workshops to arts and crafts activities for kids. This annual festival is definitely a family-oriented affair. For more info visit http://midsummerarts.org

Aug 3rd – 4th Mother Earth News Fair is where the bees, honey, and biscuit lovers gather to learn about homesteading skills such as gardening, food preservation and animal husbandry. Experts in fields such as cheesemaking, mead production and lavender farming will host workshops and participate in demonstrations. Buy your specially discounted weekend pass now online and save $20 (pass is $5 for a limited time).

Photo of a black 1956 Chevrolet pickup truckAug 7th – 10th  48th Annual Vintage Chevy Northwest Meet Hosted by the Columbia River Region VCCA, this year’s theme is “Vistas, Valleys, Vineyards and Vintage Chevrolets.” A full program of events for those with classic cars is planned, including tours, judging, and an awards banquet.

The public can see the cars in one spot on Thursday, August 8th, at Timber Linn Park from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Vintage Chevrolet Car Show. Be sure to look for these amazing vintage cars as they make their way across Albany and Linn County. It’s a great photo opportunity for our local photographers. For more information visit the event website.

Aug 10th Family Bug Crawl From 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. join entomologist Richard Little and hunt for the often overlooked wildlife living along riparian and urban boundaries near trails. Expect to be thrilled and maybe chilled by the creepy crawlers you’ll encounter. You don’t have to be a family to love this event, so come one, come all. If you’d like, bring a magnifying glass and a bug collection box, plus sunscreen and a hat. Meet at Riverview Park, 1025 Mountain River Dr, in Lebanon. For additional information, visit the park’s trails website.

Aug 10th First Annual Car Show at the Mall If you didn’t get to see the cars at the vintage Chevy meet, Heritage Mall is hosting a car show behind the covered mall. There will be lots of hot rods, custom builds and classics, and food vendors. Hours for the free show are from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Aug 11th Covered Bridges Bicycle Tour Get your spokes a’ twirling! The 41st Annual Covered Bridge Bicycle Tour is a premier one-day cycling event sponsored by Mid Valley Bike Club. Rides vary from 40, 68, 85, or 101 miles on quiet country roads and through five well-preserved historic covered bridges. The tour starts and finishes at the Linn County Expo Center. For more information visit the event website.

Photo of people paddling kayaks in the Willamette RiverAug 12th – 16th Paddle Oregon This year’s trip will wind along 85.5 miles of river, beginning at Marshall Island Access in Junction City and end at Wallace Marine Park in Salem. The tour will camp in Bryant Park, August 14th,  so even if you aren’t a participant this year, and you’d like to meet the paddlers or do some colorful photography, come down to the Albany Visitors Association booth at the park.  Follow along with the Willamette River Water Trail maps provided in the “more information” links below. 

For more information visit:  https://paddleoregon.org/

Aug 14th History Bites at the Albany Regional Museum Are martinis shaken or stirred? Well if its the former, you might want to come on down to the noontime presentation at the museum this month—it’s all about how to prepare and stay safe in case the Cascadia Earthquake hits. The presentation starts at noon. You can bring your own lunch and learn tips and scientific facts while you nosh. As always, the presentation is free, but donations to keep the museum open to all are graciously accepted. For more information visit https://www.armuseum.com

Aug 16th (and dates through and beyond August) It’s the ACT Youth Summer Camp presentation of the musical “Seussical Jr.” at the Albany Civic Theater. Horton the Elephant, the Cat in the Hat and all of your favorite Dr. Seuss characters spring to life onstage in this fantastical musical extravaganza from Tony-winners, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty.  For information and tickets visit: albanycivic

Photo of carved wooden carousel animal, a kitty, with a mouse in its mouthAug 17th It’s a second anniversary party at the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum—so you don’t want to miss the “Carnival at the Carousel” celebration. Expect carnival games of the past, old-fashioned carnival characters, a cakewalk, carousel-made photo-boards, kissing booth, and much MUCH more. Free admission and 25 cent game tickets help this fundraiser be accessible for all. For more information visit http://albanycarousel.com

Aug 17th Vets Helping Vets 12th Annual Picnic Bring the family and spend the day at Timber Linn Memorial Park enjoying live entertainment. Hourly raffle drawings for prizes and a silent auction. Enjoy a free lunch featuring hamburgers, hotdogs, chips and soda, but please bring salads or desserts to share. For information telephone 541-791-4357.

Graphic poster that gives information about the Lebanon Downtown Farmers' Market event: Tomato DayAugust 22nd Tomato Day at the Lebanon Downtown Farmers’ Market. Come taste a variety of tomatoes and tasty dishes made starring the humble but glorious tomato. Get tips from OSU Master Gardeners and learn the best preserving methods for this ultimate sunshiny fruit. So many tomatoes, so little time to eat them all!

August 23rd -24th Ninth Annual Albany Coin Challenge Every year for the past eight years, the Albany Visitors Association has sponsored a family Geocaching event over the Northwest Art & Air Festival weekend.  This year’s challenge will begin with a meet and greet on Friday, August 23rd, from 5:00 PM -7:00 PM at Albany Mennonite Church, 3405 Kizer Ave NE, prior to the hot air balloon “night glow” event at Timber Linn Park.  On Saturday, August 24th, the hunt will begin at 10:00 AM at Allan’s Coffee & Tea Wholesale Distribution Warehouse parking lot, 1852 Fescue St SE.  Approximately 175 keepsake coins and passports have been created.  Each passport lists the coordinates for 10 local businesses, five historic homes and five non-business locations, along with a question that needs to be answered at each location. Every person completing the passport is guaranteed a one-of-a-kind trackable geocoin.  The event runs from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM; coins are available for pickup from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM at the Allan’s coffee parking lot.  More information is available on the geocaching website or telephone Don Bacher at 541-974-1068.

Aug 23rd – 24th You’ve waited all year for the hot air balloons and shaved ice to arrive, so mark those calendars for the NW Art & Air Festival! Friday night, the balloon regatta lights up on the grounds under the night sky, creating a magical skyscape. During Friday and Saturday, artists fill the grassy meadows of Timber-Linn Park with booths containing a wide variety of handcraft and artwork. Visit the family zone, food vendors, and live music throughout the day. Rick Springfield performs a free concert at the Timber Linn Ampitheater on Saturday night. Festival parking is $10, admission is free. For more Art & Air information, visit the festival website.

Photo of hot air balloon at the NW Art & Air Festival lit at nighttimeSUNDAY SCHEDULE CHANGE Although the fair schedule does not run through Sunday this year (please note this a change from previous years), on the 25th there will be an early morning balloon launch at 6:45 a.m. and Young Eagles flights at the airport. (Registration for Young Eagles begins at 9:00 a.m.) The airport is hosting all kinds of activities on Sunday, including booths, food and drink. Please check the Infinite Air Center website for Sunday’s schedule.

Aug 24th Head on down the road to historic Brownsville and participate in “Hands On History” at the Linn County Historical Museum. This free family event includes trying out pioneer skills, crafts, and cooking. Listen to tales of long ago, dance in the street, and try on pioneer garb at the museum and Moyer House. For event hours and other information telephone 541-466-3390 or visit https://linnparks.com/museums/linn-county-historical-museum/

Aug 31st It might be the tail end of the month, but you can still find all the delicious things to eat at the Albany Farmers’ Market on Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Stock up on honey, jam, berries, greens, bread, and meats at the market. Enjoy a cup of coffee and a freshly baked gluten-free cupcake with mile-high frosting. So many yummy things, so little time—so bring your grocery bags down to the market early at 4th and Ellsworth, and start exploring!

See you in September

Just so you know, September will be a gorgeous month to visit our fair city as well. Here’s a sneak preview of what’s happenin’ below:

Graphic Logo for the 2019 Festival Latino in Albany, OregonSept 15th Festival Latino 2019  This free event includes cultural performances, children’s activities, delicious food, a fun run, and a community resource fair, including a legal clinic. Hosted by Linn-Benton Hispanic Advisory Committee. The festival is held at Monteith Riverpark, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ¡Venga a celebrar la Cultura Latinoamericana en el Festival Latino de Albany 2019! Evento Gratuito para el público. Habrá comida para comprar, actividades para los niños, espectáculos culturales, carrera/caminata familiar y una feria de recursos comunitarios, incluyendo consultas con abogados legales! No se lo pierda! Se tomarán inscripciones para la feria de recursos, puestos de comida y música entre el 15 de julio al 15 de agosto.

Road Trip – Thompson’s Mills

It is without doubt, the absolute perfect time for a road trip in Linn County. Fields glow, swallows dive and swoop, white-tailed deer walk their fawns two by two, and puffy mashed-potato clouds float lazily in the skies. Happily, we can recommend several road trips that lead you from downtown Albany and transport you to more tranquil environs.

Let’s start with a visit to one of Linn County’s greatest historic treasures, Thompson’s Mills in Shedd, Oregon.

The last working water-powered flour mill in Oregon

photo of State National Heritage Site, Thompson's Mills, with silos being paintedTravel to the late Victorian period, when draft horses pulled wagons filled with local wheat to the closest mill. Your trip to a working historic mill is less than a half-hour drive (by car, not horse) from Albany.

Thompson’s Mills State Heritage Site is run by the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD). The land and surrounding mill buildings are all part of living history. Interactive exhibits include feeding the resident flock of chickens and a free interpretive tour of the mill where a water-powered turbine still runs and turns the flour-grinding mechanisms—a demonstration the entire family will enjoy.

When the mill was in Boston

Thompson’s Mills, built in 1858, was originally called Boston Mills, and co-existed with a town of the same name, platted alongside the Calapooia River. Although fire destroyed the mill in 1862, it reopened in 1864 following a complete rebuild. Boston’s population declined after the Oregon and California Railroad (O&C) built its track west of the mill property and Shedd became the primary residence for the area’s inhabitants.

Since O&C’s track crossed through the heart of the Willamette Valley, it was used to transport agricultural goods to Portland and points beyond. Shedd’s station expanded new markets for Thompson’s Mills. Oregon flour was appreciated around the world—and exported to China in the early 20th century and to Belgium during WW1. 

As the US adapted to changing technologies and trade, so did Thompson’s Mills. Americans looked to a brighter future following WW2—and their desire for store-bought bread and gardens with green lawns affected local wheat production. Less wheat meant farmers replaced grain with grass seed for the Baby Boom generation. 

When local flour production decreased, the mill adapted as well, and began producing animal feed. By the 1980s the mill realized the electrical energy it produced could be sold to a local utility, and help sustain mill operations.

In 2004 OPRD bought the mill, its water rights and associated buildings and acreage. In 2007 the department opened the 20 acre site to the public, free of charge. 

Take the tour – it’s for the young and old and in-between

Photo showing large gears and mechanisms that drive the water-powered Thompson's MillsCurrently, OPRD continues its preservation efforts with restoring and refurbishing parts of the mill and grounds. Their work includes planting orchards for cider production, restoring the mill-keeper’s home and carriage house, and repainting the silo’s iconic logos—a giant peach and apple that can be seen for miles.

The mill is open seven days per week (excluding certain holidays) and holds special seasonal events to raise funds for preservation efforts. In the fall, an old-fashioned cider pressing brings families from across Oregon over a span of several weekends.

Make sure to ask the rangers for a tour of the mill while you’re there. That’s the special treat about making this road trip one of the great ones. The tour is free and you’ll get to see the inner working mechanisms—the enormous gears turn to raise a series of dam-gates in the millrace and the conveyor belts stir overhead.

Kids especially will enjoy a demo of the “man-lift,” a single-person, self-propelled elevator that zooms upwards to the top of the mill building. While the public can’t ride the man-lift, park rangers show how Victorian workers rode the lift to clear grain chutes descending to the grinding areas.

Once you’ve climbed the steep stairs from the mill’s bottom floors, you can wander through a number of interpretive exhibits that include original furnishings, grinding stones, gears, flour and feed sacks, and other mill memorabilia. 

Be sure and stop at the gift shop run by the ‘Friends of Thompson’s Mills,’ a non-profit organization that helps fund the mill’s heritage site status. Souvenir T-shirts, feed shopping bags and other gifts can be had for donations that will help keep the mill open to all for many years to come.

What to know if you go

Photo showing wheelchair accessibility at Thompson's MillsAddress: Thompson’s Mills is located in Shedd, Oregon. The easiest (and most delightful) route is to take Hwy. 99E from Albany and travel straight through to Boston Mill Drive. Signs along the highway will direct you to the mill. The address is 32655 Boston Mill Drive.

Hours: Monday though Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Open year-round (except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Years Day).

Tours: If your group is under 10 people, no reservation is needed for a guided tour of the site and buildings. Just show up and a ranger or volunteer will escort you around with entertaining and historical facts. If your group has 10 participants or more, telephone the mill to ensure staff is available to meet you. 541-491-3611. All guided tours are free, including larger groups.

Accessibility: Most of the grounds, and the main level of the mill building are accessible. There is a ramp to the mill’s “street” level where the interpretive exhibits are, and two on-site wheelchairs are available for use. Please note the lower levels of the mill building (where the large water-driven gears operate) are not wheelchair accessible. It is possible to access this portion of the building if you ambulate with assistive devices and feel able to climb and descend several narrow steps. There are wide walkways suitable for wheelchair use along the millrace pond and grounds, and accessible restrooms. Those with state-issued placards can park in the closest designated spots.

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