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Eugene, Oregon, will always have a special place in my heart. I spent my college years there attending the University of Oregon and a few monumental things occurred during that time which have left me with fond memories of this little town. My work sent me down there Friday and a work connection hooked Jay and I up with an overnight stay at a lovely little bed and breakfast called the Campbell house. We stayed in the Marjorie room, which had us waking up to the sound of birds chirping and the smell of breakfast cooking downstairs. Highly recommended and we could not have been more comfortable. This place was so relaxing that we really lost all track of time and organization.

Friday night we made a couple stops around town to some of the local brew pubs. Like true tourists, we ordered the beer samplers, where you get to try anywhere from six to eight 5oz. glasses of various brews. It’s a great way to get a sense of what everyone’s style is. It doesn’t seem like it was too long ago that I knew many of the brew masters, but alas those days have indeed passed. Part of Eugene’s charm is their beer, among other things.

Saturday we got a fairly early start and hit the local Saturday market, which was walking distance from our lodging. The market spans three city blocks: one block for crafts, one for food carts, and one for produce and plants. What makes this market so much better than Portland’s is the quality of the vendors over the quantity. The craft booths are really great examples of local pottery (all with differing styles), local jewelery makers, clothing makers (printing on organic cotton), etc. The produce/plant area is great because they include some local nurseries along with bakeries and farmer’s market produce. It really makes the Portland Saturday market look like a cheesy tourist trap.

Jay was sweet enough to let me indulge my plant addiction, which really made the trip worth it. We picked up a small calla lily plant and this cool black ornamental grass thing. We also bought a lime-green thyme plant and a bright chartreuse oregano plant – they look awesome in our herb spirals.

Another fine discovery was this place inside the 5th Street market called Marche Provisions. It’s this fabulous indoor, European-ish food market. They had amazing pasta, olive oils, wine, and cheese for sale. Desserts too. The place seems to be broken up actually into a pizza place, a cheese counter, a bakery, an ice cream/milk shake counter, and general foo-foo food market. I love this place! Marche makes these different preserves, jams, ice cream toppings, infused oils. I picked up a quince spread. We just added two flowering quince bushes to our front yard this winter, but I have actually never tried the fruit.

I also fulfilled a life-long dream of biting into a honey comb. I know this sounds stupid, but I have these little things I have always dreamed of doing. Although the honey was delicious, the comb part was a little surprising. I never pieced together that this is where wax comes from, so eating wax was not quite the mind-blowing experience I somehow thought it was. Hey – another thing checked off the list I guess!

We had such a good time in Eugene, it really made me want to move back there again. Jay seems pretty sold on it as well, since he grew up in college towns and always feel at home in them. But, oh Eugene, you may just be a tad too small for us. It felt like we were gone for a week instead of just one night. So much more to write, but then I could go on forever about how much fun we had.

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Written by Renee Wilkinson