Heading to the University of Oregon May 2, 2010

Heading to the University of Oregon

On Friday, May 21st, I’ll be speaking at the University of Oregon (in the city of Eugene) for the Alliance of Happy Atheists.

All the details can be found here!

The event is free and there will be all sorts of food and partying afterwards, I’m sure.

I’ve never been to Oregon. Any suggestions on what to see/do?!


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  • Eugene is nice. My uncles live there. You should definitely take a stroll around downtown – it’s kind of cute.

    And if you get a chance to see other parts of Oregon, in Portland (about an hour, hour and a half north?) there’s Powell’s City of Books, a huge new and used bookstore, and the Saturday Market (arts and crafts, good food) is always fun.

    The Oregon countryside is beautiful, especially near the ocean. And keep your eye out for berries – by mid May, there may be blackberries growing by the side of the road, and there ought to be farm stands all over the place. Blackberries and raspberries tend to be particularly good in Oregon.

    Other than that, there’s Crater Lake, which is impressive, and Ashland, which is cutesy and has a lot of theatre going on, especially if you like Shakespeare.

  • If you have time and the weather permits, definitely get over the the coast. Beautiful and not to be missed.

  • John Takao Collier

    So many cool things to do in Oregon (Which the locals pronounce as Or-eh-gun; if somebody gets uppity about it, ask them to pronounce Illinois :).

    As others have mentioned, the pacific coast is beautiful; a bit to the northwest of Eugene on the coast is the city of Newport, which has the Hatfield Marine Science Center. A bit north of Newport is the “Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area Interpretive Center” (I love that name) where you can see tidal pools and such.

    East of Eugene (and just south of Bend) is the Newberry National Volcanic Monument where you can explore a lava tube and walk a trial to see black, glassy obsidian.

    Further south is Crater Lake National Park, which is stunning. A tad to the southwest of Crater Lake, along highway 230, is the “Natural Bridge” which is a boring name for something that is way cool – the entire Rogue River dives into a lava tube and then comes blasting out about 150 yards downstream.

    To the north is Portland, which has far too many things to mention. Northeast of Portland is the incredible drive along the Columbia River Gorge, carved out when a glacial ice dam burst several times around 15,000 to 13,000 years ago (imagine Lake Huron draining over 2 or 3 days).

    Closer to Eugene, (and to the southwest of Portland) is McMinnivlle, which has the “Evergreen Space and Aviation Museum” – the world’s largest airplane made from wood (the “Spruce Goose”) is on display.

    Finally, about 2 hours north of Portland is Mount St. Helens where you can see the aftermath of the largest movement of earth in recorded history (the erruption in 1980).

    So many things, so little time.

  • Ashley

    Like other have said already, Newport is pretty close to Eugene on the coast. I think it’s an hour and a half drive? There is a wonderful aquarium there if you like that sort of thing. Downtown Newport is fun too, lots of great seafood places.

    In Portland there’s the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) which has a planetarium, a T-Rex fossil on display and a special exhibit on space exploration. There are also the famous Rose Gardens and Japanese Gardens which should have plenty of flowers in bloom at this time of year. And of course there’s Powell’s, the country’s largest used and new bookstore… which takes up its own city block.

    I’m in Eugene myself but I’m a lot more familiar with things to do in Portland… a much larger city. Eugene has its charms but there just aren’t as many attractions or things that are “must-sees”.

    If you like beer, Portland has a number of microbreweries all over the city. Newport also has the Rogue Brewery which gives tours of their factory.

    Funny fact: Portland has the highest number of microbreweries, strip clubs and bookstores of any US city.

    Oh, and our state has no sales tax, so it’s a nice place to do some shopping =)

  • 7fta

    Pack an umbrella just to be safe! I live in Bend which is Central Oregon. Much different than the valley and coastal regions. Crater Lake is a must see if you have the time to drive up there. Might have to make the trip to Eugene to see the Friendly Atheist in person!

  • Revyloution

    7fta, I live in Bend too. Are you a member of the Central Oregon Atheists? Here is our Meetup page if you aren’t.

    http://www.meetup.com/CentralOregonAtheists/

    Im thinking of getting a carpool and seeing if we can head over for the talk.

    As for what to do, everyone else has nailed many of the high points. Definitely post if you’re going to go to Newbury Monument, or anywhere near Bend.

    If you’re a beer fan, Oregon ranks up there with Belgium for breweries. And if you come by my house, you can try my homebrew. Our atheist group just had a brew night last Friday.

    No matter what you do, I hope you enjoy my home state. It’s a beautiful place to live.

  • 7fta

    Thanks Revy! I just joined the meetup so maybe you’ll see me around!

  • Duo

    Multnomah Falls, in the Columbia River Gorge about half an hour east of Portland… Extremely beautiful.

    Also, check out the Japanese Gardens: http://www.japanesegarden.com

    Or… if you have a free DAY… drive out to the coast to Tillamook, home to the Tillamook Cheese factory, among other pretty sights.

  • Cool! I finally got around to reading your book (yeah, yeah, I know…); maybe I’ll drive down for the evening (I’m in the Portland area).

    As others have mentioned, there’s a lot to see and do in Oregon. If you’re an ocean person, a drive to Newport is definitely worth it. The Oregon coast is breathtaking.

    The many waterfalls are incredible, too. Someone already mentioned Multnomah Falls, but Silver Falls State Park is amazing, too (in Silverton, about an hour and a half northeast of Eugene).

    Hope you enjoy your visit!

  • Revyloution

    Cool 7fta, hope to see you around. Its a fun group.

    Duo, I still love the Tillamook cheese factory, but I miss the cheese milkshakes.

    Before anyone cringes with disgust, try it before you judge it (if you can find one). It’s a yummy cheddar flavored milkshake. Damn I miss those. Oregon is just a bizarre cool place to live.

  • Bea

    Specific to Eugene, I’d say you have to visit some of the locally owned and operated restaurants. Sweet Life Pâtisserie downtown on 755 Monroe. They make fantastic desserts. Another place to visit might be The ‘Wich House on 840 Willamette. They make gourmet sandwiches and soup at a good price, bake their own fresh bread daily, and have local beer on tap.

    If you’re there on a Saturday, definitely go to the Saturday Market. You’ll get a real taste of what Eugene is like. It’s every saturday, rain or shine, at 8th and Oak.

  • revyloution

    The sun shines in Eugene?

    Ya, and Ken Ham never lies. Quit foolin Bea, we dry siders don’t call you guys moss backs for nothin’ 🙂

  • McNerdly

    Portland is beautiful this time of year. Being a Portlander I definitely second the Powell’s Books and OMSI recommendations if you make it up here.

    Also, if you make it to Portland on a Tuesday, you should visit our Atheists-Agnostics of Portland State University meeting. [=

  • Skippy

    When I visited Oregon a few years ago, I got to see Cannon Beach, and drove along the coast, it was amazing. I was also fortunate enough to make it out to the Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood for lunch one day, and wish I’d been able to take a tour of the Goonie house, but, I didn’t find out about that ’til after I got back home to Florida.

  • Katie

    I third the recommendation to hit up Powell’s City of Books.

    Also, head to the coast and eat at Mo’s.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mo's_Restaurants

    There used to be a guy selling falafel pitas (homemade falafel, pitas browned over a bunsen burner, and lemonade from a mix) right next to the university. The name of his cart was Alexander’s Great Falafel- don’t know if he’s still around but the falafel was indeed great.

    Sakura’s is slightly expensive but the sushi is quite tasty.

    Wait, why are all of these food recommendations? XD

    Oh, and the Roxy in Portland has great heart-attack food late at night, plus all the pictures of the drag queens are fun to look at. Gotta love the giant high-heel shoe/chair in the window.

    I’d say head out to Mount Hood and enjoy the scenery, but with a nearly broken ankle hiking and the like are probably out of the question, hehe.

  • SpencerDub

    Ah, Oregon! I second what everybody has said so far; there are some wonderful things to be seen in my home state.

    Being a Portland kid myself, I highly recommend checking out the city. There are a number of great sights, including Powell’s, as mentioned, the largest independent bookstore in the world. Also worth checking out is Voodoo Donuts, a donut shop that specializes in offbeat, wacky pastries, such cake donuts topped with cereal or maple bacon bars.

    If you’re looking for lunch or dinner in the Portland area, you can’t go wrong with McMenamin’s, a locally-owned small chain of pub-type restaurants that often sprout up in historic buildings. There’s one in an old school, for instance, and another in an old church.

    I’m sorry to say I won’t be at the event, since I’ll still be at school in Walla Walla, but I know the UO AHA! is looking forward to hearing you speak! Maybe in the near future, my campus group can bend your arm and drag you up to Whitman too.

    Enjoy your trip!

  • Hi Hemant,
    If we had known that you were on your way
    here we could have had you speak at The Jefferson Center here in Ashland, in southern Oregon, just 170 miles south of Eugene, just north of the California border.
    Is there any possibility of you being free for Sunday the 23rd???? Let us know. You would have to stay overnight and catch a plane back to Chicago from Medford, our nearby airport. Drop me a line at my email
    address and let me know if a visit here
    could work. We could put you up and take
    care of your meals too! We are also in
    the process of starting an SSA chapter here
    at Southern Oregon University. It would
    be great if you could be here.

    Please let us know asap.
    Bob

  • thefoodie

    Eat the chef’s special pizza at the Pizza Research Institute (in Eugene — in Portland there are a billion things to do). Seriously, if you miss it, you’ll be missing out on the best thing in Eugene. Sweet Life is pretty good too, but PRI is an experience unlike any pizza anywhere else in the country.

  • AnonyMouse

    I second the “eat at Mo’s” sentiment. In fact, you should go to Newport for several days if you’ve got the time. Don’t stay in Newport – find accommodations in Waldport to the south. Then drive up to Newport and check out their stuff. They’ve got a museum trifecta that’s pretty cool (Ripley’s, the Wax Works, and an aquarium), the Oregon Coast Aquarium is down there and is totally awesome, and over on the bayfront there are a load of incredible shops. One that you absolutely should not miss out on is Pirate’s Plunder, where they sell an eclectic mix of pirate-themed merchandise and antiques. There’s also a shop right on the ocean where you can buy fresh seafood to take home and eat, and the crab is incredible.

    Bandon’s pretty good, too. Their specialty is cranberries, and there’s one restaurant there – Billy Smoothboar’s – that has excellent food. They put cranberries in their salads, which sounds weird but is very tasty.

    Going back to the desert portion of Oregon, you should not leave the state without driving through the John Day Fossil Beds. The entire area is a geological masterpiece, and home to the John Day Museum, where you can see fossils of the rainforest inhabitants that used to hang out in that area. I would classify the museum as a “must see” for anyone visiting Oregon, atheist or otherwise.

  • Elle Flores

    Hello. I will be heading to Eugene on May 22nd I’m sorry I won’t be able to attend your presentation. Will you be having another one?