Enthralled by the rugged and lush landscape that surrounded him, Steve Nichols wanted to find a way to connect with the natural beauty when he moved to Oregon back in 1993. He bought himself a drift boat, and headed out into the North Umpqua River and the Elk River. A few years later, he took on a jet sled, and started fishing for sturgeon and salmon that swim the Charleston and Winchester Bay.
More than two decades later, he leads fishing expeditions year-round, helping seasoned pros and fishing newbies reel in catches. Spring through Fall, charters set out to cast lines for halibut, albacore tuna, rockfish, ling cod, and cabezon, depending on the time of year. There's also of plentitude of chinook salmon fishing on the lower Umpqua, and ocean salmon charters that take place May through September.
North Bend Lanes has been family owned and operated for more than 50 years. But things have changed considerably in that time, including the $100,000 worth of sound and light equipment ownership has added to the space. The center takes on many personalities; there's a more serious atmosphere during league play, a family vibe during public bowling, and the psychedelic landscape of cosmic bowl with glow-in-the-dark colors and thumping music. Back Alley Pub & Grill, meanwhile, keeps parties fueled with homemade pizzas and burgers, a full bar including micro beers on tap, and video lottery games.
Captain Tim Abraham has spent more than 30 years fishing, both in fresh water (the Umpqua River) and salt water (the Pacific Ocean). So he knows his way around his 25-foot heated Alumaweld boat. On charter trips, he shares his expertise with his passengers, taking them on quests for fish that include everything from Chinook salmon and small-mouthed bass to perch. He's not intimidated by sturgeon's size, either. He'll help passengers catch those too.
The 600-acre park plays host to visitors who drive through the more than four miles of winding grounds to catch up-close glimpses of its inhabitants?over 550 wild animals from Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Bison, zebras, and giraffes roam the wide-open surroundings, living in harmony with tigers, lions, and bears. Founded by Frank Hart in 1972, the park has helped to protect endangered species while educating the public about them and their important roles in the fragile ecosystem. Visitors can make arrangements for private and personalized animal encounters as well as visit the safari village zoo, botanical gardens, and gift shop.
Back in the 1920s, Diamond Lake Resort was a fishing lodge. Today, though, it's much more?a hub for year-round recreation in Crater Lake National Park. In the summer, visitors fish for rainbow trout in the glittering lake and bicycle down lush trails. In winter, they drive snowmobiles over the fresh snow and cross-country ski along seven miles of groomed trails (or through 35 miles of rugged backcountry). Whatever the season, the resort offers plenty of places to stay, just as it did back in its fishing lodge days. Today, though, lodgings range from motel-style rooms to standalone vintage cabins.
The accolades accorded several of LaVelle Vineyards' wines in the pages of Wine Enthusiast magazine serves as evidence of the diligent work of founder Doug LaVelle and his son, Matthew, who tends the vines today. After taking over the winery?then one of the oldest in Southern Willamette Valley?in 1994, Doug took it upon himself to make a number of improvements to its antiquated technology and distribution network. He started the wine club in 1995, and just recently opened a brand new wine bar and tap room off of International Way in Springfield called the LaVelle Tap Room. The tap room serves as an in-town location for wine club members, but also to provide a new wine-bar-meets-tap-room experience with more than 30 wines to choose from and several local beers on tap.
Doug's investments paid off. Today, with Matthew as lead winemaker, the winery ferments grapes both from its original Willamette Valley location and another site in the Columbia Valley in eastern Washington. At the rustic Elmira winery, visitors can recline on the sunny deck, tour the winemaking facilities, or outsmart tipsy minotaurs in the garden's labyrinth.