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Oregon Family Magazine

Falling into Fall

10/01/2018 14:57 ● By Sandy Kauten
October is a great month to explore Lane County. With school back in session area trails are becoming less crowded and when you aren’t heading to a soccer game, football game, or dance practice, be sure to ask Travel Lane County’s Adventure Specialists where you can hike to a waterfall, lake or old growth forest.  Several great trails are right here in Eugene-Springfield and don’t require a long drive or a lot of forethought. 

If you are like me and you don’t like to do a lot of planning, there are a variety of fall activities that are nearby and just right for families and kids of all ages. I recently attended a wedding at one such location and it reminded me that sometimes these gems are right under our noses and yet so easy to forget. 

Northern Lights Christmas Tree Farm is a short drive east and located along the Willamette River. Follow Highway 58 and turn left onto Parkway Road (just east of Pleasant Hill) and then right on Wheeler Road. You may also come from east Springfield via Jasper Road.  Just turn right at the Jasper bridge, which is Parkway Road, and then turn left onto Wheeler Road.

Arriving at the farm you’ll notice that it’s quite large. 162 acres to be exact. This provides space to grow more than Christmas trees and is home to a menagerie that includes cows, goats, duck, pigs and turkeys. The fun really ramps up with the start of Colonial Harvest Days from late September through October. A corn maze will challenge your escape skills, a ride to the pumpkin patch with Pilgrim Bob will entertain and inform, pony rides trot on the weekends, a life-size Hayflower (their version of the Mayflower) is a sight to see, and local vendors provide produce, gifts and other goodies.  There are even daily pie eating contests to participate in, or if you’re like me, you can just buy a pie or two to take home and enjoy.  There is an admission fee, and hours vary during the open days of Tuesday through Sunday, so be sure to go to www.northernlightschristmastreefarm.com to get the information you’ll need.

You’ll go away with fun family memories and it’s likely you’ll plan a return trip in December. Beginning the Friday after Thanksgiving through December 24, enjoy an old-fashioned Christmas! Take a tractor hayride to the Christmas tree fields to choose from a variety of cultured firs and pines. Cut your own tree or choose from pre-cut trees. Stop in the store afterwards to warm up with hot drinks and to browse through an amazing array of holiday ornaments and wreaths. 

Enjoy falling into fall and remember to check the Eugene, Cascades & Coast event calendar for more great activities happening throughout the region.

by Andy Vobora