Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Eats and Treats in Eugene

I spent most of last week in Eugene, Oregon, visiting my friend Kealy. Kealy and I met when I first moved to Nacogdoches, back in 2004, and quickly bonded over yoga, wine, and vegan potlucks. The last time we saw each other was three years ago, when Nathan and I visited. This time I went on a solo trip, mostly because Kealy's amazing partner bought me a plane ticket as a birthday present for Kealy. (He's a keeper, that's for sure!) 

Thus, we enjoyed five magical days that included the county fair, gleaning fruit and making jam, pillaging the local Goodwill, playing board games, hiking ten miles and seeing ten waterfalls, drinking delicious coffee with warm, frothy almond milk, and eating all the best vegan food in town. How about a hundred photos? 

We spent a lot of time walking through the neighborhoods with Kealy's pup, Abby, ogling gardens, collecting blackberries and plums from bushes and trees, and enjoying the fact that it was cool and not at all humid. While I was there, we made blackberry-plum jam from our gleaned fruit, and rhubarb jam from Kealy's garden. Between all the jam we made in Oregon and my endless jars of strawberry jam at home, this has been the Summer of Canning. That's a good thing. 

I don't know about you, but I love a good county fair, and the one we visited on my second day in town did not disappoint. Tons of animals, prize winning vegetables, and killer displays of homemade cakes, jams, quilts, and honey. Kealy also has chickens, so naturally we spent nearly an hour looking at all the different breeds and meticulously planning out our future flocks. 

Vegan pizza at Sizzle Pie. Vegan southern comfort at Cornbread Cafe. Vegan ice-cream at Vanilla Jill's. Vegan cake at Sweet Life. Vegan Philly Cheezesteak from a vegan food truck. Vegan hash and french toast. If I wasn't taking a red eye to the east coast, you would have had to roll me home. My only regret is that I didn't pack my big purse. 

I'm in this photo! Can you find me?

One of the best things we did was hiking the Trail of Ten Falls - ten miles, featuring ten waterfalls. It took us about four hours, and between the altitude and the steep inclines, I was feeling it. Still, we managed to talk nonstop and take a million photos, and did I mention the sheer beauty, the fresh, clean air, and TEN WATERFALLS? Definitely a day I'll remember forever. 

On the way back from the Ten Falls, we stopped at Willamette Valley Vineyards, a vineyard I recognized from my days of working at the wine shop. We were sweaty and covered in trail dust, but that didn't stop us from enjoying a tasting. Oregon is awesome like that. 

On my last morning in town, we hiked to the top of Spencer's Butte, coffees in hand. We hiked this trail the last time I was visiting, too, and even though it was too foggy to see anything when we got to the top, it was still a gorgeous and lovely time. Plus we befriended a squirrel, which we promptly named Alexander, who was so brave and friendly that he came right up to us and touched our fingers WITH HIS NOSE. And then I ran his tail through my hand as he turned around. And then my life was complete. 

I feel like I just wrote a whole post about the magic of seeing old friends (probably because I did) but I have to say it again: being with people I've loved for so long is a wonderful thing. My friendships are one of the greatest things about my life, and I was so grateful for the gift of time with one of my favorite people, in one of my favorite cities. 

Thanks for an AMAZING time, Kealy and Simon! See you in three years. ;)