Garden Thyme Nursery owner Patti Harris grows exclusively in unheated greenhouses, rendering her plants hearty enough to endure chilly spring mornings or the ice-cold glare of hungry vegetarians. Additionally, Harris selects only drought-tolerant and deer-resistant buds to join her nursery’s ranks, prizing perennials with extended bloom times.
Harris’s gardeners happily collaborate with customers to choose plants ideal for all types of gardens. But if green thumbs need further inspiration, Patti recommends a 1-mile jaunt to Oregon Garden, an 80-acre garden that grows many of the plants available at Garden Thyme Nursery.
Inside a historical brick building, Howard Hinsdale Cellars' wine pros select from international and Oregon-based small producers to fill glasses with potables, which diners sip between bites of creative and health-focused bistro fare. Tenders at the stained wooden bar pour each palate-pleasing blend, and the kitchen crew uses local, seasonal items as well as imported meats and cheese to craft more small plates than are spun by a circus school's kindergarten class. Beginning at 7 p.m., music fills the lounge-style dining area with groovy tunes from jazz groups and singer-songwriters. Visitors can also sip wine on a wooden deck overhanging a scenic creek or plan their visit to correspond with events such as tastings and movie nights.
HydroSports Dive and Travel’s certified scuba instructors tap into their enthusiasm for all things aquatic to train nascent sea explorers with thorough diving instruction. The staff formulate a roster of classes that includes a wide range of lessons, from basic tutorials that introduce essential skills to advanced courses that yield open-water certification and the ability to recite Keats underwater.
In addition to classes, HydroSports' onsite shop packs an arsenal of equipment from top-quality brands and ample rental gear for self-arranged dives. HydroSports Dive and Travel’s trainers also organize frequent diving excursions amid marine wonderlands such as Palau, Santa Catalina Island, and Poseidon's living room.
Ever since Growl Movement opened, a rotating selection of craft beers, hard ciders, and kombucha teas have flowed freely through its taps. The various beverages are crafted at breweries around the Northwest, and most can't be found in a grocery store—normally, you'd have to journey to the breweries themselves to buy a supply for your home. The shop sells half-gallon growlers, quarter-gallon growlettes, pints, and taster portions. Growlers can be reused again and again with a quick wash between fills.
An ancient part of Chinese culture, crackling fireworks were once used to ward off evil spirits with their noisy display, which became a harbinger of a peaceful and prosperous new year. Black Cat Fireworks has upheld this explosive tradition since 1906, when the original company, Li & Fung, began refining and exporting firecrackers out of Canton and then Hong Kong. More than 100 years later—and since the 1940s in the United States—Black Cat continues to shell out everything from sparklers to roman candles to rockets.
In the mild climes of the Willamette Valley, gentle slopes and low elevation nurture the 35 acres of wine grapes that produce Ankeny Vineyard's collection of pinot noir, pinot gris, and other signature wines. Vineyard owner Joe Olexa planted his first grapes in 1982, and with the help of winemaker Andy Thomas, the varietals have stood the test of time to become perennial award-winners at the Oregon State Fair and beyond. Visitors converse on the winery's patio over glasses of pinot noir and mélange blanc, surveying the scenic Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge and its droves of migratory waterfowl. An onsite outdoor, wood-burning pizza oven allows for wines to balance with the flavors of melted cheese on weekends during the summer months, which will have to suffice until cheese agrees to be bottled.