Sunday, July 24, 2022

Oregon Trip, Chapter 3: My 78th Birthday

 We had an agenda for this sunny Sunday in July. We planned to explore some favorite and some new places in the Willamette Valley before returning to Washington state to dine at McMenamins on the Columbia River at Kalama.

We started with breakfast at Elmer's in Woodburn, where I promised myself their special German pancake. This one was served with lingon berries. 

Tom did help me eat it.

We checked out of our hotel and were on our way to explore. First stop, an old favorite, Seabright Gardens. 

Seabright Gardens specializes in Hostas, but is now expanding to other specialties that grow well here in the valley. Their display garden is beautiful.


Unusual Dahlia. 

So many different and beautiful hostas. 

Calla lily 


Something exotic
Of course we had to buy a few plants, two hostas for Tom and a Heuchera for me. 

From here were were planning to go across the valley to Heirloom Roses, but alas, the beautiful display garden was gone and it was only a wholesale growing operation now. I guess visitors and pandemic didn't mix well. 

However we did have a great time just driving country roads in the valley and looking at crops.

Hops are a major crop here.

So are filberts, know on the market as hazelnuts. New orchards were popping up everywhere. 

Nursery stock, cane berries, onions, vineyards, grain, grass seed, hay, squash/cucumbers, and clover for seed filled the fields. I was so happy to see how productive my valley still is. 
We stopped and bought berries here, fresh from their field across the road: a pint each of Marion berries, Logan berries, and Boysen berries. 

Our next planned stop was Swan Island Dahlias, but they weren't open either. I guess it was too early for their growing fields to put on their show

We had heard reference to the Canby ferry but had never gone to find it. This day we did. It is a small ferry run by Clackamas County that crosses the Willamette River in an area that never got a bridge. 

From there we found a bakery/coffee shop in Canby, my other sort of home town. We lived between Molalla and Canby, just a quarter mile from the school district boundary, and our address was Canby. It's a quite prosperous farming town, where Molalla is a depressed logging town. 
Next we were planning to go to the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Oregon City, another place we had never visited, but, yep, it was closed on Sundays. So we headed back home to Washington, crossing the Columbia River again. I looked at my Google Maps to see what we might find as a place to stop that we had never seen before. Paradise State Park fit the bill so we drove down in and found this somewhat rustic park filled with people enjoying the large swimming hole under the I-5 bridge. It was very noisy but everyone was having a great time.

Because so many places were closed, we were early arriving in Kalama for dinner, but we found an antique shop to spend time in before going to McMenamin's Kalama Lodge for birthday dinner. 

We both had good dinners followed by warm Marion Berry Cobbler and ice cream. Yum 

Then we walked a bit of it off by enjoying the gardens and the views surrounding the lodge. 

This totem pole has been in the adjacent park for many years, but was deteriorating and had to come down. 

Then we were back on the freeway with a two hour drive yet to get home. But we were happy and well fed and had thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Oregon and the special occasions we had celebrated. 

And those Oregon berries lasted for quite a few days as toppings for my breakfast cereal and lunch yogurt. 

And the good memories linger now a week later.


  1. Really lovely chronicle of your birthday bonanza. Love all the pictures and now I want some ice cream!

  2. You work hard to make those memories. Many people would not see very much. This is also a very beautiful area.

  3. You certainly had a full day (and some wonderful meals). That restaurant building is lovely. AND those hostas!

  4. You really had a productive and fun day to celebrate. You revisited your memories and ate darn well too.

  5. You sure can pack a lot into one day!! Looks like it was a fun one. Happy birthday to you!

  6. Those yellow Coneflowers?? look different! What a nice trip for your birthday!!

  7. What a lovely day out you had, and I love all the pretty flowers in the gardens too. I am looking forward to our spring/summer here as there are not many flowers out at the moment.


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