Well, happy holidays GoMomGo readers!
What are some of your December must-do's in Lane County?
My troupe always heads to the "Snowfall" at 5th Street Market and sees the Hosanna Holiday Adventures production of Narnia. Mingled in with some cookie exchanges, caroling, Advent traditions, and more, Oregon is a quintessential place to spend the holidays.
And this year we were invited to start a new tradition in Cottage Grove!
The Village Green Resort is a hotel and meeting venue just 25 miles south of Eugene. They host public events throughout the year and are a popular choice for wedding and corporate events.
But at Christmas time, they take it up a notch!
A 14-acre garden adorned with over 300,000 lights.
Take your own photos with Santa with a very minimal (if any) line.
Ambience complete with strolling carolers, fire pits, and holiday music.
German food to comfort and gluhwein, cocoa, or cider to sip.
I really appreciated the special touches throughout the resort.
If the cold became too much to bare at any point, the Village Green offers a Family Loft within the hotel to play games, write letters to Santa, and sip on a hot beverage.
And be sure to check out the artisan market with local vendors!
My favorite things were exploring the tunnel of lights with my family...
...and taking in the talented choir! Here they are inside the Village Green lobby.
The best deal is to make a night of it and purchase one of their overnight packages which includes event tickets for all, food and beverage, keepsake mugs, and breakfast. Starts at $84. The hotel features a restaurant and lounge too!
“Ride choo-choo twain, pease, Mommy?”
Whenever my two year-old hears Eugene’s trusty train whistle, he poses this innocent question to me. He gazes at me expectantly with his baby blues and my heart meeeelts. I love how his developing little mind has figured out that he wants to ride a train -- as his only exposure to trains are in books, a couple of Thomas the Train toy engines, and of course, that whistle. Somehow my dear, sweet one knows in his heart of hearts that he wants to board a train with his mommy.
So I looked up the Polar Express out of Hood River. For my family of four, that would be $96 for standard seating. Not to mention the three-hour drive from Eugene. And, the reviews online are inconsistent.
That’s when I came across the Holiday Express in Southeast Portland. “The Holiday Express is a special opportunity for families to experience the bygone era of steam power,” says Ed Immel, Vice President of Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation (ORHF). “It is the only holiday train ride in Oregon featuring a full-size steam locomotive.” This year, the steam engine pulling the Holiday Train is The Spokane, Portland & Seattle #700 (SP&S 700).
I personally have seen this steam engine and the immense scale of the SP&S 700 is hard to miss; it weighs 440 tons and is over 100 feet long. The drive wheels alone will dwarf all but the tallest of humans. Everyone in the family will be impressed!
For several weekends throughout November and December, the SP&S 700 will pull out of Oaks Park Station, hissing and billowing steam. As the vintage train runs on the Oregon Pacific Railroad along the Willamette River, it won’t take long for the hypnotic movement of the clickety-clack to transport riders to places once visited or imagined. The train ride also includes a Santa visit on the train and lots of Christmas goodies at the station.
The prices are nearly half the cost of The Polar Express (starting at $9.50 each)-- but of course, being the resourceful mom I am, I called and begged for a discount for our GoMomGo readers. What I discovered is that they truly are a nonprofit and that the Holiday Express is actually a fundraiser for the volunteer-run ORHF museum. Any proceeds are used to continue to restore the beautiful steam engines. They also have no difficulty selling out their trains, so whip out your calendar, pick out a date and buy your Holiday Express tickets today!
For more information and tickets, visit ORHF or TicketsWest
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the series where GoMomGo will bring you an exclusive discount on a local tree farm!
Christy Rice is a mom to two great boys. They love to explore all that Lane County has to offer. Christy is a superstar at researching & finding awesome picks & deals for GoMomGo!