Brownsville exudes such small-town charm that the team filming the '80s classic Stand by Me chose to shoot here. Catch a free screening at the history museum's Box Car Theatre. Don't miss the Moyer House, a restored 19th-century home, and the nearby Living Rock Studios, where Howard B. Taylor's colored rock tableaux are lit from behind and displayed in an 800-ton edifice Taylor and his family built.
At the foot of forest-fringed Fern Ridge Lake, Veneta boasts first-rate winter birding. The lake attracts hundreds of species annually, including tundra swans and bald eagles. In town, savor marionberry-orange scones beneath stained glass windows at church turned eatery Our Daily Bread Restaurant.
Come winter, tiny Alsea lures anglers with excellent salmon and steelhead fishing. Refuel at Deb's Cafe, a wood-paneled dining room where fisherfolk and food lovers alike tuck into burgers and homemade blackberry pie. Or dive into rural life at Leaping Lamb Farm, where overnight guests can explore forested trails, feed the chickens, sleep in a farmhouse, and visit the miniature donkey.