2020 Albany Summer Explorer Program for Kids

Summer Passport logo image

Explorers, are you ready?

It’s time again to head out into the wilds of Albany for the 2020 Albany Summer Explorer/Passport Program, beginning Monday, July 6.

The program is free and offered through a partnership with the Albany Visitors Association (AVA), City of Albany, Albany Regional Museum, Albany Downtown Association and the Monteith Historical Society.

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, we will be taking a new physically distanced approach to the old program. All of our Explorer/Passport sponsors are following state and federal guidelines about re-opening businesses, parks and keeping children safe.

With that in mind, some changes have been made. In past years, the program started at the beginning of summer with a kick-off party and concluded at the end of August with a party to draw for the grand prizes. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, those parties will not take place. And passports will not be handed out at the Albany Visitors Association. Instead, kids can download and print a form to create their own passport (more on that later). And they will not be asked to enter businesses in order to retrieve information or have their passports stamped.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of adventure and weekly treasure to be had. Here’s how it will work:

The Passport: Kids can download and print a passport form here: 2020 Passport. Follow the directions to create and color the passport (this is part of the first-week challenge: more on that later!), then email the AVA at info@albanyvisitors.com to register: please include each child’s first and last name, age, and an emergency contact phone #. If you don’t have a way to print a passport, one can be picked up at the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum. Then, let the adventure begin!

The Hunt: Participating businesses and locations will each display a poster with a picture of a carousel animal. In the passport, find the corresponding location and write down the name of the animal. There are 28 locations and they do not have to be done in order. Take your time and have fun! When finished, drop off your passport on or before August 25 in the drop slot at the AVA office, 110 3rd Ave. SE in downtown Albany. Include your address if you would like your passport returned.

The Challenges and Prizes: Watch the Albany Passport Program Facebook page and/or emails for weekly challenges to win prizes, donated by the participating businesses, all summer long. The first challenge is to post a photo of your completed passport on the Facebook page by Tuesday, July 14th, 5 p.m. At the end of the summer, participants’ names will also be entered into a drawing for more fabulous prizes. Passport holders do not have to visit every location to be entered in the final drawing. Good luck!

The Partners: Businesses and locations who graciously have donated their time and prizes are: Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, Albany Downtown Association, Albany Historic Carousel & Museum, Albany Regional Museum, AVA, The Frame House, ATA Martial Arts, BJ’s Ice Cream, Brick Circuit, Bricks & Joysticks, Brigitte’s Place Fine Fabrics, Gallery Calapooia, Infinite Air Center, Lake Shore Lanes, Margin Coffee, Mid-Willamette Family YMCA, Midway Farms, Monteith House Museum, Natural Sprinkles, Pix Theater, Shortstops, Southpaw’s, Spearit Beads, Talking Water Gardens/City of Albany, Downtown Carnegie Library, Thompson’s Mills State Heritage Site, Urban Ag Supply and Wicked Comics.

The program is geared toward elementary-aged children, but their siblings, parents and grandparents are welcome to come along.

See the AVA website for regular updates and more information visit  2020 Passport  Facebook. You can also email info@albanyvisitors.com or call 541-928-0911.

First Friday bursting into June

First Friday has become a tradition in Albany and our downtown shops, restaurants and attractions typically make the “First Friday” of each month a social night out on the town for food, shopping, art, music, drink and friendship.

Our business owners have been just as inventive responding to state health precautions. Virtual online parties and events blossomed during  COVID-19 restrictions and continue to be a way to connect with our community and support our local business owners.

One such event is coming right up on Friday, June 5th. Check it out below!

How does your garden grow?

Photo of a cute cat walking down a garden path with flowers and herbs on either side.

Summer is right around the corner and gardens throughout our community are starting to blossom and sprout. Urban Ag Supply in Downtown Historic Albany is encouraging first time gardeners or experienced pros to share their progress during the store’s Virtual First Friday event “Groovin’ with Growing Gardens” on June 5th.

Post photos of your seedlings, flower garden, hydroponic system, or anything related to growing outside. Show what you’ve harvested already or seeds you intend to plant soon.

The fun begins at 10 a.m. on Friday, June 5, and continues until 8 p.m. when a few modest prizes will be awarded for entries selected at random.

Get the details on how to participate on Urban Ag Supply’s Facebook event page.

More First Friday fun

The Historic Carousel & Museum, Albany, ORUrban Ag SupplyThe Natty Dresser, and Gallery Calapooia, among others, will have live Facebook events, games and prizes. Get your favorite take-out and have fun at home. See all the participants and hours on the First Fridays Downtown event page.

*Image credits: “Millie in the Herb Garden” and “Potting by the Valley Sky” by Maddie MacGregor, Albany, OR

Come explore our great outdoors

Getting outdoors with your family is a great way to stay local and stay safe, and Albany has a lot of areas to explore: Sneak up on sun-basking turtles at Talking Water Gardens, spend an afternoon fishing at one of our area lakes, or just hop on the bikes and take a ride over miles of trails the city has to offer.

Here are a few suggestions to get you safely out and about for a day of fishing, birdwatching and biking:

Talking Water Gardens

Photo of Talking Water Garden and DuckDrive or bike east on Front Street past the Albany/Millersburg Water Reclamation Facility and you will find this gem. Created for cooling treated wastewater before it is discharged into the Willamette River, this 50-acre manufactured wetland is home to more than 200 species of birds and several species of amphibians, mammals and native plants. Some critters can be seen all day long but start your day early and maybe catch a glimpse of a mink or marten, turtles and other creatures. Bring your bird identification book, download a checklist and see how many birds you can identify in an hour. If you brought a lunch, take a break and sit by one of the many refreshing waterfalls built into the area to help cool the water.

If you have time, head into adjacent Simpson Park with its 168 woody acres that include miles of trails and a lake you can fish for crappie, bass and bluegill.

Waverly Lake, Timber-Linn Lake, Freeway Lakes

Photo of sunset over Waverly Lake in Albany OregonIf you want to continue fishing, head over to nearby Waverly Lake, a former rock pit that now forms an oasis at the entrance to Albany’s eastern gate. This 5-acre lake — home to Waverly Duck, a giant decoy that greets visitors every summer – is stocked every year with trout, including some rather large brood trout, a few tipping the scales at over 10 pounds. The lake is ringed by a path that makes it very accessible.

Waverly Lake is one of three Albany-area lakes stocked yearly by the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. Timber-Linn Lake at Timber-Linn Park is 11 acres and very accessible, making it a perfect spot for a day out with the family. Best access is to take Price Road from Highway 20.

Freeway Lakes is three small lakes along Interstate 5 south of Albany. They are accessible by Three Lakes road, which runs along the east side of I-5. The lakes are stocked with trout early in the season but are also home to warm-water species including crappie and bluegill.

Fishing licenses are required for any person 14 years of age or older and can be purchased at most sporting goods stores in the area.

Biking

Photo of cyclists in front of the Linn County Courthouse in Albany ORIf you just want to hit the trails, Albany has miles of them, and chances are there’s one near your neighborhood. Check out the list at the City of Albany’s website and download the trail map  and plan.

Two of the most scenic trails follow the Willamette River: The Dave Clark Trail on the eastern bank and Takena Landing Trail on the west, both running about 3 miles round trip.

If you want to add a little length to the Dave Clark Trail, exit Monteith Riverpark at the west end, travel up Calapooia Street to Third Avenue, then head down into Bryant Park, where you loop around near the confluence of the Willamette and Calapooia Rivers. A nice diversion on a sunny day.

Outside Albany

Photo of McDowell Creek Park If you are planning a day outside of Albany in the Willamette National Forest and other areas, be sure to “know before you go” and start by checking these websites to make sure what areas are open and what to expect when you get there. Many sites are only partially open, and some do not have restrooms or waste collection.

 

What is open and closed: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/willamette/home/?cid=FSEPRD712877

Oregon State Parks by status: https://oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=v.dsp_parkstatus

Limited day-use open at some State Parks/Covid FAQ: https://oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=v.dsp_featureArticle&articleId=272

Some State Parks offer limited day-use access: https://oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=v.dsp_featureArticle&articleId=279

Image credits on this page: Heron feature image, by Dina Ratzliff; Female mallard duck at Talking Waters Garden by Kimberly Silva; Waverly Lake Sunset by David Maestes; Cyclists at the Linn County Courthouse by Cathy Webb; McDowell Creek Park by Phillip Marks.

Summer Historic Home Tour

Photo of a historic home porch looking out to antique trolley and American flag during the Albany Sumer Historic Home Tour

The 2020 Summer Historic Home Tour will look a lot different this year, thanks to restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. To start with: no interiors. But those interested in our beautiful homes and historic buildings can still take a free self-guided exterior tour (with a virtual peek inside a few of them!) and take part in a contest for prizes, including free tickets to the 2020 Christmas Parlour Tour.

The details

This year, rather than allow visitors physically inside five or six homes, the tour will consist of a self-guided event that will feature a walk-by of 10 to 12 homes with the help of a map, the publication Seems Like Old Times and/or the use of the app Explore Albany, which is sponsored by the Albany Visitors Association.

In addition, while taking the tour visitors can be on the lookout for architectural details that will be included in a scavenger hunt. Find the required items, such as beautiful woodwork detail or an interesting door, and mark it on the ballot. Return the completed ballot at the end of the day and be entered in a drawing for prizes, including tickets to the Christmas Parlour Tour on Sunday, Dec. 13. Five pairs of tickets will be given away.

The date and hours

Photo of historic home.Here’s how it will work. The tour is still scheduled for Saturday, July 25, 2020 and will run 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors can download a map and scavenger hunt ballot from the AVA website (coming soon), or pick them up at outside the front door of the AVA along with a copy of Seems Like Old Times, which provides guided tours, details about the homes and some fun and interesting information about Albany and its historic districts.

*Image of Ralston House by Stephanie Low.

For those of you who are tech savvy, download the Albany Explorer app at Apple Store for iPhone or iPad or Google Play for Android. It includes maps to three of Albany’s historic districts, where to dine, spend the night and other details about Albany and the surrounding area. And since visitors won’t be allowed inside the houses, a few homeowners have graciously agreed to let us to create short video tours of the inside of their homes for people to enjoy. They will be available the day of the tour on this page,

If all of that exploring works up an appetite, take the time to enjoy a take-out lunch from one of the many fine restaurants Albany has to offer. Click here for dining details, inside or curbside.

The tour and scavenger hunt contest are all free of charge. Normally, tour tickets cost $15 each, with the money going to the restoration and upkeep of the Monteith House. Donations, though not required, will be greatly appreciated since Monteith House income has been seriously diminished due to the Covid shutdown. 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.

Watch a video of last year’s tour

Before we add the interior virtual tours, enjoy this slide show from 2019. Thanks to Camron Settlemier for taking all of the photos in the video.

Help preserve the tour for the future

If anyone wishes to make a donation to the Monteith House, send us an email and arrangements can be made, but it is not required.

While this won’t be a traditional homes tour, we hope all who have enjoyed the event in the past will come and spend a lovely and safe afternoon with us in Albany’s beautiful neighborhoods.

Welcome to the Mid-Willamette Valley Food Trail

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.

Photo of person holding lambThe 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 – 5/11/20: Due to COVID-19 guidelines from the Oregon Health Authority and local and state government , please check with the locations you would like to visit. Many of our Food Trail producers and businesses are open with COVID-19 accommodations such as online or telephone ordering, curbside pick-up, takeout or delivery. However, not all farms, restaurants or businesses are able to accommodate visitors at this point. Instead, you may wish to review the Mid-Willamette Valley Food Trail brochure (PDF) to plan your Food Trail experience when restrictions are lifted. Thank you for your understanding.

We’ve listed a sampling of the Albany and Linn County Food Trail locations below:

Farms

Midway Farms: As you approach the farm from Hwy. 20, you might see a milk cow grazing or seasonal flowers blooming near Two female children holding garlic picked at Mid-way Farms in Albany, Oregonthe 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 Hwy 20 NW.

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 Dr. 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 daily during 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.

Eateries

Sybaris Bistro: The kitchen at this warm eclectic restaurant is run by Matt Bennet, a James Beard House featured chef. The Photo of the interior of Sybaris Bistro and patrons enjoying dinner in Albany Oregonmenu 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 November, 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.

Adult Beverages

Photo of a craft beer and a tacoBreweries, 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. 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.

Artisan Products

Honeybrine Market: This unique co-operative kitchen, bakery and farm stand is tucked behind the Willamette Community Bank. The owner is an experienced caterer and is a partner with local farmers and ranchers and dedicated to bring you the freshest deli-style lunches and “get to know your farmer” family-style dinners. Honeybrine operates year-round, selling fresh veggies, jams, honey, sourdough bread and baked goodies, locally grown hazelnuts and Oregon teas. Looking for a farm-related gift to take back home? Honeybrine carries a variety of locally made products including yarns, fiber art, farm-animal cards and tote bags. Call for current hours: 541-704-0076. The market is located at 315 Lyon St., in the alley off Lyon.

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 124 SW Ellsworth St. Telephone 541-497-2988 for more information.

Experiences

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 dailyFree 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 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.

Additional Food Trail Locations

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.

 The best of fresh and local

Cover photo of new guide to sourcing fresh and local food in Linn CountyWant 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.

More places to eat farm fresh

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, Albany Farmers’ Market; 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.

Let’s head outdoors for more fun

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.

Wine Tasting

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. Those with more time can take a scenic drive through country roads to reach Marks Ridge Winery, one of the highest elevation wineries in the Willamette Valley. Enjoy their panoramic views while relaxing with a glass of Pinot. They are open Fridays – Sundays and at other times 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.

Bountiful Berries

Photo of a woman holding out ripe blueberries at a u-pick farmOne 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.

Catch Sight of Wildlife

Photo of turtles climbing one on top of another on a log sticking out of the pond at Albany's Talking Water GardensThe 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:

  • Talking Water Gardens on the northeast side of Albany is an engineered wetlands that is home to turtles, frogs, mink, beaver, and dozens of species of birds. Trails and viewing platforms are plentiful.
  • Finley Wildlife Refuge, southwest of Albany, has locations on both sides of the Willamette River, in Linn and Benton counties. It is home to one of the area’s largest herds of Roosevelt elk.
  • E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area, west of Albany, is home to everything from beaver to bobcats, and hosts several threatened species, such as the Western pond turtle, sharp-tailed snake, and red-legged frog. The wildlife area also encompasses the remains of a former U.S. military base, and abandoned roads and old buildings are waiting to be explored at E.E. Wilson.

Congratulations 2020 AVA Photo Contest winners

photo of a giant parade salmon about to "eat" a kid all in fun at the Albany Parade of the Species

Although things might have been delayed a bit this year for the Annual AVA Photo Contest, we want you to know that the AVA team has been working hard behind the scenes to procure the judges results.

We also extended the People’s Choice award through the entire month of April, which helped give our photographers even more “exposure” across social media, including Facebook and Instagram.

We truly missed getting together with all the shutterbugs who submitted their work, and seeing the images up on the big screen at The Pix Theater. We hope you enjoy this little video of the winning photos. And make sure to check out all of the images submitted on our Flickr pages.

Congratulations to all and thank you for transforming a challenging year into a beautiful reflection of our community, (See the full list of winners below the video.)

*Featured image top of this page, Albany Farmers’ Market with Claudia the Salmon, by Dan Bateman.

2020 AVA Photo Contest Winners Video

Winners Circle

Here is a list of the winners, along with the category, placement, photographer, photo title, and location where the photos were taken.

Culinary    
3rd         Katrina Wilson – “What’s Up Doc” – Albany Farmers Market
2nd        Lance Gross – “Famous Burgers and Big Smiles” – Downtown Albany
1st          Dan Bateman -“Wood Fired Delight” – Albany Farmers Market

Events   
3rd         Camron Settlemier – “This Tree is Lit!!” – Downtown Albany
2nd        Don Bacher – “Mommy, I Like This One” – Oregon Mennonite Festival, Albany
1st          Dan Bateman -“Vintage Elegance” – Albany Tweed Ride, Albany

Historic
3rd         Jonna Niles – “Castle in the Sky” – Downtown Albany
2nd        Camron Settlemier – “Long Night’s Moon” – Downtown Albany
1st          Stephanie Low – “Wisteria House” – Monteith District, Albany

Landmarks  
3rd         Christine Withers – “Garden Sun” – Downtown Albany
2nd        James Williams – “Gateway to Albany” – Ellsworth Bridge, Albany
1st          Barry Hoffman – “Light Up Train” – Albany Amtrak and Transportation Station

Student  
Lexi Gross – “Picturesque Downtown Building” – Downtown Albany

Life in the Community 
3rd         Melinda Martin – “September 11th” – Albany Courthouse
2nd        Camron Settlemier – “July 4th Fireworks” – Downtown Albany
1st          Dan Bateman – “Square-dance Shoes” – Heritage Mall, Albany

Open
3rd         Pavla Zakova-Laney – “Sunset at Scott Lake” – Three Sisters Wilderness, OR
2nd        James Williams – “Autumn Splendor” – McDowell Creek Park, Lebanon, OR
1st          Camron Settlemier – Switchback, Hood River, OR

Scenic  
3rd         Melinda Martin – “Sheep” – Linn County, OR
2nd        Dave Maestas – “Winter Sunset” – Waverly Lake, Albany
1st          Stephanie Low – “Japanese Garden” – Lebanon, OR

Staff Choice  
Dan Bateman –  “The Pizza’s THAT Good” – Albany Farmers’ Market

People’s Choice  
Jonna Niles – “Tulips” – Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, Woodburn, OR

Reserve Champion  
Melinda Martin – “Vintage Snow Scene” – Albany

Champion  
Don Bacher – “Reflections” – Oregon Mennonite Festival, Albany

Source your food fresh and local with new guide

Photo of woman with vegetables.

Cover photo of new guide to sourcing fresh and local food in Linn CountyThe 2020 Fresh & Local Linn-Benton guide to sourcing locally grown food is here.

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.

Thank you to the farms, food businesses, community partner and sponsors who made this publication possible.

May is Historic Preservation Month in Albany

Antique photo of Albany Oregon fore engine from circa 1920s

In 2020, Albany’s month long celebration of National Historic Preservation will look a little different than in past years, We want to keep everyone safe and healthy, and will be updating this list of activities that can be done virtually or by using recommended physical distancing best practices. Part of Albany’s grace is that we work with our many business and government partners to keep you engaged, even if you feel house-bound. So let’s get excited about how to stay in touch and celebrate our history!

May 1st through the 31, 2020

old photo Albany Municipal Airport

Albany’s Hidden History Scavenger Hunt Photo Tour Sponsored by the Natty Dresser, entry forms can be downloaded right here (PDF). Return your completed entries to The Natty Dresser’s front door mail slot at 425 First Ave. W by Friday May 31 to be entered to win a prize. The grand prize winner will be announced June 1.

Hackleman District Historic House Sign Scavenger Hunt Sponsored by the Friends of Historic Albany (FOHA), hunt for name signs on historic homes throughout the Hackleman District. Entry forms can be found at the FOHA Facebook page. Click on the form with pictures of the signs to be found, download it and print it out. Then let the adventure begin! Find the signs and write down the address of the house.s they are on When done, scan the form and email it to rebecca@adaptivepreservation.com. Gift certificates from Natural Sprinkles will be awarded to the top three entries. Entry deadline is noon on Sunday, May 31.

City of Albany Hashtag Mini-Tour If you own a historic home and would like to share it during National Historic Preservation Month, how about setting up a virtual Hashtag Mini-Tour of your own? Pick an area of your historic home that you would like to share: It could be a unique window, awesome flooring, a hidden passage — anything! You can share it as a photo or a video on any social media platform that uses hashtags. Here’s how it works: To use hashtags, post just like you usually would on your page. Then, in the comment section, type the hashtag we have provided here. It will automatically become a link when it posts. Then you will be able to click on it and see all of the other posts that use it. Use hashtags #AlbanyORpreservation2020 and #sociallydistantminitour. If you want to have it accessed by an audience beyond the Albany community, add #thisplacematters. Post throughout the month of May. Let’s celebrate our amazing resources together … apart!

Albany Farmers’ Market is the oldest outdoor farmers’ market in Oregon. Open every Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Purchase hand-picked produce, fresh flowers, baked bread, local eggs, meats and more. The market is located at 4th and Ellsworth in the City Hall parking lot. Be sure to follow the physical distancing rules set forth this spring for a safe and healthy market experience. The market is also in the process of developing an online pre-visit order form to make your visit even safer, so be sure to check their website at LocallyGrown.org.

Vintage photo of downtown Albany Oregon and a parade in front of the old Dairy Building, now Novak's Hungarian Restaurant

The Albany Regional Museum Historic Photo Collections One of our city’s greatest treasures is located at the Albany Regional Museum. And although the museum is closed currently to keep all visitors and staff safe, you can still browse the pictorial archives online. Connect to the Potts Photo Collection and prepare to be amazed. Another online project being conducted by the museum is to keep a diary of what it is like living during an international pandemic. Entitled “Share your Experience,” your personal stories will inform generations of Linn County residents what life was like a hundred years from now. Learn more about the project, and how your donation will keep the museum alive and ready to reopen.

Visual of the 2020 Albany Historic Crossword PuzzleDo the crossword puzzle Test your knowledge of all things historic around these parts and have a little fun with the family figuring out the answers to this crossword puzzle. Download and print the crossword (PDF). After you’ve worked your way through, check to see if you got all the answers right. No cheating! Download the answer key (PDF).

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Albany Virtual Tweed Ride Oscar Hult from The Natty Dresser will don his best tweed cycling attire for a leisurely ride through Albany’s three National Historic Districts. Starting at 10 a.m. in front of The Natty Dresser, 425 1st Ave W., the ride will be presented live at Albany Tweed Ride, and a map will be posted later so you can ride it yourself at your leisure.

Antique photo of Albany Oregon and a business with horses and carts in front of you

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

History Bites: Preserving Your Treasures The Albany Regional Museum will restart it’s popular History Bites series at noon on Wednesday, May 13, by going virtual with a Facebook Live presentation from Kylie Pine, the Curator and Collections Manager at the Willamette Heritage Center. Kylie will discuss Preserving Your Treasures: Practical Ideas for Caring for Family Heirlooms. Audience members are encouraged to send a photo and description of a favorite object in advance to klohse@armuseum.com or send it to the Museum’s Facebook page via private messages, and Kylie will select a few to talk about. And stay up-to-date on more History Bites topics and other events at the Museum by liking and following its Facebook page.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Historic Downtown Walking Tour of 1st Ave. This activity will feature physical distancing techniques, so be prepared to be safe and healthy during the tour. Oscar Hult will be your tour guide and will use best practices. 7:00 p.m. Meet at Burkhart Square (Lyon and First Ave). Please note that the actual tour may be changed with short notice, so please check with The Natty Dresser before showing up.  Information at 541-248-3561.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Historic Downtown Walking Tour of 2nd Ave.This activity will feature physical distancing techniques, so be prepared to be safe and healthy during the tour. Oscar Hult will be your tour guide and will use best practices. 7:00 p.m. Meet at Burkhart Square (Lyon and First Ave). Please note that the actual tour may be changed with short notice, so please check with The Natty Dresser before showing up.  Information at 541-248-3561.

*Historic images from the Albany Regional Museum’s Potts Collection

Notes

We will be updating this post regularly throughout Historic Preservation Month, so check back frequently for new activities, Other ideas for you include:

  • Take a tour of historic covered bridges or historic districts : do a virtual tour with the free Albany Explorer App or download a tour and use your car or bike to travel the various routes from “Seems Like Old Times.”
  • Take a  virtual tour of our historic homes by watching the video below (Photos courtesy of Camron Settlemeir .)

 

Starting the 2020 Photo Contest with a video tribute

Photo of cyclists dressed in tweed.

As a very special AVA Photo Contest premier (before we announce the winners from 2020 next week), we’d like to take a moment to reflect on one of the most creative volunteers and participants in this annual event.

The photographs of Oliver J. Anderson (Jerry to his friends), gifted us with an appreciation for the natural beauty around us, fond memories of great times with friends at local events and innumerable smiles. If we ever needed a specific photo of an event or place, all we had to do was call him up and we soon had hundreds of images to choose from.

Last year towards the holidays, we lost Jerry to a long illness. We miss him spectacularly. He was a special edition and irreplaceable in our hearts. The slide show below only represents a few of the probably thousands of photos that he took over the years. We hope you enjoy them.

 

April 2020 – the good news newsletter

Two female children holding garlic picked at Mid-way Farms in Albany, Oregon

View the good news

Read our latest newsletter and discover fun virtual activities and look ahead to sunnier days. Get ready to cheer someone up with a free e-postcard on our Albany Explorer App or ask our virtual assistant Ava a question about historic Albany. And don’t forget to vote now through April 30th for the AVA Photo Contest “People’s Choice” winner. You’ve got this, and we have you on our minds — so stay safe, stay healthy and we will see you soon. View the good news.

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The AVA lobby is open by calling or knocking 9:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. (Closed July 3, 2020 to honor Independence Day). For information regarding COVID-19 or to reach us click here.See updates for AVA, Albany businesses, and local events →
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