Tag Archives: Spencer’s Butte

My University of Oregon Bucket List: Things to Do Before You Graduate

-Jamie Hershman

While I may only be in my second year here at the UO, there are many things to cross off my college bucket list before my four years are up. In case you can’t remember everything you should try to complete before you graduate, here’s a little reminder as to all the places to go, things to do, and people to see.

Definitely if you’re feeling rebellious, you should start your bucket list at the Jaqua Center. It’s off-limits to us non-athletic regular folk, and you know you want to break the rules just a little bit. I say swim in the pool outside the Jaqua at least once really late on a Friday night or early on a Saturday morning. Another item to cross off the list is to make it up to the second floor of the Jaqua; who knows what’s actually up there? It is such an unsolved mystery to the majority of the student body. Aren’t you just a little bit curious?

In terms of academia, there are a few accomplishments you should achieve before leaving college. Try and make the Dean’s List at least once. This requires you to receive a term GPA of a 3.75 or higher, but you’ll feel especially intellectual after a term on the Dean’s List and never want to be off the list again. Besides getting great grades, take a class that isn’t related to your major or general education requirements. Find a class that interests you and learn about a topic that will make you more all-around intelligent.

For the Eugene tourist in you, some places are a must-see. You have to try Voodoo Doughnuts. Even if you’re not much of a doughnut person, the doughnut flavors are just so out-there and unique that you have to see it for your own eyes. Maybe you will even be brave enough to try the bacon maple bar. And when you’re downtown at Voodoo, you should also stop by the Saturday Market to see the local crafts and food vendors. For your sporty side, I recommend hiking Spencer’s Butte on a nice day in spring term. Lastly, it is a must to travel to Portland one weekend (for all you out-of-staters). It is such a cool city that’s only about two hours from campus—you can’t leave Oregon without seeing one of the most liberal cities on the west coast.

As an automatic Duck fan, you have to go see a football game at Autzen stadium. Even if you don’t understand football, it is much more about the experience than anything else. We have so much pride for our team and the student section is packed with so much cheer that it’s hard not to get into the game. Maybe you can even get a picture with Puddles! Can I get a ‘sco ducks?

While there are probably many more things you can list off, these are just some of the main things on my list. See how many you’ve already accomplished and which ones you are waiting to do. There’s only so much time before your four years are up, so make the most of it!

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College Guide to Wining and Dining: King Estate Winery

image courtesy of Don Hankins

-Diana Roure

Think about these three words: college and fine wine.  They do not actually belong together, right?

Wrong. And not just because of Franzia, Carlo Rossi, or the clearance aisle at Safeway.

Here at the University of Oregon, situated at the southern end of the beautiful Willamette Valley, we are surrounded by one of the best wine regions in America, giving Napa and Sonoma wines a run for their money.  With its moderate weather – chilly and damp in the winter, hot and dry in the summer – the valley we call home is an excellent place for growing wine grapes.

With so many wineries near us, most within a half hour, you should take advantage of this opportunity and familiarize yourself with the Willamette Valley wine experience at least once during your college career in Eugene.  Most wineries offer tasting, beautiful scenery, and wine for sale, obviously.

Now I know as college students we do not have a disposable income lying around and we are not too interested in becoming “wine snobs.”  I certainly am no exception.  Growing up just an hour from Napa Valley with my wine-loving mother, I couldn’t have cared less what good wine was, what it tasted like, or smelled like.  I had no idea what a bouquet meant or what exactly a decanter was for.  I’ve even been known to partake in a little slap bag action myself.

But at some point during these past seven months as a legal drinker, I have grown to appreciate how perfect a nice glass of wine can be at the end of a long day or over dinner with friends.  I have been more willing to occasionally splurge on finer alcohols.  The increase in price is almost always accompanied by a better taste and perhaps a more desirable effect.  I still have no idea what a bouquet is or why it is important to let wine breathe. But hey, we are all hardworking college students.  Why not treat yourself every now and then?

My favorite Willamette Valley winery is King Estate, just a thirty-minute scenic drive past the moss-covered trees of Spencer’s Butte.  As you make your way up the long winding driveway, acres of grape vines, fresh lavender, a variety of wildlife, and stunning views await you.  Park your car in the expansive parking lot overlooking the valley and head into the charming European-style main building.

Wine tasting at King Estate is actually only $5 (!!!), which is virtually unheard of.  King Estate has a wide variety of red and white wines – Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and dessert wines – to name a few.  There is absolutely something for everyone.  Walk right up to the bar and an extremely knowledgeable associate will gladly assist you in trying some of the best wines in Oregon.

Visitors not only come for the wine but for the exceptional food, as well.  I have only had the Roasted Smoked Chicken ($14) all three times that I have been there, but it is hands down the best chicken I have ever had.  Yes, it is more expensive than Panda Express or Caspian, but it’s 100% worth it.

Do yourself a favor.  Put that jug-o-wine down, gather some great friends, and make your way to King Estate for a wine and dine experience you will not soon forget!

Follow Diana at @dianaroure