AVA volunteers visit Linn County sites

March 2017 Tour photo8Earlier this week, Albany Visitors Association took our volunteer staff on a tour of Linn County. What you may not know about AVA volunteers is that they are the unsung ambassadors of many an Albany and Linn County business.

AVA volunteers are many times the first people travelers meet as they drive down the I-5 corridor. When visitors stop at the rest area closest to us (Santiam River), they see a scaled-down replica of one of Albany’s historic Victorian homes. And inside that little blue house? AVA volunteers serve coffee, hot chocolate and cookies, and help travelers find the perfect place to shop, and stay and play.

March 2017 Tour photo4Don Vance, AVA’s Volunteer Coordinator, organizes the annual tour as a way for volunteers to learn more about our city and surrounding area, as well as thank them for their service.

This year the volunteers toured Linn County and were treated to lunch at the Boulder Falls Resort in Lebanon, at the 1847 Bar & Grill. They also visited the Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary and Roaring River Fish Hatchery in Scio, the Mallard Creek Golf Course in Lebanon, Sankey Park in Sweet Home (the site of the wildly popular Oregon Jamboree), and ended their day at Sweet Home’s Marks Ridge Winery for a bit of wine tasting.

Marks Ridge 1Please join us in thanking our volunteers for their time, energy, and knowledge. We recognize that their contributions help fulfill AVA’s mission to serve Albany’s visitors. If you or someone you know are interested in volunteering for us, contact Don at the Albany Visitors Association in Downtown Albany.

What to do in Oregon in 2017

17_OECGet ready for an Oregon year to be remembered! Many travelers will visit Oregon for the very first time—particularly in late August when a Total Solar Eclipse will occur on the 21st. Oregon’s Willamette Valley is prime TSE viewing territory, and many locales along the eclipse route will feature special viewing activities, food, celebration, and drink, including Albany.

The new 2017 Oregon Events Calendar, published by Pamplin Media Group, can help you plan your vacation—whether you hail from New York or Newberg. The Albany Visitors Association will have a supply of the publication at their office soon, but until we do, check out the digital edition.

In addition to the eclipse, Oregon is home to numerous annual music festivals, cycling and paddling relays, brew smackdowns, winery and culinary tours, and other venues to taste and experience our state in an entirely new way throughout the year. So come on, join us this year in Albany, Oregon.

*For print copies, please contact AVA at 541-9288-0911. Copies can be mailed, or you can stop by the office at 3rd and Lyon Streets in Downtown Albany, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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.

Brocard’s Antique Apple Orchard Press

Image is copyright Paul Schlegelmann, from his blog on Sweethome's Brocard Antique Apple Orchard.

Image is copyright Paul Schlegelmann, from his blog on Sweethome’s Brocard Antique Apple Orchard.

Save the date for this year’s press: Brocard’s Antique Apple Orchard will be pressing on October 15th, 2016. They usually start around 9:00 a.m. and press until they run out of apples. You will want to get there early before they run out of cider!

Brocard’s Antique Apple Orchard is located at 28095 Santiam Hwy. (Highway 20) about 25 miles east of I-5. The Brocard’s can be reached at 541-367-4840 to inquire about tours, tastings, and pressing dates.

2016 Antiques in the Street

screen-shot-2016-04-22-at-2-31-12-pmShop for amazing treasures from over 50 streets vendors and at the Albany Antique Mall sidewalk sale. Then tour over 100 vintage and classic cars. When you get hungry have lunch at one of downtown Albany’s fabulous restaurants or get it fresh off the vine and visit the Farmer’s Market. All within walking distance of each other.

Proceeds from this event will go directly to, Habitat for Humanity, “Raising Roofs and Raising Hopes!”

For more information about the event, check the Albany Antique Mall website.

Exploring the Seven Wondrous Trails – 2

Trail Number Two – Audubon and Wildlife Seekers

*The following article is the second installment in a series of seven, that will focus on local restaurants, attractions, events and unique businesses in Albany. The “Seven Trails” posts are written by AVA Executive Director Jimmie Lucht.

Histrionicus_histrionicus_drake_BarnegatOregon’s Mid-Willamette Valley is on the North American Flyway and is home to seven wildlife and bird preserves featuring songbirds and all sizes of birds of prey. Oregon is fifth in bird species diversity in the US, which is attributed to our distinctive eco-regions and relatively mild winters.

No matter the season, both advanced and novice birders will discover something to please the eye and ear in our region. In spring, hear the symphony of migrating or resident songbirds; in summer, watch mating pairs of Oregon’s endangered Harlequin Duck and American Dipper populations; in winter, spy Bald Eagle pairs in their huge nests—home quarters that can easily reach a weight of 1,000 pounds or more.

Yellow-breasted Chats, Bluebirds, Willow Flycatchers, Peregrine Falcons, Red-Shouldered Hawks, Osprey, Caspian Terns, Grebe, Belted Kingfishers, Herons, and nesting sites of more than 53,000 birds are just a sampling of what you might see when visiting one of our local preserves listed below.

eewilsonThe E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area, located at 2955 Camp Adair Road, Monmouth, this wildlife haven was once a military training facility during WWII. Walking trails not only give you an opportunity to view various flora and fauna, but also tell the story of Camp Adair.

At Cheadle Lake Park, 37954 Weirch Drive, Lebanon, Oregon, you can view the feathered friends that call this park home… some on a temporary basis. Walking trails abound in this park that also plays host to the Lebanon Strawberry Festival—featuring the world’s largest strawberry short cake—and also Lebanon’s Star Spangled Celebration held there on the Fourth of July.

While in Lebanon, visit the beautiful Healing Gardens designed by world renowned artist, Hoichi Kurisu. The gardens are located at the Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital and Best Western Boulder Falls Inn.

McDowell_Creek_Falls_(Linn_County,_Oregon_scenic_images)_(linnDA0095)McDowell Creek Falls Trail, a 1.4 mile loop trail featuring multiple waterfalls, is a perfect place for photo opportunities and wildlife. The trail is located at 43170 McDowell Creek Dr, Lebanon.

Whitcomb Creek County Park, at the Green Peter Reservoir in Cascadia, is a 328-acre park that is perfect for enjoying spectacular mountain views, bird-watching, sailing, fishing, hiking, camping, and water skiing on the reservoir.

Yellowbottom Recreation Site is situated in an old growth forest along the beautiful Quartzville Creek. Pan gold, sit in a natural hot pool of water, or just enjoy the tranquility of the area. Yellowbottom offers 22 first come-first served tent sites and is located at Milepost 24 of the Quartzville Back Country Byway, northeast of Sweet Home and upstream of Green Peter Reservoir.

After your discoveries in the beautiful Mid-Willamette Valley, enjoy Albany’s Talking Water Gardens, at 9710 Waverly Drive NE. Read the story about how this garden came about. You’ll be astonished at the photographs that illustrate the garden’s “before and after.” You will marvel at this award-winning wetlands project, and the public/private partnerships involving municipal government and local business that funded it.

Exploring the Seven Wondrous Trails – 1

Finding magic in Albany, Oregon

*The following article is the first installment in a series of seven, that will focus on local restaurants, events and unique businesses in Albany. The “Seven Trails” posts are written by AVA Executive Director Jimmie Lucht.


Melissa Babcock Saylor

TRAIL #1 – Albany and The Arts

Starting out on our trail, you will be amazed, entertained, surprised and enlightened by beautiful pieces of art at the Gallery Calapooia, 222 1st Ave W., Suite 100, 541.971.5701. The gallery makes shopping for that perfect home accent or gift easy, as the works of 20 regional artists display their works in oil, acrylic, and watercolor paintings, jewelry, pen and ink drawings, layered vinyl images, fabrics, collage, felted art, photography, glass and ceramics.

After a morning visit to the gallery (and participating in an art lesson), it’s time for a step back in time to partake of the Queen’s Tea at the Ivy Garden Tea Room, 333 1st Ave W, 541.928.7330. Following your royal respite, and fueled by delectable scones and jam, you move on to creativity!

Paint your own pottery or create a special ceramic piece, and the fine folks at Sure Fire Design will help glaze and fire it for you, 210 SW 2nd Ave, 542-1.928.7339.

When the pottery is wrapped and ready to go, the gentlemen (and ladies too!) can try their hand at fly-tying and get the scoop on the latest and greatest places to fish in Oregon. Mitch Smith, owner of Two Rivers Fly Shop is bound to fill your ears with big fish tales, 204 1st Ave W., 541.967.9800.

After tying a few flies, it’s time for a round of golf at the Albany Golf and Event Center, 155 Country Club Lane, 541.926.6059.

Next up? Take a leisurely afternoon stroll through the Talking Water Gardens, 577 Waverly Drive NE.  And if you crave even more rest and relaxation, what about a pampering spa treatment at the Level Three Salon and Spa, 317 1st Ave W, 541.905.4158.

On Friday evenings during the summer months at Albany’s Monteith River Park, enjoy the Movies At Monteith. The movies are free and concessions are available. Showtimes are at dusk, which varies, so please refer to the online schedule.

Since you’ve worked up an appetite, try one of Albany’s unique restaurants featuring award winning chefs. Visit Sybaris Bistro or Frankie’s Restaurant to enjoy a glass of local wine and an in- season, farm-to-table dining experience. Then back to your hotel so you will be rested and ready for another adventure in the morning—stay tuned for the next installment of the Seven Wondrous Trails.

Healthy Living Fair and Gorgeous Gardens to Visit this June

Summer is finally here and the sunshine is upon us. It’s a great time of year to get outdoors to enjoy the bounty and beauty of Oregon.

Mother Earth News Fair comes to Albany


There’ll be a whole lot of sustainable goodness packed into one weekend when the Mother Earth News Fair brings national experts on self-sufficiency to the Linn County Fair & Expo Center June 4-5, 2016, from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

Interested in organic gardening and farming? They’ve got workshops on everything from suburban farmsteads to backyard bees and chickens.

Love cooking? You can learn to make your own cheese, butter and jams.

Are craft beer and spirits your thing? Take a class on home brewing, distilling, and fermenting.

Got kids? Attend hands-on classes with experts who can show them how to grow garden, churn butter, make bath salts, and more.

Even more workshops include talks on the tiny house movement, making your own biodiesel, poultry-processing, herbal remedies, foraging, and more.

Great Gardens to Explore

Albany Garden Tour 2013Linn County Master Gardeners’ June Garden Tour

Saturday, June 18, 2016 is this year’s date for “Through the Garden Gate” – Linn County Master Gardeners’ Annual June Garden Tour, featuring six unique gardens showcasing local gardens at their best. Tour hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the suggested donation for tickets is $15.

This year’s array of gardens feature everything from outdoor wedding-worthy expanses, to small scale gardens packed with surprises, as well as edible and permaculture techniques sure to please every palate.

All the gardens will have Master Gardeners present, as well as garden owners, to answer your gardening questions. Bring a camera and notepad to document ideas you will want to take home for your own garden.Come with questions, get ideas, and enjoy the beauty of this year’s gardens.

Photo: A scene from the 2013 Garden Tour. Content help from Lynn Welp, a master gardener and former garden columnist for the Albany Democrat-Herald and Corvallis Gazette-Times.

BrownsvilleGarden image2016 Brownsville Garden Tour

Explore the garden path less taken and celebrate Brownsville gardens and those who create them. The tour, on Saturday June 25th, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. includes five local gardens, a community garden, Kirk Walnut trees, a Moyer Wisteria tree and a Brownsville walking tour map.

$15 per person. Tickets on sale at the Brownsville Senior Center, 345 N. Main

Proceeds benefit the Brownsville Garden Club and the Calapooia Food Alliance.

Other events and happenings in June:
Lebanon Strawberry Festival
Located at Cheadle Lake in Lebanon, this event includes parades, fireworks, entertainment, food and the World’s Largest Strawberry Shortcake!

2nd Annual Lamb & Wool Fair Auction
Don’t miss this annual fundraising event that hopes to ensure the continuation of the Linn Co. Lamb & Wool Fair in Scio, Oregon. Dinner tickets can be purchased in advance at the Linn Co. Lamb & Wool Fair at www.lambfair.com. There will be a BBQ Dinner catered by GameTime Sports Bar & Grill beginning 5 p.m. and a silent auction.

Mid-valley 4th of July Celebrations

Photo by Cathy Flowers

Have a fun-filled Fourth of July by attending any of these events being held in Albany and its surrounding areas.


River Rhythms Concert and Fireworks Show, Thursday, July 2

Start your 4th of July celebrations a little early this year by attending the first River Rhythms Concert of the season.  The concert features the soulful-rock band, Jelly Bread, and is followed by a spectacular fireworks show over the river.  The music starts at 7 p.m., and is free for everyone.

Lumberjack Breakfast, 6-11 a.m., July 2-5

Get ready for your 4th of July festivities with an all-you-can-eat breakfast in Timber-Linn Park, hosted by the East Albany Lions Club. Entry costs $7 per adult, and $4 for children 12 and under.  All proceeds benefit Lions Club charities.


Pancake Breakfast, 7-10 a.m., July 4

Hosted by the Brownsville Chamber of Commerce, the annual Pancake Breakfast is a 4th of July tradition you don’t want to miss. For just $7 per adult, or $4 per child, you can eat as much food as possible, and spend the day exploring historic Brownsville.

BBQ, Beer Garden, and Music, 5:30 p.m., July 4

In the afternoon, head to Randy’s Main Street Coffee for a delicious BBQ and live music.  There will be a beer garden, hosted by Kirk’s Ferry Trading Post, opening at 4 p.m., followed by the BBQ at 5:30.  Music starts at 6 p.m., and is free to all customers.

Fireworks in the Park, after dusk, July 4

Just after sunset, pay a visit to Pioneer Park to watch a spectacular fireworks show over the Calapooia River. The show is one of the best around, and is completely free.

Find details about Brownsville at www.historicbrownsville.com


Red, White, and Blue Riverfront Festival, all day, July 3-4

This downtown Corvallis festival is a great way to spend Independence Day. With live music, crafts, kids’ activities, great food, and local wine and microbrews, there is something for everyone to take part in as they wait for the sun to set.

Corvallis Jaycees Fireworks Show, after dusk, July 4

Watch beautiful fireworks burst over the Willamette River from your seat at the downtown riverfront.  The show is free for everyone.


Harrisburg July 4th CelebrationJuly 4

Harrisburg puts on its biggest event of the year on the 4th of July, and this year’s celebration is no exception! Events include food, games, a parade and fireworks over the Willamette River. Parade begins at 11 a.m., and fireworks are at dusk (about 9:30 p.m.) in Riverside Park. (Click the link above for schedule and details).

LebanonFireworks at Cheadle Lake by Nancy Hunt

Star-Spangled Celebration, 6-10:30 p.m., July 4

Pack your picnic basket and pay a visit to Lebanon’s Cheadle Lake Park for a family-friendly 4th of July event. There will be plenty to do, including great food, games, live performances, and more.The firework show starts at 10 p.m., and the entry fee is $10 per carload, or $3 for walk-in groups.

Photos by Cathy Flowers(upper) and Nancy Hunt(lower).

Do you know of any events we haven’t mentioned? Let us know by commenting below! 





Head for the Cascades this summer: Adventure Bus starts June 13

200px-Big-Lake,-Big-Sky,-Mt-Washington-by-Bill-Origer-2015-photo-contestThis summer, let someone else do the driving as you head to the Cascades for a day of adventure. Starting June 13, you can leave your car behind and hop on a bus for a day of hiking or biking in the mountains.

The All-Day Adventure Shuttle departs from the Sweet Home City Hall at 8 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays during its seven weekends of operation, making stops at popular recreation sites and trailheads on its way up into the mountains. It arrives at Clear Lake by 10 a.m. You can return the same day with the shuttle departing Clear Lake at 5 p.m., or you can camp overnight and take the Sunday shuttle back to the valley.

The shuttle is equipped with a bike trailer for travelers who want to bring a bike and ride the trails from Tombstone Pass to Clear Lake. Other Cascade adventures include hiking through stunning wildflower meadows at Iron Mountain, renting a rowboat and paddling the pristine waters of Clear Lake, staying in a rustic cabin at the Clear Lake Resort, or tent camping at dozens of picturesque spots in the Willamette National Forest.

The shuttle is $3 per person for a one-way trip and $5 round-trip. Kids 12 and under ride free with a parent or legal guardian.

The 2015 weekends of operation are:

  • June 13-14
  • June 27-28
  • July 11-12
  • July 25-26
  • August 8-9
  • August 22-23
  • September 5-6

Reservations for the adventure bus are encouraged and will be taken starting June 1st. Call the Linn Shuttle Monday-Friday at 541-367-4775 between 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Need a place to stay overnight before you take off on your mountain adventure? Check out the comfortable hotels in the mid-valley area.

Photo: Big Lake and Mt. Washington in the Cascades of Linn County, by Bill Origer.

The Shuttle is an action of the Sweet Home Federal Lands Livability Initiative to improve the recreational opportunities along HWY 20 and is intended to increase accessibility for hikers and bikers by reducing vehicle pressure at trail heads and access points. Linn Shuttle, Linn County Parks, Anderson Automotive, Friends of Fish Lake, South Santiam All Lands Collaborative, & City of Sweet Home have worked to sponsor this project.

The AVA lobby will be closed through June 30, 2020. For information regarding COVID-19 or to reach us click here.See updates for AVA, Albany businesses, and local events →