by Cindy Weeldreyer
Autumn is a wonderful time to schedule your getaway at Cottage Grove’s Apple Inn Bed & Breakfast in Oregon’s beautiful Southern Willamette Valley. Cooler temperatures and the loveliness of the area’s fall foliage make September and October a great occasion to bring your bicycle, walking shoes and camera and spend a few days here.
The Row River National Recreation Trail runs 15.6 miles along an abandoned rail line from Cottage Grove to Dorena Lake, Culp Creek and the nearby Umpqua National Forest. It’s a free, paved, family-friendly corridor open to non-motorized cyclists, hikers and equestrians.
Special features include a shady tree canopy and great views along the north side of Dorena Lake and rural pastures filled with livestock. The trail is also in close proximity to three of Lane County’s picturesque, historic covered bridges: Currin, Dorena & Mosby.
In September 2010, the Oregon Scenic Bikeway Committee completed the first step toward giving state recognition to the Dorena Lake Loop. The criterion for earning the state designation is “a cycling experience that provides lasting memories by offering a rich taste of all the grandeur of Oregon.”
“The idea was that we wanted to find the best of the best rides in all of Oregon,” state bicycle and water recreation coordinator Alexandra Phillips said. Bicycling “is a wonderful way to recreate in the state, and see the beauty of Oregon.”
Held on the last Friday of the month from June through September from 6-8 p.m. Participating merchants host local artists, provide appetizers, wine tasting and in-store specials. Visit the unique shops and eateries, enjoy many colorful murals and relax in All-America City Square with its Victorian-styled fire tower – all located within this National Historic District.
Gathering of Gardeners at the Village Green Resort and Gardens is an annual two-day event on the third weekend of September featuring gardening exhibitions, seminars with gardening experts, live music, unique art, wine-tasting, garden vendors, and the “Great Northwest Tomato Taste-Off.” Admission is $4.
Buster Keaton Days is an annual one-day event on the third Saturday of October. It is organized by the Cottage Grove Historical Society to celebrate the famed silent film star and award-winning director.
Keaton filmed The General, one of Hollywood’s greatest silent comedies, in Cottage Grove in 1926. For good old-fashioned fun, dress up in period clothes, munch on some popcorn and step back in time to enjoy the showing of Buster Keaton films in the Shepherd Room of the Cottage Grove Community Center. Admission is $5.
For additional information on these Cottage Grove area attractions visit the Chamber of Commerce website: http://cgchamber.com/
For Apple Inn B&B booking information call  942-2393 or visit www.appleinnbb.com