Ready to ditch the hustle of the city for a peaceful getaway in nature? Head to The Oregon Garden and The Oregon Garden Resort, a luxurious basecamp to the northern Willamette Valley, just 40 miles south of Portland and 15 miles northwest of Silver Falls State Park. The 80-acre Garden showcases 20 smaller gardens that represent the region’s botanical beauty — and it’s not just for looking. Year-round, there’s a host of engaging activities, from art, music, food and wine events to children’s activities, volunteer opportunities and holiday festivities in the Garden. You can make it a low-key day trip, or stay overnight for a restorative escape — wine tasting and waterfalls included. Here’s how to explore the space year-round.
Welcoming the Crispness of Fall
As the heat of summer winds down and the autumn air and colors begin, there’s nothing like cocooning for a couple of days. The resort makes for an excellent personal wellness retreat with its hot tub, yoga classes and Moonstone Spa. Set out for an easy stroll along 4 miles of pet-friendly, ADA- accessible paths winding through the Garden, just steps from the resort. Dine onsite at the Garden View Restaurant or Fireside Lounge, or drive a few miles to historic downtown Silverton, where you’ll find farm-to-table dining, breweries, boutiques, murals and inviting parks. In autumn, the Bosque Garden ignites with flaming hues of 40 Pacific sunset maples reflecting serenely in brick ponds. Dog lovers, bring Rover to the Pet-Friendly Garden, which educates about plants toxic to pets. Pull on your cowboy boots for the October Barn Dance and BBQ — dance contest winners earn overnight stays at the resort.
Embracing Cozy Winter Fun
A million lights glitter like stars throughout the grounds for Christmas in the Garden (Nov. 29 through Dec. 31), one of the garden’s biggest annual traditions. Come for the European-inspired charm; stay for the ice skating, snowless tubing, carolers, live holiday music and fire pits. Snap pics of the kids with Santa, warm up with German glühwein and holiday foods in the heated biergarten, and find unique gifts at the artisan vendor market. Winter at the Garden also means that resort guests enjoy complimentary cellar-season wine tasting at local vintners including Pudding River Wine Cellars, Silver Falls Vineyards and Vitis Ridge Winery. Appoint a designated driver and visit all three on a 30-mile route. Meanwhile at Silver Falls, winter is the time to see the waterfalls along the Trail of Ten Falls at Silver Falls in their half-frozen beauty — or go in the fall to catch the last of autumn colors. Bundle up in layers and waterproof shoes, and warm up next to the fireplace back at the resort.
Celebrating the Blooms of Spring
Spring is all about blooms, and there are plenty of those here. You can commemorate spring on Mother’s Day weekend at Digging in the Dirt, when visitors plant annuals before enjoying a brunch buffet, live music and bottomless mimosas. Volunteers receive a ticket to return and see their flowers bloom. Celebrate Earth Day every day by pitching in throughout the year at the Silverton Market Garden, tending samples of nearly 150 Oregon crops, all donated to families in need. Kids can find immersive fun in the Garden too, springtime and year-round. At the Children’s Garden, they can excavate “dinosaur bones,” explore a treehouse in a curly willow tree, and clamber around a real Hobbit House. The enchantment continues with animal topiaries, living furniture and the Weird Plants Garden — look for the mouse tail plant. Another kid-pleaser: the Train Garden, where a miniature choo-choo circles. Design-minded grownups shouldn’t miss Frank Lloyd Wright’s Gordon House on the property (guided tours by reservation year-round).
Savoring Summer Attractions
Lush blossoms scent summer breezes in the Rose Garden, where nearly 40 varieties bloom in a rainbow from palest yellow to deep crimson. Each June the Garden is home to the long-distance Petal Pedal bike ride, which includes a gourmet dinner and live music at the finish line. The property also ushers in summer with Art in the Garden — the opening reception features wine tasting, and guests may mingle with the local artists whose creative installations punctuate the Garden all summer. Summer events include education for all ages: the Junior Gardener’s Club has classes on pollinators, seed science, and more, and Garden University workshops are hosted by experts in topics such as native plants, succulents and rose care. Thursday nights all summer are Movies in the Garden, and August brings Sunsets in the Garden, with live music and complimentary local wine, beer and cider sampling. On July 3, face painting, food vendors and fireworks attract locals and visitors alike. Hop in the resort’s outdoor pool during the summer to cool off, and don’t forget your sunscreen.
If You Go:
The Garden is open 365 days per year, with hours and admission prices varying seasonally. Fridays through Sundays (April through October), you can take a 30-minute narrated tram tour to explore the Garden. For a bite, bring a picnic (Roth’s in Silverton is a top-notch grocery store), or visit the on-site cafe for soup, sandwiches, ice cream and espresso.
All 103 rooms at the Oregon Garden Resort have fireplaces and include Garden admission and complimentary breakfast with locally roasted coffee. For resort guests, the Garden is open before- and after-hours year-round, perfect for crowd-free photo ops. At the resort, pet-friendly rooms should be reserved early.