We are exploring the wonders of the Southern Willamette Valley.
written by Jen Stevenson
Junction City, known for its popular 57-year-old summer Scandinavian Festival, also has a robust wine-tasting scene, so take a scenic detour off the interstate,
EAT + DRINK
In Eugene, start your day with one of the best and most beautiful brunches in town, at Airstream-trailer-bound Lion & Owl, secreted away in The Eugene Backyard Farmer parking lot. Burn off your praline-topped oat and almond pancakes with a bike ride along the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path, then hit the Eugene Ale Trail. Don’t miss Claim 52 brewery, where the rich red raspberry
If the night’s still young, walk over to Party Downtown for a nettle whiskey sour or Don’t Beet a Dead Horseradish, a bracing blend of Kachka horseradish vodka, pickled beet brine and Starvation Alley cranberry juice.
A ten-minute drive east, sleepy small-town Springfield has a few fun epicurean finds. Housed in a lovingly renovated spire-topped former stone church—glittering stained glass windows and all—the lively new PublicHouse is a taproom, food hall and beer garden rolled into one good-timey community hub. Go casual with a pint of Thursty Hills IPA and a maple-bacon tomato jam-topped burger at Plank Town Brewing Company, or get dolled up for dinner at new George and Violet’s Steakhouse, which mixes retro American steakhouse charm with contemporary eats like mussels in a smoked pork and white wine broth, grass-fed Oregon tenderloin topped with Dungeness crab butter and homemade doughnut holes with preserved cherries and shiso.
Take the winery-dotted Territorial Highway south of town, stopping at hilltop-hugging Iris Vineyards, where you might think you’ve apparated to a Mediterranean villa, before or after a few glasses of the Steelhead Syrah. At grand King Estate, winery tours are offered on the hour until 5 p.m. daily (call 541-685-5189 for reservations). Afterward, plan on lunch or dinner at the lovely onsite restaurant, which sources ingredients from the estate’s 30 acres of organic gardens and orchards. Beer buffs, check out
Homey touches abound at downtown Eugene’s luxuriously cozy Inn at the 5th, where you can order a loaner blanket from the downstairs Pendleton Woolen Mills shop to keep you company during your stay, sip local rosé and