Silver Falls State Park, Photo by Cyndi Easterly
The North Valley: Discover Waterfalls, A Monk-Owned Brewery and Antique Shopping just Northeast of Salem
Start your day in the one of the country’s “top antique towns,” Aurora, 26 miles northeast of Salem. The town is home to more than two dozen antique shops, a self-guided tour of Oregon’s first National Historic District, and the Old Aurora Colony Historical Museum, where you will uncover the town’s fascinating colonial history: a Christian communal society established by German and Swiss immigrants who lived here from 1856 to 1883.
Head south and visit one of just three breweries in the United States owned and operated by Benedictine monks, the Benedictine Brewery & St. Michael Taproom in Mt. Angel. The monks use hops grown at the Mount Angel Abbey land to brew their traditional, Belgian-style beers.
Afterward, embark on one of the most enchanting hikes in Oregon at Silver Falls State Park, a lush, temperate rain forest east of Salem. Wind along the mossy and fern-draped Trail of Ten Falls, a famous 7.6-mile trek that passes 10 magnificent waterfalls from the shimmering 177-foot South Falls to the elegant Winter Falls.
As you pull back into Salem with an appetite, visit Willamette Valley Pie Company’s massive bakery where you can indulge in a piece of pie or a smoothie featuring locally-grown fruit. For a bit of savory balance, the pie company’s cafe also serves comfort-food specials, including grilled cheese and chicken pot pie.