Friday, May 22, 2015

Old Aurora Colony Museum

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   Aurora Colony, founded in 1856, was a Christian communal society related to the Harmonists of Pennsylvania. Like the Harmonists most of the members were German and Swiss emigrants but they differed from the Harmonist by not practicing celibacy and by living together as families rather than in communal dormitories. The communal nature of the colony did not survive after it’s charismatic leader, Wilhelm Keil, died in 1877. Ownership of the property was transferred to the members of the colony and many remained in the area even after the commune was dissolved.

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  Besides the museum the site includes a house, a summer kitchen, a log cabin and a long roofed shed.

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  The museum is accessed by a ramp at the rear entrance. A gate must be unlocked so call ahead or have a member of your party inform the museum staff. The grounds are uneven and most of the other buildings have steps and are not accessible.

  RVs can park along the street.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Schreiner's Iris Display Gardens

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  Fields of color caught our attention as we were driving along I-5 and then we saw the signs directing us to Schreiner’s Gardens. Time to exit the interstate! Ten acres with more than 500 different varieties are in full bloom in the month of May. It’s an amazing sight!

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  The garden paths are hard packed dirt, bumpy but good for rolling along when they’re dry, but probably very muddy if it’s been raining.

  If the small lot at the garden entrance is full drive past the buildings and parking in the large lot. It’s big enough for any RV.  Garden

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Oregon Garden

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  This is a fairly new garden, opened in 2001. It covers 80 acres with  more than 20 specialty gardens and plans for expansion. About 5 miles of trails wind through the gardens. A narrated tram tour is included in the admission price.

The tram is accessible. The paths (about 1.4 miles) that the tram travels along are smooth and paved. The other paths are a combination of gravel and packed dirt. The terrain is hilly and wheelchair users may need to have help on the paved paths as well as the unpaved paths.

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  Follow the signs for RV/bus parking. Parks as close to the road as possible to avoid a long push through the gravel lot. It easier to stay on the street to get to the entrance rather than using the sidewalk. Garden

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Springfield Museum

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  This is the Springfield that "The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening used as the basis for the hometown of his characters so, of course, the museum must have a giant Homer, Marge and little Simpsons! Apparently people come from all over just to sit on the couch and get their picture taken. The museum has changing exhibits on the first floor and historical displays about the city plus the Simpsons statues on the second floor.

   The museum is accessible. The elevator to access the second floor is located outside. Exit at the rear of the building to get to it. The museum staff must be notified so that they can unlock the door on the second floor but you’ll be able to go back out to the elevator whenever you wish without setting off any alarms.

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   If you’re driving a RV DO NOT turn onto 6th Street. There’s a low underpass without a place to turn around. 5th Street has on-street parking with enough room for RVs. The sidewalks and curb cuts are good. Museum

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Dorris Ranch Park

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   After studying the webpage for Dorris Ranch I still wasn’t sure what we’d find to do at the park - they need to put some more details on the website! What we found was a pretty little park with about 3 miles of interconnecting trails running through filbert nut orchards, into the forest and down to the river. Get a trail map at the kiosk.  9,250 filbert trees- most of them planted over 100 years ago by George Dorris and his wife Lulu – produce thousands of pounds of nuts that are harvested every fall. Replicas of a pioneer homestead, a trapper’s cabin and a Native American plank house have been built on the grounds. I think they’re only opened for special events and tours.

  The trails are a combination of gravel and hard packed dirt. The 4-mile long paved Middle Fork Path also starts in the park. The trails are in very good condition but terrain is a bit hilly so wheelchair users may need to have help.

  The parking lots are small but RVs will fit by the kiosk if parked parallel to the road or by using several spaces in the Middle Fork Path lot.  Park

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Bohemia Gold Mining Museum

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  Artifacts and photographs pertaining to the Bohemia mining district fill this tiny, one room museum. If you have the time take a stroll around the town to view the murals on many of the buildings.

The museum is accessible.

  RVs can be parked along the street or in the parking lot at the rear of the museum. The sidewalk curb cuts are very steep or missing so it may be necessary to traveling in the street depending on where you park.  Museum

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Douglas County Museum

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  Douglas County extends from the national forests in the east across rich agricultural land to the Pacific Ocean in the west, so this nicely done museum has a lot to cover.  Included are expertly mounted animal specimens,  historic photographs, hands-on displays for kids and exhibits about logging, Native Americans and pioneers on the Oregon Trail.

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  The museum has two levels. The upper level is accessed from the parking lot. The lower level is accessed by a set of stairs so visitors using wheelchairs must exit the upper level and go down the hill to enter the lower level courtyard. The displays are in three locations with a different door for access to each area. There are a few pieces of equipment in the courtyard. The train depot was under repair during our visit but I did not see a ramp.

  RVs can park along the side on in the rear of the museum. Since our motorhome is short we parked in the handicapped spot on the upper level. The museum is located in the Douglas County Fairgrounds which also has a RV park. We stayed at the park on a previous visit – Here    Museum

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Harry & David Factory Tour

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  In the early 1900s Harry and David Rosenberg focused on selling their gourmet pears, grown in Rogue River Valley orchards, to luxury resorts in Europe, however when that market collapsed during the depression of the 1930s a new idea was born -  mail order fruit and gift packages. The company expanded to include other fruits, candy and baked goods.
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  Tours leave from the outlet store four times a day on weekdays. A small bus takes visitors to the factory buildings where candy and baked goods are made, and where the products are packaged to be shipped. The operation is very labor intensive as much is done by hand. The months before Christmas are the busiest but even during this slow season we still viewed the entire operation and watched chocolates, cheese cakes and candy-coated popcorn being made. A small section of the packaging floor was also active. The tour costs $5.00 and everyone gets a little treat at the end.
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  The tour is wheelchair accessible. Visitors with mobility problems may board an accessible bus or follow in their cars which means missing the narration given on the tour bus. Two stops are made and elevators access hallways that overlook the factory floors. Reservations are recommended but not necessary in the slow season.  Tour
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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Lithia Park

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  Lithia Park is a mile long, narrow strip of land with Ashland Creek running through the center of it. It includes several ponds, a playground, very nice manicured landscaping and natural forest. Paved walkways and packed dirt/wood chip walkways follow along the creek. Intersecting trails ramble through the forested hillside.

  The paved walkways are accessible. The packed dirt walkways are accessible with assistance.
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   Small parking lots are located along Winburn Way and Granite Street. A few on-the-street spaces are long enough for large RVs. Smaller RVs will fit in some of the lots.   Park
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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park

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  After two recommendations (thanks Dave & Marcia and Greg & Karen!) we knew that we had to stop at Burney Falls. We’re so glad that we did. The falls are gorgeous!  Burney Creek flows over the top but what makes it really pretty are the springs that seep out of the cliffs and form lacey cascades all along the wall.

  To top it off there’s an accessible overlook at the top of the falls and an accessible trail which leads to the bottom of the falls! A small, completely accessible visitor center is located at the top. After viewing the top of the falls it’s also possible to walk/roll along the Headwaters Trail for about 1/3 of a mile. To get to the base of the falls drive through the park and stop at the picnic area near the boat ramp to access the Burney Creek Trailhead. The Burney Creek Trail is 3 miles round trip out and back. All of the rocks and roots have been completely covered with hard packed dirt. There are some slight hills and a short section alongside the clay cliffs where the ground is dusty and loose but otherwise it’s a perfect trail for wheelchairs.

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  The visitor center parking lot has one RV space. Another lot is located across the street if the visitor center lot is full. Both allow easy access to the falls overlook. The picnic area and boat ramp lots are large enough for RVs.

  The park has a campground but since we boondocked in the forest we didn’t check it out.   Park

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