One of my favorite places to take visitors in Pendleton, Oregon, is the Pendleton Woolen Mill. This is where the Pendleton Company has been making it’s famous wool blankets for over 100 years. It’s also one of the last remaining textile mills in the United States, as most textiles are now made in other countries. Here you can take a FREE tour of their factory, learn about their history and purchase first rate quality Pendleton products, as well as deeply discounted “seconds”.

During the free mill tour, held at 9am, 11am, 1:30pm, and 3pm week-days, you can see colorful threads being spooled onto massive bobbins, then watch as industrial looms weave these threads into the intricate, beautiful designs and patterns that make up the blankets. Huge piles of blanket material pile up as the looms spin and clack away. These get inspected and rolled into large rolls to be sent off to finish and bind. It’s quite a feast for the eyes as every color in the rainbow goes from thread to gorgeous colorful blankets. Tours are also available on the week-ends, but the mills is not in operation. This may be a better time for small children, as the mill is very loud when it is operating.

The tour ends back where it began, in the factory’s gift shop where there is a vast collection of blankets, and apparel to purchase. The blanket “seconds” available for purchase there have clearly marked blemishes that are barely discernible to an untrained eye. The high quality of these products is quite rare in today’s world. The fact that many of these blankets have been collected, traded and cherished for generations also speaks volumes of the high quality. Each time I’ve been to their mill, I see car license plates from all over the country. It’s truly a “must-see” if you’re ever in these parts. It’s a short distance from I-84 (exit 210). A look at the Pendleton Mill webpage will give you directions and a phone number to call if you have any questions.

Becky is a mom, living in Pendleton, Oregon who likes to explore the outdoors and find free or low-cost activities to share with her family.

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