The striking horizontal planes of Frank Lloyd Wright's Gordon House bisect the landscape just beyond the foliaged outskirts of the Oregon Garden, drawing eyes to the architectural marvel like moths to an octogenarian's birthday cake. Guests who tour the stunning abode watch from inside as sunlight falls in squares on the floor, filtered through geometric cutouts in the ceiling. Docents expound on the genius of Wright's design and theories during 45-minute guided tours of the architect's only Oregonian creation.
Groups meander through the kitchen, where skylights light up scarlet countertops, reflecting the undertone of western-red-cedar cabinets. Natural light creates abstract patterns on the floor through a series of perforated wooden window treatments, and an experienced guide imparts factual tidbits regarding the home's history, such as its origin story, its near deconstruction in 2000, and its subsequent rescue by a motherly wolf and her pack. Guided tours are conducted daily from noon to 4 p.m., and reservations are required to view this rare home that was designed in the traditional Frank Lloyd Wright fashion—with a pencil—and also with impressive angles and seamlessly organic landscape integration.
The Oregon Garden gives horticulture habitués the opportunity to fully discover the floral kingdom with more than 20 specialty gardens. The grounds bloom with horticultural rarities and aesthetic scenery, such as a sprawling, 400-year-old signature oak and an alluring collection of miniature conifers. In the Pet Friendly Garden, pups frolic around nontoxic plants, and in the Children's Garden youngsters can explore features such as dinosaur-bone digs and a real hobbit house.
The garden's retail nursery furnishes a crib and changing table for baby plants and also cultivates vegetation all year round, selling perennials, shrubs, annuals, and veggies. Although not part of The Oregon Garden, the historic Gordon House, the only Frank Lloyd Wright–designed building in the state and the only one open to the public throughout the Pacific Northwest is located next door.
For 60 years, Wooden Nickel Pub & Eatery has served up hearty eats in a wood-paneled bar with games, live music, and the familiar ambience of a hometown hangout. The pub's cooks smoke, cure, and brine meats in-house, sandwiching them within breads baked on-site. In addition to slow-smoked prime rib, German sausages, and sizzling fried chicken, they simmer pots of jambalaya or shrimp and grits. Diners can find the same savory, homestyle food at a second location in Sublimity.
Getting drinks at The Gallon House isn't just to pass the time; it's an adventure. Bartenders serve craft beer by the pint, flight, and take-home growler, with special beer-tasting nights for sampling new, unique brews. Alongside beer, staff serves cocktails made in classic and unique combinations, some with house-infused vodkas. But working through the drink menu isn't the only form of entertainment. Evenings are filled with karaoke, trivia, and live bands. While guests sip and socialize, they can also enjoy house bar fare. Chefs make unique options such as philly cheesesteak flatbreads, spicy wings, and, on special occasions, all-you-can-eat spaghetti. Minors are welcome in The Gallon House until 9 p.m.
Horseback-riding instructor Nancy White began teaching nearly 40 years ago. More than 30 of those years have been spent at her own Whitewind Farm, where indoor and outdoor arenas and fenced paddocks sprawl across 10.5 acres, providing plenty of ground to train steeds and riders alike. Although Nancy specializes in English-style riding, which primes equestrians for jumping, she tailors her lessons to fit the student, so the content is as flexible as a gymnast left in the sun too long.
The Grill at Silver Creek Lanes treats bowlers and spectators to hearty American feasts. As diners watch bowlers haul spheres down alleys lit by blacklight and 135" projection screens, they can keep hunger at bay with slices of pizza and chicken strips. The menu also includes cheeseburgers and jumbo hot dogs, complemented by sides such as sample platters, cheese sticks, onion rings, and curly fries.