Smith Family Bookstore: Used Book Heaven
Smith Family is an independent bookstore downtown with two convenient locations and many shelves to browse. It is a great place to find cheap used books on virtually any subject or to get new books at 10% off. Also, if you are feeling strapped for cash, they buy used books and offer you cash or trade.
Down to Earth: Organic Gardening and Beyond
Down to Earth is a great home & garden shop with an earth-friendly sensibility. There is plenty to browse, from plates and utensils to organic fertilizers and seedlings. It has a great location across from the Beanery coffee shop and Banana Warehouse clothing and imports.
5th Street Public Market
A Eugene classic, the 5th Street Market is a great place to find a unique gift and eat a great lunch. You can find flowers, candy, stationery, Oregon art, perfumes, jewelry, clothing, toys, Nike apparel, and travel gear, to name a few things. There is a great inner courtyard for eating outdoors on a nice day and plenty of unique eateries to choose from.
KING ESTATE WINERY in Eugene, Oregon-Part 1: Organic Wine & "green" production
King Estate began in 1991 on a 600 acre parcel near southwest of Eugene near Lorane, Oregon. It is now over 1,033 acres with elevations ranging from 800 to 1,100 feet and is the areas largest certified organic estate.
The magnificent winery, which reflects the architectural tradition of a French chateau, encompasses approximately 110,000 square feet and is home to a wine tasting area, upscale restaurant, 490 acres of organic vineyards, orchards, & vegetable and flower gardens, acres of rolling vineyards, a Visitor Center & a MarketPlace with wine, gifts & accessories
King Estate produces Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris & limited amounts of Chardonnay & is committed to producing Oregon wines of exceptional quality using sustainable farming methods, meticulous fruit selection, impeccable winemaking practices & judicious blending.
The website is extensive & all inclusive & provides for online shopping & even has a live webcam.
King Estate is distributed around the US, Canada, & overseas.
They are open 7 days a week from 11 AM, offer tours, have a wine club, and make for a thoroughly enjoyable all-inclusive visit for scenery, education, food, and of course, great wines.
What to buy: Award-winning organic wine of all types are available here. I believe the best wines produced are the pinot gris (grigio).
King Estate Domaine wines are made exclusively from organically grown grapes from the estate vineyard while the King Estate Signature wines are based on a core of organically grown estate fruit with additional fruit sourced from sustainably grown vineyards throughout the Willamette Valley.
King Estate features Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, NxNW Wines, Vin Glace (Dessert Wine), Chardonnay, & Gift Boxes
What to pay: Average bottle costs range from USD $8 to $85 with the average range from $15-$35.
- Wine Tasting
- Arts and Culture
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
REI Sporting Goods: Non Motorized Sporting Goods
Many Americans are already familiar with REI as they have outlets in selected cities nationwide. REI is a co-op store meaning that it is run by a board of directors elected by its membership which is most of its customers. A unique feature is that at the end of the year you get a rebate on what you have spent in the store.
Eugene's store is very popular with outdoor enthusiasts here. It occupies a very unique building in the old Eugene Planing Mill buildings.
What to buy: I always go there for my walking shoes and socks. They feature a wide selection of shoes for any activity. Plus they have a wide selection of good socks for your footsy's comfort. I've also purchased such items as outer wear, shirts, shorts, bicycle parts and a carry all for my mini van.
Sales staff is very knowlegeable and helpful, but sometimes it takes a bit to flag one down.
What to pay: Competative with most retail outlets.
- Adventure Travel
5th St. Public Market: For a taste of mainstream Eugene
The Fifth street public mall is a collection of shops and local eateries. It is not your typical mall will throngs of teenagers blocking the walkway with - "Oh my gosh! - I can't believe She said that about your butt!?!?" The mall has a great local bakery by the name of Metropal, a good coffee shop, and several places showcasing Oregon wares. The highlight has to be the Nike Store. The one in Portland is larger but in Eugene is where it all began. Here you can see the waffle iron that Bowerman used to make the tread of the first Nike shoes. Also here is some items from the glory days of Oregon distance running.
What to buy: A cup of coffee and some warm bread. Load up on Nike stuff if so inclined. In Oregon - NO SALES TAX!
KING ESTATE WINERY in Eugene, Oregon-Part 2: King Estate Winery --Part II
Refer to Part 1 for all the details. This Part 2 will be for additional photos showing the various aspects of the magnificent estate.
What to buy: Organic wines of all types.
Refer to Part 1 for all details.
What to pay: Refer to Part 1 for all details
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
- Arts and Culture
Walmart - gotta love it: Live my life in Walmart fashion, says A. Jackson
And really, if you think about it from the point of view of the customer, you do want a wide assortment of good quality merchandise, the lowest possible prices, guaranteed satisfaction with what you buy, friendly, knowledgeable service, convenient hours, free parking, a pleasant shopping experience. In fact, that is one gets there at Walmart. And that is also what one is still often looking for in German shops when it comes to friendly, knowledgeable service, convenient hours, free parking. Guess, they improved yet.
- Arts and Culture
- Business Travel
- Family Travel
Postal Service: Eugene Government Offices
Again, one more option to flee the rain, get your car parked at the postal office, hang out in your truck, write post cards until your permanent wet hair gets dry. And most of all keep smiling. Btw, this Eugene Postal Office is the most structered and cleanest one I have ever seen. Friendly clerks too.
- Arts and Culture
- Road Trip
Sweet Cheeks Winery: Sweet Cheeks and Sweet Sips
Sweet Cheeks is a fairly recent addition to the Eugene area wineries as they just opened this fall. They had their grand opening this Thanksgiving weekend. The winery is located high on a hillside along a little valley that is a popular vineyard location southwest of Eugene about ten miles. As you enter the driveway the first thing you encounter is a statue/fountain of a little boy doing his nature call if you can picture what I mean. This along with the name are samples of the tongue-in-cheek nature of these proprietors.
The winery building is a reconstructed buidling with the interior and tasting room done up in native hard woods. The winery has a tasting bar, and gourmet kitchen for their special events.
This vineyard has been here for 30 years producing wines for other wineries. Now it produces and sells its own and has gotten off to a very good start.
What to buy: At the moment the winery is offering five wines for sale. We tasted them all this weekend and I must recommend the Pinot Gris and the Premium Pinot Noir. Both were very smooth and well balanced.
The winery offeres a wine club with special events and prices for members.
What to pay: Prices range from $12 for the Reisling, $14 dollars for Pinot Gris and $18 to $30 a bottle for the Pinot Noir.
- Wine Tasting
King Estate Winery: The King Is Here!!!
King Estate Winery is one of the largest and probably will be one of the most famous wineries in Oregon. Built high on a hill near the little town of Lorane about 18 miles Southwest of Eugene it can be seen from miles away. Certainly it is a bit pretentious, but King Estate is very serious about their wines.
A lot of capital has gone into this venture. They offer organic wines, and produce. The new tasting room is huge and magnificent. They also feature a produce shop where you can purchase fresh organic produce, wine, of course, and bread, cheeses, and salads for your summer picnics.
The approach to the winery is breathtaking, with row upon row of magnificently manicured vineyards. The building itself is a monolith that would rival any similar structure in the California Wine Valleys.
What to buy: Certainly the signature wines of this winery, and of Oregon are the Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. This winery not only produces large volumes, which is unusual for Oregon, but also consistantly high quality wines. They can be found nationwide and overseas occasionally.
One of the features here is the large variety of wines they produce. When tasting it is important to have in mind what you want to taste as the number of choices can be bewildering to the novice.
What to pay: Prices range from $7.50 to $50.00 a bottle.
- Wine Tasting
Herb Bee's Honey: Honey
While taking a drive in the country near Eugene, we saw the Honey sign and found this place. The Staleys sell local raw honey from a stand in front of their garage. My family and friends in Chicago now ask me to bring them some of this honey when I visit Eugene.
What to pay: Prices are lower than store prices. Recently I paid $4.00 for a lb. and a half. You can also save money if you want to buy a bigger container of honey.
- Budget Travel
Chateau Lorane: An Odd Assortment of Wines....
This is a small winery located just outside the little village of Lorane south and west of Eugene about 20 miles. Watch for the "tasting" sign...it isn't very big. After meandering on a gravel track for about a mile you come into the parking lot. The tasting room is small but decorated with seemingly hundreds of awards and medals won by their wines.
What you will notice is that the wine tasters are very engaged in their conversations about the offerings. At first this was a conundrum for me but after perusing their wine list I think I know why: This winery is unique in that it produces most unusual varieties of wine. Wines you don't find anywhere else in this area. And the winery has fans...people who like the tastes of say, "off dry" chardenneys. So they gather around the vintner and chat and listen to the stories of how to make unusual wines. Being a casual taster myself, I find this disconcerting as it's hard to get a fresh sip when the bar attendent is so engrossed in the conversations. Gosh, isn't life tough???
And, also, if you are thinking being married the Chateau offers a secluded gathering area beside a nice little lake where you can party hearty and take your solemn vows in a beautiful location.
What to buy: I suggest you go to their web site for a complete list of their offerings. Besides the traditional Oregon wines, they offer some very unique French vintages, a Library collection, meads, fruit wines and some very interesting blends with very untraditional labels. Not being a wine expert I cannot tell you more. Just explore on your own
What to pay: Prices range from $8 to $50 depending on your tastes.
- Wine Tasting
LaVelle Winery: You Can't Go Wrong At LaVelle
This is an old established winery location just west of Eugene. It originally was named Forgeron (which I'm told is the equivalent of "Smith" in France). Well, Forgeron went belly-up a few years ago and the LaVelles took over. And they are very successful. One characteristic of many Oregon Wineries are the gravel tracks that lead to the tasting room. This is no exception; one way traffic and a narrow bridge test your skills. How much do you trust the driver exiting from the tasting room?
We are members of their wine club and as a result get invited to three or four special events throughout the year. The tasting room is small, but the grounds are just perfect for picnicking and other outings. Tables are set up with umbrellas and chairs and usually they provide live music to sip by.
What to buy: LaVelle produces the standard Oregon Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardennay, Rieslings and others. We have never been disappointed by their wine club offereings. Quality is always good and the prices are reasonable.
What to pay: Most wines are priced at from $10 to $30 a bottle.
- Wine Tasting
Fifth Street Market: Eugene central shopping
Dating back to the turn of the 20th Century, the site was originally the home of a poultry plant. Today, 5th Street Public Market, in the very heart of Eugene's Downtown Historic District, is home to some of the Pacific Northwest's finest cafes and restaurants and a fabulous assortment of eclectic boutiques and artist galleries.