As fall approaches, your list of interesting outdoor activities wouldn’t be complete without taking time to tour Linn County’s picturesque covered bridges.
The quaint structures – Linn has eight of them – evoke a simpler time when life moved a little slower and when builders put roofs over their bridges to protect the massive timbers from Oregon’s rainy climate. Carefully maintained, most are still open to both pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
Take the day and bike or drive your way to some of these beautiful structures along quiet country roads. Five of the bridges are clustered not far from Albany around the town of Scio and marked by signs on a 30-mile loop that takes about 2 and a half hours if you are driving. Included on that tour are the Hoffman Bridge, Gilkey Bridge, Shimanek Bridge, Hannah Bridge and Larwood Bridge. After touring the bridges, take time to head into Scio and have a delicious lunch at the Covered Bridge Coffee House Restaurant (or do takeout and picnic at your favorite bridge). Head back to Albany or take the rest of the day and add the other three Linn County bridges: Weddle Bridge in Sweet Home, Short Bridge near Cascadia, and the Crawfordsville Bridge.
On your tour, take note of Shimanek Bridge, the only one in the area painted red rather than the traditional white. And, if you plan ahead and get some takeout from one of Albany’s great eateries, spend the day at the Larwood Wayside picnic area where the Larwood Bridge spans Crabtree Creek next to an old water wheel that once provided electricity to rural residents. Take your fishing poles and try your luck for trout as well. The creek is regularly stocked.
The Larwood Bridge is at the confluence of Roaring River and Crabtree Creek, which also has the quirky reputation of being the only place in the world, according to “Ripley’s Believe it or Not,” where a river flows into a creek.
If you want to discover the bridges for yourself, click here to view a list of Linn County’s Covered Bridge Country. For a map and a little history, click here for a copy of Seems Like Old Times and turn to Page 20, or download the Explore Albany app to get the same information on your phone. And read a description of touring Linn County Covered Bridges from Travel Oregon.
Early pioneers built the first covered bridges in Oregon, which later gave way to better-designed structures beginning in the early 20th Century. Due to a lack of steel during the world wars, and the abundance of Douglas fir, construction of these treasures continued well into the 1950s. Covering the bridges, while a beautiful addition to any span, had a practical application of keeping the wooden trusses dry. A covered bridge can last up to 80 years, while uncovered wooden bridges had about a nine-year lifespan.
As you tour the bridges notice the diagonal bracing and counter bracing of the beams in a crisscross pattern, both on the sides of the bridge and overhead under the roof. This is the Howe truss design, developed in 1840 by William Howe, which helps make the bridges stronger and last longer.
At one time there were about 450 covered bridges in Oregon. Today, just over 50 remain.
Getting outside is more important than ever in this locked-down Covid-19 world, and a trip to see the waterfalls at McDowell Creek Park is a perfect way to clear out the quarantine cobwebs.
Tucked away in the foothills of the Cascade Range about 16 miles east of Lebanon, the park boasts three to four miles of trails that take you past three beautiful waterfalls and a couple of cascades that will be quite prominent this time of year.
McDowell Creek is a 110-acre day-use park and is part of the Linn County Parks system. There is no fee. The park offers picnicking amenities, so pack a lunch or get take-out from your favorite restaurant. Click here for a list of restaurants and their current status under Covid-19 restrictions. Some fishing is allowed from late May into October. Check the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife website for regulations and open seasons.
Dogs are allowed on leashes.
To get there from Albany, head east on Highway 20 toward Lebanon. In Lebanon, take a left onto East Grant Street, which eventually turns into Brewster Road, and continue until you cross the Santiam River. Then take a right onto Berlin Road and follow that until you come to McDowell Creek Drive. Take a left onto McDowell Creek Drive and that will take you right to the park.
The trails offer easy to moderate hiking and are set up in a series of loops that can be taken for easier, shorter jaunts or longer excursions through lush green woodlands. The most popular is a 1.6-mile loop that takes you past the most impressive falls, Royal Terrace and Majestic Falls. For a map and current conditions and comments about the park, click here.
A series of bridges and viewing decks help you traverse the terrain a get beautiful vistas of the falls. Majestic Falls and Royal Terrace have the greatest amount of stone stairs and wooden viewing platforms that can be slippery when wet, so be cautious.
You can hit the trails at access points through each of the three parking lots – lower, middle and upper. The bottom lot connects to Lower McDowell Creek Falls easily, and Royal Terrace with a little more effort. Access to Royal Terrace is the longest hike. Majestic Falls is accessible from the upper parking lot through a steep staircase to get to the top of the falls. Or take the trail from the lower lot and hike all the way up.
The falls all should have heavy flow right now. Majestic Falls drops 35 feet, while Royal Terrace falls two levels, first to a small pool and then the rest of the way for a total of 119 feet.
If you are looking for a little more of a challenge, Linn County has many waterfalls that are tucked away among its thousands of square miles of forest land. A website called the Northwest Waterfall Survey has a list of waterfalls in Oregon and breaks that down by county. Here is the list for Linn County.
The list provides a description of the falls and how to get there. Some are visible from the road, others will require a hike. Most are not spectacular – some might even be seasonal cascades – so read descriptions carefully before committing your time and effort.
Please use caution this time of year. Directions can sometimes be confusing, so it is best to be prepared in case you get lost and have to spend the night. Take along gear to stay warm and plenty of drinking water. Don’t rely on GPS, as its navigation abilities can be blocked due to loss of signal in the mountains.
If you want to whet your appetite before heading out, click here for photographs and a video of McDowell Creek Park by journalist and author Grant McOmie as part of his TV show, Grant’s Getaways. It’s dated 2016, but little has changed at the park.
Please observe all Covid-19 restrictions when visiting the park. Keep a mask handy as the spot is quite popular and you are likely to run into more people out and about enjoying the scenery and solitude.
Top photo by Gary Thurman
Bottom photo by Katelynn LaGrone
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean the fish aren’t biting.
Steelhead and salmon abound in several rivers in the area, including the North and South Santiam, the mainstem of the Santiam, and a little farther away in the Alsea and Siletz rivers, and many others.
But if you just want to get away for the day, or just an afternoon with the kids, the mid-Willamette Valley is full of places to go fishing for trout, and some of the best are right here in Albany.
Mitch Smith, owner of Two Rivers Fly Shop in Historic Downtown Albany, says many local waters have been stocked with rainbow trout, some of which tip the scales at several pounds.
“Locally, the state is stocking the heck out of Timber-Linn Lake,” Smith said, adding that a couple of weeks ago a man came into his shop who had caught a 9-pound rainbow there. “The state also plants those brooders and they have put some big ones in there.”
Along with the normal planting of legal keeper-sized fish (8-inch minimum), the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife plants a few large brood fish – used to collect eggs for spawning more trout at hatcheries – to give the public a shot at landing “the big one.”
Albany has a fine selection of easily accessible lakes to fish, making it a perfect place to take the kids, particularly Timber-Linn and Waverly Lakes, which were planted recently. The ODFW has taken down its stocking schedule to keep people from congregating at any one place due to Covid-19 restrictions but is releasing some details about local stocking after the fact. For the latest information about fishing in the Willamette Zone, go to https://myodfw.com/recreation-report/fishing-report/willamette-zone.
Smith said right now a good bet to take fish is with Powerbait fished just off the bottom, or with Wooly Bugger flies in black, brown or olive on a fly rod or fished behind a casting bubble using spinning gear.
If you would like to talk more about fishing, visit Mitch Smith at Two Rivers Fly Shop, 204 1st Ave. SW, in Albany, give him a call at 541-967-9800, or drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. The shop is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and Saturday 10 to 4.
To plan your next adventure in Albany, go to albanyvisitors.com.
Photo by Dan Bateman
If you are searching for some holiday spirit amid our current Covid-19 lockdown, look no further. Here is a list of events to warm your hearts and fill your days with joy.
Topping that list are two such events close to home, both physically and virtually.
The first is a YouTube video, done in a physically-distanced Zoom meeting-like fashion, featuring the high school a capella choir group, South Albany Ascend, singing the Christmas classic, “Baby, Please Come Home.” The group is under the direction of choir director Brett DeYoung, and the arrangement was done by Deke Sharon. You can find this fun rendition here.
And if you want to get out of the house to have some fun, enjoy the sight of 26 houses and businesses lit up for the 2020 Night Time Magic Holiday Light Contest and then vote for your favorite! This year’s theme is “Cherished Traditions in a New Light.” Vote by Dec. 20. For more information visit the webpage visit Night Time Magic or Facebook Night Time Magic
If you happened to miss the Christmas Porch Tour, held Sunday, Dec. 3, click on the video to get a little taste of the fun at the Albany Historic Interior Homes Tour Facebook page. Twelve houses and three venues participated by decorating their porches and yards in a bright holiday blast of fun.
Just want to relax in front of a fireplace with a crackling Yule Log but don’t have a fireplace? We’ve got you covered. Click here for a cozy YouTube video that will warm your heart.
Here are a few more events and online links to keep your holiday spirits high:
Willamette Master Chorus Annual Holiday Concert
The Willamette Master Chorus continues the tradition and brings you a festive Holiday Concert, featuring the Trail Band Sextet, members of the well-known Oregon Trail Band and members of the Judson Middle School Choir. Videos of the concerts can be seen here.
Candy Cane Lane 8th Annual Holiday Lights
Dec. 10-31, The Meadow Community, 310 Pitney Ln., Junction City, See Santa, Mrs. Claus and Santa’s Elf as they hand out candy (with COVID-19 safety precautions). Please bring food for the local food bank. Click here for information on the AVA Calendar of Events..
Albany String Orchestra – Virtual Winter Concert
Concert was held Dec. 19. Music includes pieces by Bach and Vivaldi, and a collection of carols and holiday songs that will leave you with a song in your heart and a smile on your face. See the concert here.
Here are more Christmas videos to enjoy (click on the entry):
Enjoy the sights and sounds of an old-fashioned holiday celebration in Historic Downtown Albany. The Christmas Porch Tour offers a festive look at a few of our beautiful historic homes decked out in their Christmas best in a self-guided walk or drive-by event bursting with bright, holiday-wrapped fun.
The tour will be held from 2 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 13.
A dozen houses will be on this year’s tour and most are within the Monteith Historic District. Albany has more than 800 historic structures within its four nationally registered historic districts. (For more information about the houses on this tour, see the bottom of this blog.)
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, participants are asked to not enter the homes or go onto the porches, to wear masks where appropriate, and enjoy the homes from the sidewalk or the comfort of their vehicles. Because of restrictions, there will be no horse-drawn wagon or trolley rides.
But while restrictions may be in place, there is still plenty of fun to be had.
In addition to seeing beautiful homes, participants can take part in a contest for prizes while they are touring, including a large gift basket courtesy of the Monteith Society, and four $25 gift certificates to Downtown Albany businesses. All you have to do is download a contest form here or pick up an entry form along with your ticket at the AVA. Then, as you visit each home find a poster associated with each house and write down the Christmas image in the numbered slot that’ matches that location. After filling out the form, return it to the Albany Visitors Association, 110 3rd Ave. S.E., and put it into the mail slot. Contest posters will remain up only during the tour. Deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14. Make sure to have your contact information on the entry from, and winners will be contacted. It’s as simple as that!
GET TICKETS (with a map!)
Where do you get a ticket? Tickets are available for download now by clicking here or at the AVA office beginning at 1 p.m. the day of the tour. (Be sure to print legal size. For convenience, print on both sides on one sheet of paper and fold like a booklet!) There is no cost for the tickets or contest, but participants are strongly urged to make a donation. Funds made from the tour are used by the Monteith Society to help run and maintain the non-profit Monteith House Museum, so give generously! Contact-free donations can be made with your credit or debit card using our online payment option here: ( Please note: you don’t have to have your own Paypal account to use this)
Enter the dollar amount you wish to donate:
if you prefer, checks can be made payable to the “Monteith Historical Society” and mailed to the AVA, PO Box 965, Albany, Oregon 97321, or other donation arrangements can be made by emailing us.
An added sprinkle of fun this year is that some of the houses are participating in the Night Time Magic Holiday Lights Contest. Take time after the tour to visit the other homes in this contest, then go online to vote for your favorite! Stay tuned for that link!
Other highlights on tour day:
The Monteith House will be lit by candlelight.
The Whitespires Church will be lit for the tour. Check out the star on the side of the building!
MORE ABOUT THE HOUSES
Here is more information about the houses on this year’s Christmas Porch Tour:
This cozy 1930 cottage is almost entirely original on the interior – from the cast-iron tub in the bathroom, to the potato bin in the kitchen, and the upstairs dressing room. A double-and-a-half lot allows for ample gardening, and the rose garden in the front is the envy of all who pass by during the summer months. The owner and her daughters are slowly bringing this beauty back to its full potential, with lots of love and patience and elbow grease. The family’s nutcracker collection and heirloom ornaments are visible through the front window, as is the grand piano inherited from the owner’s great-grandmother.
Dr. Hulin used this house as his residence and place of work, sharing part of it as his office with Dr Aiken. Note the two front doors: the door on the right was where Dr. Hulin and Dr. Aiken had their medical practice. The homeowners have heard stories of emergency surgery in the office (now the dining room) caused by a hit-and-run with a horse-drawn carriage.
In the early 1910s to 1920s a large addition was added, and again in the 40s, and the house was subdivided into two addresses. One upstairs (8th Ave) and one downstairs (Broadalbin). Sometime during the late 70s to 80s, the owner reconnected the home to make it one address and added the garage and connected the garage and the house with a breezeway.
Over the last four years, Jeff and Jim have been restoring the house back to the historic beauty that it once was, both inside and out, with period lighting, historic furniture, and even throwing elaborate holiday events dressed in traditional Holiday attire.
The home first appears in tax records in 1920, though the homeowners suspect it is much older. All the original interior walls were wooden shiplap, which is irregular for the region (some have been preserved and/or replaced). It is suspected the house was originally a farmhand’s home on the original area homestead and was just a box home with four rooms.
Multiple additions and alterations were made to the home over the years, making it the Craftsman style you see today. The front porch, corbels and second-floor window are not original. On the backside of the house there was also a porch which is now enclosed and acts as a dining room with a “back staircase” to the second floor.
Fun fact: the plumbing once had every kind of pipe since indoor plumbing began including, clay, copper, galvanized and PVC!
The Anderson Family purchased the 1919 Bungalow in 2017, with the intent to call it home for several years to come. With that in mind, the family began restoration and age-appropriate upgrades, as the home had been neglected for several years. Upon renovation, the homeowners vowed to keep the bungalow’s original charm with its historic wood trim, clawfoot tub, hardwood floors, single pane windows, brick fireplace and covered front porch. The restoration was completed by the Anderson family themselves, in which the process lasted a long and relentless year-and-a-half. The bungalow was deemed a ‘kit’ house back in the early 1900’s, as the house came packaged as a kit, and was shipped in a train box car, likely from Sears & Roebuck. Homeowners at the time could thumb through a catalog, pick out their home kit and it would then be shipped to them via train. It was then up to the homeowner to assemble the home themselves or seek local hires for support. Thus, over 100 years later, the windows of the 1919 bungalow still shake when local trains make their way through Albany on their journey north, just as it did in 1919 when it was first built.
The Briggs house is a 2.5 story home with a basement. There is a notable architectural hood over the front porch. Neighbors lovingly refer to it as the “eyebrow.” Historical information states that the Briggs House was originally built as a Gothic Revival but was Colonialized after the turn of the century. During a renovation, a Gothic window was discovered on the west side of the upper story. The Gothic window sits in the living room today as part of the decor of the home.
The Boydstons are just the fourth owners of this home. Before purchasing the Cougill House, the homeowners would walk past the house with their then-small children, and felt it needed love. In the years since moving in, their 9-foot Christmas tree is always placed in the parlour next to the stairs, and decorated with ornaments collected over many years, some made by the Boydston children over 20 years ago.
Much of the interior woodwork and architectural features remain in this wonderful home, including the original picture moldings and plate rail, oriel windows in the parlor and casement windows in the living room that retain the wavy vintage glass. Pocket doors separate the parlor and living room, and the home has two sets of stairs. Marilyn’s extensive nutcracker collection was started in 1970, and the family’s tree features several Hallmark house and baby shoe ornaments collected over several years. The icebox and buffet in the dining room belonged to Marilyn’s grandmother.
Research is not conclusive, but it is believed this late 1860s or early 1870s Carpenter Gothic-style home was moved one block from Sixth Avenue. Perry Spink, an 1852 Oregon Pioneer from New York state, settled in Albany in 1857. He was a successful trucking and wood-lot business owner and built the home for his wife, Rebecca Jane, and their children.
Rebecca Jane died in 1872 and Spink married Mary Armstrong. Spink built a new and vastly larger octangular home for his second wife on the corner of Sixth and Maple, and it is thought he moved this home to its current location.
When it was moved, the home stood higher on a new above-ground basement to allow for a sawdust-burning furnace. The original home was heated by three interior woodstoves. In addition, the east-facing side porch was enclosed to make room for an indoor bathroom. Electricity was added at that time, but the large porch pillars were added much later when the home was owned by a Linn County surveyor and are from the original Linn County Courthouse.
Notable former residents of the home include Stanford-educated Professor T.A. Hayes, who was superintendent of the Albany Schools, and the Franz Pfeiffer family. Franz was the son of the Revere House (hotel) owners and he owned a downtown tobacco and confectionary store. The home fell into disrepair until the 1970s, when two Albany families – the Vetters and the Popes – were able to save the home.
This home with three porches features leaded glass windows facing north, original doors and hardware (including the second-floor gothic door) and many rooms with original flooring. There is an intriguing second-floor landing that looks into the large country kitchen. The Carpenter Gothic style is a more modest style than homes built later in the nineteenth century and certainly this home has had many additions and changes. But it retains its original charm and warmth by owners who have lovingly improved it over the years.
A Rural Vernacular Farmhouse-style home built in 1885, the Thompson House also has Eastlake and Queen Anne architectural elements. It retains the original built-ins in the dining room and early 1900s light fixtures in the living room, and the large front porch sports an impressive porch swing. The furnishings reflect Stephanie’s eclectic style with eco-friendly second-hand décor. Also of interest is the acid-etched image of a woman in a pane of glass and the original deed and tax records to the home.
The Connor House was built in 1859 by John Conner, the first banker in Albany, and who also was one of the founders of Albany College (which later moved to Portland and became Lewis & Clark College). The house boasted a 300-foot hitching post and livery stable, being a social spot for much of Albany.
The Connor house was extensively remodeled in 1900. This is when it went from the farm style to a Colonial Revival, which was in fashion for the time.
Erik and Kimberly Christensen have owned the Conner house past 13 years, after relocating to Albany from Seattle. Having family in the antique business, furnishings are in the traditional theme and compliment the house throughout. The home boasts several collections of: vintage china and stemware; artwork; sporting equipment from days gone by; and an extensive collection of antique and vintage holiday decorations collected through Erik and Kimberly’s 30-plus years together.
Areas of interest in the Home include:
This attractive home was built around 1915 to 1920, where a livery stable once stood. A rusted horseshoe was unearthed by the family a few years back when digging in the backyard. The home was bought as a kit house for the daughter of the family next door, who lived in what is now the Conner House, which is also on this tour. Unfortunately, all records from the time of the house’s beginnings were lost. The home has had a couple owners over the years and the Drakes purchased it in 1997 from former Olympian and Linn County Parks Director Dyrol Burleson. The Drakes had a new porch installed a couple of years ago but other than that the house is mostly original.
Enjoy the holiday season in Albany this year with bountiful shopping ideas, dining adventures and playful activities geared to get you into the spirit.
Be sure to observe all Covid-19 restrictions when out and about at events or in businesses, including physical distancing and wearing a mask. Some businesses may have schedule changes based on a recent surge in the virus and subsequent “freeze,” so check here or at the individual business websites or Facebook pages for updated information.
Find your Favorite Porch and Seek Simpler Days gone by during the 2020 Annual Christmas Parlour Porch Tour: 2 to 7 p.m., Dec. 13 – A dozen historic homes around Albany will have their porches decorated and lights glowing for the annual tour. Drive or walk past the homes, many of which will be participating in the Night Time Magic Holiday Light Contest (vote for your favorite!), and soak up the holiday spirit. While touring, also take part in a raffle for prizes. Details on tickets and the contest will be available in this posting on the AVA website prior to the tour, so stay tuned. There will be no cost for the event, but participants are encouraged to make donations. The tour is a fundraiser for the Monteith Historical Society, which uses the money for maintenance and operation of the Monteith House, the oldest frame home in Albany.
Seek Holiday Scene window displays for a great family photo opp. Storybook Land is scattered around 6 downtown windows this year which are also serving as a food-drive event for Fish of Albany food pantry. Bring non-perishable, commercially packaged food items for Fish, and stroll through downtown for window after window of beautiful holiday scenes. Find all 6 Storybook Land scenes and post on their FB page to enter a drawing for fun prizes.
Find Your Spirits cider and craft brews. Albany is bursting with quality beverages to cozy up to on a cold winter night or share with your household to bring much delight. Sinister Distilling, Vivacity Spirits, Spiritopia Liqueurs, Calapooia Brewing Co., Deluxe Brewing, No Rails Ale House and Growler Garage & Tap House are ready to pour-yours-to-go and send you on your merry way. Springhill Cellars Winery offers carry out for a perfect pairing with any meal.
Seek a shining star and consider supporting your local theaters and buying gift cards from the Pix Theatre or tickets to Albany Civic Theater, during this season of giving. We rely on them to bring us the entertainment we crave and one of these days we’ll be back in the seats of our favorite venues.
Find your Farmer at Albany Farmers’ Holiday Market: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Dec. 12, 4th Avenue and Ellsworth Street – More than 20 vendors will be selling locally grown agricultural products for your holiday table! Midway Farms on Hwy 20 is open all year long with a cooperative collection of locally grown produce, cheese, eggs, meats, plants, jellies, pickles and sauces. Supporting your farmer in the off season is sure to bring you good cheer and a bigger bounty in the new year.
Seek Locally Crafted at markets and bazaars following guidelines for safety.
Peoria Road Farm Market Holiday Craft Bazaar: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 21, 33269 Peoria Rd, Corvallis, 541-207-3327 – Shop for holiday decor, candles, jewelry, and more at the 7th Annual Peoria Road Farm Market Holiday Bazaar. They will be taking every precaution to keep visitors safe while enjoying a great day of shopping. Masks will be required.
Albany Holiday Gift Vendor Bender: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Nov. 28, Best Western Prairie Inn, 1100 Price Rd. SE, Albany; Contact: email@example.com – Find handmade crafts and merchandise from local direct sales businesses at this new holiday event at the lovely Best Western Prairie Inn. COVID-19 safety protocols will be observed. Shop safe and local.
Christmas at the Roost/Vintage Roost: 935 Scenic Dr. NW. This vintage barn is filled with antiques, collectibles, handmade gifts with a vintage charm by local crafters, baked goods and more! Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 4-5; 1 to 5 p.m. Dec. 6 and Dec. 11-12; and 1 to 5 p.m. Dec. 13. Due to Covid restrictions, capacity of the shop is 10 persons at any one time, and masks are required. There will be several areas outside to shelter while waiting to enter. Warm refreshments will be served as you wait, including The Roost’s famous hot cranberry tea. Dress for the weather. Parking is available on Scenic Drive.
Ropp Family Farm Christmas Barn: 35746 Eicher Rd SE. preview night this Thursday, November 19th from 5-7pm for shopping, snacks & giveaways, and only for a $10 entry. Doors will open for regular shopping Friday & Saturday from 9am to 4pm. No entry fee required. Open for business each weekend thru Saturday December 5th.
Find your Tree at Toland Tree Farm (closed for the season) following guidelines, trees will all be PRE-CUT fresh weekly and ready to choose from -No You Cut. Limited number of cars will be allowed in the parking lot and the number of customers on the farm at one time. So please be patient and remember, Santa is watching. Check revised hours and consider making a weekday appointment by connecting directly.
From Doug Firs, Noble Firs, Nordman Firs and even Grand Firs, Vollstedt Farms has trees of all shapes and sizes available. Opening day is November 21st with face masks and physical distancing required. Extended hours are in place. The front patch will be open for u-cut. Trees from the back patch will be brought up as pre-cut. Please limit the family group to 3-4 people. Unfortunately wagon rides, places where people congregate, and dogs are out and no foot traffic is allowed on the road. The good news is tree prices will be down.
Christmas tree permits for the Willamette National Forest are available for the Sweet Home, Middle Fork, and parts of the Detroit and McKenzie River Ranger Districts. Permits are available online and by calling the respective ranger district offices. Tree permits will not be sold in person at any ranger districts or offices. Please check closure maps before entering the forest and remain outside any of the closed areas. Permits are $5.00 each. They allow the holder to cut one tree in designated areas; each household can purchase up to a maximum of five permits. This year, trees can be as tall as 15 feet.
Seek your Ornament during the Third Annual Ornament Hunt on non-wilderness trails of the Willamette National Forest launched on November 13, 2020. The hunt encourages locals and travelers to connect with public lands and increase outdoor recreation activities. One hundred and fifty ornaments have been hidden along non-wilderness trails that have not been affected by wildfires for lucky adventurers to find. Three different wooden ornaments, each featuring a fun-loving forest creature, are spread across trails in the Willamette National Forest and the Umpqua National Forest. Each one found includes a Willamette Valley leather patch and instructions on how to register to win a prize. Find and register all three and you will be eligible to win an adventure and overnight stay in the Willamette Valley. For more information visit their website.
Find the Perfect Gift on Small Business Saturday and all the way through Christmas, Shop Small & Dine Small kicks off Saturday, Nov. 28 but why stop then? Shop small and save big on unique gifts over the Thanksgiving weekend and beyond. This may mean locally online – see your favorite store’s Website or Facebook page for their most up to date offerings you can find them listed here. Local businesses are pulling out all the stops with amazing specials and deals designed to help you get just the right gift for friends and family. Remember to support your local artist on Artist Sunday and all year long with places like Crow’s Foot, Gallery Calapooia and the Carousel Gift Shop, or find your inner artist at Surefire Design and Splatterbox.
While working up an appetite shopping, downtown restaurants will be ready to offer a wonderful selection of food and drink to keep you going. For an updated list of restaurants, who is offering take out and delivery and what kind of menu to expect, click here.
Seek your Favorite Holiday Lights during the Night Time Magic Holiday Light Contest: The 33rd annual event kicks off Dec. 7. Perhaps more than ever, people need a little more light to brighten their lives and lift their spirits. So, put your best lighted foot forward and enter the contest or visit all of the entries to enjoy how creative and beautiful the houses are and then vote for your favorite.
Contestants will be judged on the best use of lights in decorating the exterior of their homes. The winners will enjoy bragging rights for the entire year and will receive some great prizes, including a Party Room Rental provided by the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum, a night at Comfort Suites-Albany, Pizza from Southpaws and gift certificates from local stores.
This year’s theme is “Cherished Traditions in a New Light” and participants are asked to share the source for their inspiration, such as: a family tradition, favorite holiday book, movie or special, music, dance, art or a special collection using lights, lights and more lights.
The contest will be judged by the public this year through online voting, and lights need to be on 5 to 10 p.m. Dec. 7 through Jan. 1.
Go here for contest rules and entry information and how to vote.
People wishing to drive the route to look at the participating locations can pick up a list of participants and a map at the Albany Visitors Association beginning Dec. 10 or download the Albany Explorer app.
Keeping Traditions alive in 2020 can be more difficult for many facing hardships and loss. Please consider sharing your good fortune and cheer with others to lift them up along with your own holiday spirits and you will in turn help bring about a brighter new year for all. Here’s to ringing in 2021 with Peace, Love and Hope for a better tomorrow.
And the winners are …
“Santa’s Beat Shop” – 4195 Madrona Pl. SE, Albany, OR 97322
“The Tree of Lights” – 4203 Winners Circle Ave. SE, Albany, OR 97322
“Bringing Joy For All to See” – 3849 Oakmont Loop NE, Albany, OR 97322
“Historic Elegance” – 914 5th Ave SW, Albany, OR 97321
The 1st Place winning prize package includes a night stay at the Phoenix Hotel, Carousel party room reservation, dinner at Sybaris as well as gift certificates for Bodhi Bakery, Urban Ag Supply, Midway Farms and Southpaws/Shortstops.
Winners will be entitled to bragging rights for the entire year and will receive an Award Certificate and various gift cards that may include the following local businesses: Phoenix Inn, Historic Carousel & Museum, Sybaris Bistro, The Natty Dresser, Novak’s Hungarian Restaurant, The Pix Theatre, Bodhi Bakery, Urban Ag Supply, Midway Farms, and Shortstop/Southpaws Perfect Pizza.
Thank you to all the homeowners who participate in this program. Without your efforts, this wonderful community tradition would not be possible.
Thank you also to our sponsors Burcham’s Metals, Robyn vanRossmann, Broker from Town & Country Realty, and Hospitality Vision for helping to light up Albany!
How YOU can vote for your favorite:
The 2020 Night Time Magic Holiday Light Contest is ON! 26 houses and businesses throughout Albany are decked out in holiday themes honoring “Cherished Traditions in a New Light.” You can marvel at the abundance of lights, the heights achieved and yes, a meme for this oh-so-special year 2020. YOU can help choose the winners! You can get a list of participants three ways:
Enjoy the lights and Happy Holidays!
The Albany Visitors Association is helping to make the season bright by coordinating the 33rd Annual Night Time Magic Holiday Light Contest, which kicks off December 7. Burcham’s Metals, Robyn vanRossmann, Broker from Town & Country Realty, and Hospitality Vision are proud to be the premier sponsors agreeing that this year, perhaps more than ever, people are in need of a little more light to brighten the dark days of winter and lift their spirits. Residents are encouraged to enter the contest for the best use of lights in decorating the exterior of their homes for everyone to enjoy. The winners will be entitled to bragging rights for the entire year and will receive some great prizes.
This year’s theme is “Cherished Traditions in a New Light” and participants are encouraged to share the source for their inspiration, such as: a family tradition, favorite holiday book, movie or special, music, dance, art or a special collection using lights, lights and more lights.
Judging this year will be open to our 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 via Google Map and community members can vote for their favorites via Facebook or by contacting the Albany Visitors Association. Voting will open on December 10 and continue through December 20, 2020. Prizes will include a Party Room Rental provided by the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum, A night stay at a local hotel, pizza from Southpaws Pizza & Sports bar, and gift certificates from local businesses like Midway Farms and Bodhi Bakery.
That’s all it will take to be a part of Albany’s “Magic” this year!
Winners will be announced by December 22nd.
People wishing to drive the route to look at the participating locations can pick up a list of participants at AlbanyVisitors.com 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
Entry forms can be downloaded here or you can email or call us and we will email you a form. The deadline for the 2020 submissions is 5 p.m. Monday, December 7th*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.
Albany is known for honoring its veterans in a big way, and this year will be no exception, thanks to the hard work of several individuals, organizations and businesses.
Despite the canceling of Albany’s nationally recognized Veterans Day Parade due to Covid-19 restrictions, several other wonderful events will be held including a reverse version of the parade and a memorial service that can be attended in person or watched online.
Here are seven ways Albany is honoring our veterans you won’t want to miss for Veterans Day:
National Guard Flyover. Look up as an F-15 from the Oregon Air National Guard takes a pass over Albany on November 11, 11:15 a.m.
Reverse Veterans Day Parade: 10 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, Nov. 11, Mid-Willamette Valley YMCA. Enjoy the fun of seeing floats from the comfort of your car in this upside-down version of the Veterans Day Parade, sponsored by the YMCA, Southpaws Pizza and Burcham’s Metals. Several floats will be on display in the YMCA parking lot. Enter from 34th Avenue and travel through the lot before exiting onto Pacific Boulevard. Enjoy the sounds of music provided by KRKT and bring along some non-perishable food items to drop off at the float sponsored by Christmas Storybook Land and Fish of Albany. The donations will be given to Fish for its food pantry.
So far, those participating in the reverse parade are Burcham’s Metals, Beaver State Corvette Club, Linn-Benton Community College, Christmas Storybook Land, Forslund Crane Service, Honor Flight, the Oregon National Guard, Albany Aquatics Association, KRKT, Linn County Sheriff’s Department, Greenberg Solar Power, Glenn Lamora, Lawrence Fisher and Fish of Albany.
Providing refreshments to veterans will be Cork’s Donuts, The Brim Coffee Co., Dutch Bros and Benny’s Donuts.
For more information call the YMCA at 541-926-4488. To register a business for the reverse parade call 541-981-7502.
Veterans Day Memorial Service: 11 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 11, Timber-Linn Memorial Park. The ceremony will include the laying of two wreaths, a rifle salute, a bugler sounding Taps and several speakers, including Kellie Odegaard, Vice President of Operations and Veterans’ Services at the Edward C. Allworth Veterans Home in Lebanon.
Covid-19 restrictions limit the number of people who can attend the event at 100, therefore the ceremony will be filmed and available on the City of Albany’s YouTube Channel or through the city’s social media after the event. Randy Martinak of the Linn County Veterans Memorial Association said the public is welcome to attend, but to please wear masks, maintain physical distancing and to not block cameras filming the service.
Virtual Annual Veterans Concert: 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14 and Sunday, Nov. 15. Enjoy a virtual feast of song each day from the Willamette Master Chorus at its website. If you happen to miss the concerts, they will be available on the group’s YouTube channel through its website.
Other Veterans Day activities and Information:
Veteran of the Year: This year’s Veteran of the Year is Peter Butler of Lebanon. Butler is an Air Force veteran, having served with the 724th Air Force Band. He is a member of several veterans’ organizations, including serving as a bugler with the Post 51 American Legion Honor Guard.
Bricks: On Saturday morning, Nov. 7, members of the Linn County Veterans Memorial Association will help several families place bricks with the names of veterans into the Sentry Wall. One of those bricks will be for Henry Schauer, a World War II Medal of Honor winner. Schauer was awarded the medal for action in Italy in 1944 while with the 3rd Infantry Division.
Veterans Banners: Banners with images of Albany-area veterans are being hung in the downtown area, thanks to a collaboration between the Albany Rotary Club and the Greater Albany Rotary Club. The first batch of 30 went up on Wednesday along 1st and 2nd Avenues east of Lyon Street. The next batch of 40 banners is scheduled for hanging next week along Lyon and Ellsworth streets.
Uniforms on display: Several businesses in downtown Albany are again displaying military uniforms from different eras and different campaigns, each with a little history about them. The uniforms are sponsored by individuals and provided by the VFW 661 – Uniform Display Museum. The displays will be up Nov. 10-16. A list of uniform locations is available on the Albany Downtown Association website and Facebook event pages.
We love to hear nice things about our community and share what others have to say about their visit here. Lately we’ve had a few shout-outs from new friends and old. Listen to what they have to say about some of our favorite local places.
June Russell-Chamberlin contacted us to borrow a few photos to go along with her article for playstayeat.com opening her story with these kind words:
“City culture, small-town charm and outdoor adventure come together in the Willamette Valley and create a variety of fun things to do. With forests and waterways just a short drive from almost any town, it’s no surprise that residents enthusiastically embrace outdoor recreation.” Read more: https://playstayeat.com/willamette-valley-south-overview/
206 ½ Historic Hotel was one of her stops. “Once lodging for wives of GIs at Camp Adair during World War II, today the private bedrooms and communal spaces of the 206 ½ Historic Hotel in downtown Albany, Oregon, draw guests who delight in connecting with other travelers.” Read more: https://playstayeat.com/willamette-valley-south-stay/
The temptation is real! “In addition to carrying breakfast and lunch classics, Brick & Mortar Cafe tempts diners with twists on traditional breakfast fare. Enjoy classic eggs benedict, or savor eggs benedict topped with Oregon bay shrimp, spinach and dill Hollandaise sauce.” Read more: https://playstayeat.com/willamette-valley-south-eat/
Here’s what she had to say about Sweet Red Bistro: “Exposed brick, glossy dark wood and fanciful chandeliers set the stage for cocktails and romantic dinners at Sweet Red Bistro in downtown Albany, Oregon. Start the evening with tapas or the indulgent cheese and charcuterie board and a wine tasting.” Read more: https://playstayeat.com/willamette-valley-south-eat/
Her overall sentiment depicts Albany as a delightful town with nearby adventures and well worth making a regular stop.
“Known as ‘The Gem of the Willamette Valley,’ Albany, Oregon, is in the heart of the Southern Willamette Valley’s fertile farmland. Locals know how to make the most of the local bounty with farm-to-table cuisine and award-winning craft beverages, including beer, wine, artisan cider and distilleries.” Read more: https://playstayeat.com/willamette-valley-south-overview/#FarmtoTable_Food,_History_Craft_Beverages_in_Albany
We asked our friends at NW Travel and Life to put together a few inspirational words about Albany for the season. Veronika Patrashko was inspired by the location, color, history and bounty our area has to offer. She summed up her first impression in such an endearing way: “Pack a getaway full of history, family fun and wine country adventures in one of the Northwest’s best-kept secrets: Albany, Oregon. Whether you’re planning an overnight, a long weekend or a full vacation, this historic destination in the hub of wine country has you covered. Located just over an hour from Portland, Albany sits center stage for an easy-access change of pace.” Read more: https://nwtravelmag.com/discover-oregons-best-kept-secrets-in-albany/
Next, Veronika put together a lovely itinerary that is easy to follow, taking advantage of roads less traveled, wide open spaces and natural beauty any time of year but particularly colorful in the fall. Read more: https://nwtravelmag.com/celebrate-fall-in-albany-oregon/
Travel Oregon’s Jen Anderson tempts her audience with a must-see list of Oregon’s Food Trail stops including Albany’s own Frankie’s restaurant in her article titled: Cozy Cool-Weather Patios for Outdoor Dining Willamette Valley section. “Dine on excellent farm-to-table fare like Willapa Bay fried oysters, crispy pork-belly fries and vegan red-curry tofu on the heated patio at Frankie’s in Albany.”
We are thrilled to have these writers share their perspectives and hope you will take their advice and come by the next time you’re up for a visit.
Get into the spirit of the Halloween season and beyond in and around Albany with trick-or-treat events, haunted corn mazes, a good old-fashioned trip to the pumpkin patch, holiday markets and much, much more
Here are a few fun and exciting events you won’t want to miss.
In lieu of the traditional trick or treating in downtown Albany, The Albany Downtown Association/Movies at Monteith is sponsoring a Downtown Halloween Character Hunt contest, from Oct. 15 through Oct. 30. A fun activity for the whole family, be on the lookout for your favorite Halloween movie characters displayed on posters throughout downtown for a chance to win a movie night prize basket to the Pix Theater! Print out a Character Hunt entry form here before leaving home and record your discoveries, then drop it off at the ADA office, 126 Ferry St. SW, before 5 p.m. on Oct. 30. Happy hunting!
While you have the costumes out, get ready for the Downtown Facebook Costume Contest, which will be held Halloween Week, Oct. 26-30. To participate, have a picture taken by an Albany Downtown Association volunteer between 3 and 5 p.m. during that week at Two Rivers Market. For more information, contact the Albany Downtown Association at 541-928-2469 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos will be posted on the ADA Facebook page on Halloween and winners will be selected by the public based on the number of Likes and Shares. The winner in each age group will receive a First Burger Kid Meal, and Albany Historic Carousel & Museum ride token, and a ticket to The Pix Theater. Runners-up will receive a movie ticket to The Pix.
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. 30. Experience the most “spirited” tales told by lantern-light. Ghost walk tours are booked by appointment only for groups sheltering in place together, up to 10 people. Cost is $10 per group. The tour is currently full, but a waiting list is available. Call or text 541-220-0421. The list is quite long, but interior tours of the house, ghost stories included, are being offered. Call for details.
Visit The Barn at Hickory Station for their Truck or Treat event on Saturday, Oct. 31. Visit The Barn and 10 food trucks for 11 threats from 4 to 9 p.m. Please wear a mask where age appropriate.
Halloween on Main & Grant: Oct. 31, from 11 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., Lebanon. Live performances and a virtual costume contest. Dress up in your Halloween best and enjoy live performances by two local dance groups, the Hocus Pokie Dancers and the Gypsy Spirit Dancers. Also, submit a family appropriate costume picture at the Facebook page here for the virtual costume contest. The top three most-liked photos will win People’s Choice Awards. Winners will be announced on this Facebook page and the Lebanon Downtown Association website.
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. Cost is $4.50 for the hayride, corn maze and hay pyramid, 4380 NE Hwy 20, Corvallis. 541-752-0697.
Grandpa’s Fresh Market: Grandpa’s Pumpkin Patch, 36533 Hwy. 226, will be operating as self-serve this year with an honor system. Pay in a lockbox, so please have cash. The patch will be monitored for assistance if needed. The farm stand is located at 36483 Hwy 226. 541-928-8778.
Bose Family Farm: A corn maze and more! Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday through Sunday. 35765 Cyrus Road NE, Albany.
The Melon Shack: The Haunted Corn Maze, ongoing through Oct. 31, plus pumpkins and fresh donuts! NE Garden Ave at NE Highway 20, Corvallis. Check days and times at https://www.facebook.com/themelonshack, or call (541) 243-4152.
Peoria Road Farm Market: Open 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week, 33269 SE Peoria Rd. if you are hunting for that special pumpkin, this is the place to look, with several colorful varieties to choose from. Their fruit, vegetable, and flower market is about 1.6 miles down Peoria Road on the left, just off Highway 34,
Don’t forget 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 9am – 1pm.
Morningstar Grange Haunted House: 7 p.m. to midnight Oct. 30 and 31; 7 to 9 p.m. Cost is $5. Proceeds will benefit local food banks and the Morningstar Grange, 38794 Morningstar Road NE, Albany. COVID-19 guidelines will be in effect. Masks will be required to enter. For information visit Facebook – Haunted House at Morningstar Grange, or the Calendar of Events at the Albany Visitors Association.
Tennessee Thunder Railroad: Saturdays and Sundays noon to 4 p.m. in October, 37672 KGAL Drive, Lebanon. Cost is $6 adults, $5 kids 2-11, and under 2 free. Admission also gets you access to the pumpkin patch, fall themed photo backdrops, 4 acres to roam, pumpkins, cornstalks and glass gem corn available for purchase, along with train-themed items in the gift shop. For information, 458-223-0258, or here.
Runaway Pumpkin Express: 12 to 1:30 p.m., Oct. 31, 750 S 3rd St., Lebanon, 541-619-0342. Dress up hop aboard this 1.5-hour train ride through the streets of Lebanon. For more information, 541-619-0342, or visit here for tickets.
An Evening with Edgar Allen Poe – Virtual: Oct. 31, Albany Civic Theater actors will perform six different haunting adaptions from the wonderful and creepy world of Edgar Allan Poe. The performance will be presented as an old-style radio show live on Facebook. This is a free event, but if you would like to support the arts, you can “buy a ticket” for any amount you choose at this link. For information, 541-928-4603, or visit Albany Civic Theater
Sweet Red Bistro “After Dark” events: The Historic Downtown Albany night spot will be holding events during Halloween Week: Oct. 27, Spooky Trivia Night (sold out), 6:30 p.m.; Oct. 28, Wicked Wednesday, 8:30 p.m.; Oct. 29, Thriller Thursday, 8:30 p.m.; Oct. 30, Freak Show Friday, 8:30 p.m.; Oct. 31, Nightmare on First Street, 8 p.m.
Note: Due to Covid-19 restrictions, some traditional events have been cancelled or altered. For current updates on physical distancing and other requirements, call ahead or check the website for your destination before heading out.
The Albany Historic Carousel & Museum is a magical place to visit and thousands have enjoyed the experience. But, if you really love it and want to get up close and personal for a few hours a week you are in luck. The Carousel is looking for volunteers.
The Carousel will be holding two open houses to recruit more volunteers, so step up to help run this wonderful attraction. The open houses will be 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20 and 2 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21 at the Carousel. Snacks, prize drawings and rides will be available for those attending, and brief presentations by volunteers sharing their stories and information about the various positions will be held at the top of each hour. Volunteers must be at least 15 years of age.
The Carousel usually has a pool of about 250 volunteers but is currently down to 25 to 30 active participants. For more volunteer information check out the website and fill out a volunteer application.
Few people realize that volunteers are the very heart and soul of the Carousel, who make sure it is ready to run 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Jobs include cheerful greeters, tour guides, café staff, gift shop cashiers, carvers and painters.
Just imagine taking control of this wonderful mechanism and helping make dreams come true for kids of all ages. Or learning to carve some of the fantastic creatures that whirl around on the historic 1909 Dentzel mechanism, a vital part of the Carousel that was worked on by – you guessed it – volunteers. Or help give the creations depth and life in the painting studio.
“Our volunteers are amazing!” said Carousel Executive Director Peggy Burris. “Some of them are retirees looking to give back to our community now that they have some free time. Some are in high school and adding to their resumes while getting valuable job experience. And some of our volunteers are local business owners who’ve set aside a few hours a week to bring smiles to others.”
So far since opening, more than 47,000 volunteer hours have been logged by more than 460 dedicated people, young and old, serving in so many ways and keeping the Carousel turning and bringing joy to our community. And they are kept very busy, with more than 160,000 visitors coming through the doors each year.
If you would like to volunteer but are concerned about safety measures for Covid-19, just know that the Carousel has taken every precaution to ensure the safety of everyone on the premises – visitors, staff members and volunteers.
All staff, volunteers and visitors are required to wear masks and a limit of 50 people in the building at one time is being enforced, so some people may have to wait a few minutes during busy times before being allowed to enter.
Go here for more about Covid-19 procedures and expectations,