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Archive for oregon

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.

The Graveyard of the Pacific

By Linda Tancs

The Columbia River Bar represents a clash of the titans. That’s where the mighty Columbia River (the largest in the Pacific Northwest) meets the Pacific Ocean. As the river surges towards its meeting point, it drops a deposit of sand and silt that extends six miles into the ocean. Not surprisingly, this can result in a navigational nightmare. In fact, since 1792 around 2,000 ships have sunk in this area, earning it the moniker “Graveyard of the Pacific.” One of the most popular shipwrecks is the Peter Iredale. Its skeletal remains are on the beach at Clapsop Spit at Fort Stevens State Park in Hammond, Oregon.

Where the Forest Meets the Sea

By Linda Tancs

Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is where the forest meets the sea. Managed by the United States Forest Service as part of Siuslaw National Forest, it’s a large forested headland on the coast of central Oregon, projecting into the Pacific Ocean. It’s also where a sinkhole of sorts meets the sea. Known as Thor’s Well, a deep chasm fills with salt water and produces a fountainous spectacle before Mother Nature vacuum sucks its bounty back to its rightful owner. The site is particularly spectacular at high tide or during storms—when it’s also most dangerous.

Like No Place Else on Earth

By Linda Tancs

According to the National Park Service, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon’s only national park, is like no place else on Earth.  Maybe it’s the lake at the heart of it all, one of the world’s deepest.  Its majestic blue color can be viewed by driving the 33-mile path around the rim or getting up close and personal on a boat tour.  Along the way, maybe you’ll see the Old Man, a mountain hemlock log that has been floating upright in the lake for more than 100 years!

The World’s Largest Shortcake

By Linda Tancs

What does it take to bake a strawberry shortcake for 15,000 of your closest friends?  According to the folks in Lebanon, Oregon, you’ll need 514 cups of sugar, 224 cups of shortening, 192 cups of eggs, 992 cups of flour, 576 teaspoons  of salt, 2048 teaspoons of baking powder, 448 cups of milk and 18 cups  of vanilla.  The result is the world’s largest shortcake, unveiled annually at Lebanon’s Strawberry Festival.  A cake that immense deserves its own security detail, and it gets it in the form of its official ushers at the Grand Parade, the Strawberrians.  The festival is taking place today through 2 June at Cheadle Lake Regional Park.

A Perfect Storm in Oregon

By Linda Tancs

Beachcombers, take note.  Oregon’s Cannon Beach, a popular town about 80 miles from Portland, offers unrivaled dramatic scenery in winter.  Thanks to the winds, waves and heavy rains this time of year, tide-pool viewing is just one of many delights offered by what many would probably perceive as an unlikely winter beach destination.  Fogless nights offer uncompromised views from iconic Haystack Rock and the Tillamook Lighthouse.  But perhaps best of all is the beauty of a frost-tinged beach and the excitement of waiting out a winter storm from the cozy comfort of your oceanfront suite, at a fraction of summer’s rates.

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