Head to this tiny town 20 miles south of Eugene for covered bridges, eclectic shops, and myriad ways to play in the magnificent wilds.
Area code is 541.
to Do and See
Bohemia Gold Mining Museum Some 150 years after gold was first discovered there, prospectors still mine it in the hills east of Cottage Grove. In town, the museum features a working model of a five-stamp mill used to crush ore as well as a collection of photos and artifacts. 737 E. Main St., 942-5022, bohemiagoldminingmuseum.com. Cottage Grove Art Walk April through September on the last Friday of the month, local artists display their work while shops offer wine tasting and other special treats. East Main Street between River Road and North Ninth Street, cgchamber.com. Cottage Theatre The “bright side of life” illuminates this 150-seat playhouse come October, when local actors perform the musical Monty Python’s Spamalot. 700 Village Dr., 942-8001, cottagetheatre.org. Covered Bridge Tour Western Oregon boasts the largest collection of covered bridges anywhere west of the Mississippi River, and six of them can be found within an easy drive of Cottage Grove. Pick up a map at the Chamber of Commerce (700 E. Gibbs Ave., 942-2411, cgchamber.com) for a self-guided tour by bike or car. Visit on Oct. 5 for Oregon’s Covered Bridge Festival (942-0046, ocbfestival.com) and enjoy hot-air balloon rides and bridge tours.
Kalapuya Books Some 35,000 titles running the gamut from pioneer history tomes to lurid 1950s vintage paperbacks fill this enthralling shop. 637 E. Main St., 942-6143. Schweitzer’s Western Wear Outfit the family in moccasins, boots, or basic workday jeans at this throwback to the era of frontier haberdasheries. 730 E. Main St., 942-4249. Territorial Seed Company Store Budding gardeners and seasoned pros come here for flowers, herbs, and more. 20 E. Palmer Ave., 942-0510, territorialseed.com. Victoriana Antiques & Costumes Make a Halloween splash this year when you don leather armor worn by actors in the TV show Rome or an exact replica of the khaleesi’s garb in Game of Thrones, just two of the many outfits that Hollywood designer Lesley Neufeld rents and sells. 538 E. Main St., 767-0973.
Brice Creek Trail In the early fall you’ll find enticing swimming holes, waterfalls, and berry patches on this easy-to-moderate 5.7-mile hike. Brice Creek Road 3.3 miles east of Layng Creek Road, 957-3200, fs.usda.gov/umpqua. Fly-fishing Team up with Tom Waters River Guide to angle for trout and bass as your classic drift boat floats down the McKenzie River or across nearby Dorena Lake. 895-2708, tomwatersriverguide.com. Row River Trail The Oregon Pacific & Eastern Railway tracks of yore are now a paved 15.6-mile trail that begins downtown. East Main Street at South 10th Street, cottagegrove.org/trail. Explore on foot or rent a bike for the day at Rainy Peak Bicycles (533 E. Main St., 942-8712, rainypeak.com).
FooD anD Fun
The Axe and Fiddle String bands, cabaret acts, gypsy jazz: All of them play this lively watering hole that also serves a mean bowl of beans and greens. 657 E. Main St., 942-5942, axeandfiddle.com. Big Stuff Barbecue Brothers Simon and Ira Martinez take their meat seriously with secret rubs, juicy ribs, and sausages they make themselves. 733 E. Main St., 942-3999, bigstuffbarbecue.com. Buster’s Main Street Cafe and Bottle Shoppe Buster Keaton filmed The General around Cottage Grove in 1926, and the crew used to mingle with locals downtown. That convivial spirit lives on today over eggs Benedict and craft sodas. 811 E. Main St., 942-8363, facebook.com/bustersmainstreetcafe. Fleur De Lis Patisserie & Café Strudels, puffs, tarts, and sweet and savory croissants. 616 E. Main St., 767-0700, fleurdeliscafe.net. Saginaw Vineyard On Fridays the Byler family serves up live music, supper, and blackberry wine. 80247 Delight Valley School Rd., 942-1364, saginawvineyard.com.
Photography by Greg Vaughn
This article was first published in September 2013. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.