November 3, 2007

Trick or Treat

October…the month of spectacular fall colors...and of course.... trick or treats. The month began with a wonderful visit from Eric & Brenda. And then we were provided with a special trick... early one afternoon, our friend Mateo from San Simeon State Park surprisingly showed up at Champoeg. We knew he was traveling the Pacific Northwest visiting friends and had hoped he would have some time to connect with us. Seeing his camper parked behind our coach brought more joy to our day. It was a very special visit and we thoroughly enjoyed his company, the sharing of his Guatamala adventure and photos he took and then of course... a conversation about our beloved Central Coast which was our "dessert" to close the evening.

We bid farewell to October with a very timely and nourishing visit from the Nicolais of Cloverdale. Along with their visit, they also brought some very special treats... the bright, sunny and warm weather of Sonoma County, a "few" choice pounds of delicious tri-tips for the grill and some tasty samples of locally grown "grape juice". Just what the doctor and dad!

With an offering of fantastic weather we all escaped to the outdoors to share and explore some of our local landscapes and sights. With the folks being drawn to nurseries and gardens...and then some more nurseries and gardens, how could we have ignored the hilltop views of Red Ridge Farms Nursery or beautiful landscaped grounds at the Oregon Gardens? Well we didn't.
The hilltop vistas from Red Ridge Farms in Dundee definitely showcase the beautiful fall colors of this part of the state. Set in a very tranquil and peaceful setting, you could browse through the boutique, share a picnic basket and a bottle of local wine or just relax and be.

The Oregon Gardens welcomed us with 20 specialty gardens and features. We strolled through waterfalls, quiet ponds, fountains, a unique display of conifers, a 400-year old Signature Oak, a garden just for children, beautiful vistas and some pretty cool art.

Although it is a hidden gem in the dense coastal forests of southwest Oregon, we are in close proximity to the largest state park in Oregon, Silver Falls State Natural Area. The park gives one many reasons to stop...but since the Nicolais never miss any opportunity for adventure... what a perfect way to stretch our legs, walk behind, through and around breathtaking South Falls...all the while savoring the crisp clean air, autumn colors and taking a "few" choice photos of the park.

The beautiful Evergreen Air Museum proved to be quite unique and showcased an excellent collection of military and civilian aircraft...with the centerpiece being Howard Hughes' magnificent Spruce Goose. You could easily spend an entire afternoon marveling at all the exhibits and historical data.

But just as November sunrises begin, they also set...and we sadly had to bid a farewell to mom and dad...but they take with them a vivid memory of the beauty of the Willamette Valley. What a comfort it was to see them both.

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