I have talked quite a bit about local events and places in and around Portland and Oregon, but have never really told you about my local town. In the heart of the Willamette Valley and wine country are several quaint towns; Dayton being one of them. Seven years ago when we moved here, there really wasn’t much going on at all. Sure people lived here, but it didn’t seem like there was much of a ‘town’, but non-the-less we saw the upside to Dayton – it is very conveniently located between Salem, Portland, and the Oregon Coast. The historic town centers on a park, and I love the setup of the town. It’s also only 5 miles to McMinnville, which is also home to the Spruce Goose at the Evergreen Museum. It’s 10 miles to Newberg, and there are umpteen tasting rooms along the way.
Dayton has been home to the Joel Palmer House for many years, they serve amazing cuisine with a mushroom flair. The owners also recently renovated a vacant building in our little downtown and opened up a new restaurant named The Barlow Room. Wayne and I had the luxury of popping in there for a half an hour without the kids one evening and I’m sure we will be back again just as soon as we can.
Dayton has also started becoming more of a community, and this summer they introduced something called Dayton Friday Nights. Every Friday evening from Memorial Day to Labor Day all of the small businesses gather around the City Park comes alive with music and people.
Archie’s, our local ice cream parlor and sandwich shop may have been the first to jump on the bandwagon. They opened up a couple of years ago and renovated the inside of an old building, creating a nostalgic ice cream shop on one side, sandwich shop on the other, and the inside if adorned with antiques and collectibles. Anyways, last summer they began having a classic car cruise in on Friday nights, and this year it’s expanded into this amazing get together that everyone puts together. Cars line up the streets while children play on the playground. Vendors sell snacks and one of the churches gives away popcorn. All of the restaurants stay open later and people just have a fun relaxing evening.
Last Friday in addition to our Friday Night festival, Dayton also held their Old Timer’s Get-together – including a little parade that lined the streets. Anika was at a birthday party sleepover and I was driving home and had forgotten about the parade until we pulled into town. Our main street was blocked off so I couldn’t drive through to get home, so we parked and hopped out of the car. Emma and Noah were so ecstatic over the surprise parade that was literally “right next door”.
After the parade finished we drove home and then decided to walk down to the Friday Nights for dinner. The weather was absolutely perfect. Not too hot, not too cold, and a slight breeze. The kids all ran into their classmates and we waved to our neighbors.
I love living close to the city, but there’s something about small towns that I am partial too. Knowing all of your children’s friends, all of the teachers at the school, parents looking out for each other’s kids, I just adore the sense of community. I’m so glad that 7 years ago we took a chance and decided to move here – it’s been a wonderful place to raise our kids so far.