Road Trip Day 1: Eugene

Posted on December 3, 2011 by Holly Hayes
Part of: California and Vegas Road Trip

We didn't make it too far today, but that was kind of nice actually - it's been very relaxed. We didn't get on the road until nearly noon, but still arrived with enough time for a bit of sightseeing in the daylight. Eugene may not seem too exciting, and it isn't really, but I chose it as our first stop because: 1) It has a few historic buildings of note; 2) I wanted to see David's former stomping grounds in his university days; and 3) it's a good base for some covered bridges I'd like to try to hunt down tomorrow.

Our home for the night is the C'est La Vie Inn, which is run by a French woman and her husband from Philadelphia, a very nice man who met us on our arrival. The inn is a Queen Anne-style Victorian house, which means it's on the National Register of Historic Places and I get to put it on my website. It also means it looks like an overgrown dollhouse, especially after their creative restoration work! The outside is a little purple and frilly for our taste, but the interior is beautiful, with lots of Paris-related decor (our water glasses have Eiffel Towers on them).

C'est La Vie Inn, Eugene

After checking in, we drove down to the university, got a great parking spot near the art museum, and wandered around a bit. After showing me to the oldest building on campus, Deady Hall, David headed to Starbucks to warm up while I took my photos. It seems really cold down here - 40 degrees tops - and he was just wearing shorts and a light fleece.

U of O
David leading the way, past a modern university building.

I really enjoyed Deady Hall, which is the main thing I wanted to see in Eugene. Built in 1876, it was the first and only building of the University of Oregon until 1886, when Villard Hall was built next door. Together the buildings are a National Historic Landmark.

Deady Hall:

Deady Hall Entrance

Villard Hall:

Villard Hall Villard Hall

Deady Hall's door was unlocked and the place was mostly empty, so I wandered inside and had a wonderful time. There are beautiful wooden stairwells at both ends of the building and the classrooms still look very historic. And it seemed to be primarily the math building, so I felt right at home. It was all very cool.

Stairwell Stairwell Stairwell Window Seats Classroom Classroom

I only wished I had used the new wide-angle lens - I thought it wouldn't be flexible enough, so I chose my main one (24-70mm) for this little outing. But this building is large and photogenic and would have been perfect for it. Lesson learned!

After retrieving David from Starbucks (which "back in the old days" was an Italian restaurant where he went dancing with friends), we made a quick stop at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, also on the university campus. It was free (today at least) and nice, but not super exciting. The building is quite pretty, though. A few highlights:

Facade detail

Pretty courtyard

Buddha Detail
Detail of a 12th-century Chinese Buddha statue

Roof Tile
Glazed roof tile from the Forbidden City in Beijing

Back in the warm car, David gave me a drive-by tour of the fraternity and sorority houses he remembered. They were fun for me to see - having been to a low-key private college, the "Greek system" seems like something exotic that's only in the movies! In fact the movie "Animal House" was filmed in one of the fraternity houses, but David said the building is gone now.

Fraternity House
A U of O fraternity house

Our nice host recommended a wide variety of good-sounding places for dinner, but we ended up at P.F. Chang's, which we had seen on the way in. Hey, Eugene isn't known for its cuisine (as far as I know), and it's what we wanted. It was delicious.

And now I have my 21st-century butt carefully balanced on a creaky 19th-century chair, writing this on a pretty little desk of the same vintage. I'm sorry to report the photo operations this evening haven't been quite as efficient as I'd hoped - from downloading photos to completing this post has taken three hours - but hopefully things will improve as I get more used to everything. I'm also not sure that iPhoto makes the photos look as good as Photoshop, which I normally use. It's hard to tell on the little laptop screen. So please let me know if the photos look noticeably worse than usual!

Tomorrow we go after some covered bridges, then make our way further south to another historic stop for the night, the Wolf Creek Inn. And now I'm off to sleep, perchance to dream of attending math class in 1876.