Eugene Weekly : Summer Guide : 6.4.09


Corvallis Day Trip
The little city with the big hip factor
by Katie Kalk

Looking to get out of Eugene for the day? While it’s true that green and yellow definitely clashes with orange and black, consider checking out Corvallis — it’s a charming town that makes a great daytrip destination. 

On the way up

Bypass the freeway and the highway, and take the back way instead. The 45 minute drive is gorgeous, winding through pastures and farmland, with the Willamette weaving lazily beneath the backdrop of the Coast Range. Take Coburg Road north from Eugene, through Coburg and into Harrisburg. Turn left at the stop sign (La Salle Street), and right onto 3rd Street. Veer left onto Peoria Road, following it for 22 miles into Corvallis. If you’re traveling on Friday or Saturday, be sure to stop at the Mennonite Country Bakery, 5 miles north of Harrisburg on Peoria Road, for the best cookies and cinnamon rolls you’ve ever tasted. 

Places to eat

Nearly Normal’s is a Corvallis staple, serving all vegetarian “gonzo” cuisine that will make the average Eugenean feel right at home. Organic ingredients and tasty falafel, tofu, veggie, tempeh and “Nearly Mexican” dishes top the menu. With outdoor garden-like seating, Normal’s is the perfect spot for lunch or dinner. (109 NW 15th St., 753-0791,

Big River Restaurant and Bar is your downtown destination for fish, pasta, vegetarian, melts and salads, with a spacious lounge for kicking back a few drinks. (101 NW Jackson Ave., 757-0694,

American Dream Pizza has every ingredient you can think of, good beer and outdoor roof-top seating. Conveniently, Francesco’s Gelato (208 SW 2nd St., 752-1326) is right next door. (214 SW 2nd, 753-7373, 

Places to drink

Block 15 Restaurant and Brewery is a new Corvallis favorite, with many delicious beers brewed onsite. (300 SW Jefferson Ave., 758-2077,

Oregon Trail Brewery will be happy to fill up your growler with great brew. It’s located inside the Old World Deli, so be sure to grab a sandwich on your way out. (341 SW 2nd St., 758-3527)

Tyee Winery produces excellent pinor noir, pinot gris, chardonnay and Gewurztraminer. Their tasting room is open Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 5 pm. (26335 Greenberry Road, 753-8754,


Darkside Cinema, located above the Book Bin bookstore, features multiple screens playing independent, small-time and foreign films. $8 general admission, $6.75 student admission, and $31.50 “if you leave your damn cell phone on.” Check online for showtimes. (215 SW 4th St., 752-1461,


Bald Hill provides several miles of hiking paths both around the base of the hill and up to its summit. The view from the top is endless, looking south over the city and across the green scenery beyond. Biking and horseback riding are also allowed on designated trails. From 53rd Street, turn into the Benton County Fair Grounds parking lot. The trail starts at the back. 

Chip Ross Park, located to the north of the city, features hiking, biking and horseback riding trails. The top of the park is open faced and looking south, with incredible views of Corvallis, the Cascades and the Coast Range mountains. McDonald Forest lies adjacent, with many more miles of hiking trails accessible. From Highland Boulevard, head north and turn left on Lester Avenue for trailhead parking. 

Mary’s Peak, the tallest peak in the Coast Range, lies 25 miles west of Corvallis and provides miles of terrific hiking trails. On a clear day, both the Cascade Mountains to the east and the whitecaps of the Pacific Ocean to the west are visible. From Corvallis, take Hwy. 20 west through Philomath. Turn right on Hwy. 34 towards Alsea, then turn right on Mary’s Peak Road. 

Art & theater

Pegasus Gallery features work by local painters, photographers, potters and sculptors, with new and diverse collections exhibited all the time. (341 SW 2nd Ave., 757-0042,

The Majestic Theater features professional, community and children’s theater productions throughout the year. (115 SW 2nd St., 758-7827,


Da Vinci Days is Corvallis’s “three-day festival celebrating art, science and technology.” Held July 17-19, Da Vinci days has food, music, a Kinetic Sculpture Race, lectures, exhibits, contests and hand-on activities, and is loads of fun for kids and grown ups alike. Weekend adult admission is $15, kids ages 6-10 are $10, under 5 are free. (

Corvallis’ Saturday Market has vibrant sights, sounds and smells and brings out the entire community. Held downtown every Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm, the market has food, music, locally grown and organic meats and produce, plants, artisan booths and wine.