My wife Elizabeth and I lived in Los Angeles for 30 years, and even though we had many friends and had been established there for three decades, we were always dreaming of the Northwest, of greenery, trees, mountains and rivers, somewhere close to the outdoors.
We made several trips to the Northwest, and we considered different places as our next home, but nothing really clicked until we arrived in Eugene. We were staying in a motel, and I picked up the local newspaper, the Register-Guard, and the first thing my eye fell on was an ad in the real estate section, that asked the question: “Would you like to live in a beautiful custom hand-crafted home in the woods, with a rushing stream in your back yard?”
We replied in the affirmative. We called the realtor, and set up an appointment for the next day.
When we saw the home, which was located east of Eugene up the beautiful McKenzie river, it was love at first sight. It was everything the ad had described, a two story beautiful wood-beam home in the woods, with our own rushing stream in our back yard.
We bought the home. Everything seemed to just fall into place.
In Los Angeles, we had lived in a nice home on a quiet street on the west side of the city. It was a beautiful street, and the neighbors were nice, but we never seemed to really get to know one another. There was a kind of wall between neighbors. But once settled into our home in Oregon, we began to easily make a great number of friends. There was an openness here among people.
We traveled into Eugene almost every day, and after two years, we decided to get closer and move into the city.
Eugene is a city of about 125,000, right off Interstate 5, which runs up the middle of the State. Eugene likes to call itself the City of the Arts and the Outdoors, and it measures up in all those departments.
If you want outdoors, Eugene is beautifully situated to take advantage of wonderful outdoor living. To the east about an hour and a half drive is the beautiful Cascade range of mountains, filled with hikers and rafters in the summer, and skiers in the winter. The drive up to the Cascades is along the beautiful McKenzie river, a wild rushing river that gets wilder as you drive eastward towards its source in the mountains. The fishing is wonderful along the river, and you can see the famous drift boats that seem poised motionless in the water on the edge of some rapids.
To the west of Eugene, about an hour and a half again, is the Pacific Ocean and the beautiful wild coastline of Oregon. Much of the coastline is stunning.
The Willamette Valley, which Eugene sits in, runs north almost to Portland, and if you are a wine lover, you will love this area. Vineyards dot the area. These produce the great wine of Oregon, which has become internationally renowned. Pinot Noir is the most abundant grape here.
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The city of Eugene, itself, is a very progressive, youthful, community-minded city. Part of this is due to the presence of the University of Oregon, with its 20,000 students. Schools for younger children are excellent here.