The Willamette Heritage Center is the best place to learn about the history of Salem, Oregon and surrounding areas. Located on the grounds of this open-air museum is the restored and furnished 1841 Jason Lee House and Methodist Parsonage, 1847 John Boon House, 1858 Pleasant Grove Church, and the distinctive red buildings of the 1895 Thomas Kay Woolen Mill. Although these historic buildings are usually not open after business hours, for a few nights each December, evening tours are available during “Magic at the Mill.” This annual holiday event is marked by thousands of twinkling lights, performances by local musicians, dancers, and singers, children’s activities, miniature trains, and, of course, photos with Santa and his elves. The 2105 event runs December 19 – 23 from 5:30 – 8:00 pm and is a festive way to celebrate the season in style.First held in 2000, Magic at the Mill gives families the opportunity to enjoy festive Christmas decorations and activities in a historic setting. You’ll see animated lighted ducks and fish swimming in the water of the Mill Race while sheep cavort and trees dance to music. As you peek inside each historic building, you’ll hear costumed docents sharing fascinating stories of pioneer and woolen mill life. The blacksmith demonstrations aren’t to be missed, and you can also watch weaving and lacemaking and craftspeople spinning fiber into threads. Seasonal food and drink and handmade and vintage gifts are for sale. There’s plenty to keep kids entertained. In addition to the traditional favorite crafts of making reindeer food and Victorian-era silhouettes, children can create period holiday ornaments and bilboquets (cup and ball toys). Enjoy the most wonderful time of year in Salem, Oregon. Magic at the Mill is your opportunity to not only delve into history, but to experience the Willamette Heritage Center site aglow in holiday lights!
IF YOU GO:
Willamette Heritage Center
1313 Mill St SE
Salem, Oregon 97301
Admission: $6.00 Adults; $4.00 Youth (4-12 years old); Children 3 and under are free.
Free parking in a huge lot suitable for even big rigs. Parking on surrounding neighborhood side streets is also available.
In addition to writing about her travels, Denise Seith is also a treasure hunter and loves a good latté. She and her husband own an online gold prospecting and metal detecting equipment store found at GoldRushTradingPost.com