Blog, Things to Do In Salem

Apr 16, 2014

Experience Oregon’s Unique Past at the Willamette Heritage Center

Just one visit to the Willamette Heritage Center in Salem, Oregon and you will see why it has been designated an American Treasure by the National Park Service. The center connects generations by bringing visitors on a journey back to the early settlement days of western Oregon. The beautiful five-acre campus is rich with history and the culture of Oregon’s past.

Photo Source:  Willamette Heritage Center

Photo Source: Willamette Heritage Center

The Willamette Heritage Center interprets the history of the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill which produced wool products from 1889 to 1962 and represents one of Oregon’s earliest and strongest industries. It also interprets the history of Jason Lee’s Methodist Mission to Oregon which settled in the Willamette Valley in 1834 before the major Oregon Trail migrations. The missionaries brought formal education, industry and large scale agriculture and advocated for U.S. government in the Oregon country.

On your next trip to Salem, plan a visit to the Willamette Heritage Center for a unique American experience and check out one of their many exhibitions that explore and highlight the rich and diverse cultural heritage of the Mid-Willamette Valley. Click here for information on the programs, exhibits and events happening this spring.

COMING UP: Sheep to Shawl Family Fun Festival
Ever wonder what went on at the Mill when the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill was fully operational? Find out at the WHC’s annual Sheep to Shawl Family Fun Festival on Saturday, May 10, 2014. This FREE event features textile demonstrations, activities for the kids, tours of the historic mill and houses, entertainment, shopping, blacksmithing and sheep shearing demonstrations, lots of animals and much more.


Purchase the Absolutely Heritage ticket  for admission to the Willamette Heritage Center at The Mill in addition to these 3 Salem-area heritage museum for just for $20!

The Absolutely Heritage Ticket can be purchased at Travel Salem (181 High St. NE, Salem) or through


Mar 27, 2014

What you May Not Know About Salem, Oregon

Salem Oregon

We recently came across 29 Things You Need To Know About Salem Before You Move There published on Movoto, the fun real estate blog.  In this post, Salem is described as

“A hipster wonderland nestled between the ocean and a gorgeous valley, Salem is a mini-metropolis obsessed with wine, trees and giant breakfasts.”

Yup, that about sums it up! There were so many great spots mentioned for locals and visitors to enjoy, that we felt like we had to share it with you. The author also included several fun facts about our city that you may not have known!

Photo Credit: Kristi Reed

Photo Credit: Kristi Reed

Did you know that…
The 22 foot Golden Pioneer statue (we call him Sal) on top of the Oregon State Capitol has watched over Salem since 1938 and is painted in gold leaf?

Did you know that…
Willamette University, established in 1842, is the oldest college in the American West?

Did you know that…
Salem sits on the 45th Parallel, which means it’s the center point between the North Pole and the equator?

Did you know that…
The National Arbor Day Foundation has named Salem “Tree City U.S.A.” for the last 30 years in a row? It’s true! Just take a look at all of the gorgeous cherry trees all over the city!

Did you know that…
We are only an hour away from the Pacific ocean? Easy and fun day trip!!

Did you know that…
Honeywood Winery, the oldest producing winery in Oregon, is on the Salem Wine Trail? This winery has been created award-winning varietals for more than 75 years! There are a total of twelve scenic and delectable stops on the Salem Wine Trail.

Click here to read the whole post so you can learn more about Salem’s unique attractions, history and culture. Let us know what you think!

photo credit: functoruser via photopin cc

Feb 28, 2014

A Look Ahead: Spring & Summer Events in Salem, Oregon

From Top Left: World Beat Festival, Salem Keizer Volcanoes, Salem Art Fair & Festival

From Top Left: World Beat Festival, Salem Keizer Volcanoes, Salem Art Fair & Festival

It’s hard to believe, but the warm weather is almost here and spring & summer is just around the corner!

Salem, Oregon is a fun place to visit any time of year, but there is something very special about the warm spring and summer months!  Why not book a getaway to Salem, OregonWhatever brings you here, whether it is friends or family, business, or just for fun….you will discover the unique experiences in Salem, Oregon  to be one of the best kept secrets in Oregon travel!

Here are some local events coming up to make your travel experience even more unique:

Wine, Pear & Cheese Jubilee 2014 Saturday and Sunday, March 8th & 9th from 11 am – 6 pm

Willamette Valley Vineyards, Turner
Learn the art of “pearing” Willamette Valley Vineyards wine with fresh Oregon pears and cheese from some of the most respected local artisans! Admission is $10 and includes wine tasting flight paired with cheeses and pears. Upgrade to the Cellar Pass to taste futures of WVV’s 2012 Single Vineyard Designate Pinot Noirs for $5 (complimentary for Wine Club Members).

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival March 28th – May 4th 9 am – 6 pm

Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm
Our favorite time of year is when the tulips bloom! There is nothing like the colors of the tulip fields in the spring at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn. Every year the varieties are arranged differently in a new pattern of color as they rotate the tulip fields to a new location. This spring bring your family, even the dog, and enjoy over 40 Acres of Tulips. Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm is 30 minutes from Salem.

Oregon Garden Brewfest April 25, 2014 – April 27, 2014

The Oregon Garden, Silverton
Mark your calendar for the 10th annual Oregon Garden Brewfest presented by Growl Movement Growl Movement, April 25-27, 2014. The festival will feature 60+ breweries, pouring 120+ beers, ciders and meads from throughout Oregon and across the country along with great regional bands on two stages, amazing food from local vendors, beer tasting lessons. Don’t miss the Brewer’s Tasting Dinner on Brewfest-eve, April 24, 2014. Book our special Grand Hotel Package and let us shuttle you to and from the event that weekend. Packages start at $159 plus tax per night and include overnight accommodations for two in a King Deluxe Room, an early check in of 1pm, a hot breakfast buffet served in the morning, shuttle to and from the event, and, to top it off… a late check out of 1pm the day of departure. 

Oregon Ag Fest April 26 – 27, 2014

Oregon State Fairgrounds, Salem
Always the last weekend in April, Oregon Ag Fest is an activity-filled festival where kids (and grown ups too!) can touch, taste and experience life on the farm.

Farmer’s Market & Salem Saturday Market: April-October

Downtown Salem
Salem Saturday Market provides local growers of agricultural products, producers of prepared foods, artisans and crafters with the opportunity, sites and services to market their products directly to the consumer. The organization operates several Farmers Markets, including Saturday Market, Keizer Sunday Farmers Market, Wednesday Farmers Market, Thursday Evening Farmers Market @ Broadway Commons, Salem Hospital Market and the Holiday Market. Visit their site for schedules and locations:

Salem Garden Events (ongoing)

Peony Paradise at Adelman Peony Gardens, Salem
Peony & Iris Flower Farm in Bloom Brooks Gardens, Brooks
Mother’s Day at the Iris Garden Schreiner’s Gardens, Salem
Read our post on 5 gorgeous gardens to visit this spring.

Silver Falls Mother’s Day Wildflower & Birding Festival May 10-11,2014 10am – 4pm

Learn about the native plants, wildflowers, and birds that fill Silver Falls’ temperate rainforest. Join guided walks, family hikes, and children’s activities. Enjoy live raptors and wildflower displays. Purchase native plants. Visit local wildlife organizations. COST: $5.00 per vehicle day use fee. No other fees.

Sheep to Shawl Festival May 10, 2014 10 am-4 pm

Willamette Heritage Center at The Mill, Salem
Ever wonder what went on at the Mill when the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill was fully operational? Find out at the WHC’s annual Sheep to Shawl Family Fun Festival. This FREE event features textile demonstrations, activities for the kids, tours of the historic mill and houses, entertainment, shopping, blacksmithing and sheep shearing demonstrations, lots of animals and much more.

Keizer Iris Festival May 15-18, 2014

Keizer Station, Keizer, OR
The annual festival includes carnival rides, lots of music and dancing, food booths, exhibits, an art show, local crafts vendors, running and walking competitions, and the Iris Parade May 17th. The 2014 theme is “Dancing in the Streets”.

Must See Oregon Saturday May 17, 2014 – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

New family friendly expo event at The Oregon Garden to showcase vendors and recreational opportunities from across Oregon. Festival Includes: Outdoor Recreation Opportunities, Theatre, Farm to Table Events, Eco-Friendly Trips and Events, Family-Friendly Destinations, Recreational Products and Information, Trip Planning, Oregon Beer and Wine Tours.

Memorial Day Sidewalk Sale Woodburn Premium Outlets, Woodburn

Wineries Memorial Day Weekend Open House May 23-25, 2014

Memorial Weekend in the Wine Country kicks off the summer wine tasting season. More than 150 wineries and tasting rooms open their doors each year for special events and tastings at one of wine country’s longest-running celebrations. Taste new releases and old favorites from our region’s acclaimed wineries. Enjoy a vineyard picnic, live music, tasty food pairings and local art. Savor the world-class wines and spectacular views of springtime in the Willamette Valley. Join us for this weekend of wine and community in our beautiful wine country!

Memorial Day Chicken BBQ & Capital City Jazz Band May 26, 2014

Schreiner’s Gardens, Salem
Memorial Day, from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Schreiner’s Iris Gardens invites you to their annual Memorial Day Chicken BBQ featuring the culinary delights of the Gervais Knights of Columbus.
Capital City Jazz Band entertains garden guests from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. This annual event takes place every Memorial Day and is filled with fun for the whole family.

Salem-Keizer Volcanoes Baseball June-September 2014

Salem-Keizer Volcanoes Stadium, Keizer
Come catch a Volcanoes game this summer,Single-A Affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. 5 Time Northwest League Champions: 1998 ~ 2001 ~ 2006 ~ 2007 ~ 2009 Dedicated to providing wholesome family fun for all in the Mid-Willamette Valley. 

World Beat Festival June 28 & 29, 2014

Held in Salem’s Riverfront Park on the banks of the Willamette River, the World Beat Festival is a two-day, non-stop program of international music, dance, song, traditional theater, ethnic foods, hands-on crafts, traditional customs and rituals, and folklore. World Beat celebrates the people and traditions of every continent.

Deepwood Wine and Jazz Fest June 28, 2014 4-9 p.m.

Historic Deepwood Estate, Salem
3 Gardens of Wine, 2 Stages of Music, 1 Fabulous Event. Willamette Valley wineries, local gourmet food vendors and live music all nestled in the lovely Deepwood Gardens resplendent with the color and fragrance of early summer blooms.

Civil War Reenactment July 4-6, 2014

Willamette Mission State Park, Salem
The Northwest Civil War Council is a non-profit organization made up of people who share a strong interest in the American Civil War. The group demonstrates both the military and civilian lives of Americans during the mid-19th century.

Fourth of July Sidewalk Sale

Woodburn Company Stores, Woodburn

Marion County Fair July 10–13, 2014

Oregon State Fairgrounds, Salem
No matter what your interest area, you’ll find it at the Marion County fair. Come and see the 4H/FFA animal/project exhibits. Bring the kids for a day of crafts, carnival rides, and a visit to the petting zoo. Like American Idol? Well, the MCF Talent Show will keep you entertained.
Deep fried Twinkies, monster burgers, elephant ears calling you? It may be time to get your fair food fix! Come to the Marion County Fair and receive that special experience you can’t get anywhere else!

Annual Salem Art Fair & Festival July 18-20, 2014

Bush’s Pasture Park, Salem
Salem Art Fair & Festival is the largest festival of its kind in Oregon. Each year, the SAF&F attracts approximately 35,000 visitors from all over the nation and is committed to upholding the importance of fine arts and crafts by providing access to a range of artistic mediums appealing to both art appreciators and art collectors alike. With a variety of different activities and offerings, the art fair is an experience the whole family can enjoy. 

The Bite and Brew of Salem July 25-27, 2014

Salem’s Riverfront Park, downtown Salem
The Bite & Brew of Salem, located at Salem’s Riverfront Park, is a three-day festival featuring over 15 bands on two outdoor stages and brings you several local eateries, 60+ beers on tap, Willamette Valley wines and endless entertainment for kids of all ages. Take advantage of the warm weather and bring your family for a relaxing day in the park and enjoy listening to our incredible line up of northwest talent. As the night goes on, put on your party dress and invite your friends down for Salem’s greatest reunion! 

Images Sources: 

Salem Keizer Volcanoes Facebook Page 

Salem Art Association Facebook Page

Feb 24, 2014

5 Beautiful Gardens to Visit this Spring in and Around Salem, Oregon

Photo @ The Oregon Garden

Photo @ The Oregon Garden

It will soon be spring and local gardens in will be in bloom! Salem Oregon has an abundance of gardens for you to enjoy throughout the year.

Rose, iris, tulip, peony and dahlia gardens, perennial and mixed borders, garden rooms, formal boxwood gardens, a Japanese garden, flowering trees and shrubs, bulbs, herb gardens, open spaces and numerous other specialty gardens can be found within Salem and Marion and Polk counties.

In this post, we will tell you about few to add to your list of gardens worth the drive on your next visit:

Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm Photo @Kristi Reed

Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm Photo @Kristi Reed

1. Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm

Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn, OR is home to the increasingly popular Annual Tulip Fest featuring acres of tulip beauty! Wander the fields, visit the Gift Shop, Country Store, and Tulip Café. Purchase fresh cut flowers and order bulbs for fall planting. The gardens are 30 minutes north of Salem and completely worth the drive! Don’t miss this year’s Annual Tulip Festival March 28th – May 4th, 2014! Visit for information.

2. The Oregon Garden

This beautiful 80-acre botanical garden includes a diverse variety of plant species and habitats and the only Frank Lloyd Wright home in Oregon. Visitors will certainly appreciate the natural beauty of forests and woodlands, wetlands and lake in addition to stunning formal landscaped gardens throughout the property. Depending on the season, gardens feature brilliant displays of colorful annuals and perennials along with carefully selected and arranged collections of conifers and sparkling waterfalls. Located 17 miles east of Salem in Silverton.

3. Schreiner’s Iris Gardens

The public is invited to stroll around the 10-acre display gardens during Bloom Season early May to early June. The gardens, family owned since 1925, have become quite popular with our local community and visitors during Bloom Season earning them Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence 2013. One visitor even describes Schreiner’s Iris Gardens as “Spectacular”.

“When we visited this garden, it was a huge vista of irises, most in bloom, some not. The variety of flowers was truly amazing….” he went on to say. To see more reviews, visit  

Special events for Bloom Season include a gift shop, live music, wine tasting, cut Iris stems, warm food, plant sale and more. Bloom Season hours: Daily, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. FREE admission, FREE parking.Directions and more information can be found at

4. Historic Deepwood Estate’s Lord and Schryver Garden

The gardens on Historic Deepwood Estate contain boxwood gardens, an English tea house garden, covered arches and gazebos, ornamental gates and fences as well at The Rita Steiner Nature Trail weaving its way through the western border of the property towards Bush Park. The garden’s origins go back to 1930 when Alice Bretherton Brown Powell, the longest resident of Deepwood, hired the landscape design team of Elizabeth Lord & Edith Schryver to design the formal gardens for Deepwood. Today, the beloved gardens are maintained by Deepwood’s dedicated volunteers and the Lord and Schryver Conservancy. Whether one sees Deepwood for the first time or visits again and again, it never fails to amaze and delight the senses.

The grounds are open 365 days a year from dawn until dusk unless booked for a private event which occurs primarily from July-September. Private events begin at 1:00 p.m. Please check calendar for private event closures or call (503) 363-1825.

5. Bush’s Pasture Park

This city park is home to an amazing collection of plants and designed landscapes, both historic and contemporary. The 90.5 acre park is blanketed with Oregon White Oak trees, cherry and apple orchards, and a rose garden with over 2,000 roses and open meadows, a greenhouse and stunning gardens with perennial, annual, tulip beds and more.

Don’t stop there! There are many gorgeous gardens in Salem, too many to list in one post! Visit to see even more places to visit this spring.

Jan 19, 2014

20 Ways to Beat the Winter Blahs in Salem, Oregon this Winter

medium_3508698271Are the cold winter months getting to you?  No matter the season, whether you’re a long-time local resident or a guest just staying the night, there’s plenty of fun, enriching Salem events to help you snap out of it!

Here are just a few events that caught our interest:

1. Annual Mo’s Crab and Chowder Festival Jan 24-26, 2014 at Willamette Valley Vineyards, Turner

This yearly tradition brings the flavors of the Oregon Coast to Willamette Valley Vineyards by offering Mo’s world famous steaming chowder bowls, fresh Oregon Coast crab and other seafood selections perfectly paired with their acclaimed Pinot Gris. Learn more:

2. Stitches in Bloom Quilt Show January 24–26, 2014 at The Oregon Garden, Silverton

This show will feature more than 100 beautiful quilts, vendors selling quilting wares, lectures by featured artist Lura Schwarz Smith and demonstrations by quilting vendors. Enjoy the Tea Room, presented by Stash Tea, where lunch fare and specialty items will be available for purchase. Learn more:

3. Oregon Wedding Showcase January 25 & 26, 2014 at the Oregon State Fairgrounds, Salem

We will be joining wedding professionals from all over Oregon (including the Salem Convention Center) to answer questions about our services for your big day at Oregon Wedding Showcase! Stop by and say hello! Learn more:

4. First Taste Oregon January 24 & 25, 2014 at the Oregon State Fairgrounds, Salem

This festival,formerly known as the Oregon Wine, Food & Brew Festival,features Oregon Art, Brew, Food, Music, Shopping, Spirits & Wine. Nom nom! Learn more:

5. Mid-Willamette Valley Women’s Show January 31-February 1, 2014 Salem Convention Center, Salem

Celebrate the spirit of women with a fabulous weekend featuring fashion shows, exhibits specializing in women’s health, beauty, fashion, fitness, food and lifestyle, domestic violence resources and so much more. Learn more:

6. Pinot Noir and Chocolate Celebration February 15-16,2014 Willamette Valley Vineyards, Turner

Treat yourself and your loved one with decadent chocolates paired with classic Oregon Pinot Noir. Willamette Valley Vineyard’s new Tasting Room and candle-lit barrel cellar create the perfect background to this indulgent pairing event featuring local gourmet artisans and rich, red wines. Learn more:

7. Mid-Valley Video Festival February 20-22,2014 Northern Lights Theatre Pub & ƒ/stop Fitzgerald’s, Salem 

This annual event celebrates local filmmaking by promoting, educating and networking filmmakers. The 11th Mid-Valley Video Festival happens February 20-22, 2014 at Northern Lights Theatre Pub and ƒ/stop Fitzgerald’s. Learn more:

8. Salem Art Association 15th Annual Clay Ball Saturday, February 22, 2014 at the Salem Convention Center

Join artists and patrons for a glittering evening of art, wine, food and music. This year’s Clay Ball theme, Get Up & Gatsby, is inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s celebrated novel, The Great Gatsby, as well as the 2013 Baz Luhrmann film by the same name.

9. Mt. Angel Wurstfest February 28-March 1, 2014 Mt. Angel Festhalle, Mt. Angel

Dust off your Lederhosen, starch up your Dirndl apron and join the happy folks in Mount Angel for two days of celebration in honor of the best of the “wurst” – Old World sausages that is – at the 6th annual Wurstfest on February 28, March 1, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. in the Mount Angel Festhalle (500 S. Wilco Highway) in Mount Angel. Learn more:

10. Celebrate Mardi Gras at Bentley’s Grill Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Each year, Bentley’s Grill brings Mardi Gras to downtown Salem, Oregon! Mardi Gras, which occurs on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, is a day of celebration and the opportunity to enjoy that favorite food or beverage that you give up for Lent. New Orleans has made this celebration famous and has a long-standing tradition of wearing Mardi Gras beads and giving them to others. So Bentley’s will of course be providing Mardi Gras beads along with our famous traditional New Orleans special menu and cocktails from our Lounge Bar! You never know what kinds of surprises you may find!

11. Embrace your inner Irish at the Bentley’s Grill St Patrick’s Day Weekend Celebration March 17, 2014

Bentley’s Grill celebrates all things Irish at their annual St. Patty’s Day celebration! Past events have included a traditional Irish lunch and dinner menu, Irish Lounge Bar specials, and entertainment from the Salem Professional Firefighters Pipes & Drums….stay tuned for details on the 2014 celebration!

12. Browse the unique locally owned shops, restaurants, bars and bakeries located in the Reed Opera House.

The beautiful Reed Opera House renovated historic building located at the center of downtown Salem Oregon and features unique locally owned stores and shops,restaurants, bars and bakeries..

13. Check out the exhibits happening at The Willamette Heritage Center at the Mill.

When guests ask us about seeing some of the interesting local atmosphere, the Willamette Heritage Center at The Mill is one of the first spots to come to mind. Their exhibit planners always bring fascinating new and unique perspectives from our region’s rich history. The Center’s 4th Annual Heritage Invitational Exhibition, “All the Live Long Day: Work in the Valley” opens on January 17, 2014 and runs through March 8, 2014. Fifteen wonderful Willamette Valley heritage and cultural organizations will curate their own sections of the exhibit, sharing aspects of “work” that are meaningful to their communities.

14. Catch an indie film at the Salem Cinema downtown.

Salem Cinema is Salem’s only independently owned and operated movie theater specializing in art, foreign, independent and exceptional film. Check out their new gorgeous three screen location on the corner of Broadway & Market. More choices for the independent movie lover!

15. Browse the exhibits at Hallie Ford Museum of Art.

With a collection spanning ancient times to the modern day, HFMA is a vital cultural resource for Willamette University and the City of Salem. The museum is located on the Willamette University campus. Click here to see a list of current exhibitions.

16. Catch an improv show at Capitol City Theater.

Located in the heart of downtown Salem, CCT is dedicated to live, home grown comedy. Boasting a wide array of training classes, improv shows and more, CCT is sure to deliver.

17. Watch a live performance or classic film at the Elsinore Theatre.

Take in a piece of Salem’s history in this beautiful historical restored performance venue. From classic films, to Broadway shows, today’s most popular comedians, dance, and today’s most popular bands, the Elsinore Theatre has something for everyone!  Look through their upcoming calendar.

18. Step back in time at the Bush House Museum. 

Located in Bush’s Pasture Park, the Bush House Museum offers tours to the public and preserves and interprets the heritage of the Bush House and Bush’s Pasture Park to illuminate Oregon history and culture associated with the lives and legacy of Salem’s Bush Family. Featuring many iconic 19th century furnishings, this technologically advanced home also contains the original light fixtures, central heating vents and plumbing fixtures. As the comfortable home of a Bush Family member until 1953, the Bush House Museum continues to welcome Salem visitors of all ages throughout the year. While in Bush’s Pasture Park, visitors can also explore the recently restored 1882 Conservatory, the second oldest in the west, and the Bush Barn Art Center in the original Bush Family Barn.

19. Tour Historic Deepwood Estate.

Winter brings Valentine Tea and Heritage Talk Series to Historic Deepwood Estate, an 1894 Queen Anne Victorian Home situated on approximately 4 acres of manicured gardens and nature trails set in the heart of Salem near its downtown core.

20. Catch a show in the Pentacle Theatre.

A rustic, cozy, comfortable playhouse, nestled in a stand of rare Oregon Oaks backed by Douglas Fir trees and Oregon volunteers. The Pentacle Theatre‘s 60th Anniversary Season is kicking off this week with their production of The Importance of Being Earnest.

Travel Tip: Get the Absolutely Heritage ticket before your next visit to Salem for admission to four museums for just $20! When you purchase one ticket and you will be able to visit these four Salem-area heritage museums!


photo credit: Jeezny via photopin cc

Dec 09, 2013

Salem Oregon = Holiday Shopping Central!

large__8252905181Still got some holiday shopping to do? We can help!

Salem is a key shopping destination for the Willamette Valley perfect for holiday shopping. From major names in retail to unique shops with local products, Salem has it all. The best part?

No Sales Tax!! Think about how much you will save on a holiday shopping trip to Oregon!

Here are some local shopping tips to make planning your outing even easier:

Golden Ticket Program

Golden Ticket Program is a new program to encourage shoppers to buy from local stores by offering customers deals on boutiques and restaurants, entertainment and services from 34 downtown Salem establishments through December 31, 2013.  Click here to see the downtown businesses who are participating in the Golden Ticket Program for the 2013 Holiday Season.

Visit these businesses to learn how to get a Golden Ticket and what the redemption value is when you apply the Golden Ticket to a purchase. The terms for the Golden Ticket are established by each business. hoppers A list of participants and information about the program is located at

Downtown Salem

You can find a gift for all tastes and budget in our city’s charming downtown shopping core, filled with boutiques, galleries, specialty shops and antiques.  Downtown Salem is home to a number of unique shopping destinations including Salem Center and the Reed Opera House

Lancaster Mall 

Mid-Willamette Valley’s largest enclosed shopping complex on one level with 200 popular and specialty stores for all your shopping needs. Conveniently located off I-5 on Lancaster Drive.

Woodburn Premium Outlets

100+ brand name stores offer shoppers quality merchandise at irresistible prices – not to mention it’s the largest tax-free outlet center in the West!

Aurora, “Oregon’s Antique Capital”

Just north of Salem , a visit to the historic town of Aurora will make you feel as though you have traveled in time.  Aurora’s historic buildings house over 200 antique dealers selling everything from fine vintage furniture, glassware, pottery, art, and popular collectibles.

Salem Saturday Market’s Holiday Market December 14th & 15th

If you are looking for a unique and special gift for your loved ones this year, you will find something for everyone on your list at Salem Saturday Market’s Holiday Market! The market, held on the second weekend in December each year, is Willamette Valley’s largest holiday food, gift and decor event- and taking place this weekend: December 14th & 15th at the Oregon State Fairgrounds.

photo credit: timsackton via photopin cc

Nov 25, 2013

Salem, Oregon Holiday Event Round-Up 2013

Photo @  Keizer Festival of Lights Holiday Parade

Photo @ Keizer Festival of Lights Holiday Parade

Here for the holidays? Lucky you!

Whether you are looking for something for the kids,  holiday shopping, sight seeing, music and more, you’ll be happy to know there is no shortage of the holiday spirit in Salem!

Here is our 2013 Salem, Oregon Holiday Round-up, for more events please visit

Thanksgiving Open House Weekend November 29, 2013-December 1, 2013

Various wineries throughout Salem and the Willamette Valley region.  Visit to plan your route.

First Annual Community Tree Lighting at The Salem Convention Center Courtyard Sunday November 30, 2013

Join us at The Salem Convention Center Courtyard for our First Annual Community Tree Lighting featuring Santa Claus! The festivities kick off at 4:00pm and include light refreshments, Santa’s elves, singing, childrens crafts and more. Santa will arrive via firetruck at 5:30pm to light the tree and officially kick off the holiday season in downtown Salem, Oregon!

16th Annual Giving Thanks Concert with Julie Hoy & Friends Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013

Julie Hoy will be sharing her inspirational stories and songs at the 16th Annual Giving Thanks Concert on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013 6:30 p.m. – 7:45 p.m, at 6:30PM. There is no charge for admission and the concert will take place at Queen of Peace Church in Salem, Oregon.

Willamette University Holiday Celebrations December 5-8, 2013

Willamette celebrates holiday season with food, music and a tree-lighting ceremony. The celebrations include: Christmas Unplugged: Reclaiming the Holiday Spirit with John DoanStar Trees Lighting and Holiday ConcertChristmas in Hudson

City of Keizer Festival of Lights Holiday Parade Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013

Festival of Lights Holiday Parade/Disney event will take place at Schoolhouse Square in Keizer from 5:00-7:00 7:00pm. Childrens activities, Radio Disney, Jingle Buck & Holly Doe Run, holiday fun and more! Visit for more details!

Salem Saturday Market’s Holiday Market December 14 & 15, 2013

If you are looking for a unique and special gift for your loved ones this year,  you will find something for everyone on your list at Salem Saturday Market’s Holiday Market! The market is Willamette Valley’s largest holiday food, gift and decor event . Local Willamette Valley farmers and food producers will have delicious special holiday foods for entertaining available as well. Admission is free and everyone is welcome!

Magic at The Mill December 19-23, 2013

The historic grounds at the Willamette Heritage Center at The Mill will be brilliantly lit with thousands of twinkling lights while fiddlers, singers, choirs, bands and choruses fill the night with music in this annual festival.  This is a must-see for guests of the Grand Hotel in Salem every holiday season!

Deepwood Holiday Open House Sunday December 22nd, 2013

FREE community holiday open houses that are fun for the whole family. Highlights include Deepwood in her holiday finery full of trees with sparkle and shine, live music, treats, and maybe even a visit from ol’ St. Nick! Make this YOUR family tradition. 1 pm to 4 pm.  Admission is Free.

Look for more special holiday celebrations at our local attractions like

Capitol Plaza
A.C. Gilberts Discovery Village
Bushs Pasture Park/Bush House
Historic Deepwood Estate
Mission Mill Museum
Oregon Garden 


Nov 19, 2013

Have a Little Cheese Please in the Willamette Valley Cheese Company Tasting Room!

The Willamette Valley Cheese tasting room staff always offers a welcoming smile. Photo@ Willamette Valley Cheese Company

You already know that Oregon is a world-class wine region, but did you know there is a world-class producer of artisan cheese right here in Salem?

It’s true!  Sinced 2002, The Willamette Valley Cheese Company has produced handmade, farmstead cheeses.

In fact, WVCC is Oregon’s only Artisan Farmstead cow’s milk cheese, focused on sustainability and hand-crafted the old-fashioned way.  The pastures and production facilities are certified organic, with no pesticides, herbicides or commercial fertilizer.

Raw milk from Rod Volbeda’s jersey cows are the prime ingredient for the award-winning line of Willamette Valley Cheese Company brand Gouda, Havarti, Jack,Cheddar,Brie,Fontina, Mozzarella and other farmstead cheeses.

The cheeses have received widespread acclaim and multiple awards the American Cheese Society in years past.  Rob Volbeda of Volbeda Farms, who owns and operates the Willamette Cheese Company, had this to say:

“We were thrilled to have our cheese recognized by such an esteemed organization. We are helping put Oregon on the map as one of the finest artisan and specialty cheese producers in the nation.”

Their award-winning cheeses are mostly distributed at farmers markets and local groceries in Oregon, BUT, you can enjoy samples of any one of them in the Willamette Valley Cheese Company’s tasting room where you’ll also learn about the cheesemaking process.

Be sure to put a visit to The Willamette Valley Cheese Company on your itenary during your next visit to Salem, Oregon!

Learn more about the cheese making process
@ Willamette Valley Cheese

Willamette Valley Cheese Company Tasting Room
Photo @ Willamette Valley Cheese Company

Willamette Valley Cheese Company
8105 Wallace Rd. NW
Salem, OR 97304

Tasting Room Open Tuesday – Saturday (call 503-399-9806 to confirm)
10am-5:00pm – Closed Sunday & Monday

For more ways to experience the bounty of the harvest season in the Salem area, go to

Oct 21, 2013

Fun Filled Fall Festivals for Kids of All Ages!

Scarecrows in the Garden Photo Source: The Oregon Garden

Scarecrows in the Garden
Photo Source: The Oregon Garden

When it all comes to Harvest Festivals, there is something for everyone here in the Mid-Valley.

Here is a run down of some of our top picks in the Salem area (or a short drive from us).  Visit Travel Salem or the webpages listed to get full details.

Scarecrows in the Garden

Scarecrows are taking over The Oregon Garden this fall! Scarecrows in the Garden, presented by Wave Broadband, is an annual month-long whimsical display of locally designed scarecrows. Scarecrow viewing is free with paid Garden admission. Oct. 1-Oct. 31, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Regular admission: $11 adults, $9 seniors ages 60+, $8 students.

Wooden Shoe Pumpkin Fest

Fall fun at the Wooden Shoe tulip fields with corn mazes, pumpkin patches and activities for all ages. Join us for scary fun in the fields 4-10 p.m. on Friday’s and Saturday’s. Admission: $7. Sept. 27- Oct. 31, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

French Prairie Gardens Fall Harvest Festival

Join us for our annual Fall Harvest Festival! Enjoy the only Pig Races in Oregon, hayrides, hay maze, corn maze, hay slides, obstacle course, and much more. Farm fun for the whole family! Admission charged. Tues.-Sat. 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

E.Z. Orchards HarvestFest

Fall HarvestFest featuring: Corn Maze, Petting Zoo, Pumpkin Patch, Hay Rides, Pony Rides,  Pedal Tractors, Slide, Steer Roping Ring Toss and Duck Races. Harvest treats include: caramel apples, cider, donuts, sausage, curly fries, and pie. Oct. 3-31. Mon.-Fri. 9-6; Sat. 9-5; Sun. 11-5. Free on weekdays. Weekends: $7 per person over 2 yrs.

Bauman’s Farm & Garden Fall Festival

More than 20 different activities for kids of all ages, plus gifts and décor, an in-store bakery, coffee shop and garden center. Festival hours: Mon-Fri. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat-Sun. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Airlie Hills Harvest Festival & Pumpkin Patch

Join us for our annual Harvest Festival & Pumpkin Patch. Corn maze, hayrides, hay maze, slides, food, and other fun-filled activities. Admission charged. Tues., Oct. 1-Thurs., Oct 31; Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Heiser’s Pumpkin Patch

Enjoy a day of fun with your family at Heiser’s Pumpkin Patch.  Take a free hayride out to the patch to pick out that perfect pumpkin.  Food, petting zoo, train rides, we have it all! Free admission.

Day of the Dead Celebration

Crafts, face painting, music, food, games, cake walk and a celebration of a beautiful tradition! The Silverton Arts Association will sponsor the 2nd Annual Day of the Dead Celebration. A cultural and artistic event that celebrates ‘Dias De Los Muertos,’ a traditional Mexican holiday. Free admission.

Wavra Farms Pumpkin Patch

Hay maze, corn maze, pumpkin bowling, pumpkin decorating, gerbil wheels, tire tower, hay tower with slide, hillbilly golf, and more. Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only until October 31.

Salem Concert Band “BOO-Trick-or-Treat” Concert

Sunday, October 27, 2013 - 3:00pm - 5:00pm. Salem Concert Band performs “BOO – TRICK OR TREAT!” Halloween Concert for scary, spooky, and spine tingling fun for the whole family.  Patrons are encouraged to wear  costumes and a prize will be awarded for the best. Admission: $15 general, $20 reserved, $5 student. Historic Elsinore Theatre.

Scarousel Bash at the Carousel

Sunday, October 27, 2013 - 4:00pm - 6:00pm Caramel apples (limit one per paid guest), face painting, unlimited rides, pumpkin weighing contest, costume parade, games and more! All activities are subject to change at any time. Admission: $5/person. Children 2yr and under are free. Salem’s Riverfront Carousel

Halloween at Deepwood

Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 3:00pm - 5:00pm. A fun-filled festival for little ones ages  3-8  (accompanied by an adult) celebrating the fall harvest season with story-telling, face-painting, treats, hot cider, and more!  Costumes optional.  Wholesome, non-scary content. Free admission. Historic Deepwood Estate

Halloween Trick-n-Treat

Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 3:00pm - 6:00pm The free ‘Trick-n-Treat’ for children ages 0-12 years. We average over 750 people participating with 25 businesses on display, giving out goodies to kids and their parents. The costume contest is every half hour, starting at 3:30 p.m. with the last contest at 6 p.m.

Downtown Trick or Treat

Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 3:00pm - 5:00pm. Games, crafts, snacks, piñatas and more highlight this free downtown Woodburn event. Local businesses open for trick or treaters. Free admission. Woodburn Downtown Plaza

More ideas for kid fun:

  •  Riverfront ParkTake a morning walk along the Willamette River in this 23-acre park, and you will see why we love it. This park has everything one would want in a park- plenty of lush green space, lovely fountains, views of the river, a children’s play area, an amphitheater, play equipment, a covered Pavilion and Salem’s Riverfront Carousel (one of our big attractions!). This park is the place for gatherings and events throughout the year.
  • A.C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village: Children of all ages come here and let their imaginations run wild with indoor & outdoor interactive activities. Not to mention, the museum is located in three very cool historic houses and has 20,000-square-foot Outdoor Discovery Center.
  • Enchanted Village: This beloved Oregon attraction/Theme Park located just 5 miles from our hotel. Visitors enjoy the mystical forests and handcrafted feel to this popular attraction. Kids will love the rides, story book lane, a Haunted House, roller coaster and Big Timber Log Ride.
  • Bush’s Pasture Park: Salem Oregon visitors and locals enjoy leisurely strolls though this 90.5 acre park that features 4 playgrounds for children; a Municipal Rose Garden; Historic Bush Museum; plenty of trees and open meadows making this a wonderful stop.
  • Willamette Heritage Center at The Mill: (Formerly know as Mission Mill Museum). This great museum is designated an American Treasure by the National Park Service and hosts outstanding exhibits and events throughout the year attracting thousands of visitors, history buffs, and school groups each year. The museum preserves the history of the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill and represents one of Oregon’s earliest and strongest industries.
  • Oregon State Capitol Tour: Visitors come to our state capitol to learn about the important events in Oregon’s state history, see the magnificent rotunda and where Oregon’s 30 state Senators and 60-member House of Representatives meet. Designated as the State Capitol State Park in 2007, the grounds surrounding the Capitol feature ornamental and native trees and shrubs. It is also the setting for the Walk of the Flags, Waite Fountain, Parade of Animals sculpture, a Liberty Bell replica, and a gazebo constructed in 1982.
  • Willamette Queen Sternwheeler is an 87-foot twin paddle-wheeler that departs year-round from Salem’s Riverfront Park and a fun way to see the river and various parts of Salem, Oregon.

Sep 17, 2013

Willamette Valley Vineyards Oregon Grape Stomp Championship and Harvest Festival is Back!

Kristi Reed & Soraida Cross (background) take a break at the 2011 Oregon Grape Stomp

Willamette Valley Vineyards is again kicking off the 2013 harvest season with the popular Oregon Grape Stomp Championship and Harvest Festival!

The annual event, now in it’s 23rd year, takes place at Willamette Valley Vineyards in Turner, Oregon (a short drive from our hotel) on Saturday and Sunday, September 21-22, 2013 from 11 am – 6pm.

This family friendly event attracts visitors each year from all over the country to compete, in teams of two (Stomper & Swabbie), for the title and earn a trip to Santa Rosa, California for the World Grape Stomp Championships October 5-6, 2013.

We are pleased to announce the Grand Hotel Salem and Bentley’s Grill ladies are joining forces to compete again this year!

In addition to the fierce competitions, guests will enjoy complimentary tastings in the WVV Tasting Room, food pairings (for an additional cost), and live music to enjoy on the lawn both days from 12-5 pm.

Admission is $10 and includes a Riedel wine glass.

Visit or call 800-344-9463 for more information.


photo credit: Travel Salem via photopin cc

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