Living good in the neighborhood

I apologize for the lack of posting this term; the rubber is hitting the road thesis-wise. I’ve also been pretty bad about this whole journaling Eugene thing, but I’ve been making the most of what little free time I have, and I’ve made some progress (pics or it didn’t happen, I know. Posts to follow). 

Really the highlight of the quarter, though, was a visit from my sister. She came last week and stayed from Thursday to Sunday, and we got to explore Oak Ridge, OR and environs on a field trip for one of my courses, do a bit of hiking, and make our traditional Slager sisters minestrone soup. I’ve been on a bit of a low since she left. 

We also did some exploring of my neighborhood, which is terrific by the way—I guess I haven’t been making the most of living downtown. So, in honor of my sister and of my great neighborhood, which I will probably have to move out of next year (bummer!), here are three recently discovered gems near the Skinner’s Butte Historic District in Eugene. 

1) The Fifth Street Market

My impression of this place has always been that it’s an upscale, holier (and more gentrified) than thou kind of a lifestyle mall where scruffy grad students like this gal would not be welcome. Turns out I’m not too far off. However, after two glasses of wine and in search of French bread within walking distance to accompany our minestrone, Leah and I put on our best sweatpants and cardigans and waltzed in to find Marche Provisions, the deli version of a very nice restaurant that I will probably never eat at, however much I might want to. Walk past the (locally sourced!) mulch display, around the classical fountain, and step quickly past the be-pearled older diners into a ground-floor shop that somewhat resembles G.B. Russo’s in GR, except that instead of imports (other than the extensive wine collection, of course), the breads, deli spread, and oven-fired pizza is all made from local grains, veggies, and dairy products. We bought ourselves a very nice bottle of wine and a $3 baguette, et voila! We walked home for such a scrumptious dinner that we repeated the ceremony the next night! Honestly, best. baguette. ever. There’s a lot that still intimidates me about this place, but I think I think now that I’ve been in a few times I’ll be able to screw up enough courage to try out the coffee shop on the upper level. 

2) The Steelhead Brewery

On my street, front porch gossip has it that the Steelhead has gone grossly commercial and inauthentic ever since the Hilton opened up in the neighborhood. Too many televisions and not enough familiar faces. So of course I opted for the dive down the street, the Jackalope (think of the Derby for a GR reference point), and never found a reason to wander in to the Steelhead. But I’ve been trying to go to more Meetup gatherings as some of my friends are regulars, and they had a happy hour at this place just yesterday. So I went. And yes, the British telephone booth in the middle of the restaurant was a little cheesy, and the baseball games on the dozen televisions were a little distracting (come on, Mariners, get your act together!). But the IPA was pretty darn good, and this may be my neighborhood sports bar of choice from now on. Not that I have time to watch baseball…

3) The David Minor Theatre

So I actually discovered this place a while ago now, but it’s such a gem. It’s a tiny little movie theatre just down the street that has exactly two screening rooms, one of which seats only about 15 people. They show movies that have been out for a while, and on Sundays and Tuesdays, tickets are only $2. You can also order in food from a nearby restaurant and text-a-beer (which before you think I drink too much I have not attempted to use). In place of theater seats, you can sit on couches, which inevitably leads to conversations with the strangers next to you. Pure Eugene, this place. 

There’s a lot more to love about the neighborhood, from the Butte itself, to the yet-unexplored-by-me Shelton McMurphy house, to the running path along the river. Definitely going to miss it. 


Critter on the front porch.


2 responses to “Living good in the neighborhood

  1. Thanks for updating us on things, Emma. What are your plans for the summer?

  2. I’ll mostly be doing my field work in Detroit this summer, but if all goes well I hope to have some time to relax in the PNW in late August-early September.

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