Last September we were in Eugene, Oregon and had a great time exploring the area. We really enjoyed checking out several covered bridges in the area and you can see my post on the link. On the way back to Portland to catch our late afternoon flight, we had to check out the cute little German town named Mount Angel. I had heard about it before, but wasn’t sure exactly where it was. I was very happy to find out it wasn’t too far out of our way to stop in for a brat and a bier before we headed home!
BavarFor those that may not have heard of Mount Angel, it is 18 miles northeast of Salem, Oregon, on Oregon Route 214, and is located in Marion County. I have included a map below so you can see exactly where it is in relation to where we were (Eugene), and where it is to Portland. As you can see, it wasn’t much out of the way.
We made our way to Mount Angel and found it was quaint and very cute. We drove around a little while and looked for places to eat. I was really wanting some currywurst and found out that they had it, as well as schnitzel at Mount Angel Sausage Company. I ended up having the currywurst and a German bier (don’t remember the name now, but I think it was a Radler). The meal was wonderful and it was nice sitting out on their patio watching people come and go.
One other thing to note was that while we were waiting for them to seat us (it was a busy Sunday afternoon) we checked out their little store. They had so many German foods and spices available for purchase. I would have loved to have taken some fresh sausage/brats home or some currywurst sauce but weren’t checking any bags and stupid TSA would have happily taken it since it was over 3.4 ounces. Annoying, but maybe I can bring some back on another trip sometime.
We ended up driving around a little after lunch and checking out the town a little bit. I think I will share a little about the city before I share what we saw on our excursion. Mount Angel was originally named Roy and settled in 1850 by Benjamin Cleaver. Eventually several large numbers of immigrants from Bavaria settled into the area and built Mount Angel Abbey in the early 1880s. This was also about the time that the city became known as Mount Angel and it was incorporated on April 3, 1893.
Today Mount Angel is known for its annual Oktoberfest which is the largest of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. The first year there were apparently 39,000 in attendance in 1966, which continues to grow each year. Like in Munich, the Oktoberfest in Mount Angel features beer gardens, crafts, farmers markets, as well as an abundance of food, games, and entertainment. We may have to go one year since it is MUCH closer than Germany, lol. I just looked it up, and this year it will be September 15-18, 2022.
As I said earlier we toured the city a little and want to share some of the amazing sights we saw while in Mount Angel. Of course, if you are in the area you have to make sure and check out the Glockenspiel. The first figure represents the Native Americans who came to this place to communicate with the Great Spirit, followed by figures depicting the founders of both the civil and religious communities of Mount Angel and the fun of Oktoberfest. The Glockenspiel plays at 11 a.m., 1, 4 and 7 p.m. daily. The clock is large and clearly visible; the bells are sharp and precise in their sound. However, the animated figures are the real traffic stoppers as they say. Crowds gather on the appointed hours to watch the figures as they dance about and listen to the resonance of the bells. We actually have a great time watching the show and it reminded me of the Glockenspiel we saw while in Munich.
Another landmark you can’t help but see is St. Mary’s Catholic Church. This Catholic parish was originally established to serve German immigrants who began arriving in this area of the northern Willamette Valley in 1867. This was the third church in the area and was completed in 1912. As you can see from the picture, it is quite tall and contains 18 original stained glass windows. We didn’t go inside, but I assume it is beautiful like all the architecture in Germany.
While in the city we also saw the maypole, also known as der maibaum (“the maypole” in German), which is a landmark depicting local services and skills. This “tree of trades” depicts the “businesses, services and skills” of locals. The lowest two branches show a church and school, the “spiritual and intellectual foundations”. One of the top branches depicts a golfer. The pole has a spiral painted in blue and white, the “colors of Bavaria”. The top of the pole has an “Engelberg” Angel weather vane. It reminded me a lot of the one we saw at the Viktualienmarkt Farmers Market in Munich.
We had a great time on our short adventure to Mount Angel and I definitely want to go back on another trip and explore the area more. I would enjoy trying some of the other local restaurants and seeing the Glockenspiel again. Maybe we will make it to Oktoberfest this year :). Here is a link to a website with a few more things to do in the area. If you have been to this quaint little city, please let me know what you thought and what we can’t miss next time. Danke und gute reise (thank you and happy travels).
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