Close your eyes and pick a card, any card. After that, open your eyes to some of Oregon's best cultural and natural treasures.
A Portland publishing firm launches its "52 Weekends in Oregon" travel-card series next week, touting everything from Ashland's Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Pendleton's Round-up to a relaxing day on the sands of Gold Beach or a trip to the Willamette Valley wine country. The company, WestWinds Press, an imprint of Graphic Arts Center Publishing Company, also has a "52 Weekends in Seattle" card series that debuts Wednesday at shops around the Northwest.
"We think we have a balanced list for Oregon, one that's family-friendly, low-cost but also offers great adventure," says Mike Campbell, who led a team of professional editors and graphic artists and research interns from Portland State University in compiling the cards. Many of the high-resolution photos are from GACPC's travel book-publishing archives, Campbell says.
The sturdy, 4-by-51/2-inch cards offer quick takes on particular locations. Consider, for example, the card for the Rogue River. On the front is a glossy color photo of five rafters making their way through rapids. Flip the card over and you learn that "Rogue rafting runs the gamut from fun family trips to treacherous excursions for the daring." The card also notes the Rogue's "fabled" fishing history for salmon and steelhead. After a final paragraph on guided trips and hiking, the card's icons include a baby stroller for family-friendliness, a dog for pet-friendly locales and a cent symbol for the Rogue's economical offerings.
Besides the Rogue, OSF and Gold Beach (the latter described on its card as the place for people "who think nature is the greatest show on earth") other Southern Oregon locations include Crater Lake, Upper Klamath Lake, Wildlife Safari near Winston, the Oregon Dunes on the coast and the Out'N'About Treehouse Treesort in Cave Junction.
The Wildlife Safari card says "if you get married there, a cheetah and an elephant can be in your wedding," while the Upper Klamath Lake card touts its "miles of kayak or canoe trails, from which you can spy waterfowl, otter, mink, deer and bald eagles." Crater Lake's card, meanwhile, notes that President Teddy Roosevelt declared it one of the wonders of the world.
The overall list of 52 locations reinforces that the card series isn't just for weekend warriors — it's also for people seeking culture or relaxation, Campbell says. There are cards for Portland's famed Powell's City of Books, the city's Rose Festival, the Oregon Zoo, the Nature of Words Festival in Bend and the annual Oregon Jamboree in Sweet Home.
More traditional outdoor-location cards include the Nike Hood to Coast Relay, Mount Bachelor and Smith Rock State Park in Central Oregon and the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in Eastern Oregon.
Campbell says he's been to about half of the locations highlighted in the Oregon series. "I've also been to about half in Seattle, where I lived for a couple of years," he says, referring the companion series.
"It was important that not everything be commercial," Campbell says, noting that cards for businesses including Powell's, Spirit Mountain Casino west of Salem and Kah-Nee-Ta High Desert Resort and Casino near Warm Springs are balanced by destinations such as Cannon Beach on the north coast, the Columbia River Gorge and Portland's 40-Mile Loop biking and walking path, which are there for the taking, completely free of charge.