Road Trip: Independence
America’s road to independence was a challenging one, but Oregon’s is a sweet road trip. This month, we invite you to visit Independence. Located in the Willamette Valley just an hour south of Portland, this little town will give you plenty to celebrate (so if you feel like clapping, cheering and waving a flag, we won’t stop you).
Hopped up: Formerly the “Hop Capital of the World,” Independence once saw more than half of the world’s hops pass through town. Today you can get a taste of locally grown heritage hops at Rogue Ale’s Chatoe Rogue tasting room and hop farm. Tour the hopyard and farmstead nano-brewery on the weekends at 3 p.m. or by appointment. Taste specialty farmstead beers at the tasting room, and enjoy the views of the fields and orchards.
Down by the riverside: The Willamette River Trail, a 5-kilometer loop trail in town, offers excellent bird and wildlife watching opportunities as it winds through the river’s riparian zone. The trail runs from the Riverview Park Amphitheater to the North Riverfront Ballfield Complex and passes by the town’s off-leash dog park along the way (so bring your four-legged friend).
Fields abloom: Stroll through 12 fragrant acres of purple blooms at Lavender Lake Farms. The gift shop carries a variety of handmade organic bath products, lotions, essential oils, honey and culinary items. Check out the U-pick acreage, and don’t miss the Oregon Lavender Festival, July 13-14, 2013, when Lavender Lake Farms and others open for a special celebration of art, photography and flowers.
Eats and treats: Freshly baked breads, pastries, cakes and gluten free options will keep you perched at Ovenbird Bakery way past the breakfast hour. And the home cooked burgers, sandwiches, soups and salads at Andy’s Café make it a great lunch spot.
Sleepover: Spend the night at Rogue Brewery’s Hop ’N Bed, a 100-year-old farmhouse located on the hopyard farm and near the Willamette River. The house sleeps up to 12, and dogs are welcome (there’s even a dog menu at the tasting room.) But please don’t chase the chickens.
About the Author: Eileen Garvin
Eileen Garvin is the editor of Travel Oregon’s Seasonal Features, enewsletters and annual visitor guide. When she’s not cooking up trip ideas, Oregon Dreamer profiles and outdoor adventures to write about, she’s out exploring Oregon.
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