Oregon Day Trip: Silverton
Find pup paradise a stone's throw from Salem
Street scene: Restored 19th-century buildings tower above Silver Creek.
People population: 9,500
Dog population: 1,523
Town hero: Bobbie, the collie who found his way home from Indiana in 1924.
Don’t miss: The mural devoted to his 2,500-mile trek or the replica of him and his doghouse (Lewis St. at S. Water St.).
Dress code: Anything goes—just ask Stu Rasmussen, a lifelong resident and the nation’s first transgender mayor.
Morning treat: A cinnamon roll with dried apricots and walnuts from Rolling Hills Bakery Café (closed Sun; $3.50; 106 N. First St.; 503/873-8489).
Cheapest parking on the planet: Here, a penny buys 12 minutes. A dime? Two hours.
Reel bargain: First-run flicks are $6.50 at the 1935 Palace Theatre (200 N. Water St.; 503/ 873-2233).
Local hangout: The knitting table at the Purl District (closed Sun; 115 N. Water; 503/873-6178), where talk and tea are free.
If you go in May: The daphne is blooming at the Oregon Garden, and the dogs are barking for the annual Silverton Pet Parade (May 15).
Can’t make the parade? Hit the Silverton Wine & Jazz Festival (May 8; $25).
1. The main event: Locals and dog-toting tourists alike get a kick out of the Silverton Pet Parade, held annually since 1932 in honor of Bobbie, the faithful pooch. Ogle pups of every breed (usually some goldfish, chickens, and horses too) as they take to the streets in costume. The people-watching’s also fun. May 15; free; parade starts at Coolidge St. and runs along Main St.; 503/873-5615.
2. Four-legged hikers welcome: Typically, Fido has a tough time finding a pretty trail that’ll take him. Not so at Silver Falls State Park, 15 minutes south of Silverton, home to 25 miles of dog-friendly trails. We love the bike path that goes straight to the swimming hole. (Note: The ban on dogs for the narrow Canyon Trail portion of Trail of Ten Falls must be heeded, as sheer drop-offs make it too dangerous for pups.) $5 per vehicle; 20024 Silver Falls Hwy., Sublimity; 503/873-4395.
3. Really? A public garden allowing dogs? At the famed Oregon Garden, plant lovers are actually encouraged to walk their leashed pups around the 80 acres overlooking the Willamette Valley. The Pet Friendly Garden has ample shade, bowls of water, edible plants, and advice on how lively dogs can happily coexist with flowers. Ask for poop bags at the entrance. $10; 879 W. Main St.
Next: More Silverton spots for dog lovers
4 more Silverton spots for you—and your pup
Sit: At Silver Creek Coffee House & Howard Hinsdale Cellars Wine Bar, sip an espresso on the deck that hangs over the rippling creek. At 5, the wine bar opens. There’s a leash hook on the front door of the 1922 building, right next to a water bowl and a few outdoor tables, where dogs are welcome at all hours. $; wine bar closed Sun; 111 N. Water St.; 503/874-9600.
Eat: Breakfast and lunch are served all day at O’Brien’s Cafe, where a single, fluffy pancake fills the plate. Owner Molly O’Brien wears her love for pets on her sleeve—and on her wall. In the dining room, a mural depicts her dogs, horses, and parrot, along with what looks like every other pet she’s ever met. $; 105 N. Water St.; 503/873-7554.
Splash: Boating and fishing for trout and catfish are popular pastimes at Silverton Reservoir. So are swimming as the weather warms and dog paddling year-round. Free (fishing license required); 4381 Silver Falls Dr.; 503/873-8679.
Lie down: Stay to play another day. The lodge-style Oregon Garden Resort, right above the Oregon Garden, has pet-friendly rooms and welcomes dogs at its outdoor restaurant. The spa, though, is for people only. From $124 with pet, including breakfast and in-and-out garden admission.