After our awesome drive down the Oregon coast, we headed inland once again to visit the city of Eugene for a few days. Our reasons for visiting the city were twofold: One, to stop by the Bike Friday factory and order a new custom stem for my Pocket Crusoe folding bike (more on that in a later post), and two, to check out this green, cycling friendly city, which seemed a bit like Portland's little sister on paper.
We picked a gem of a place to stay. The Timbers Motel is a retro, mom-and-pop type place right in the heart of downtown, so we could walk or bike everywhere. And it is unusually clean, well-equipped, and charming, not to mention incredibly affordable. We really enjoyed staying here while in town, and it proved a great base to explore the city from.
There are flowers everywhere -- in barrels, planting beds, and hanging baskets. Hotels/motels that go the extra mile to have beautiful flowers always get huge extra points in my book. They make for a much more welcoming, homey environment.
The rooms have been recently renovated (window treatments still in progress) and are much, much nicer than you'd ever expect from a "vintage" motel. Wood floors, huge flat screen TV, great lighting, beautifully tiled shower, tons of outlets for all your gadgets, and a super comfy mattress with lots of pillows. All this and pet-friendly too!
I hope The Timbers won't mind if I borrow their image of downtown Eugene (below). I don't know how we managed to stay in town for three days without taking a nice one, but we did. It is a really charming, pedestrian-friendly place, with lots of restaurants and nice (not seedy) bars. It's definitely a foodie and craft brew mecca, and is easy to stroll and linger in. There are bike lanes on most streets and plenty of commuters and recreational cyclists pedaling by.
There's some nice public art as well.
And loads of adorable homes in neighborhoods right by downtown, like this cottage that totally charmed me. How cute is this?!
We got to enjoy seeing downtown as well as the adorable residential area nearby several times as we found a couple of food favorites that ended up being our go-to choices all three nights we were in town. Why mess with perfection once you find it?
For dinner all three nights, we walked through downtown, through the residential area, and over to the Laughing Planet Cafe, where we bought reasonably priced and super healthy dinners each night, either to eat in or to carry back to our room. This place rocks (as does their delivery van).
Inside it has an urban-industrial chic decor. You order at the counter, then they bring the food to your table. They serve all manner of burritos, bowls, quesadillas, and salads, with plenty of vegan and gluten-free choices if you're so inclined, and heavy on the local and organic ingredients, when possible.
Here are just some of the wonderful libations and meals we enjoyed.
Barry tried a kale-apple smoothie that was dynamite. And the local blackberry ale was gorgeous and delicious. Can you imagine the antioxidants in both of these?
Here's one of the delicious "bowls" I had with spinach, carrots, squash, and chicken over brown rice with an Indian inspired sauce.
And Barry's absolute favorite, the "Highway to Kale" salad, which he got every night. It was amazing!
He also got a HUGE burrito filled with beans, veggies, and rice one night. Great post-biking food!
Here's another yummy bowl I tried, this one Thai-inspired, filled with veggies, rice, chicken, and a spicy peanut sauce.
Here's another bowl Barry tried, the "Cuban bowl", with sweet potatoes, black beans, veggies, and a spicy habanaro salsa. Accompanied by a kale salad, of course!
And after all that incredibly nutrient-packed food for dinner, naturally we had to indulge our sweet tooth at the #1 rated Eugene eating establishment in Tripadvisor, Sweet Life, which just happened to be right across the street from Laughing Planet. Or was it by divine design? Whatever the reason, it was a match made in heaven for us!
We've been to a lot of bakeries lately, but this one takes the cake (pardon the pun!) for selection, and the quality was incredible as well. There's a long line of folks just waiting to order every single evening. The line is a good thing since it gives you time to look at everything and really consider the all-important choice you soon must make. And it is no easy choice, folks.
The photos above aren't even all of it!
Somehow, some way, we managed to choose and sampled a variety of incredibly decadent desserts over the three nights we visited. Some we took back to the room with us, which explains the less than gorgeous plating of some. The ones we ate in the restaurant were plated beautifully, as you might imagine.
Are you ready for this? Here they are in all their splendor.
Before you get the idea that we are incredible gluttons, do know that two of the three days we indulged in these incredible creations, we had done long bike rides. And we did walk to and from dinner each night as well. Ample justification, we hope!?
Here's a fun article I found on the Eugene scene you might want to take a look at to learn more about this quirky city: 31 Things to Consider Before Moving to Eugene. I just found it while writing this post, and found it amazing that both Laughing Planet and Sweet Life are mentioned in it. Good stuff!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
Favorite Travel Blogs