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Archive for oregon

The World’s Smallest Park

By Linda Tancs

You’ll often hear people say “sneeze and you’ll miss it” if a destination is a bit off the beaten track. Well, you could literally sneeze and miss Mill Ends Park in Portland, Oregon. Dubbed “the world’s smallest park,” this particular stretch of the city’s greenway is about two feet in diameter, a circular plot located on a median in the middle of busy Naito Parkway. And yes, it really is an official municipal park (since 1976), one of about 200 in the city, originally an empty hole where a light pole was supposed to be installed. Inspired by the neglected hole, an Irish journalist in the 1940s wrote of it as the fantastical locale for a colony of leprechauns. Not surprisingly, it continues to be the site of St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

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Seattle’s Favorite Market

By Linda Tancs

The Space Needle may be iconic, but no visit to Seattle, Washington, would be complete without a trip to Pike Place Market, a nine-acre public market overlooking the Elliott Bay waterfront. Opened in 1907, it’s one of the oldest continuously operated public farmers’ markets in the United States, offering a multisensory experience of sight, sound and taste among its historic arcade, winding alleys, stairways and lower levels. Beloved by locals and visitors alike, one of its best known features is the throwing of fish across the aisle by fishmongers. Mornings before noon are generally the best time to visit, but this time of year is fabulously free of crowds. Take a self-guided walking tour with one of the market’s pocket guides. The information booth is located on Pike Street about 100 feet in front of the Public Market clock and sign.

Playing Games in Oregon

By Linda Tancs

Gaming and puzzlery is an ancient pursuit, older than writing. At the Interactive Museum of Gaming and Puzzlery in King City, Oregon, they want to entertain you with the history of thousands of games, puzzles and related materials from many countries and traditions.  With more than 4,000 games to play, you’ll have a choice among puzzles, traditional board games, modern board games, dexterity games, eurogames and construction toys. The facility is open Wednesdays through Sundays.

The Pacific Crest Trail

By Linda Tancs

One of the original national scenic trails established by Congress in the 1968 National Trails System Act, the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail generally runs along the high crests of the Sierra and Cascades mountain ranges. Beginning in southern California at the Mexican border, the trail marks a total distance of 2,650 miles through California (passing through five state parks), Oregon, and Washington until reaching the Canadian border. The trail is open to the public from April to September for foot and equestrian travel only. About 200 people attempt to hike the length of the trail each season, generally starting at the Mexican border and ending at the Canadian border. Only a few equestrians have ever ridden the entire trail.

A Different Kind of Library

By Linda Tancs

Multnomah Whiskey Library in downtown Portland, Oregon, puts a new twist on getting into the spirit of things. A haven for aficionados of whiskey and other distilled spirits, the locale boasts an exhaustive collection that’s always in flux, from nascent Irish distillers to 19th century Scottish gems from Speyside. Like any library, they have members, but visitors can obtain a “Hall Pass” to jump the nightly line.

A Step Back in Time

By Linda Tancs

On the south bank of the Columbia River in the foothills of the Cascades is a step back in time where pioneers, adventurers, gold miners, mountain men and soldiers once convened. Called The Dalles, it’s framed by Mt. Hood and is home to Fort Dalles Museum (one of Oregon’s oldest history museums) as well as the site where Lewis and Clark camped during their expedition to the land acquired in the Louisiana Purchase. The city’s unusual moniker derives from a French reference for gutters lined with large tiles. The area’s French traders bestowed the name in the 1800s because of the long, gutter-like formation of the rapids known as the “grande dalles” of the Columbia River. The rapids were later submerged when The Dalles Dam went into operation in 1957.

Something Wild in Oregon

By Linda Tancs

There’s always something wild going on at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. Extending one mile into the Pacific Ocean from the Oregon coast, this oceanfront park with a beach reveals an array of life. At low tide the ocean floor unveils pools of colorful animals including orange sea stars, purple sea urchins and giant green anemones. Harbor seals and peregrine falcons vie for attention. And around this time of year the gray whales are on their migratory path to Mexico. Above all else (literally) is Yaquina Head, the state’s tallest lighthouse at 93 feet, boasting a fully automated first order Fresnel lens. The lighthouse is open for limited, ranger-led tours.

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