Set in the foothills of the Cascade Range, Silverton is a quaint community on the banks of Silver Creek. The creek-side setting gives the town something of the feel of an old New England mill town, and although the area's major attractions--Silver Falls State Park and The Oregon Garden--are both outside of town, the downtown, where a pedestrian-covered bridge leads to a pleasant, shady park, is also worth a stroll. While in Silverton, be sure to wander around town and admire the many murals. For local art you can take home with you, stop by Lunaria Gallery, 113 N. Water St. (tel. 503/873-7734; www.lunariagallery.com).
Where to Dine -- For a quick pick-me-up, try the Silver Creek Coffee House, 111 N. Water St. (tel. 503/874-9600), which has a deck overlooking Silver Creek and also serves wine.
Mt. Angel is best known as the site of Oregon's most popular Oktoberfest celebration, which is held the second weekend after Labor Day. But should you be here any other time of year, you might want to visit the Mount Angel Abbey, 1 Abbey Dr. (tel. 503/845-3303; www.mountangelabbey.org), which was established by Benedictine monks in 1882 and stands atop a 300-foot bluff on the edge of town. There are peaceful gardens, a museum (with the world's largest porcine hair ball), and a gift shop. The abbey's library, designed by famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, contains an interesting collection of rare books. The museum is open daily from 10 to 11:30am and from 1 to 5pm; the library is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm and Saturday from 1 to 4pm. The abbey is also the site of the annual Abbey Bach Festival (tel. 800/845-8272 or 503/845-3066), which takes place every year on the last Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday in July. Last-minute tickets are sometimes available.