20 Jul A Mini Retreat and Staycation in Silverton, Oregon
I’m of the opinion that every trip should have a purpose. Unfortunately, many people try to squeeze too much into their precious few vacation days, and it doesn’t serve them well. If it’s really rest and relaxation you need, why spend thousands of dollars and waste long (stressful) hours flying abroad? In many cases, you’ll save yourself hassle and money by finding a more local destination where you can rejuvenate. By all means, take those sight-seeing trips and keep having those international adventures – but when it comes to needing a restful retreat, keep it simple.
Staycations – a vacation where you stay at home (or nearby) – are perfect for those times when you just need to recharge, or you don’t have the budget to venture out too far. Even those of us who have spent decades living in our hometowns can find new corners of our area to explore. Oftentimes, the next town over offers just as much uncharted territory as any other.
For us, the charming town of Silverton was just a short drive from Salem, and the Oregon Garden Resort provided a peaceful place of rest in a beautiful setting.
The small town of Silverton is perhaps best known as the gateway to one of our favorite places in the world: Silver Falls State Park. Locals may also recall that Silverton hosts the annual Homer Davenport Days, which includes “davenport races.” As we discovered during our recent trip, the town boasts an impressive number of murals within its historic downtown area. In 1999, Silverton also became home to the Oregon Garden.
While in Silverton, we enjoyed a nice lunch at Creekside Grill in the historic Hartman building. Their outdoor patio has a beautiful view overlooking Silver Creek. From there, we could easily explore the rest of downtown.
Oregon Garden Resort
On the outskirts of town sit the expansive, landscaped grounds of the Oregon Garden, created to display the wide variety of plants that can grow in this region. This 80-acre non-profit attraction is now managed by the adjacent Oregon Garden Resort. Visitors come to enjoy the gardens for a few hours, or stay overnight at the hotel, or attend a special event – like an outdoor concert or wedding.
The resort’s hotel rooms are uniquely situated within a series of lodge-style cottages, each with its own fireplace and outdoor seating area. Guests of the resort have special access to the gardens after hours. A pool, spa, lounge, and restaurant are also available.
After a nice nap, our first order of business was to take an introductory tram tour of the gardens. It was really helpful to get some explanations from the guide and orient ourselves to the many corners of the park.
In the evening, we enjoyed dinner at the Garden View restaurant where they serve Northwest-inspired meals and local wines. My favorite part was the dessert – a hazelnut crusted chocolate cake.
We happened to be there on a “Movies in the Garden” night where resort guests and locals gather outside on the lawn at dusk at watch The Breakfast Club projected on a blow-up screen.
The following morning, we returned to the gardens to explore at our own pace before breakfast. It was even more calming and peaceful to be in the gardens before they were opened to the public for the day. Afterward, we took advantage of the hot buffet breakfast included with our stay.
Butte Creek Falls
Typically, when we’re out by Silverton, we would go hike around the many gorgeous waterfalls at Silver Falls State Park. But this time, we followed a recommendation by the folks at Travel Salem to try Butte Creek Falls. Though the trail was pretty short, the two falls were well-worth the 40-minute drive. In fact, it reminded me a lot of spectacular Silver Falls with its impressive gorge and lush forest- you can even walk behind the upper falls!
Disclaimer: Our stay in Silverton was provided by Oregon Garden Resort and Travel Salem. The opinions in this post are completely our own based on our experience. If you make a purchase using our hotel links to the Oregon Garden Resort, we may receive a commission – at no additional cost to you.
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