Most know about Oregon’s lush greenery in springtime and the best waterfalls to visit in the summer. But countless breathtaking and unique sights are transformed in the winter here, offering unique and enchanting moments like raging waterfalls, active wildlife and beautiful scenery. So, bundle up and get outside!
The Oregon Challenge Passport
A great way to get started is to pick up an Oregon Challenge Passport, which offers over 140 locations around the state to begin exploring.
The Oregon Challenge was created to get people outside and active to enjoy nature year-round, including the winter months when the cold tends to keep people bundled up indoors. The Oregon Challenge Passport includes locations in Oregon’s three major valleys, 11 national forests, and more. The Passport also includes information about Oregon’s flora and fauna you might encounter while exploring!
Once you get a passport, may the adventures begin! Check off each location as you visit, and don’t forget to enjoy local businesses and shops along the way. Challenge yourself and see how many of the 140 destinations you can visit!
The passport is self-regulated, so when you come across something or visit a location listed in the booklet, make a note next to the entry of the time and what you saw. Additionally, the Oregon Challenge suggests you make a new photo album to further document your adventures, and even share them on social media.
You can get your own Oregon Challenge Passport for $10 online, or purchase one at Margin Coffee in downtown Albany.
Winter Adventures Around Oregon
Recommendations courtesy of The Oregon Challenge
If you haven’t visited McDowell Creek Falls County Park in the wintertime, then you are missing out. This time of year the falls are flowing full with water from the Santiam River. With over three miles of hiking trails, the park offers viewing decks and wooden bridges to The Royal Terrace and Majestic Falls, a few smaller cascades and breathtaking scenery.
One of the more diverse hiking areas is in McDonald-Dunn Forest. Located near Corvallis, the forest has trails fit for anyone from beginner to advanced hiker to families, bicyclers and more. There are almost 30 miles worth of trails in the Forests, meaning you can visit countless times and always have a new experience.
Talking Waters Gardens in Albanyis a great location for a scenic stroll, and even during winter the area is teeming with a variety of wildlife. Many of the ponds are drained in colder months as well, exposing features like “the weeping wall,” a former loading dock left over from an old mill that has water flowing over it in abundance during warmer months.
There are endless sights to see in the South Santiam River area. If you’re looking for a family-friendly winter experience, explore gorgeous snow parks with skiing, sledding, snow-mobiling, tubing, snowboarding and snow-shoeing opportunities. If hiking is your thing, stay below snow level and traverse routes like Trout Creek Trail and Rooster Rock. Along Trout Creek you’ll get to experience the rushing blue waters and cascading waterfalls that become even more majestic during winter months. For a more family-friendly version of the Trout Creek Trail, begin at the Trout Creek trailhead, but take the alternative Walton Interpretive Trail.
Yet another spectacular South Santiam spot is The Gordon Meadows Hike. While the hike is 8 miles round trip, there are multiple meadows along the trail where you can relax and enjoy the scenery and then head back around if you’re looking for a shorter hike. Or, if you just want a spot to enjoy winter scenery and spend time with family, the roadside pullout at Lost Prairie is a great place to play in the snow.
West of Albany, enjoy a view of magical Mary’s Peak in the Coast Range after hike along lush green meadows in Beazell Forest. There are two loops in the Beazell Forest area as well as multiple other trail variations to enjoy along Plunkett Creek. Hike through this majestic Douglas forest by taking the South loop trail, which will lead you through a plantation and into another meadow. End your hike by checking out Lumos Winery or Cardwell Hill Winery, which are both in close proximity!
Along Oregon’s spectacular coast is Cape Perpetua. The Cape’s popularity is well deserved, as its main lookout is over 800 feet above the ocean, making it one of the highest viewpoints accessible by cars on the Oregon Coast. Cape Perpetua is located in Siuslaw National Forest, and the area features 26 miles of trail possibilities to explore, complete with incredible forest vegetation, endless scenic views, tidepools, a geyser, coastal caves, caverns and more.
Ultimately, wherever you choose to go in Oregon this season, there is no doubt that you’ll get a unique and beautiful experience out of it. Who knows, maybe winter will become your favorite season to explore our wonderful outdoors!
PURPOSE: The purpose of this contest is to find images suitable for use in the marketing program for Albany, Linn County and the Willamette Valley.
We ask that your work specifically feature Albany and surrounding Linn County. The images we most commonly use in our publications, advertisements and social media feature people enjoying life in our area.
We know visitors want to see images of people relishing fantastic food and drink (micro-breweries, distilleries, winemakers), participating in events (Art & Air, shows at the Expo Center), having a great time outdoors (hiking, biking, and paddling in our parks and around town) and enjoying the beauty and majesty of our city’s historic architecture! PLEASE NOTE: all photos depicting water recreation must be compliant with life jacket laws.
Since it can be hard to get just the right shot with people, consider staging something with people you know. That way it’s easy to have them complete the model release form. Please be safe and abide by COVID safety guidelines.
Photograph image resolution, size & shape
Photos should be large file sizes (biggest size image setting on your camera, 300 dpi and 1MB minimum in size). Photos should be standard rectangular portrait or landscape; square, panoramic or custom ratios are more difficult to place within our ads.
Images that have digitally applied effects (such as montages, double exposures or vignettes) cannot be used in AVA publications or national advertising.
Photograph Subject Categories – sometimes we will recommend that an image be placed in a category different than the one you submit
Culinary: We live in the proverbial bread-basket of culinary delights: farm-to-table special dinners; farmer’s markets; renowned and award-winning chefs; cozy coffee houses and bakeries; wineries and breweries; German and Hungarian restaurants. Our city bubbles over with bounty. Visit a local restaurant or a unique foodie or drink venue and let people know what delicious rewards await them. Attend the farmer’s market and capture the bounty.
Events: Remember you can use photos from 2020, 2021, or 2022.
Historic Albany: If you live in Albany, you know that we have deep historical roots. Our city has four nationally recognized historic districts. Albany’s architectural styles vary from the mid- 1800s to the 1950s. Grab a copy of “Seems Like Old Times” and document your personal visual tour or join us on one of the seasonal guided tours. We need images from all seasons so consider revisiting your favorite place at different times of the year!
Landmarks: What is your landmark when you tell friends to meet you in Albany? Is it the Historic Carousel or maybe the clock tower at the Albany Train Station? A landmark is unique to Albany and lends itself to the quintessential identity of our city. Even an old building with a Victorian painted advertisement on a brick wall or a statue could be a landmark.
People: Visitors love to see people enjoying themselves, but we know it can be hard to get the shot right and get strangers to sign release forms. Consider enlisting your family and friends at a picnic in your favorite Albany park or enjoying a meal from your favorite restaurant.
Scenic: Visit our parks, the Willamette River, hiking trails, vineyards and surrounding rural vistas and urban hideaways. Find something you think will make someone want to come visit us and represents the unique charm of our region. Rustic barns, farm stands, bountiful gardens, wildflowers and wildlife, the Willamette Valley with distant snow-capped mountains. This category includes last year’s “Life in the Community” category.
Student: For young photographers ages 18 and under.
A committee of judges will (anonymously) assess photos for subject and composition. Judges will consider some of the following criteria: is the subject appropriate for the category, is it a really good/unusual example of that subject, is the composition in focus, does it draw you in, is it original? Judges will determine Champion and Reserve Champion winners and People’s Choice will be judged on the AVA Flickr site.
Winners will be announced in March 2022. Winning photographs will be showcased in a professional video shown at the Pix Theatre before feature films following the contest, on the AVA website and YouTube and displayed at the Albany Amtrak Station. There will not be an in-person awards presentation this year.
Champion, Reserve Champion, and People’s Choice awards will be $225, $150 and $75, respectively. All first-place through third-place winners will receive a certificate and a gift card to the Pix Theatre to see their photos on the big screen.
Who can enter?
The contest is open to all ages, all levels: from amateur to professional or hobbyist.
How to Enter:
Email email@example.com and we will send you the online entry form through Survey Monkey – you do not need a subscription to use the survey. You do need the following rules and forms:
Download Information & RULES
Download the Photographers’ Use & Release
Download the Model Release
All entries must be submitted to Albany Visitors Association online through the entry form on SurveyMonkey (or by pre-arranged appointment) by 5pm Friday, February 11, 2022.
Oregon winters offer fun and adventure, from the unfettered views of mountain streams and waterfalls, to searching for architectural treasure in historic buildings.
So, if you are asking yourself, “What do we do, now that it’s winter?” In Albany, Oregon, the answer is: Plenty!
Indoors or out, Albany offers a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Take a day and hit the highlights, or make it a weekend and take them all in.
Albany is home to the largest collection of architectural styles in the state and self-guided tours are available with maps that show you the way through three of the city’s historic districts, providing short bits of history about many of the buildings and homes.
If you prefer an electronic approach, download the app, Albany Explorer, to your cell phone and access the same information, along with audio files for covered bridge tours and information about places to eat, shop and explore.
There are eight covered bridges in the county, five of them clustered around the town of Scio. A map gives you a route to see all five. Three more are located east of Lebanon.
A must-see side trip to McDowell Creek Falls County Park offers spectacular scenery. Hike the loop to see all five of the falls, which should be in full flow. The loop is just under two miles. Prepare to hike some stairs and inclines.
Food and Beverage
After a day of adventure, relax in the cozy confines of one of Albany’s pubs or by the crackling fireplace of Sybaris Bistro that boasts a world-class chef at the helm. Enjoy twice-Beard-nominated Chef Matt Bennett’s take on locally sourced and seasonal ingredients, and desserts to die for! Local wines are also featured.
Speaking of wine, visit Springhill Cellars Winery, which overlooks the Coast Range and has a tasting room featuring some of the best Pinot Noir varieties in the Willamette Valley. Tastings are by appointment December to April.
Albany sports several pubs and taphouses, each serving top-of-the-line brews and spirits. Try Calapooia Brewing & Vivacity Spirits, or DeLuxe Brewing & Sinister Distilling. Or pull up a chair at The Squeaky Cork, a Scottish-inspired pub serving tasty fare such as Shepherd’s Pie and Whisky Mud Cake, along with fine spirits and brews.
In Albany, winter isn’t the time to slow down. The fun is just getting started.
Celebrate Christmas – from the inside – at the Monteith House and six other lovely historic homes on the 42nd Christmas Parlour Tour, from 2 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12.
Six homeowners have graciously opened their homes for this event, the first interior homes tour in Albany since Christmas of 2019, just before the Covid-19 Pandemic began. Since that time, the Summer and Christmas tours have been exterior events, with homeowners decorating their porches and yards and some offering photos and video of their interiors.
Enjoy a peek inside some of Albany’s historic homes, which will be decorated for the holiday season. The Monteith Historical Society will also decorate Albany’s oldest frame home in the style of Christmas from the mid-1800s.
Mask and distancing policies will be strictly enforced, and, as usual, visitors are asked to please not touch items in the homes and to not take photos or video.
Tickets will be available for purchase online at monteithhouse.org until 10 p.m. Saturday, December 11, 2021, and may be picked up the day of the tour. If you haven’t purchased tickets in advance, a limited number will be available on the day of the tour at the Albany Visitors Association, 110 3rd Ave. SE, for CASH/CHECK ONLY. The cost is $15 per person. Well-behaved children under 12 are admitted free with a paid adult. Proceeds benefit Monteith House Museum.
To receive your ticket, which includes a copy of the tour map and wrist band, bring your Eventbrite e-ticket receipt on tour day to the Albany Visitors Association office, 110 3rd Ave. SE. The office will be open from 1 to 6 p.m.
Participating historic homes and buildings throughout the Monteith and Downtown Commercial Districts will 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 ride a horse-drawn wagon to a few of the stops, or drive, walk, bike or hike the tour on your own. The wagon will start and end at the Albany Regional Museum, 136 Lyon St. S., where light refreshments also will be served.
Christmas music will be played at various locations.
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. Visitors usually take three to four hours to fully enjoy the tour.
And 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 with the help of the Albany Visitors Association 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.
Everyone deserves to make the most of their holidays and balance family activities with nights on the town and holiday shopping. Throughout the remainder of November and December, Albany has many opportunities for adults, kids and families alike to celebrate the season.
Be sure to observe all Covid-19 restrictions when out and about at events or in businesses, including physical distancing and wearing a mask.
Family Fun: Kid-friendly events for the whole family to enjoy
Hop in the car and take the family on a light-filled trip around Albany to see the beautiful entries in the 2021 Nighttime Magic Holiday Lights Contest. For a map of where to find these wonderful homes, go here. The lights will be up through Jan. 1.
Take a festive train ride and sip hot cocoa on the Candy Cane Express while watching Lebanon pass by during this hour-long holiday adventure. Hosted by Santiam Excursion Trains, the Candy Cane Express is a round trip train ride, including photo opportunities with Santa and Mrs.Claus and hot cocoa with candy canes to enjoy. This ride has something for everyone, with a luggage car converted to a movie, popcorn and crafts center and a car with a fully stocked bar and beverage station!
There will be six train cars per trip, and inside seating is available to everyone. There are also two open-top cars for passengers to enjoy the fresh air above the train. Although it’s covered overhead, this train doesn’t have windows, so bundle up in your favorite winter gear! Weekly on Saturday and Sunday until December 19, the Candy Cane Express will take three trips a day. Tickets are $27 for adults, $23 for kids, $20 for seniors and free for toddlers and veterans.
Albany’s Historic Carousel & Museum is hosting exciting holiday events this year. On December 3, they’ll be putting on a 1st Friday event where participants can come in their coziest holiday pajamas and enjoy cookies and milk during a special storytime with Santa and the carousel’s elf, “Burl.”
This “Storytime & Santa” event begins at 5:30pm, and the fun continues until 8pm. On December 11, the carousel will be hosting a “Breakfast with Santa” event, where kids can meet Santa and enjoy a meal! Seating is limited so be sure to register soon. This event is SOLD OUT!
Albany’s Downtown Twice Around Parade is a great way to kick off your holiday season! Beginning on Broadalbin Street at exactly 5pm on December 5, you can view the parade by standing or sitting socially distanced along its 8-block route. This parade will get you in the holiday spirit as you watch the festivities unfold, ending in a fantastic tree lighting that will take place 20 minutes after the parade. The tree lighting is visible from the Two Rivers Market and surrounding blocks, so there’s plenty of room to space out and safely enjoy the event!
The Historic Albany Annual Christmas Parlour Tour is once again indoors this year, with Covid-safe protocols. Explore the history of Albany’s historic homes and their unique and vintage architecture and design. The Christmas Parlour Tour is an experience unlike any other, where you can be transported as far back in time as the mid 1800s, when the Monteith family founded Albany. See vintage Albany holidays come to life on December 12 from 2pm to 7pm. Advanced tickets strongly recommended.
Night Out: Experience a festive night out in historic downtown Albany
Check out local artists’ work at Gallery Calapooia’s First Friday Event. Starting at 6pm and ending December 3 at 8pm, this month’s featured artist will show their latest pieces at the gallery. If you’re looking for a peaceful December night of art-viewing, then mark your calendar with the Gallery Calapooia’s 1st Friday.
Supporting Albany’s small businesses during the holidays can make for a great night on the town! As part of Downtown Unwrapped events, Small Business Saturday will be taking place on November 27, and many of Albany’s small businesses and restaurants will be participating, so be sure to shop, dine and have fun at local places! Enjoy a delicious meal at local favorites, such as Sybaris, Vault 244 Bistro, and many more that you can browse here. Albany’s Pix Theatre is also a fun way to spend Small Business Saturday watching a movie while enjoying beer, food and treats at their amazing snack bar. Be on the lookout for participating businesses and their events on the 27th!
Watch the talented actors at Albany Civic Theatre by attending “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley.” This Christmas play is a sequel to Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” and follows Mary Bennett as she searches for love during Christmas. Watching this love story is a great way to get into the holiday spirit and support the production of ACT plays and musicals.
Showings are 7:30pm on December 3, 4, 10, 11, 16, 17, and 18. The matinees will start at 2:30pm on December 12 and 19. Tickets can be purchased online on ACT’s website. If tickets are not sold out, you can also purchase them at the door.
Buy & Sell Festive Goods: Local shopping for holiday gifts and keepsakes
Albany’s beloved Farmers’ Market, which closes in late November, reopens for one day on December 11 for the annual Holiday Farmers’ Market. This special pop-up market has local vendors selling fresh produce, dried flowers, homemade gifts, honey, jams, teas, holiday greeneries, baked goods, canned fish, dried beans, house plants, nuts, herbal products and more! The market is a perfect opportunity to find a special and unique gift for anyone from a wide variety of vendors. Locally-sourced products are a thoughtful way to say happy holidays and support our small businesses at the same time!
The Holiday Farmer’s Market will be on December 11 from 10am to 2pm.
Visit The Penny Cottage Christmas Boutique in Lebanon to find a wide selection of unique holiday decorations, vintage finds and gifts, or treat yourself to a vintage furniture piece or home decoration. The Penny Cottage is hosting its Christmas Boutique on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10am to 4pm until December 11.
If you’re looking for a special, handmade gift, look no further than the Ropp Family Farm Christmas Barn. Ropp Family Farm has filled its barn with all the homemade holiday goods you can think of: decor, quilts, wreaths, furniture, gifts, toys and more! Enjoy a delicious lunch while you shop by trying the freshly made soups, breads, pies, cookies, and coffee they offer.
The Ropp Family Farm Christmas Barn is open on November 20, 26 and 27 and December 3, 4, 10 and 11 from 9am to 4pm.
Navigating the schedule of the holiday season can be difficult, so we’ve created itineraries to make the most of your December and support Albany’s small businesses and events. Each itinerary is created on a week-by-week schedule, so you can explore events while you’re visiting. Click on the itinerary links below to view, download and print!
Check out all of these events and discover more by browsing our event calendar.
A huge CONGRATULATIONS to this year’s winners and a giant THANK YOU to all our participants! The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners are Christmas Spirit on Waverly, 1924 Waverly Dr. SE; The Tree of Lights, 4203 Winners Circle Ave SE; and Light up the Night, 1327 NW North Albany Rd.
For all to enjoy, this brief VIDEO of the participating homes will show at the Pix Theatre before feature films through December. All participants will receive a gift card to The Pix!
Nighttime Magic winners are entitled to bragging rights for the entire year and all participants will receive a gift card to one of our wonderful local businesses ranging from $45 to $150. Participating businesses include El Palenque Mexican Restaurant, Natural Sprinkles Co., Novak’s Restaurant, PizzAmoré, The Pix Theatre, Southpaw’s Perfect Pizza, and Urban Ag Supply.
Houses throughout Albany will continue to be are decked out in holiday themes through January 1st.
Get a map or list of homes below.
HOW PEOPLE ENTERED the 2021 Contest
The contest drew about 30 participants last year, with the winners (First, Second and Third places) taking home goodies such as certificates to local businesses like Sybaris, Southpaws, Bodie Bakery, The Natty Dresser, Urban Ag Supply and The Pix Theatre.
Helping coordinate the event to make the season bright is the Albany Visitors Association, along with premier sponsors Burcham’s Metals, broker Robyn van Rossmann from Town & Country Realty, and Hospitality Vision.
Residents are encouraged to enter the contest for the best use of lights in decorating the exterior of their homes for everyone to enjoy and vote for their favorite. The winners will gain bragging rights for the year and receive some great prizes, including a variety of gift certificates from local stores.
Judging this year will again be open to the community. Pictures of entries will be posted on the AVA Facebook page and addresses will be included for people to drive by. A holiday light drive will be posted on the Albany Explorer App and community members can vote for their favorites via Facebook or by emailing the Albany Visitors Association.
Public voting will open on Friday, December 10 and continue through Sunday, December 19, 2021. Winners will be announced by Tuesday, December 21.
Here are the details for anyone wishing to take part:
1. Entries must be within the city limits of Albany.
2. To enter, email a picture of the completed light display to firstname.lastname@example.org, by 5 p.m. Monday, December 6.
3. Entries must include: Participant’s name; full street address; title of the display; email address; and phone number.
4. Lights need to remain on from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. December 6 through January 1, or longer if you like!
That’s all it will take to be a part of Albany’s Nighttime Magic this year!
People wishing to drive the route to look at the participating locations can pick up a list of participants at the Albany Visitors Association beginning December 10, or download the Albany Explorer App.
Thank you to all the homeowners who participate in this program. Without your efforts this wonderful community tradition would not be possible.
So, make a plan, break out the lights and have a big and bright holiday season!
If you’re looking for the perfect spot to visit to capture pictures during autumn, look no further than the most scenic spots in Albany. Here, the month of November boasts beautiful bright-colored leaves creating an orange and red color backdrop. There’s a myriad of picturesque places to snap photos, but local Albany-based photographers have shared some of their favorites.
By Tori Thorp
Troutman photography, a business run by Clare and Daniel Troutman, is located in the heart of historic downtown Albany, and they’re no strangers to seeking out the best spots for every season.
Clare Troutman recommends heading to downtown Albany starting November 4, when there will be lights strung up in the streets for the holidays, and the shops will have holiday decorations displayed in their windows.
Another Downtown spot Clare recommends is the Promenade, a spot between 1st and 2nd avenues, where the combination of lights and colors make wonderful portraits.
“They’re gonna have strong lights, and they’ll have the glow from the theatre in front of them,” Clare said.
As for more nature-based shots, Clare has two go-to parks during the fall. The first is Bryant Park, where there’s a spot along the Calapooia River where one of Albany’s iconic landmarks, the Ellsworth Street Bridge, rises in the background. The river, coupled with the bridge, makes for a memorable snapshot at any time of the year.
The second park is Timber-Linn Memorial Park. For the next few weeks, the trees at Timber-Linn will continue to change colors to the oranges, reds and yellows of fall. In the summer, Timber Linn remains a great photo spot with its green and bright landscape.
Albany’s covered bridges have long been a destination for unique and rustic looking photos, but the addition of fall-colored leaves make pictures taken here especially breathtaking. According to Albany photographer Don Backer, the patterns and old textured material of the bridges make for great shots.
Backer recommends using old brick buildings downtown as a photo background for the same reason, old materials that add texture to the photos. If you’re downtown, you can head to Monteith Riverpark, where a sidewalk trail that Backer says can produce interesting photos as you begin your walk. At the end of the trail there is a mural that makes for a great photo as well.
Additionally, Backer mentions that the myriad of family farms that can be found in and around Albany make for excellent season-specific photos, with features like corn mazes and pumpkin patches that can make beautiful backdrops, as well as provide a fun time.
Backer also suggests taking a walk through Albany’s historic districts to find the spots that look the most interesting to you. The many historic homes provide great year-round photos.
Photographer Melinda Martin advises photo-seekers to explore the farms of Linn County on which there are barns and pastoral scenes to capture. She also says that further up on Highway 20 along the Santiam River there are scenic areas and hikes that make for great pictures.
Videographer and photographer Cameron Settlemier is knowledgeable about the trees in the Willamette Valley and the time during the fall when they are most vibrant. This time of year, he recommends photographers visit McDowell Creek Falls just outside of Lebanon, where the maple trees produce a vibrant background. Settlemier also says the Eighth Street canal between Washington and Broadalbin in Albany produces wonderful scenery, as well as other locations up and down the banks of the Calapooia River, Marys River, Yaquina River, South Thomas Creek and other waterways sporting a range of trees with unique colors of fall.
Settlemier mentions that short day trips outside of Albany may produce some beautiful fall pictures. On the coast, Vine Maple trees grow in abundance, and have vibrant red leaves in the fall. Other day trip destinations not far from Albany where you may find fall colors include: the Columbia River Gorge, the eastern edge of Hood River, and other locations in Philomath and Corvallis.
By Tori Thorp
Coffee lovers celebrated International Coffee Day Oct. 1, but if you missed it, fear not! You can still grab a steaming fall-flavored mug at one of Albany’s many locally owned coffee shops. Here are just a few options.
Margin’s matcha latte is the talk of downtown Albany, and for a limited time they’re carrying seasonal fall flavors! Margin’s harvest season drinks include apple cider, cardamom lattes, honeybadger lattes (honey with cayenne pepper), and sugar and spice lattes. If you’re looking for something fresh and delicious to pair with your coffee order, try their raspberry, chipotle and goat cheese croissant!
The Citadel Oasis is the newest addition to Albany’s cafe scene, and they do much more than coffee if you’re looking for a fun meal out. For their seasonal flavors they have pumpkin muffins, cookies, and peppermint flavored espresso drinks. On October 23rd, they’ll be hosting a wine and paint night for $40 per person, and every Friday at 7 p.m. they host Friday night magic. Stop by anytime during their hours for board games and delicious food and drinks!
The Brim Coffee Company, located on 1st Avenue, is a cozy place to escape a cold day and sipa hot cup of coffee. The Brim offers many options, including their lavender and vanilla London fogs! This season they have delicious fall flavors to add to your latte, including mocha, Americano or chai: maple, toasted marshmallow, brown sugar cinnamon, and pumpkin pie!
Nominated as one of the best bakeries in the valley, Little Wuesten Cafe is an excellent spot to grab a bite to eat with the accompaniment of hot coffee. For breakfast, try one of their pretzel breakfast sandwiches, or stop by for a loaf of Zwetschgen-Ingwer Brot, a delicious bread made with fresh prunes and almonds. They also carry all the classic coffee options, so you can have your snack or meal with your favorite.
Pacific Perk is a drive-through coffee shop for those who love flavor– and they have plenty of them! This coffee shop offers a variety of unique flavors, including specialty coffee like their candy bar flavored menu, which has options such as Butterfinger, Three Musketeers, Twix, and more. Keep an eye out for their fall and winter options like the pumpkin spice latte! Visit one of their two locations to check out their extensive menu options.
Snow Peak Coffee, another drive-through shop located near Timber Linn Memorial Park, is offering some October specials! Their fun fall flavors include:
Stop by soon for one of these uniquely fall-themed pick-me-ups!
Albany has many more coffee shop options to choose from, including:
For a complete list of Albany coffee shops and their locations, click here
Over the last decade, knowing the source of our food and drink, and the makers who craft our brews (or the chefs who prepare our meals) has become increasingly important to travelers. Since Oregon’s Willamette Valley is central to growing and producing agricultural ingredients used by restaurateurs and other businesses and attractions, Albany Visitors Association partnered with Visit Corvallis and Travel Oregon to create the Mid-Willamette Valley Food Trail.
The Mid-Willamette Valley Food Trail is a way for visitors to connect with the source of our agricultural bounty. Over 40 businesses are represented on the Trail, weaving their origin stories with personal experiences. You can spend several days building your itinerary as you pass through some of the most scenic countryside in Linn and Benton counties. Settle into a cabin at an actual working farm stay, help bottle feed baby lambs, pluck your own blueberries from the fields or indulge in a scrumptious farm-to-table dinner.
*Note – 9/28/21: Continuing Covid-19 guidelines: Governor Brown stated that effective Friday, August 27, masks will be required in all public outdoor settings where physical distancing is not possible, regardless of vaccination status. Oregon Health Authority (OHA) also strongly recommends masking for outdoor gatherings at private residences when individuals from different households do not consistently maintain physical distance. You may wish to review the Mid-Willamette Valley Food Trail brochure (PDF) to plan your Food Trail experience, and check with the locations before you go. Thank you for your understanding.
We’ve listed a sampling of the Albany and Linn County Food Trail locations below:
Midway Farms: As you approach the farm from Hwy. 20, you might see a milk cow grazing or seasonal flowers blooming near the little red barn that operates as a full-fledged cooperative farm market. What makes Midway unique is that it’s the only “all gluten-free farm” in the region. Buy eggs, baked goods, jams, pickles, meats, poultry, nursery plants and more straight from the purveyor. Midway operates children’s experience camps during the summer that can include learning how to harvest crops, gather eggs or milk a cow. The farm is located at 6980 NW Hwy 20. Telephone 541-740-6141.
Iron Water Ranch: A visit to this working fiber animal farm includes seasonal family-oriented events like bottle feeding baby lambs and educational workshops. The ranch produces beautifully dyed wool and fiber for craft, such as yarn for knitting and raw fiber for spinning or felting. The ranch is open daily by appointment at 35179 Riverside Drive SW. Telephone 541-979-5180 for more information.
Bryant Family Farm: No trip to Oregon would be complete without a visit to a blueberry farm, and we have the perfect family-friendly spot to experience blueberries fresh from the bush and straight into your mouth. You can pick them yourself or buy already plucked or frozen berries to take home. The farm is open Tuesday-Thursday peak season, June through August. There’s a picnic area and a kid’s play area on the farm, located at 35923 Bryant Dr. SW. Telephone 541-704-0677.
Sybaris Bistro: The kitchen at this warm eclectic restaurant is run by Matt Bennet, a James Beard House featured chef. The menu changes monthly, taking advantage of fresh seasonal ingredients sourced from local farms. Indulge in Oregon truffles, house-made elk sausages, rich chocolate flourless cake or other heavenly offerings. Reservations are highly recommended. Telephone 541-928-8157. Stroll along First Ave. in the morning and you might catch a glimpse of Chef Matt outside smoking boar’s ribs or sausages on the Traeger. Sybaris is located at 442 First Ave W. in downtown Albany.
Springhill Cellars Winery: A short 10-minute drive from downtown Albany, feast your eyes on the rural beauty surrounding Springhill’s perch atop a hill. The tasting room annex is part of a fully restored barn used for events — including parties, weddings, Pilates classes, tours and Thanksgiving weekend’s annual Federweisser Festival. Picnic tables, fairy lights and a fire pit dot the grounds with views to the west and magnificent sunsets over the Coastal Mountain Range. The winery is family owned and operated, and uses the French method of barrel aging their Pinot varietals. Tastings can be scheduled by telephoning 541-928-1009 or by visiting the winery May through December, Friday through Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at 2920 NW Scenic Drive.
Frankie’s Restaurant: Enjoy a freshly prepared meal or handcrafted cocktail at Frankie’s in North Albany. Just north of the Willamette River, this bistro operates on a commitment to sourcing locally grown and produced ingredients. Stop for a blackberry infused mimosa and share a towering plate of pork belly fries with your friends. The menu also showcases plant-based options, featuring ancient grains and vegan burger patties with your favorite fixings. And the crispy Brussels sprouts are irresistible. On a warm summer’s evening, sit outside on the patio and linger–watch the harvest moon rise above the oak trees lining the river as you sip your drink. Located at 641 Hickory St. NW, Ste. 160. Telephone 541-248-3671.
Breweries, distilleries and spirits: Hit two of Albany’s master brewers and distillers in one day. First head to Deluxe Brewing & Sinister Distilling, open daily at 635 NE Water Ave along the Willamette River. Grab a pint or a shot of their latest and enjoy a bite to eat from the featured food truck of the day. This is a pet-friendly stop with outdoor/indoor informal seating. Take the tour and sample whiskeys, ales and lager. Telephone 541-928-7699. Amble on over to Vivacity Fine Spirits and Calapooia Brewing at 140 Hill St NE. Order a fresh burger from the pub, take a tour and sample the vodka, gin, rum and brandy, plus a whole lot of craft brews on tap. The pub is family-friendly and there is an outdoor covered seating area as well. Listen to live music from their scheduled lineup. Telephone 541-928-1931.
Natural Sprinkles Co. Bakery: If you’re craving some dessert, downtown Albany’s farm-to-table bakery has unique, homemade baked goods to satisfy your sweet tooth. Natural Sprinkles Co. has everything from scones and breads to cupcakes and seasonally prepared specials. The bakery offers a myriad of gluten-free and vegan options, creating baked goods for every type of diet. If you loved their homemade, all-natural cupcake sprinkles, or just want to try them, they are available for order off of their website. Find Natural Sprinkles Co. at 202 2nd Ave. Sw. Telephone 541-704-0445 for more information.
Urban Ag Supply: This shop might look small from the street, but step inside and be prepared to wander through an amazing assortment of “rural meets urban” nirvana. Shop for locally crafted jewelry, garden ornament and art, handmade soaps, lotions, balms, potted plants, ceramic planters, fertilizers and heirloom seeds. And that’s just a partial list of the products they keep in stock. There’s always something new from local artisans. Urban Ag Supply is located just over the bridge at 456 Second Ave. SW. Telephone 541-497-2988 for more information.
Thompson’s Mills State Heritage Site: If there is one “must see and do” on our trail, it’s a trip to Thompson’s Mills. Located
about 25 minutes from Albany in Shedd, Thompson’s is a unique survivor of times past, chronicling 160 years of Oregon rural life. It is the last water-powered mill in the state and its turbines can be seen in action on free tours. A water right that predates statehood produces the water flow that still runs the milling machines for demonstrations today.
During fall harvest time, the mill often operates a cider press, where you can participate in the process and take home freshly pressed apple cider. The mill and grounds are open from 9:00 to 4:00 daily. Free guided tours are offered whenever the mill is open — just drop in and check with the rangers. Group tours (10 or more people) are available but please call 541-491-3611 in advance to ensure adequate staffing.
The mill and grounds are open every day of the year except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day. There are no fees to visit. The main tour of the mill is accessible by ramps. The mill address is 32655 Boston Mill Drive, Shedd, OR 97377.
Albany Farmers’ Market: The Albany Farmers’ Market is a great way to get a taste of all of the local shops, farms, and creators in Albany in one day. Open Saturday in April-November, the market is full of local products such as flowers, produce, meats, poultry, and organic goods. Catch some live music or check out an educational event while you stroll around the vendors’ tents and browse the local products. The market is located on SW Ellsworth St. and SW Fourth Ave. Telephone 541-740-1542 for more information.
For more information on the Mid-Willamette Valley Food Trail and the full list of businesses included, request a free brochure from us at the AVA, 541-928-0911 or view the maps and itineraries at Visit Corvallis, our partner in the Food Trail Development.
Want to buy local? This comprehensive guide shows you how! Locally Grown is your premier guide for sourcing local foods. The free guide provides information for all consumers, including farmers markets, farm stands, U-Picks, CSAs, and more.
You can view the magazine online or pick up a hard copy from our 24-hour visitor center publications rack in front of the Albany Visitors Association front door, 110 3rd Ave. SE., off of Lyon St. View the online edition.
*COVID-19 Addendum – please contact providers in advance for information, from farmers and local food providers, many have adapted their normal methods of selling local food to increase physical distancing and promote safer access.
Not all area restaurants, bakeries, shops or coffee houses that use locally produced ingredients are listed in this section. Make sure to check out our restaurant directory or the free Albany Explorer App, available for download on Google Play or at the Apple App Store.
Images used in this post: Feature image at top of page, Lamb petting at Ironwater Ranch in Albany; Girls with garlic at Midway Farms in Albany; Sybaris Bistro truffle feast by AO Films in Albany; Deluxe and Sinister Brewing, in Albany; Honeybrine Market and Catering in Albany; Thompsons Mills State Heritage Site in Shedd; Fresh and Local magazine cover by Debbie Duhn.
In addition to the formal Food Trail Program, try a couple of these suggestions as the summer bounty increases. *Note: Due to Oregon’s COVID-19 precautions and guidelines set by the Oregon Health Authority, the following information regarding hours and/or dine-in, tastings and visiting procedures may be altered. Please check with the business before heading out.
Albany is home to a region full of vineyards and wine tasting opportunities. Enjoy lunch at Sweet Red Wine Bistro, where you can order from local and international wines and sample great food and cheeses. After lunch, head to Springhill Cellars Winery, where the estate vineyard and winery are on the slopes of Springhill, a gentle hill not far from the banks of the Willamette River. Their tasting room is open on weekends or by appointment.
Just to the north of Albany is Willamette Valley Vineyards, one of the oldest and most prestigious wineries in the mid-valley. Their tasting room is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily (*please check with the winery, as COVID-19 precautions may affect how tasting appointments and hours are scheduled) and closed only on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. If you have more time to explore, try one of the Heart of Willamette Wineries–a collection of boutique wineries within 50 miles of Albany, producing memorable Oregon wines.
One of the fabulous things Oregon is known for is our fruitful bounty. And in July, fresh berries are one of the commodities that bring visitors near and far to Albany and Linn County u-pick farms, roadside stands and farmers’ markets. Several area farms grow blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and (known for its humble Willamette Valley origins) the Marionberry.
The following farms could be the start of a great weekend itinerary to satisfy the berry lover in your family:
Midway Farms One of Albany’s agricultural gems, Midway is a bucolic organic farm store (and working farm) on Highway 20. As you drive toward Corvallis, its red barn peeks out from between shade trees and a riot of multi-colored flowers. The store is usually bursting with an eclectic mix of seasonal harvests—from green onions and sweet greens to fall potatoes, tomatoes and garlic.
Midway’s crowning glory of summer are their sweet succulent organic strawberries, blueberries and other seasonal fruit. The farm posts frequently on Facebook, so if you’re planning on making fresh jam, follow their page to find out when there are special sales on bulk berries. Depending on the bounty, Kapple may run a spontaneous jam-making sale.
Midway Farms is located at 6980 NW US Hwy. 20, and the farm store is open daily, including weekends, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can also snag their produce, flowers, fruits, eggs and meats at the Albany or Corvallis Farmers’ Market.
Bryant Family Farm A short five-minute drive into the Albany countryside and you can load up on the biggest juiciest blueberries in Linn County. This family owned venture features 19 different varieties of “no spray” blueberries. You can opt to pick your own or purchase fresh or frozen berries for all your culinary creations.
The farm features a family picnic area and restrooms, so you can bring your favorite hamper packed with goodies and rest between picking. The Bryant family purchased the farm about five years ago, carrying on the u-pick tradition of the former owners, Peter and Millie Romans. The Romans planted their first bushes in 1967.
If you are in hurry and don’t have time to pick yourself, you can order free delivery service of frozen berries (within Albany), any size order over five pounds at $2.25 per pound. Frozen blueberries still pack a nutritional punch and are delicious in muffins, pancakes, ice cream, smoothies, and jams.
The season at the farm runs from mid-June to the second week in August, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., dependent on fruit ripening, weather patterns, and crop availability. It’s usually best to check with the farm at 541-704-0677. Bryant Family Farm is located at 35923 Bryant Drive SW, Albany, Oregon.
The Willamette Valley is a wonderful place to explore with a pair of binoculars—or just a keen pair of eyes. The mid-valley’s mild climate makes it the winter home for certain bird species, and the rivers, lakes and forests are teeming with life as well. The Willamette Valley Birding Trail is your best resource for birding in the area. Download the Santiam Loop section for a guide to spotting burrowing owl, Oregon Vesper Sparrow and other species native to the mid-valley area. If you look carefully while walking in grassy meadows in Linn and Benton counties, you might spot a Fender’s Blue Butterfly (PDF), a rare butterfly native only to the Willamette Valley.
The following spots should help you create your own itinerary of nature while you’re here:
Get into the spirit of Halloween in and around Albany with several events planned for this fall with haunted corn mazes, trick or treat activities and other fun, or just enjoy getting out on crisp days to stroll through several farmers’ markets during the month of October.
COVID-19 restrictions may remain in effect for some sites and events, so call ahead when possible, check the Calendar of Events at the Albany Visitors Association website, albanyvisitors.com, or call the AVA at 541-928-0911. Keep an eye on the AVA Calendar of Events for changes and any new events or activities.
Here are a few fun activities you and your family won’t want to miss:
The Albany Downtown Association/Movies at Monteith is sponsoring a Downtown Halloween Scavenger Hunt, from Oct. 25 through Oct. 30. A fun activity for the whole family, be on the lookout for Halloween images displayed on windows throughout downtown for a chance to win a movie night prize basket to the Pix Theater! Entry forms/coloring sheets will be available for download here or at the ADA website. Forms can also be picked up at the ADA office, 126 Ferry St. SW. Then, head out on your hunt! When you are done, head down to the ADA and drop it off before midnight on Oct. 30. Happy hunting! As an added bonus, kids can dress up and have their photo taken while at the ADA (and score a piece of candy in the process!) to enter the Facebook Costume Contest. Office hours are weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and a special time of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30. NOTE: Some businesses downtown are offering candy to their customers, but the ADA is not sponsoring a Downtown Trick or Treat.
For more information, visit www.albanydowntown.com or call Albany Downtown Association at (541) 928-2469.
The Trolley of Terror will not be stalking the streets of Albany this year. Instead, the Monteith Historical Society is holding the Monteith Historical Ghost Walk on Oct. 22-23 and Oct. 29-30. Experience the most “spirited” tales told by lanternlight. Cost is $5 per person, and children in strollers will be admitted free. Four tours leave every 15 minutes each night beginning at 7 p.m. from the Monteith House, 518 2nd Ave. W., and are limited to 15 people each. Participants are asked to wear comfortable shoes, dress for the weather, and bring a flashlight. Brave souls can register online at monteithhouse.org, or by calling 541-220-0421. Tours take about 45 minutes.
Get those costumes ready and decorate your vehicle! Join Albany Parks & Recreation for a Trick-or-Treat Cruise-Thru, presented by Pacific Cascade Federal Credit Union. Trick-or-treat from the safety of your car at Timber-Linn Memorial Park, 900 Price Rd. SE. Every child attending must be registered by Oct. 15. A registration receipt will be required to be admitted into the park. You can sign up online at https://www.cityofalbany.net or by calling 541-917-7777.
Here is a list of more places to visit and events to take in during the Halloween season:
Farms and fun
Davis Family Farm: Take hayrides to the pumpkin patch and enjoy cider and donuts throughout October. Open daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., 4380 NE Hwy 20, Corvallis. For cost and other details call 541-752-0697.
Midway Farms: Enjoy fresh apple cider and other delicious fare at this dedicated gluten-free family farm at 6980 NW Highway 20 between Albany and Corvallis. Open daily, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Melon Shack: The Day Corn Maze, beginning Sept. 24 and ongoing daily 10 a.m. top 6 p.m. through Oct. 31, is a highlight, plus pumpkins and fresh donuts! NE Garden Ave. at NE Highway 20, Corvallis. For info go to their Facebook page or call 541-243-4152.
Kenagy Family Farm: Kenagy farm has pumpkins, gourds, winter squash, decorative corn and corn stalks, and all of the proceeds go to charity! Hours: Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. to dusk and Sunday 11 a.m. to dusk. 541-979-1490.
Don’t forget about your Albany Farmers’ Market to find your perfect already picked pumpkin with a large variety to carve, cook, or bake it in a pie, along with all the other tasty harvest treats our valley has to offer. The market is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Also available are:
Corvallis Farmers Market: open 9 am-1 pm, NW First Street and NW Jackson Avenue
Lebanon Downtown Farmers’ Market: open 2 to 6 p.m. Thursdays through October. Corner of Main and Grant streets.
Sweet Home Farmers’ Market: open 2 to 6 p.m.
Thompson’s Mills cider pressings: Come and help press the apples on Oct. 30 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., then take home some delicious, fresh cider. Cost is a $5 contribution per half-gallon. And while you are there, take a tour of the last operating water-powered mill in Oregon. The mill, 32655 Boston Mill Drive, 2 miles east of Shedd, is open daily 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (except major holidays) for guided or self-guided tours. Masks are required. If you can’t make to the pressing but still want to enjoy some cider, call 541-654-2052 to reserve a jug.
Monteith Living History Saturdays: 1 to 3 p.m., all Saturdays in October at the Monteith House, 518 2nd Ave. SW. Step into 1850 at the Historic Monteith House with exciting activities like, woodworking, pioneer doll making, baking biscuits, making butter and many other family friendly activities! To register in advance, or for more information, call 541-220-0421. A suggested donation of $8 covers the cost of materials.
Fall Fiber Fest at Iron Water Ranch: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Oct 23-24, at Iron Water Ranch, 35179 Riverside Dr., Albany. Multiple vendors will offer a variety of fibers to stock up on for the coming cooler weather. Raw wool, roving and locks, yarn and felted pieces will all be available. A little something for everyone.
More spooky fun
Tennessee Thunder Railroad: Saturdays and Sundays noon to 4 p.m. in October, 37672 KGAL Drive, Lebanon. Cost is $7 adults, $6 kids 2-12, and under 2 admitted free. Masks are required. Admission also gets you access to the pumpkin patch, fall themed photo backdrops and 4 acres to roam. For information, 458-223-0258.
2021 BOOzy Express: 6 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 30. Get into the Halloween “spirit” with this 21-and-over event. Dress up in your favorite costume and rock the night away on this 2-hour ride and enjoy heavy appetizers, music and a full bar! COVID guidelines apply on board the train.
Haunted House at Morningstar Grange: 7-11 p.m. on Oct. 22, 23, 29, 30; and 7-10 p.m. on Oct. 17, 24, 31. Cost is $5 per person, cash or card, and proceeds will benefit the Grange and local charities. Masks are required. The Grange is located at 38794 Morningstar Grange Rd., Albany. For information, call 541-666-0410.
ACT Production of “Dracula”: Bram Stoker’s famous novel comes to life at Albany Civic Theater, 111 1st Ave. SW; evening performances 7:30 p.m., matinees 2:30 p.m., Oct. 22, 23, 24(m), 28, 29, 30. Admission $14, (discount $11). Get tickets online at http://www.albanycivic.org/or 45 minutes before curtain.
Trunk or Treat: 5 to 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 29, Albany Boys & Girls Club, 1215 Hill St. SE. Save the date for this fun event! Volunteers handing out candy from the trunks of their vehicles will be located in the Teen Center/Indoor Soccer field parking lot at the Club. Dress up and get ready to see some decked-out trunks.