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When you’re asked to write a blog about your boss’s 50th birthday a lot of thoughts immediately come to mind… There are those people who enjoy recounting the day they turned another year older and then there are those who want to forget – and forget about it immediately!

Now I was put in a tricky situation since this was the first ever blog I’ve been asked to write for Travel Oregon and I’ve only been on staff for about a month. I was caught up wondering if this was some sort of hazing ritual – you know, have the new girl write about the boss turning the big five-o and then see if she makes it to week #5…

Well, after weighing my options I decided to play it safe and not mention the birthday again, but instead focus on the details of what some of the Travel Oregon team did to celebrate the start of “the second half of life” of our astute leader.

A group of us packed up the car with blankets and lawn chairs and headed to Silverton, Oregon for a concert at the Oregon Garden.


Silverton is a quaint town of around 7,000 that sits about 15 miles east of Salem. Historical buildings and a creek run through the downtown area and a wonderful farmers’ market is held on Saturdays. Silverton is known as “Oregon’s Garden City” – rightfully so, as the Oregon Garden itself is an 80-acre botanical park that lies just a short distance from the downtown.

Open year-round, touring the Oregon Garden is an afternoon adventure. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time (2 hours minimum) – there are 20 different specialty gardens, a visitor center, and a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (the only Wright-designed building open to the public in the Pacific Northwest). For those still searching for the perfect wedding locale – I know I am – keep in mind that the Oregon Garden offers three different wedding packages (Garden Dream, Grand Event and Elegant Reflections) and believe me, the locations do fit the names!

The Oregon Garden is also home to the Wooden Nickel Summer Concert Series (and of course the main reason why we were frequenting the beautiful grounds). Concerts run weekly (usually a Thursday night) from July to the middle of August and a variety of musical artists headline the series.

The Travel Oregon team was there to enjoy the sounds of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy – a group whose songs I thought I knew, when in fact learned later that the hit I thought was by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, was in fact a song by the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies – an honest mistake, really.

When entering the massive Garden, signage clearly marks the paths to reach the concert viewing area – a comfortable grassy knoll that overlooks the stage. Seating was first-come first-serve but you had a good view of the stage from anywhere. The intimate venue held a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere. Food was available – and not just your average concessions fare. The Wooden Nickel Restaurant catered the event so choices ranged from pulled-pork sandwiches to chicken wraps. Water and soft drinks as well as beer and wine were available – as a side note to wine drinkers, if you see people walking over with a good-sized glass of beer and are expecting to get that same size of a glass for wine, you’re going to be disappointed (I know I was) – the glasses for wine are more like a sampler size, though the chardonnay was quite good!

The concert itself lasted about 2.5 hours with an opening band taking the stage before Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Side areas of grass were filled with dancing couples as the catchy music filled the air. The weather was perfect and the tunes easily let you slip away from the hustle of everyday life. It was a welcomed escape from the office confines and a great way to celebrate!

For more information on concerts in the Willamette Valley, please visit our Upcoming Events section.

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These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

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  1. Shirley Westerberg says…

    Michelle,
    We enjoyed reading your blog.
    Sounds like a great place to visit!
    Thanks for sending it to us!
    Good job!
    Mom and Dad

    Written on July 26th, 2007 / Flag this Comment
  2. Sherry Green says…

    Great blog. Sounds like you really know your stuff, even if you did mistake Big Bad Voodoo Daddy for the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies!! The concerts sound like great summer fun!

    Written on July 27th, 2007 / Flag this Comment
  3. Peggy Kernan says…

    I can’t find the 2011 concert schedule for The Oregon Garden. Is there one scheduled?

    Written on April 19th, 2011 / Flag this Comment
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