At Crux Rock Climbing Gym, more than 9,000 square feet of climbing walls challenge guests as they tackle roofs, overhangs, and bouldering caves. Roped climbers are secured with auto-locking belay devices called grigris, allowing them to safely explore Crux’s many routes knowing their ropes are in extra-good hands. Climbs range from simple, juggy routes with easy-to-grasp holds to complex ascents that may require careful footwork or the flying leap of a dyno. Following a workout on Crux’s towering walls or in one of its three bouldering areas, visitors can dig into Hawaiian, Polynesian, and Asian cuisine at Ron's Island Grill, the gym's onsite restaurant. The gym also hosts summer camps, parties, and nights for female climbers only.
David Minor Theater’s two large projection screens broadcast new releases, classics, and cult films, but there's just as much appeal happening off-screen. One example: the front row of Theater One, where a long spread of plush couches stands in for typical movie seats. Then, of course, there’s The Livingroom Theater, an aptly named 16-person screening room outfitted with recliners, couches, and state-of-the-art sound.
Other creature comforts abound. The theater serves apps and entrees from local restaurants such as Café Lucky Noodle, The Jackalope Lounge, and Granary Pizza, not to mention local and seasonal beers from Ninkasi and Hop Valley, all of which guests can enjoy inside the theater during the show. Moveable tables at the end of the aisles also make eating or folding laundry during films a breeze. Moviegoers can even text their food or drink order to a special number and have it brought to them so they don't miss any of the film.
The seasoned head guide of Oregon River Excursions and the McKenzie River are worthy adversaries. Armed with 10 years of guiding experience and secure rafts, he leads groups down through portions of the river's churning rapids on full-day excursions. On trips, rafters come ashore for a fully catered lunch or to test whether their arms have turned into flippers yet.
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 started building a new wine bar in Springfield called the LaVelle Tap Room, which is scheduled to open in late October of 2013.
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. The LaVelle Tap Room will have 30 wines from around the world, as well as several local beers on tap. And 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.
Owned and operated by glass artists and collaborators Alejandro Hernandez and Ciara Cuddihy, Studio West houses a gallery of fine paintings and glasswork attached to a full glassblowing studio. The cream walls and bright lights of the gallery give way to the industrial metal and stony tile of the workshop, where artisans can be seen retrieving white-hot gobs of glass from the furnaces. These mounds of molten potential are regularly rolled and shaped into handmade trinkets and vases, which can be immediately smashed and melted, completing their life cycle. Visitors can experience the process for themselves during workshops, where they receive hands-on training from the glassworkers in how to bend the superheated silica to their will.
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