November 23, 2010

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Happy Tuesday, gentle readers.  How are you?  I am chilly-willy.  It is freezing here, quite literally.  Our thermometer has been hovering around twenty-two degrees since the sun came up, and I’ve got nearly enough layers to rival little Randy in A Christmas Story, yet my feet remain cold.  Blasted poor circulation!

All is not lost, however.  I am in good spirits and thinking fondly of our recent weekend getaway to Eugene and Depoe Bay.  We went two weekends ago and had a grand time exploring.  Eugene, if you don’t know, is the home of the University of Oregon (for my Colorado friends, think Boulder, circa the early 1990’s).  It’s two hours south in the valley, a lovely drive through verdant pastures with volcanic vents like massive mounds of granite scattered by the wind.  On the day of our drive, the skies were laden with heavy suitcase clouds, traveling alongside us, and the trees, oh the trees, a patchwork of emerald, gold, crimson, tangerine, and amber: the perfect portrait of Oregon in the fall.

Our home away from home was The Excelsior Inn, just west of campus.  It has a stellar and quite beautiful restaurant along with lovely, quaint rooms named after classical composers.  I chose Schubert, of course, and was very pleased.  There are also a myriad of watercolor paintings from local artists lining the halls, so it’s a feast for the eyes too.

In another feast for the eyes, we visited the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on the U of O campus.  I have to say, it is probably the finest small museum I have ever seen, with an exquisite and well curated collection of art.  The building is pretty lovely, too, and precisely what I conjure when I think of an art museum: fine ironwork, high ceilings, gorgeous marble, and shining floors.  There’s also a nice cafe and a kids (of all ages) area with costumes and neat activities pertaining to current exhibits.  For $5, it is well worth the price of admission.

We also had the pleasure of spending the evening with my former student, Matt, and his sweet and adorable girlfriend, Kelly (no pictures – darn!).  We enjoyed their good company over dinner and drinks (still a bit odd to enjoy libations with someone I knew as a teenager!), along with a special screening of the Oregon gem One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.  It had been a long time since either the hubster or I had seen it, and it didn’t disappoint.

The next leg of our adventure didn’t disappoint either.  Though there was a thick blanket of fog and grave concerns on both our parts that we might not actually be able to see the ocean.  I grumbled and fretted, bemoaning our predicament, but was ultimately redeemed when I not only saw the whitecaps crashing but could smell their delightful scent.  There is nothing like sea air to buoy spirits!

As a perfect tie in to our Eugene adventure, our picture perfect Depoe Bay lodgings (The Channel House) were just adjacent to the bridge in the scene where Jack Nicholson’s character takes the gang fishing.  Though we didn’t fish, we ate plenty of local seafood (Yaquina Bay Oysters and smoked salmon, among others, oh my!) and saltwater taffy so fresh it was warm in our hands.  We also watched Oystercatchers, and a tenacious Cormorant catch its breakfast (very exciting!) while sipping hot tea and gorging on golden pastries, granola, and eggs.  I think it’s what could be described as the height of splendor.  Indeed.  Sometimes it is nice to get away.

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