Fireworks and fun for Fourth of July

Fireworks displays, concerts and other great events await mid-valley residents this Fourth of July holiday and beyond.

Photo by Nancy Hunt

While Albany will not be holding its own fireworks show, several are happening nearby around the mid-valley. Most events are free, but because of the high cost of putting on a full-blown fireworks show, communities are gladly accepting donations.

Here’s a quick list of communities planning events through early July, including public fireworks:

Albany: The Lions Club will be holding its annual all-you-can-eat Lumberjack Breakfast 6 to 11 a.m. July 1-4 at Timber-Linn Memorial Park. Other early July events in Albany include:

  • The popular River Rhythms concert series at Monteith Riverpark begins July 7 with a performance by Sheena Easton.
  • Enjoy music and food as you shop for bargains July 7-10 during Crazy Daze in downtown Albany.
  • The Monday concert series Summer Sounds at Monteith Riverpark kicks off July 11 with the Bylines.

For more information about these and other events in and around Albany, see our Calendar of Events.

Harrisburg:  A parade, fireworks, breakfast and other events highlight the 70th Annual Old-Fashioned Harrisburg Fourth of July Celebration, July 3-4.

Lebanon:  Fireworks over the lake at Cheadle Lake Park are planned again on July 4, beginning at 9:30 p.m.:

Brownsville: Enjoy the community breakfast in the morning and fireworks in the evening:

Corvallis: The Corvallis Knights baseball team will have fireworks following their game at Goss Stadium on July 3. For tickets, click here.

The city of Corvallis will also hold its Red, White & Blue Riverfront Festival on July 4, beginning at 11 a.m., and its fireworks display that evening beginning at 10 p.m.

Independence: Several events are planned for Independence Days July 2-4, with fireworks displays on the evenings of July 2 and 4. Cost for those evenings is $5 for anyone age 6 and over. For more information, go here.

Oregon Garden: Back after two years off, the July 3 Fireworks Celebration will include, food, drinks, art and a fireworks show. For admission and other information, go here.

Staying safe

If you plan to do your own fireworks display, please make sure they are legal and done with safety in mind. Click here for a video by the city of Albany on safety tips and highlighting the affect illegal fireworks have on pets and on some veterans suffering from PTSD.

Welcome back inside at 2022 Summer Homes Tour

Welcome back.

Come and get a peek inside some of Albany’s historic homes and buildings Saturday, July 30, on the 2022 Summer Interior Tour of Historic Homes, the first interior summer tour since 2019.

Since then, the Summer Tours have been exterior events, with homeowners decorating their porches and yards and some offering photos and video of their interiors, and many of the activities associated with the event had been curtailed because of Covid 19 restrictions.

Not this time. The tour will be held 11 a,m. to 5 p.m., and several homes, a downtown loft and other historic buildings will be open for visitors. Don’t forget to stop off at the Albany Regional Museum for some light refreshments as you take the tour, the 43rd consecutive year the event has been held.

The tour is “self-guided,” meaning you have a choice to tour the sites in any order you like. Some of the homes are within walking distance of each other. The horse-drawn wagon or trolley will go by some of the sites, or you can opt to drive your own car. 

Tickets

Tickets will be available for purchase online Monday, July 11 at monteithhouse.org until noon on Friday, July 29, and may be picked up the day of the tour. If you don’t purchase tickets in advance, a limited number will be available on the day of the tour beginning at 10 a.m. at the Albany Visitors Association, 110 3rd Ave. SE, for CASH/CHECK ONLY. The cost is $15 per person. Well-behaved children under 12 are admitted free with a paid adult. Proceeds benefit the Monteith House Museum.

To receive your ticket, which includes a copy of the tour map and wrist band, bring your Eventbrite e-ticket receipt on tour day to the Albany Visitors Association office, 110 3rd Ave. SE. The office will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Highlights

Participating historic homes and buildings throughout the Monteith and Downtown Commercial Districts will open their doors to tour participants. Meet the owners and learn about the architecture, the original occupants and the ins and outs of restoring historic structures.

Please respect the homeowners’ wishes regarding any social distancing or mask requirements, and please do not touch any items within the homes or buildings.

Light refreshments will be served at the Albany Regional Museum, 136 Lyon St. S.

Also available for visitors will be a look at the work being done on the Cumberland Church, located at its new site at Pine Street and Old Salem Road. The church will be available for exterior viewing only. While there, visitors can get a close-up look at the 130-year-old church’s steeple, which will soon be remounted on the building. The church will be the future home of the Cumberland Community Event Center.

And as long as you’re in Albany, do a bit of shopping. Find unique gifts in antique and specialty stores. Indulge in a rich coffee and pastry, a cold brew and burger or a farm-fresh dinner in one of the many eateries and bistros downtown.

Albany’s Annual Interior Tours were created by a group of friends and neighbors to share the past through the architecture of historic dwellings. They are coordinated by Albany’s Historic Interior Home Tour Committee with the help of the Albany Visitors Association and sponsored by the Monteith Historical Society.

For more information about Albany’s Historic Interior Tours and other Albany events and attractions contact the Albany Visitors Association, 541-928-0911, or go to albanyvisitors.com.

Garden Lovers Rejoice!

The popular Through the Garden Gate Annual Tour will be held in Albany this year for the first time since 2019, when Covid-19 restrictions shut down the popular event.

This year’s edition, again sponsored by the OSU Linn County Master Gardener Association, will be held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 18, and will feature six unique gardens around Albany.

Cost is $15 and tickets may be purchased in advance through the Linn Master Gardner website, Linn Master Gardeners or in person with cash or check, at the Albany Visitors Association (AVA). Tickets will also be available on the day of the tour at the AVA, 110 3rd Ave SE, Albany, Oregon.

“We are so excited to be able to have the tour this year after a 2-year absence,” said Karin Magnuson, a certified Master Gardner. “The gardeners we are working with seem equally excited to be part of our 20th garden tour. They are all diligently preparing their gardens to be in top shape for the tour. They will all be available to greet our guests and answer their questions.”

 Magnuson said there will be six gardens on tour this year, with a nice variety of sizes and styles to explore, including: a large award-winning rose garden with landscape surprises; a developing Asian garden with koi ponds; some very inviting side and backyard gardens; beautifully planted garden rooms; collections of whimsical garden art, and much more.

Proceeds from the tour go toward community outreach and researched-based education and support to local gardeners, including education about pollinators.

Our goal is to give people a variety of gardens to visit. Some gardens are small, others are sprawling, some feature backyard vegetable and fruit production, while still others focus on ornamental garden beds. We look for gardens that are a pleasure to visit and that are inspirational for the home gardener. We will have gardening information at some of the stops, and Master Gardener volunteers are available at each garden to answer questions, including manning a Master Gardener Help Desk where they receive and answer hundreds of questions about sustainable gardening, pest and disease management and plant ID. Part of the education process includes the Demonstration Garden at the Linn County Expo Center, and manning an information booth and holding clinics at the Albany Famers’ Market.

The Master Gardeners ask that visitors adhere to social distancing practices when not with family groups. Masks, while not required, are always welcome.

There’s a lot to enjoy during National Preservation Month

History buffs will enjoy several treats in May during National Preservation Month, with a host of events planned to celebrate Albany history and the efforts to keep and maintain our historic treasures.

MAY 1 THROUGH MAY 31, 2022

Photo by Stephanie Low

Hidden History Scavenger Hunt Keep a sharp eye out as you tour Albany’s Historic Downtown and spot the wonderful details on this list of architectural elements. Pick up an entry form at the Albany Downtown Association or at The Natty Dresser, 124 Broadalbin St. SW. Download form HERE

Downtown Scavenger Hunt The Albany Downtown Association invites families to stroll downtown and peek in store windows on a hunt to find mini-posters featuring items from days gone by. Learn a little about how things used to be and enter your findings on the entry form.

Albany Farmers’ Market is the oldest outdoor farmers’ market in Oregon. Open every Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 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.  For more about what the market has to offer, including online pre-visit order forms to make your visit even safer, be sure to check their website at LocallyGrown.org.

FRIDAY, MAY 6

1st Friday

For participating businesses with in-store specials and entertainment visit our Events Calendar

Albany Downtown Wine Walk

Sample some of the best wines our region has to offer with 20+ wineries at 20+ locations throughout Historic Downtown Albany. Advance tickets will be on sale (cash & check only) at the AVA office, 110 3rd Ave. SE through Thursday, May 5.

SATURDAY, MAY 7

The Monteith House — Photo by Oliver J. Anderson

The Monteith House is currently open from 12 – 4 pm on Saturdays. If you would like to come by another day or time, please contact them at info@monteithhouse.org or 541-220-0421 for an appointment.

TUESDAY, MAY 10

1st Avenue History Tour Meet at Burkhart Square, at the corner of 1st Ave. and Lyon Street, at 6 p.m. and take an informative tour of 1st Avenue. Sponsored by The Natty Dresser.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 11

History Bites: Albany’s Historic Airport  from noon to 1 p.m. at the Albany Regional Museum

136 S Lyon St.

2nd Avenue History Tour Meet at Burkhart Square, at the corner of 1st Ave. and Lyon Street, next to the Lyon Street Bridge at 6 p.m. and enjoy stories about the history of 2nd Avenue in Historic Downtown Albany. Sponsored by The Natty Dresser.

SATURDAY, MAY 14

The Monteith House is currently open from 12 – 4 pm on Saturdays. If you would like to come by another day or time, please contact them at info@monteithhouse.org or 541-220-0421 for an appointment.

Photo by Dan Bateman

Albany Tweed Ride Cruise along on bikes and look great doing it on Albany’s annual Tweed Ride. Participants don their finest tweed attire (or any period clothing) and take a bicycle tour of Albany’s historic districts. The event begins at 9:30 a.m. and is hosted by The Natty Dresser, 124 Broadalbin St. SW, a full-service menswear shop in the heart of Historic Downtown Albany. The tour will be stopping on occasion to talk about historic buildings and sights along the way. The ride begins at The Natty Dresser and ends at the Deluxe Brewery, where the pub will be hosting its annual Vintage Bicycle Show and Swap Meet (see the next entry). Food and drink will be available for purchase at the brewery. You are welcome to bring a picnic lunch on the ride, as the brewery allows outside food. Bring a cup if it looks like it is going to be a warm day for wearing tweed; there will be a water break along the way.

Vintage Bicycle Show & Swap Meet  Enjoy more than 75 vintage bicycles from 1 to 5 p.m. at this annual event, sponsored by the Deluxe Brewing Company, 635 Water Ave NE. Admission is free and socially distancing rules will apply. Most of the bike show will be outside.

Cumberland Birthday Celebration Join the Cumberland Community Events Center for music, birthday cake and a little bit of history at 1400 Santiam Rd. SE. 12 – 2 p.m.

Photo by Oliver J. Anderson

Albany Streetcar Hub City Tour The Albany Regional Museum presents the Albany Streetcar Hub City History Tour, Saturday, May 14, at 10:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Pre-registration is needed for the tour by May 7. Tour guests will hop aboard the Albany Streetcar at the Museum 136 Lyon St S, for a narrated tour by Bill Maddy, Albany Regional Museum docent and Albany historian. For many years Albany has been known as Hub City. The tour will feature the history of how Albany became the Hub City of the Willamette Valley with the arrival of river, rail and highway travel.


SUNDAY, MAY 15

Eminent Oregonians: Three Who Matter is a presentation by three well-known Oregon authors about three eminent Oregonians who were often at odds with their moments in history. Acclaimed journalist R. Gregory Nokes gives us the abolitionist Jesse Applegate. Renowned author Jane Kirkpatrick gives us the life of the suffragist, newspaper publisher and novelist Abigail Scott Duniway; and Oregon columnist and publisher Steve Forrester gives us Richard Neuberger, whose election to the U.S. Senate changed Oregon and national politics. Based largely on primary sources, these authors present compelling, three-dimensional views of adventurous, consequential and sometimes heart-breaking lives. This presentation is sponsored by the Linn County Historical Society and is free to the public. 2 p.m. at Lakeside Center, Mennonite Village, 2180 54th Ave SE.

MONDAY, MAY 16

S.E. Young Building Tours 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. RSVP request by calling 541-248-3561. Meet at the Broadalbin Street entrance to The Natty Dresser, 124 Broadalbin St. SW, five minutes prior to the tour.

FRIDAY, MAY 20

Linn County Lamb and Wool Fair The oldest fair of its kind in Oregon includes sheep shows, fiber arts, crafts and Northwest Champion Sheep Dog Trials. The event is held at the Scio Fairgrounds, 38764 N Ash St, Scio, OR. lambfair.com 

SATURDAY, MAY 21

Linn County Lamb and Wool Fair The oldest fair of its kind in Oregon includes sheep shows, fiber arts, crafts and Northwest Champion Sheep Dog Trials. The event is held at the Scio Fairgrounds, 38764 N Ash St, Scio, OR. lambfair.com 

The Monteith House is currently open from 12 – 4 pm on Saturdays. If you would like to come by another day or time, please contact them at info@monteithhouse.org or 541-220-0421 for an appointment.

Cumberland Birthday Celebration Join the Cumberland Community Events Center for music, birthday cake and a little bit of history at 1400 Santiam Rd. SE. 12 – 2 p.m.

SUNDAY, MAY 22

Linn County Lamb and Wool Fair The oldest fair of its kind in Oregon includes sheep shows, fiber arts, crafts and Northwest Champion Sheep Dog Trials. The event is held at the Scio Fairgrounds, 38764 N Ash St, Scio, OR. lambfair.com. 

THURSDAY, MAY 26

Join the Friends of Historic Albany for an architectural walking tour of the Monteith Historic District. Meet at 5th Ave SW & Elm at 6 p.m. The walk will take about an hour.  

SATURDAY, MAY 28

The Monteith House is currently open from 12 – 4 pm on Saturdays. If you would like to come by another day or time, please contact them at info@monteithhouse.org or 541-220-0421 for an appointment.

SUNDAY, MAY 29

Albany Masonic Cemetery Tour is a self-guided walking tour of notables buried at 700 Broadway St., SW.  Fifty yellow placards throughout the five acres recount the lives of a cross-section of Albany’s citizens including Samuel Althouse (1825-1886), one of Albany’s earliest settlers and Carol (Dirrett) Davis (1919-2014), director of the American Red Cross during the 1964 floods and the Vietnam War. Albany Masonic Cemetery, 700 SW Broadway St.

MONDAY, MAY 30

Albany Masonic Cemetery Tour is a self-guided walking tour of notables buried at 700 Broadway St., SW.  Fifty yellow placards throughout the five acres recount the lives of a cross-section of Albany’s citizens including Samuel Althouse (1825-1886), one of Albany’s earliest settlers and Carol (Dirrett) Davis (1919-2014), director of the American Red Cross during the 1964 floods and the Vietnam War. Albany Masonic Cemetery, 700 SW Broadway St.

YEAR-AROUND OPPORTUNITIES

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

  • Stop by the new Fire Station 11 and get peek at the 1927 American LaFrance fire engine and other items of interest on display in the lobby. The station is at 611 Lyon St. SE.
  • Albany’s Historic Carousel & Museum Take a ride on one of the whimsical critters that grace the historic 1909 Dentzel mechanism, tour the new museum or catch one of the carvers creating yet another masterpiece. Don’t forget to check out the gift shop, then have a treat at the snack bar for the road. Operating hours are TBA depending on Covid restrictions.
  • Get an up-close look at some of Albany’s past through interesting exhibits at the Albany Regional Museum. Visit the ARM website for current operating hours.
  • Mark your calendar for Albany’s two historic homes tours, the Summer Historic Home Tour on July 30 and the Christmas Tour on Dec. 11. Check our event calendar for updates.

Now’s your chance: Become a volunteer for the AVA!

The AVA’s kiosk at the Santiam Rest Area on Interstate 5.

Thousands of visitors come to Albany every year, and many travelers stop by the Albany Visitors Association’s kiosk at the Santiam Rest Area just north of Albany on Interstate 5. Making sure they have a good experience is the top priority.

That’s where our volunteers shine, with a smile, a cup of coffee and lots of interesting information about Albany and Linn County.

The AVA has several volunteers but could use a whole lot more to help staff the kiosk, man tables at the many events held in and around Albany every year, and other tasks valuable to the AVA. It’s a good way to meet new friends and share a love for the Albany community.

Many volunteers talk about the interaction with visitors as the best part of the job, helping people find their way when lost, chatting with someone who just needs a rest from driving, or posing for photos in the quaint kiosk, which is modeled after an ornate Victorian home like the ones found in Albany’s historic districts.

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer or looking for more information can call the AVA at 541-928-0911, stop by the office at 110 3rdt Ave. SE, in downtown Albany, or drop an email to info@albanyvisitors.com. Also, check out the website at albanyvisitors.com.

AVA’s Victorian House at the rest area might be the first – and only – glimpse of Albany many people get and volunteers make the most of the moment. As part of the duties at the kiosk, AVA Ambassadors greet travelers, serve complimentary hot coffee and snacks, hand out maps and brochures, help maintain the kiosk, and talk about the many wonderful things to discover in Albany and Linn County.

Volunteers would work one shift per week, either in the morning or afternoon, May through September.

In addition to the kiosk, volunteer opportunities include greeting visitors at the NW Art & Air Festival, Mid-Winter Square Dance Festival, Willamette Valley Quilt Festival, Christmas Storybook Land, the Albany Summer Interior Home Tour and the Christmas Parlour tour. Volunteers also help out around the AVA office, with tasks such as filling visitor gift bags, taking phone calls, assisting with event weekends as needed to cover the office, and other duties.

Now that Covid-19 restrictions have eased, more events will be available to attend, providing more opportunities for volunteers to meet people and make new friends.

Visit the AVA and find out how you can help!

Spring into fun with indoor, outdoor adventures

Spring into fun this spring with indoor and outdoor adventures you and your family can enjoy in and around Albany.

Covid restrictions have eased in Linn County, but you will still want to check websites or call ahead to find out about protocols that might still be in place and possible reservations needed.

To get those adventurer/explorer juices flowing, here are some ideas to create your own itineraries for spring, rain or shine. Just pick out some activities, find a spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner (or all three!), and make a plan.

INDOOR IDEAS

The Splatter Box

Make a mess — For an extreme experience, plan a trip to the Splatter Box, 313 Montgomery St. NE, a paint-throwing art studio that promises fun for the whole family. Paint the walls or your family members in this one-of-a-kind romp. Go online to splatterbox.net and check out the packages offered and prices for Small Groups (up to 6 people for an hour), Large Groups (up to 12 for an hour and a half), a Party (up to 20 for two hours) or the After Dark option for couples and parties.

Pottery and paint — If you want something artistic but a little less messy, try your hand at pottery at Surefire Design. Paint any number of items provided by Surefire and they will glaze and fire them for you to pick up later! Located at 201 2nd Ave. SW. For more info, see their Facebook page.

Kimberly Silva

Token to ride — To get up close and personal with some outstanding pieces of art – and hitch a ride on a few – head over to the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum, 503 1st Ave. W, and take a ride on your favorite creature. While there, enjoy a tour of the carving studio, visit the museum, then pop in on the painters to see them bring life to bears, dogs, horse dragons and any number of critters. Before you leave, be sure to visit the snack bar, and browse the gift shop for a memento of the occasion.

Artistic license — If you haven’t had enough art, be sure to visit the Gallery Calapooia art gallery in downtown Albany for some of the finest pieces of art in the mid-valley, as well as jewelry, pottery and other creations.

Movie night — For a relaxing evening treat (or a matinee!), plan to take in a movie at The Pix Theatre, where the snack bar has a delicious menu, including burgers, sandwiches, pizza and other items (including beer for the adults!), along with the usual movie fare of candy, popcorn and soft drinks.

Great escapes — For a real challenge, get your family and friends together and try to solve the puzzles and free yourselves from the escape rooms at the Enigma Escape Experience in Downtown Albany. Choose from one of three rooms with different adventures in each.

OUTDOORS

For links to many of these activities, click on the Play and Explore link on the AVA web page, albanyvisitors.com, and scroll down to Outdoor Recreation.

Biking — Pump up the tires and strap on the helmets as you explore Albany from the seat of your bicycles. Albany has several trails and paths to explore, and there are trips farther afield for the more adventurous.

Ron Sanders

Hiking – If you want to stay on foot, try one of the many paths Albany has to offer for walkers and hikers, including those at Talking Water Gardens, Simpson Park, the Dave Clark Path and Takena Landing Trail.

March Madness — Don’t pass up a visit to Iron Water Ranch. 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.

Bird Watching – Late winter and spring are a good time to get out and see the many kinds of birds that call the Willamette Valley home. A good start would be either the E.E. Wilson Wildlife Refuge, or Talking Water Gardens if you want to stay a little closer to home.

EATS & TREATS

If you are going out and about, plan to take your meals with you. Albany has several top-notch eateries who can outfit you with the perfect-take-out meal. For up-to-date information on restaurants for dine in, outdoor seating or takeout orders, go to the AVA website and click the Travel Alerts and Covid-19 Updates bar at the top of the page.

SHOPPING

The day wouldn’t be complete without some interesting shopping ideas. To get kids’ creative juices flowing, start with stops at: Brick Circuit LEGO Store, 333 1st Ave. W; Wicked Comics & Collectibles, 426 2nd Ave. SE; Bricks & Joysticks, 1117 9th Ave. SE; The Mattcave, 425 Jackson St. SE; or Northwest Hobbies, 2095 14th Ave. SE, Suite m4.

Here’s your Valentine’s Season activity list

Romantic dinners are a tradition for Valentine’s Day and Albany has a wonderful list of places to celebrate with loved ones. And if you are looking for something different to add to the fun, Albany has a long list of adventures, like shopping for that one-of-a-kind gift, taking a special outing by train or getting up close and personal (literally) with art.

It’s all here! Check out this list to help enjoy that special day.

Restaurants

Photo by Barry Hoffman

Many restaurants are providing Valentine’s specials, so calling ahead now to inquire about reservations would be a good idea: They fill up fast. Downtown will be hopping, with patrons taking in delicious fare at spots such as Sybaris Bistro, Sweet Red Bistro, Vault 244, Gamberetti’s Italian Restaurant, and many more. If you need an idea about where to dine, check out our list of restaurants here. And remember, call ahead NOW.

Shopping

If you’re planning on sending a special bouquet to your sweetheart check out a couple of Albany’s flower shops: Bill’s Flower Tree and Flowers N More.

Flowers N More has a wide variety, from beautiful arrangements to small bouquets and chocolate sets, and will customize to suit your loved one’s taste. The shop specializes in delivery service Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call 541-928-8285 to place your order by phone, or visit their website.

Bill’s Flower Tree at 305 Washington St. SW is a full-service flower shop offering a wide variety of flowers and bouquets for pick up or delivery. This time of year the shop has a collection of Valentine’s Day items, from cards to sweeten your gift. Visit the website or come into the shop and place an order.

Buying the perfect Valentine’s gift is never easy, but the Valentine’s Open House at The Vintage Roost, 935 Scenic Dr. NW, makes it simple to find a meaningful present. During its Valentine’s Open House, the store is packed with special gifts. There are vintage and collectible items, delicious Belgian chocolate and other handmade items. The Open House will run 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on February 4-5 and 11-12. Learn more about the event on The Vintage Roost’s Facebook page.

Speaking of chocolates, Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be the same without delicious truffles from The Pix Theatre. The Pix, 321 2nd Ave. SW, offers a nice selection of the treats, and while you are at it pick up a gift card for a romantic night at the movies!

Fun & Games

Photo courtesy of Splatter Box

Show your love in a new and exciting way at the Valentine’s Day Splatter at the Splatter Box art studio! The bookings are for two people each but can be paired together for a group date-night if you plan to celebrate with friends. The Valentine’s Day Splatter will have bookings from 5 to 9 p.m., and each reservation lasts an hour and a half. The deal also includes a large canvas, two shirts, and 30 2-oz bottles of splatter-safe paint. Reserve a spot through Splatter Box’s website. The event is adults only, which means you must be 21 or over and have ID to attend. And you can bring your own wine!

Santiam Excursion Trains has two great Valentine’s experiences ready for reservations this month.

The first is a “Little Loves Ride” for families with kids to celebrate by departing on an exciting ride through Lebanon. The hour-and-a-half ride will include a complementary small lunch, and beverages, including water, soda, coffee, beer, wine, and mixed drinks will be available for purchase in the bar car. The excursion takes place February 12 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $33 for adults, $23 for children ages 4 to 16, $27 for seniors 65 and over and $15 for veterans. Book your spot on the Santiam Excursion Trains website (https://santiamexcursiontrains.com/).

The second train ride is the “Valentine’s Dinner Ride,” which will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on February 12 and 14 and is for guests 21 and older. The ride is –half hours long and Honeybrine Catering will set a lovely romantic dinner during the adventure. The train rides take place no matter the weather, so come dressed for the occasion. Tickets are $74 each for adults, $65 each for seniors 65 and over, and $38 each for veterans. Book your spot for this romantic train ride on the Santiam Excursion Trains website.

Events

If you and your Valentine are art lovers, Albany has multiple galleries to check out this month.

Gallery Calapooia is currently hosting its “Big Show of Little Art,” which consists of art pieces that are exclusively 8×8 inches. Come in and take home something wonderful. Gallery Calapooia’s current hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The Crow’s Foot Gallery is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and is showing a variety of local artists who work in unique mediums like wood, metal, different types of paints, and more.

Midway Farms is hosting a Valentine’s Day wine & cheese tasting event, featuring noted Winemaker David Anderson of Aurora Colony Vineyards who will be available to answer questions about the wine and help you choose your favorite. The cheese is handcrafted from La Mariposa and will be available to sample with gluten-free crackers. In addition, gift tins, baskets, and chocolates will also be for sale. The event is celiac-safe and will take place from 1 to 5:30 p.m. on February 13.  Find more about the event on Midway Farm’s Facebook page.

Albany’s Historic Carousel & Museum is a great place to spend time with family and loved ones. Enjoy the carousel games and hand-carved animals, then walk through the museum detailing the making of the carousel. The carousel is located at 503 1st Ave. W., and is open Wednesday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Outdoors

McDowell Creek County Park

Take a romantic hike through Albany and surrounding area along scenic trails. One of the most interesting is Talking Water Gardens, where wildlife is in abundance along the 2 miles of paths within this 50-acre wetland. Nearby Simpson Park provides a continuation of many Talking Water hiking trails if you want to keep the good times going.

A short drive from Albany just east of Lebanon is McDowell Creek Falls. Hike the 3-mile network of trails, stopping at viewing decks to take in the sight of the majestic waterfalls along the way. There are also picnicking opportunities at McDowell Creek, where you can rest at a table to enjoy a meal together after getting takeout at an Albany restaurant. Read about other hiking opportunities in and around Albany here. For more outdoor recreation ideas, go here.

Parks

Albany has a great park system that offers many a romantic spot to walk, picnic or just sit and enjoy the day. Albany maintains 29 city parks, most of which have the option of picnic tables or covered picnic areas. In downtown Albany, you can head over to Monteith Riverpark, where there are many tables situated close to the Willamette River and right next to the Dave Clark Trail, which hugs the Willamette River for about a mile and a half. Takena Landing Park just across the river also has a trail that follows the Willamette for about a mile and a half. For more park options, go here.

Covered Bridges

Taking a drive to view Linn County’s historic Covered Bridges is a fantastic way to spend quality time with your Valentine. Linn county has eight of the architectural gems, each of them with their own unique and charming features. The bridges offer a great opportunity for scenic photos and relaxing walks near beautiful streams. A loop near Scio takes you to five of the bridges. For a map, go here.

Discover Oregon’s Outdoor Winter Experiences

Most know about Oregon’s lush greenery in springtime and the best waterfalls to visit in the summer. But countless breathtaking and unique sights are transformed in the winter here, offering unique and enchanting moments like raging waterfalls, active wildlife and beautiful scenery. So, bundle up and get outside!

The Oregon Challenge Passport

A great way to get started is to pick up an Oregon Challenge Passport, which offers over 140 locations around the state to begin exploring.

The Oregon Challenge was created to get people outside and active to enjoy nature year-round, including the winter months when the cold tends to keep people bundled up indoors. The Oregon Challenge Passport includes locations in Oregon’s three major valleys, 11 national forests, and more. The Passport also includes information about Oregon’s flora and fauna you might encounter while exploring! 

Once you get a passport, may the adventures begin! Check off each location as you visit, and don’t forget to enjoy local businesses and shops along the way. Challenge yourself and see how many of the 140 destinations you can visit!

The passport is self-regulated, so when you come across something or visit a location listed in the booklet, make a note next to the entry of the time and what you saw. Additionally, the Oregon Challenge suggests you make a new photo album to further document your adventures, and even share them on social media. 

You can get your own Oregon Challenge Passport for $10 online, or purchase one at Margin Coffee in downtown Albany.

Follow The Oregon Challenge Facebook and Instagram for news and updates regarding the passports.

Winter Adventures Around Oregon

Recommendations courtesy of The Oregon Challenge

If you haven’t visited McDowell Creek Falls County Park in the wintertime, then you are missing out. This time of year the falls are flowing full with water from the Santiam River. With over three miles of hiking trails, the park offers viewing decks and wooden bridges to The Royal Terrace and Majestic Falls, a few smaller cascades and breathtaking scenery. 

One of the more diverse hiking areas is in McDonald-Dunn Forest. Located near Corvallis, the forest has trails fit for anyone from beginner to advanced hiker to families, bicyclers and more. There are almost 30 miles worth of trails in the Forests, meaning you can visit countless times and always have a new experience. 

Talking Waters Gardens in Albanyis a great location for a scenic stroll, and even during winter the area is teeming with a variety of wildlife. Many of the ponds are drained in colder months as well, exposing features like “the weeping wall,” a former loading dock left over from an old mill that has water flowing over it in abundance during warmer months. 

There are endless sights to see in the South Santiam River area. If you’re looking for a family-friendly winter experience, explore gorgeous snow parks with skiing, sledding, snow-mobiling, tubing, snowboarding and snow-shoeing opportunities. If hiking is your thing, stay below snow level and traverse routes like Trout Creek Trail and Rooster Rock. Along Trout Creek you’ll get to experience the rushing blue waters and cascading waterfalls that become even more majestic during winter months. For a more family-friendly version of the Trout Creek Trail, begin at the Trout Creek trailhead, but take the alternative Walton Interpretive Trail. 

Yet another spectacular South Santiam spot is The Gordon Meadows Hike. While the hike is 8 miles round trip, there are multiple meadows along the trail where you can relax and enjoy the scenery and then head back around if you’re looking for a shorter hike. Or, if you just want a spot to enjoy winter scenery and spend time with family, the roadside pullout at Lost Prairie is a great place to play in the snow.

West of Albany, enjoy a view of magical Mary’s Peak in the Coast Range after hike along lush green meadows in Beazell Forest. There are two loops in the Beazell Forest area as well as multiple other trail variations to enjoy along Plunkett Creek. Hike through this majestic Douglas forest by taking the South loop trail, which will lead you through a plantation and into another meadow. End your hike by checking out Lumos Winery or Cardwell Hill Winery, which are both in close proximity!

Along Oregon’s spectacular coast is Cape Perpetua. The Cape’s popularity is well deserved, as its main lookout is over 800 feet above the ocean, making it one of the highest viewpoints accessible by cars on the Oregon Coast. Cape Perpetua is located in Siuslaw National Forest, and the area features 26 miles of trail possibilities to explore, complete with incredible forest vegetation, endless scenic views, tidepools, a geyser, coastal caves, caverns and more. 

Ultimately, wherever you choose to go in Oregon this season, there is no doubt that you’ll get a unique and beautiful experience out of it. Who knows, maybe winter will become your favorite season to explore our wonderful outdoors! 

What can we do in the winter? Plenty!

Oregon winters offer fun and adventure, from the unfettered views of mountain streams and waterfalls, to searching for architectural treasure in historic buildings. 

So, if you are asking yourself, “What do we do, now that it’s winter?” In Albany, Oregon, the answer is: Plenty!

McDowell Creek Falls County Park. Photo by KateLynn LaGrone.

Indoors or out, Albany offers a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Take a day and hit the highlights, or make it a weekend and take them all in.

History

Albany is home to the largest collection of architectural styles in the state and self-guided tours are available with maps that show you the way through three of the city’s historic districts, providing short bits of history about many of the buildings and homes.

If you prefer an electronic approach, download the app, Albany Explorer, to your cell phone and access the same information, along with audio files for covered bridge tours and information about places to eat, shop and explore.

Covered Bridges

There are eight covered bridges in the county, five of them clustered around the town of Scio. A map gives you a route to see all five. Three more are located east of Lebanon.

Waterfalls

A must-see side trip to McDowell Creek Falls County Park offers spectacular scenery. Hike the loop to see all five of the falls, which should be in full flow. The loop is just under two miles. Prepare to hike some stairs and inclines.

A cozy table at Sybaris Bistro.

Food and Beverage

After a day of adventure, relax in the cozy confines of one of Albany’s pubs or by the crackling fireplace of Sybaris Bistro that boasts a world-class chef at the helm. Enjoy twice-Beard-nominated Chef Matt Bennett’s take on locally sourced and seasonal ingredients, and desserts to die for! Local wines are also featured.

Speaking of wine, visit Springhill Cellars Winery, which overlooks the Coast Range and has a tasting room featuring some of the best Pinot Noir varieties in the Willamette Valley. Tastings are by appointment December to April.

Albany sports several pubs and taphouses, each serving top-of-the-line brews and spirits. Try Calapooia Brewing & Vivacity Spirits, or DeLuxe Brewing & Sinister Distilling. Or pull up a chair at The Squeaky Cork, a Scottish-inspired pub serving tasty fare such as Shepherd’s Pie and Whisky Mud Cake, along with fine spirits and brews.

In Albany, winter isn’t the time to slow down. The fun is just getting started.

2021 Christmas Parlour Tour

Celebrate Christmas – from the inside – at the Monteith House and six other lovely historic homes on the 42nd Christmas Parlour Tour, from 2 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12. 

Six homeowners have graciously opened their homes for this event, the first interior homes tour in Albany since Christmas of 2019, just before the Covid-19 Pandemic began. Since that time, the Summer and Christmas tours have been exterior events, with homeowners decorating their porches and yards and some offering photos and video of their interiors. 

Enjoy a peek inside some of Albany’s historic homes, which will be decorated for the holiday season. The Monteith Historical Society will also decorate Albany’s oldest frame home in the style of Christmas from the mid-1800s. 

Mask and distancing policies will be strictly enforced, and, as usual, visitors are asked to please not touch items in the homes and to not take photos or video. 

Tickets

Tickets will be available for purchase online at monteithhouse.org until 10 p.m. Saturday, December 11, 2021, and may be picked up the day of the tour. If you haven’t purchased tickets in advance, a limited number will be available on the day of the tour at the Albany Visitors Association, 110 3rd Ave. SE, for CASH/CHECK ONLY. The cost is $15 per person. Well-behaved children under 12 are admitted free with a paid adult. Proceeds benefit Monteith House Museum.

To receive your ticket, which includes a copy of the tour map and wrist band, bring your Eventbrite e-ticket receipt on tour day to the Albany Visitors Association office, 110 3rd Ave. SE. The office will be open from 1 to 6 p.m.

Highlights

Participating historic homes and buildings throughout the Monteith and Downtown Commercial Districts will open their doors to tour participants. Meet the owners and learn about the architecture, the original occupants and the ins and outs of restoring historic structures.

You can ride a horse-drawn wagon to a few of the stops, or drive, walk, bike or hike the tour on your own. The wagon will start and end at the Albany Regional Museum, 136 Lyon St. S., where light refreshments also will be served.

Christmas music will be played at various locations.

Additional information

The Christmas Parlour Tour is “self-guided.” You can tour the homes in any order you like. Spend as much or as little time at each location as it suits you. Several of the buildings are within walking distance of each other, while a few may be outside your comfortable walking distance, requiring your own vehicle. Visitors usually take three to four hours to fully enjoy the tour.

And as long as you’re in Albany, do a bit of holiday shopping. Find unique gifts in antique and specialty stores. Indulge in a pastry or a decadent cup of hot cocoa, a frothy cappuccino, or a farm-fresh dinner in one of the many eateries and bistros downtown. Take a ride on the Albany Historic Carousel, which is beautifully decorated this time of year.

Albany’s Annual Interior Tours were created by a group of friends and neighbors to share the past through the architecture of historic dwellings. They are coordinated by Albany’s Historic Interior Home Tour Committee with the help of the Albany Visitors Association and sponsored by the Monteith Historical Society.

For more information about Albany’s Historic Interior Tours and other Albany events and attractions contact the Albany Visitors Association: 541-928-0911.

Travel Advisory for Albany and Linn County
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- Join the celebration with new and old traditions in July.
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