Try These Spring Outings – Catholic Sentinel


Strawberry Festival at Coolidge-McClaine City Park, 300 Coolidge St. in Silverton

June, to be determined

Juicy strawberries served with fabulous cookies and ice cream — in recent years for just $6, and free for under-6s and over-80s — are the fare for the 70th annual Father’s Day event. Silverton, the Silverton Hills Strawberry Festival.

Make it a long day by combining the festival with a hike at Silver Falls State Park, where the Trail of Ten Falls includes a path behind the 177-foot curtain of water at South Falls. It is Oregon’s largest state park, with 24 miles of walking trails and 4 miles of biking trails. A loop around South Falls is paved and “wheelchair friendly”, although steep. It has both a beautiful campground and, for those who prefer to sleep indoors, a historic lodge with cabins.

The hikes make the park unforgettable. Half of the 10 waterfalls are over 100 feet tall amidst green moss, towering trees, and elegantly sculpted waters.

At St. Paul’s Parish in Silverton, 1410 Pine St., Masses are held at 5 p.m. on Saturdays; 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Sunday, with a mass in Spanish at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

If Silverton isn’t on the itinerary, the small historic Church of St. Boniface at Sublimity, 375 SE Church St., is actually closer to the state park. On the Saint-Boniface weekend, masses are at 7 p.m. on Saturday and at 10 a.m. on Sunday.


The Grotto Gardens, 8840 NE Skidmore St., Portland

9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily

Among the region’s sacred sites, the Shrine of Our Sorrowful Mother offers fascinating gardens that reach their peak in the spring. Access to the upper level gardens requires an $8 token for an elevator ride, but the flowers there leave no doubt that God is extravagant when it comes to beauty. Flowers are coordinated with statues, shrines, and even a charming little red chapel. The birds were wailing with a loud and glorious chorus.

Mark Combelic oversaw the gardens and facilities at the sanctuary, known as The Grotto, for 33 years. He plants with color and fragrance in mind. Among his favorites are the camellia along the paths and a magnificent flowering plum tree outside the main chapel.

Up high, Combelic and his team transformed an overgrown path into a forest of daffodils that bloom happily for much of March.

In May and June, a large rose garden maintained by volunteers bursts with color. It also evokes devotion to the Blessed Mother, with whom roses are associated in many apparitions.

Mass in the Chapel of the Grotto of Mary – on the lower level – begins at 10 a.m. and noon on Sundays, 8 a.m. on Saturdays and noon every day of the week.


Shore Acres State Park, 13 miles southwest of Coos Bay

8:00 a.m.-dusk daily

Fascinating geology, roaring waves and exquisite gardening make Shore Acres unique in Oregon.

Situated on steep sandstone cliffs above the Pacific, the acreage was once the domain of pioneering lumber baron Louis Simpson. Its gardeners collected specimens from all over the world. Something always seems to be blooming at Shore Acres, but spring is really kicking in.

There are nooks and crannies to explore in a Japanese-style garden with a lily pond and two rose gardens.

A 95-foot-tall Monterey pine dates back to around 1910. Listed on the National Register of Large Trees, its trunk has a circumference of 19 feet.

A sign that wealth does not last, Simpson’s mansion has not withstood the coastal blows. An observation building stands in its place.

Plate tectonics left sentinels of more durable brown sandstone protruding at a 45 degree angle seaward.

Visitors must pay a daily parking fee. No animals are allowed outside the vehicles, with the exception of service animals.

Mass near St. Monica Parish in Coos Bay, 357 S 6th St., begins at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 1 p.m. (Spanish) on Sunday. Weekday Mass begins at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday through Friday at noon.


Oregon’s largest city is one of only four in the United States to have extinct volcanoes within its boundaries. (The others are Bend, Honolulu and Jackson, Mississippi.)

Across the Columbia River in Washington State to Oregon City lies a lava field. Portland’s extinct volcanoes – Rocky Butte (the cave is on its northern slope), Powell Butte, and Mount Tabor – all have great walking areas to visit.

Perhaps the lava field’s most spectacular attraction is Beacon Rock, the 848-foot-tall cinder cone located just north of the Columbia River and east of Portland. The amazing rock is all that remains of a volcano that was eroded by monster Ice Age floods.

Beacon Rock State Park in Washington offers a switchback trail, clinging to the side of the rock, for sturdy climbers, but there’s also a mile-long ADA trail, a shoreline on the Columbia, and 26 miles of roads and of trails for hiking, mountain biking and even equestrian use. Campsites can be reserved in the spring.

St. Michael the Archangel Parish at Sandy, 18090 SE Langensand Road, is the closest church to the Archdiocese of Portland, with weekend Masses at 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. ( in Spanish) on Sunday.


Oregon State Capitol, 900 Court Street NE, Salem

March and April

Rarely is the Oregon State Capitol more beautiful than when surrounded by cherry blossoms. There’s still time to enjoy the flowers, but don’t delay.

Paid parking around the Capitol Mall is free.

Mass at nearby St. Joseph Parish, 721 Chemeketa St. NE, is held

Saturdays at 4:30 p.m. in English and at 7 p.m. in Spanish; Sunday at 6:45 a.m. in Latin, 8:30 a.m. in English, 10 a.m. in Spanish, 12 p.m. in English, 1:30 p.m. in Spanish, 3:45 p.m. in Vietnamese, 5:30 p.m. in Spanish and 7:30 p.m. in English

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