While the east coast seems to have the corner of the market on quaint historic towns, those in the Pacific Northwest are home to a hidden small gem of their own. Jacksonville, Oregon, was originally a gold mining town back in the 1850’s. It then continued to gain prominence until the railroad pushed many to leave. However, much of the city is preserved as a National Historic Landmark. And this is a convenient location for those seeking a quiet adventure.
Historic Sites in a Modern City
History takes many forms in Jacksonville. From its humble roots as an Oregon gold rush town to its importance of having the nation’s first Chinatown. This city represents some of the most interesting mixes of history in the region. One of the many points of interest to check out is the Jacksonville Cemetery. The cemetery sits high atop the city from above a high hill.
Despite its historic roots, most visitors find Jacksonville to have many modern cosmopolitan offerings. In addition, the historic downtown is home to many unique shopping, dining, and art offerings. In addition the surrounding area offers idyllic views of the rolling hills and evergreen trees. And with 2,000 entries in the National Historic Registry, there is much to see and do.
Jacksonville Food & Drink
Dining choices run the gamut from fine dining to BBQ. Most cafes and restaurants can be found along the downtown area. In addition, wineries offer lunch or dinner offerings. For those who would rather prepare their own meals they have an option, The Jacksonville Farmers Market. It offers an eclectic mix of regional fresh fruits, veggies, and more every Sunday morning.
A more modern attraction to visit is Red Lily Vineyards. This local winery offers several ways to enjoy your day, including wine tastings, riverside dining, winery tours, and seasonal live music. This area is the perfect local date night out, making for an incredible way to enjoy the scenery.
Events All Year
For those looking for public events, the city lives up to its motto of “Always a Good Time”. The annual Britt Festival, a three-day event celebrating the life of Peter Britt (and not being from the U.K.) has become the leading performing arts festival in all of the Northwest. Since 1963, the Britt Festival has acted as the local summer concert event, with performances covering many different genres of music.
Other seasonal events include an annual Chinese New Year celebration, the Fall Classic Car & Truck Show, Haunted Trolley Tours in October, and more. No matter what time of year or the season, there is something for everything to find in Jacksonville.
A more permanent attraction of interest is the Beekman Native Plant Arboretum, which features over 175 different plant species in a variety of exhibits based on the many different changes in the Oregon ecosystem. Spanning three acres this spot, located behind the historic Beekman House, offers an interesting look into the Pacific Northwest’s diverse landscape.
Surrounded by the natural beauty of trees and sprawling hills, Jacksonville offers many opportunities for outdoor hiking, biking, and kayaking. Or, if you’re looking for thrills, you can find white water rafting and paragliding opportunities offered as well.
Woodland Trails offers 20 miles of hiking trails, while Doc Griffith Park has some of the best places for picnic lunches. The aptly named Forest Park offers many outdoor activities, including horseback riding, mountain climbing, and more. From rugged outdoor adventures to relaxing spa days, Jacksonville has something for every vacation need.
Guided Tour Options
If you’re looking for someone to help guide your stay to make the most of your time in the city, there are many opportunities for tours. The Jacksonville Trolley Tours run seasonally and offer a live narration concerning key points of interest and historical events. A self-guided tour of the city can be downloaded, or hop on a Segway Tour instead. Finally, key historical sites, including the Beekman House, Beekman Bank, and the Jacksonville Cemetery can be experienced on certain days of the year.