Jerry's Rogue Jets does not take river tours lightly. The company employs a staff of Coast Guard-certified jet-boat pilots who navigate tours through the federally protected Rogue River Canyon. The route includes a turbulent, 12-mile stretch that the company has exclusive commercial access to. Each of the company's voyages takes place on a boat custom made by Wayne Adams, a direct descendant of the Adams family that homesteaded the canyon in the 19th century. Once they board the boats, passengers embark on one of three round-trip tours that aim to integrate adventure, nature, and comical, unscripted narration.
The calmer 64-mile Historic Mail Route follows a path that Jerry's mail boats still use to deliver mail each day. The 80-mile Whitewater Excursion and 104-mile Wilderness Whitewater adventures extend into more tumultuous waters. All of the tours—which throughout the years have attracted guests such as Jimmy Carter, Meryl Streep, and Clark Gable—include a 90-minute meal stop to keep passengers from filing their teeth until they are sharp enough to eat river rocks.
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.
The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (JSMA), the University of Oregon's premier art museum, tunes uninspired brain waves to fine-art frequencies with its extensive collection of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and American art. With more than 13,000 objects in its permanent collection, the JSMA allows museum visitors to delve deeply into past and present cultures from around the world. Museum members can sink sight buds into traveling exhibitions, such as Giuseppe Vasi's Rome: Lasting Impressions from the Age of the Grand Tour, which focuses on the 18th century Italian printmaker and his prophetic paintings of R&B group Boys II Men. Members can also partake in one of JSMA's educational programs. In addition to the free admission, museum members get the following benefits:
Valley Vintner & Brewer supplies budding and experienced home brewers all the equipment and recipes needed to concoct tasty batches of beer and wine from the comfort of their kitchens. Each home brewery basic starter kit contains fermenting necessities along with The Complete Joy of Home Brewing, an instructional tome chronicling beer’s mighty rise to prominence as America’s go-to shower beverage of choice. Your experienced vintner instructor will guide guests through a three-hour home-brewing class, answering all grain-related queries from, "How are hops grown?" to "Can I still drink my beer if it develops human emotions?" With gear and guidance from Valley Vintner's expert ale aficionados, beginner beverage barons can raise their glass-fulls from bottle-dependent infancy to full-flavored adulthood.