Driving Oregon’s “Gut”

Presentation on the history of highway 99

Hwy_99_2Long before Interstate 5 was built, the Pacific Highway—later known as Highway 99—became our “Main Street,” not only through Oregon, but from Mexico to Canada. Unlike I-5, Highway 99 rambled through towns and small communities, bringing their residents the means to connect with the rest of the state and nation.

On Sunday, January 22, 2017, at 2:00 p.m., Oregon authors Jo-Brew and Pat Edwards will discuss Highway 99’s origins and stories during a free presentation at the Albany Mennonite Village’s Lakeside Center, at 2180 54th Ave.

Their research takes us on a trip beginning at the California – Oregon border, and along the highway as it continues its steep climb through the Siskiyou Mountains. We’ll follow with the authors along the route—through the connected valleys where economies were built on orchards, forests, and farmland.

Jo-Brew’s book “The Stories” is filled with the accounts of those who lived, worked, and played in the communities that intersected with Highway 99. Over 150 individuals shared their stories with her—some in the form of old letters and diaries, but most in first-person accounts.

Pat Edwards took the lead as co-author on Jo-Brew’s second book about Highway 99, “The Folk History.” The book highlights 94 Oregon communities along the route.

The Linn County Historical Society hopes you’ll climb aboard Jo’s little red Rambler and take a ride up Oregon’s “Gut.” If you are too young to remember driving “the Gut” in your own hometown, come take the trip with us down “Oregon’s Main Street.”

About the presenters

Jo_brew2Jo-Brew is an Ashland High School graduate and a long time Southern Oregon resident. Before starting her work on the Highway 99 project, she authored seven fictional novels. Jo-Brew spent four years traveling throughout the State of Oregon, interviewing people who grew up in the days prior to the construction of I-5 to complete her Highway 99 research. She is an active member of The Association of University Women and was a columnist for the Creswell Chronicle weekly newspaper for seven years.

Pat_Edwards2Patricia “Pat” Edwards is an author, editor, publisher and historian. She is the author of “Sawdust and Cider” as well as “A History of Lorane, Oregon and the Siuslaw Valley.” Edwards served as the managing editor and publisher for “Groundwaters,” a literary quarterly magazine distributed throughout Lane County. She is the current Lorane columnist for both the Fern Ridge Review and the Creswell Chronicle. For the past several years, Edwards worked alongside Jo-Brew, first as editor and collaborator for the initial Highway 99 book, then lead author on the second one.

New Year’s Eve local celebrations

new_years_at_cocoanut_grove_1957Holiday Night time Magic: It’s the last two days for Albany’s holiday light displays. Come on down to the AVA office (open Friday, 12/30 unit 5:00 p.m.) for a map of participating homes and winners, or connect to the blog post and download your own map.

Hoof n’ Holler New Years Eve Bulls, Broncos, and Dance: On New Year’s Eve, come on out to the Linn County Fair & Expo Center in Albany for a wild and wooly evening celebration. The fun starts at 6:00 p.m. A dance follows the show and a balloon drop occurs at midnight. Have fun and take a “designated driver” ride home. For ticket information visit http://hoofnholler.com

High Steppin’ Country New Year’s Eve Party: For a $10 cover charge, The Still, at 220 SW Second Avenue in Albany, is hosting a dance party featuring country and rock music by DJ Rockin’ Robin. The events starts at 8:00 p.m. and reservations are recommended. Telephone 971-404-9200 for more information.

Boulder Falls Inn New Years Eve Bash: Join the fun from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. at the Boulder Falls Inn in Lebanon (505 Mullins Drive). The event includes a casino, raffle prizes, heavy appetizers and desserts, a performance by Fate 55, fun photo booth, and champagne toast at midnight. Ticket prices start at $75. For more information http://www.boulderfallsinn.com

Islands of serenity

Right after the holidays pass, Oregonians turn to outdoor activities that lift our spirits and affirm our love for the beauty that surrounds us in the Mid-Willamette Valley. Linn County possesses several gems within a short distance of Albany, Oregon—and this wonderful video by Grant McOmie highlights the astonishing beauty of McDowell Creek Park and its majestic falls. Plan on taking your family out there soon. You won’t be disappointed, and we promise that it will renew your energy level.

Night Time Magic light display winners


255-country-club-drive-winner-2016Ladies and Gentleman! Announcing the “Night Time Magic” light contest winning displays! For all of those participating, we extend our greatest thanks for your participation. The following four light displays were selected by the judges:
“Lights of the Polar Express,” 3849 Oakmont Loop NE, Albany, OR 97322.
“WATT-A-SHOW” (light up the darkness), 2035 Jefferson St SE, Albany, OR 9732.
“Snowman Land,” 255 Country Club Ln NW, Albany OR 9732.
“Light up the Night,” 1327 NW North Albany Rd, Albany, Oregon 97321.

3849-oakmont-lp-ne-winner-2016Winners will receive a Winner Award Certificate and a $50 gift card to Albany’s downtown first-run movie house: The Pix Theatre. Photos of the winning homes will be on display at the Pix Theatre and on the Albany Visitors Association website along with a list of locations to see. Winners will also be entitled to bragging rights for the entire year! Thank you to all the homeowners who participate in this program. Without your efforts, this wonderful community tradition would not be possible.

The winners of the Night Time Magic Program are determined by a panel of judges who conduct individual random drive-by sightings between December 8 and 15. Homes must be nominated to win.

1327-nw-north-albany-rd-winner-2016This is the 29th year that the Albany Visitors Association has been helping to make the holidays bright with the Annual Night Time Magic Holiday Light Program. All nominations receive recognition for participation in Albany’s Night Time Magic program.

The reward for participation: Your holiday spirits will be lifted, your home brightened, your neighborhood enlightened and your community enlivened.  If you are interested in being a part of Historic Albany’s “Magic” for 2017’s contest, contact the Albany Visitors Association, 110 3rd Ave SE, or telephone 541-928-0911 to receive future announcements.

Map of the displays

Feel free to download a PDF of the 2016 light display map. If you would rather have one mailed to you, contact us at 541-928-0911 or stop by the AVA office at 3rd and Lyons.

Past winners


  1. 222 Fourth Avenue SE, Albany OR 97321
  2. 1000 Lincoln St SW, Albany OR 97321
  3. 2905 Lawnridge St SW, Albany OR 97321
  4. 140 First Avenue West, Albany, Oregon 97321


  1. 627 Broadalbin SW, Albany OR 97321
  2. 4160 Evergreen Street SE, Albany OR 97322
  3. 2110 Geary Street SE, Albany OR 97322
  4. 2670 Kingston Way NW, Albany OR 97321
  5. Washington Street houses, block 600


  1. 514 NE 13th Ave.
  2. Santa on the rooftop view from bridge & Water Ave.
  3. 5th Avenue SW, block 800
  4. 630 Seventh Avenue SW


  1. 1001 Washington SW decked out again for 2014
  2. 1830 12th Avenue SW
  3. 3407 Pacific Blvd SW
  4. 6127 Piedmont Pl. SW
  5. 4295 Clay Place SE


  1. 730 Washington SW
  2. 425 6th Ave SW
  3. 2893 E Mountain View Dr SE
  4. 1340 NE Mayview Dr.

Holiday Nosh Tour canceled due to inclement weather

We are very sorry to report that the Holiday Nosh Tour scheduled for Saturday, December 17th, has been canceled due to inclement weather. We want this to be a happy event, but given the reports of black ice, treacherous road conditions, and more freezing temperatures predicted for tomorrow evening, we have made the decision to cancel the tour in interest of safety.

If you have pre-paid for any Nosh Tour tickets, please contact the AVA office at 541-928-0911 and we will issue a full refund. We hope to reschedule the tour sometime in January.

Thanksgiving in Albany, Oregon

thanksgivingThe bounty of our region is never more evident than in the fall. As you drive, bike or hike through Albany and the surrounding countryside, you’ll see a wild beauty through raindrops. And as late November arrives, it’s almost as if people are holding their breath for holiday adventures and celebrations.

We thought it might be fun to go out to eat or maybe sip some of our award winning regional wines. And if you enjoy helping others, there are many community free dinners taking place, and we have included them.

Wherever you choose to spend the day, may it be a very warm and wonderful time filled with good memories! (*Please telephone the venue if you plan on attending, as times and dates may be subject to change.)

Thanksgiving Dinner Out

Elmer’s Restaurant will be open all day on Thanksgiving. 2802 Santiam Hwy,, Albany, OR. Tele: 541-928-4227.

Cascade Grill will be open on the holiday from 11:30 to 3:00 p.m. for Thanksgiving dinner. Reservations are available for parties of seven or more. 110 Opal St NE, Albany, Tele: 541-926-3388.

Sweetwater’s Restaurant is open all day on Thanksgiving. 2390 Santiam Hwy., Albany, OR. Tele: 541-812-9222.

Sybaris Bistro is hosting their annual ABC House Thanksgiving benefit dinner. However, the latest word said that the dinner has sold out. You might want to check with them about their hours on the holiday weekend. Sybaris is located at 442 First Ave, Albany, OR. Tele: 541-928-8157.

Area Winery Thanksgiving Specials for November 25 – 27

Willamette Valley Vineyards at 8800 Enchanted Way, Turner, OR will have wine tasting, appetizers and entertainment. Hours: 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Tele: 503-588-9463

Tyee Cellars at 26335 Geenberry Rd in Corvallis will do wine tasting from noon until 5:00 p.m. Tele: 541-753-8754.

Marks Ridge Winery, at 29255 Berlin Rd in Sweethome, will host an open house with tastings and appetizers. Hours are from noon until 5:00 p.m. Tele: 541-974-4557.

Spring Hill Cellars, at 2920 NW Scenic Drive, in Albany, will host wine tasting from 12:30 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Tele: 541-928-1009.

Spindrift Cellars, at 810 Applegate, in Philomath, will be serving light food and hosting wine tasting from noon until 5:00 p.m. Tele: 541-929-6555.

Thanksgiving Option And Meal Resources

For those without family or in need of a hot holiday meal, please check the following list:

St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen: 822 S Ellsworth hosts a Thanksgiving meal during their normal hours on Wednesday, November 23rd. (The day BEFORE the holiday.) Tele: 541-926-8562.

American Legion Post 10, Albany: Invites all veterans and their families to enjoy a Thanksgiving Day meal at the hall, 1215 Pacific Blvd SE. The dinner is served from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. Tele: 541-926-0127.

Albany Helping Hands: at 619 SE 9th Ave will host Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday the 24th from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. Tele: 541-926-4036.

Lebanon’s First United Methodist Church: will play host for a dinner on Thanksgiving Day from 11:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Free coats and blankets will also be available during the event. The church is located at 1890 S 2nd St, tele: 541-258-7819.

The Point Restaurant and Sweet Home Elks Lodge: Located at 440 Osage St, are providing Thanksgiving dinner to those in need on November 24th, from noon until 3:00 p.m. Tele: 541-367-1560.

Albany Holiday Events Special Calendar

‘Tis the Season

1000 LincolnAlthough we have several ways for you to view our upcoming events, including Featured Events and the full calendar, you might like to print this handy PDF of our 2016 Holiday Events for November and December. If you don’t have a printer, no fear! Stop on in to the AVA office and we will be happy to give you one… or, give us a call at 541-928-0911 and we’l mail you one.

Willamette Valley number one in world wine regions

Willamette Valley Wins Award for Wine Region of the Year.


Wine Enthusiast Magazine announced Oregon’s Willamette Valley as its 2016 Wine Region of the Year. The Wine Star Awards are regarded as some of the most important in the wine winestaraward-art_2industry. Each year, the editors of Wine Enthusiast honor individuals, companies and regions that have made outstanding achievements and contributions in the wine and spirits world. The magazine will officially award the region at the Wine Star Awards gala on January 30, 2017 in Miami, FL. The Willamette Valley will also be featured in Wine Enthusiast’s December 2016 issue.

The Willamette Valley, Oregon’s leading wine region, has over two-thirds of the state’s wineries and vineyards and is home to nearly 500 wineries. It is recognized as one of the premier Pinot noir producing areas in the world. Other cool-climate varieties such as Pinot gris, Pinot blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling and Gewürztraminer are equally at home in the Willamette Valley.

willamette-valley-620x413“People are already traveling from all over the world to experience great wine and breathtaking scenery,” says Jimmie Lucht, Board President of the Willamette Valley Visitors Association, a non-profit organization that supports travel and tourism in Oregon’s Wine Country. “We are thrilled that this recognition will bring the Willamette Valley to the forefront and give more attention to our wine growers, wineries and this wonderful place we call home.”

While the number of wineries continues to grow, Willamette Valley winemakers haven’t lost their personal, handcrafted approach to making wine, or their desire to do things a little differently. Many winemakers in the Willamette Valley practice sustainable winegrowing techniques based on their respect for the land and desire to see future generations continue the winemaking tradition. Nearly half of all Willamette Valley vineyards are certified sustainable, making the valley the most sustainable wine region in the world.

nr_winecountry_northwillamettevintners_6002994381_courtesy_visitwashingtoncounty“Wine lovers worldwide are traveling to Oregon to experience our valley first hand and find our winegrowers as welcoming as our valley is beautiful,” says Jim Bernau, Founder of Willamette Valley Vineyards. “The Willamette Valley is indeed a Star.”

Other 2016 Wine Region nominees include Provence, France; Champagne, France; Crete, Greece; and Sonoma County, California. The Willamette Valley is also home to two other nominees recognized for their achievements in the wine industry: Jim Bernau of Willamette Valley Vineyards earned a nomination for Person of the Year, and King Estate, located in the southern-most part of the Willamette Valley, was nominated for American Winery of the Year.

Willamette Valley: The Willamette Valley is 150 miles long and up to 60 miles wide making it Oregon’s largest AVA. It runs from the Columbia River in Portland south through Salem to the Calapooya Mountains outside Eugene. Named for the river that flows through it, the Willamette Valley has the largest concentration of wineries and vineyards in Oregon and includes six appellations within its borders: Chehalem Mountains, Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, McMinnville, Ribbon Ridge and Yamhill-Carlton.

wvv_tualatin_estate_photo_1The Willamette Valley Visitors Association is a private, non-profit organization that supports travel and tourism in the Willamette Valley – Oregon Wine Country. Comprised of six destination marketing organizations, the Willamette Valley Visitors Association works to maintain the Willamette Valley as Oregon’s premier wine destination, while highlighting the culture, heritage and natural resources of the region.

For more information, connect with the Willamette Valley Visitors Association website: oregonwinecountry.org or telephone 1-866-548-5018.




The Seven Wondrous Tales – Chapter 4


*This is the fourth installment in our seven-part series on the wonders of Albany, created by AVA Executive Director Jimmie Lucht.

albany_oregon_west_shore_magazine_1887There’s an old saying, “To know a man, walk a mile in his shoes.” This trail will demonstrate the accurateness of the statement. Be prepared to get to know the extraordinary people that settled the west. See and understand the Native Americans that have called this home for centuries, and the explorers, loggers and farmers that came to live in the Mid-Willamette Valley. Experience the rugged, difficult and only east-west route through the Cascade Mountains. Spend a day where the movie, “Stand by Me” was filmed. And finally, get close and personal with the history of the last one hundred years!

Albany is known as having one of the largest collections of historic buildings in Oregon, and is one of the most architecturally diverse with more than 13 styles represented. There are four Albany Historic Districts listed in the National Register of Historic Places: Airport District; Downtown District; Hackleman District and the Monteith District.

Make sure to request the guide, “Seems Like Old Times,” from the friendly staff at Albany Visitors Association, 110 3rd Avenue SE, Albany, 541-928-0911, to find the historic district’s tour routes, as well as information about architectural styles and the people who built these structures.

Your trail begins at Monteith River Park, located at the north end of Washington St. Most Mondays in July and August hosts free concerts by area artists during the Summer Sounds concert series. On most summer Thursdays, you will find the free River Rhythms concert series, featuring nationally known artists performing in the park as well. antique_alb_mapThen on most July and August Friday nights there will be “Movies at Monteithproviding family friendly entertainment. Each of these events features a selection of food and drinks available for purchase. So pack a blanket or a lawn chair and let yourself be entertained.

On the Downtown District Tour, the Albany Regional Museum, 136 Lyon Street S, 541-967-7122, offers an extensive collection of area memorabilia, photos and artifacts. Make it a point to marvel at the restoration and revitalization of the Pix Theater, 321 SW 2nd Avenue, 541-926-7499. They feature great movies and a great concessions menu, including their delectable truffles!

While enjoying the Monteith District, head on over to the Monteith House Museum, 518 Second Avenue SW, 541-928-0911. It’s an amazing chance to view the most authentically restored pioneer era home in Oregon. Another structure nearby is the Whitespires Church, 500 SW 5th St. This Gothic Revival structure was built in 1891 and displays beautiful stained glass windows.

talking_waterTake a little side trip to enjoy the great outdoors at the Talking Water Gardens, 9710 Waverly Drive NE. Perhaps not historically significant, but it certainly is unique. This award winning public/private project takes waste water and runs it through engineered wetlands park to cool and further clean the water before sending it to the river. The loop trail is dotted with kiosks explaining the flora and fauna to be seen as well as the purpose of the ponds and waterfalls.

Back on the trail, head south on Highway 99E towards the small town of Shedd. This is where you will find Thompson’s Mills State Heritage Site, 32655 Boston Mill Drive, Shedd, Thompson's Mills.541-491-3611. This is Oregon’s oldest surviving water-powered flouring mill. In its heyday, it shipped flour around the world—to China in 1912 and to Belgium during and after WWI.

Heading on 99E south, stop at the Harrisburg Area Museum, 490 Smith Street, Harrisburg, 541-995-4844. This museum holds some wonderful surprises for our history lovers. It has a variety of vintage farming implements, scale models of historic buildings built by Bruce Witmer, a renovated Victorian home that is full of memorabilia, and a picnic area with a table crafted from a single log milled by the Hull-Oakes Lumber Company that is 80-feet long!

brownsville22Head east to the charming little town of Brownsville, so much to do and see so plan on spending the day. As you enter town, you will be awed by the unusual concrete and rock building on the south shoulder of Hwy. 228. Stop in to meet Nancy Bergeron, the daughter of the artist that built Living Rock Studios, 911 Bishop Way, Brownsville, 541-466-5814. Howard B. Taylor built the structure out of local agates, petrified wood and other semi-precious rocks he found while working in the surrounding hills. The intricate scenarios, many lit from hidden lights, are a sight to behold. As you make your turn onto Main Street and approach the bridge, suddenly it comes back to you—that scene from the classic movie, “Stand By Me.” Yes, this is the same small community where most of that movie was filmed.

linn_county_museumWhile still in Brownsville, make sure to visit the Linn County Historical Museum, 101 Park Avenue, Brownsville, 541-466-3390, and you can view the movie with fresh popped popcorn. Or, pick up a map with directions for the “Stand By Me” walking tour of the film-scene locations. Next, it’s time to tour the Moyer House, 294 N Main Street, Brownsville, 541-466-3390. This historic home will give you a glimpse into life in the 1880s. The house was occupied by the original owners until 1920.

After all this historical touring, you may need some refreshments. Visit Randy’s Main Street Coffee for some of the best cinnamon rolls around and a cup of fabulous hot coffee, or try brown4the Brownsville Saloon for a great burger and a beverage.

Return to Highway 228 and head east to Sweet Home, where “Unique Discoveries for Curious Visitors” is the motto at the East Linn Museum, 746 Long Street, Sweet Home, 541-367-4580. The entire museum contains antiquities from Native Americans, early settlers, loggers, gold miners, and more. Have you ever seen a “steam donkey?” What about a whiskey still? All of these and more are on display at the museum. After a few hours exploring the site, pick up a picnic lunch at one of the restaurants or grocery stores and head over to Sankey Park, 877 14th Avenue, Sweet small_weddleHome. The Weddle Covered Bridge is located in this park, so take time to wander through this wonderful bridge. It is one of eight covered bridges preserved in the nearby area.

At the end of your day of exploration find your way back to Albany and your motel room. Take a few minutes to freshen up, then drop by Vault 244, 244 W 1st Ave, Albany, 541-791-9511, for a refreshing adult beverage, perhaps even one made with Oregon spirits, and enjoy delicious tapas or a complete meal. The perfect end to your day in Historic Albany.

Newsletter subscription contest

subscribe_buttone_webSpam? No Ma’am! Our Albany Visitors Association e-newsletter is full of great ideas for visitors, new residents, and terrific events and places for family outings. We’ve got you covered, no matter the season. And, we’ll never sell your email address to anyone.

Special November Subscription contest

For e-news subscribers who sign up during the month of November, your name will be entered into a drawing for a free Holiday Nosh Tour ticket (Value $45.00) Wind your way through an Albany evening on a delicious tour of culinary delights aboard the Trolley. The Nosh Tour is scheduled for Saturday, December 17th, and we’re holding a ticket for one lucky new subscriber.

Don’t lose out on all the news fit to print. Subscribe now!

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