Like many in this pandemic-stricken world, I often long to get away only to remember that isn’t really an option. It’s a grim realization, especially during the holiday season.
So when Cottage Grove’s Village Green Resort offered Eugene Weekly a one-night stay this year, I was in — once I was informed of their COVID regulations. Though Cottage Grove is only a 30 minute drive outside of Eugene, I was enamored with the idea of being somewhere new even if just for a night.
Each year around the holiday season, the cute and quaint hotel sets up a vibrant Christmas light display around their garden area for guests to walk around in and enjoy. Additionally, Village Green usually hosts a Christmas market with food and a Santa Claus as a part of the festivities. Because of the pandemic, Santa and the market were put on hold, but the lights are staying lit.
Yes, the experience this year is different, but still worth it. For me and my roommate, we were able to trade our two-bedroom apartment for a deluxe two-queen room with a fireplace and cable TV for the night. Outside of the room was a small porch with grass and outdoor chairs. It was too cold to sit out there though I imagine it would be nice during a different season. These days, you don’t need much more than that for a night away from home to enjoy it. And I slept great.
The rates for rooms range from $119 to $139 a night and includes access to the lights, a $20 food voucher and breakfast in the morning. They also offer contactless check-in so you don’t have to go inside the front lobby area. There are also several rooms that allow, and even encourage, pets. Unfortunately, limited COVID capacities meant that I didn’t run into any dogs during my stay.
The lights were dazzling in the cold night. Village Green limits the number of people admitted to the light display, so there were very few people when we walked around. I marveled at the displays of candy cane lights, penguins and the colorful light tunnel. There are also arrows on the paths to help facilitate social distancing. Meanwhile, Christmas music played softly out of the speakers. Strolling through all the colorful displays took me out of reality, becoming one of those moments where you pretend everything is normal, even if it’s just for a little while.
For those who want to eat in the light display area, the Village Green offers several German-inspired food options including pretzels, bratwurst and hot dogs as well as different drinks like hot cocoa and apple cider. Purchases are cashless only to limit contact. My roommate and I opted for some hot buttered rum, and found a bench near one of several spread-out fire pits to drink it by.
Let me keep emphasizing how COVID safe the property feels. Because of its design, each room is located on the ground level and is only accessible from the outside, which limits the interaction between people staying in nearby rooms. The hotel’s restaurant has outdoor seating (for those who can actually sit in 32 degree weather and enjoy a meal) as well as takeout, so you can eat your meal in your room, which really isn’t a bad trade-off.
A stay in one of the Village Green’s hotel rooms also includes breakfast. They have a limited menu that includes breakfast burritos, a cherry strudel and yogurt. I was also relieved that they provided coffee. They ask that you choose your meal the night before and pick them up to-go in the morning. Vegetarian options are also available.
Those who are not interested in staying in the hotel can just go see the lights for the evening. Limited tickets are available for purchase in advance for $5 a piece. This is an easy option for families with kids and for those who don’t want to spend money on a hotel room.
If you are looking for a low-risk, staycation this season, the Village Green is it. It’s safer and different than commercial hotels, plus you get some holiday fun out of it. And everyone could use a little fun.