Run Oregon loves running – that’s no surprise. But we also love the Pacific Northwest and all that it has to offer. Running is a part of us, but it does not fully define us. In our new “Make a Day of It” feature, we aim to showcase some great local non-running events and highlight where to run and how to make the most of your experience! While we are only about 20 minutes away from Independence, OR we recently checked out The Independence, a new hotel (perfect for a runcation) in the heart of the Mid-Willamette Valley.
Independence is a small town that sits alongside the Willamette River, SW of Salem. The population only sits around 10,000 people, but there has been a big upgrade to the city and local businesses in the last couple of years. This year, Gilgamesh Brewing is opening up their third location on the city’s main street to join true locals Parallel 45 Brewing. There are some really cool places to grab a bite (Mangiare is one of my favorites), some dessert (Jubilee Champagne and Dessert Bar) or a drink (Valkyrie Wine Tavern). Honestly this growth makes sense. It’s just a handful of miles from Monmouth – home to Western Oregon University – and there are a large array of wineries that surround it. It was absolutely ripe for a revival.
But one thing that was lacking, until recently, was a good hotel. Salem is near, but it’s still a drive out to the city. The newly opened hotel – The Independence – fills this void and fills it amazingly well.
First the Running:
I would offer up two simple routes for runners.
The first starts literally just outside the hotel. Start at Riverview Park and hit the new paved trail that follows the river and loops around Independence Sports Park. Return to the hotel for an approximately 2.5 mile run (or hit a few more offshoots of the trail and get in that 5k distance or loop it a couple times for even longer). Here’s more about the trail:
The trail passes in and out of the Willamette River’s riparian zone offering excellent birdwatching and nature viewing opportunities, and also passes the Independence Dog Park. Primary access for the trail is from the north side of Riverview Park where a pedestrian bridge crosses Ash Creek. Trail access parking is also available at the dog park on Grand Street, and a the new Independence Boat Ramp and future ballfield development located at 10 DeAnn Drive.
For a 5 mile out-and-back, follow Highway 51 to Main Street in Monmouth and back. It’s simple and straight forward, and also the route of the long standing Monmouth Mini Marathon that comes every Fourth of July.
Our King Room was super clean, comfortable, and filled a great middle ground between casual and formal. Cool artwork from local artists adorns the walls and many pieces in the room, like headboards and some desks, are made locally. and the room also has in-room bike storage, perfect for if you want to take a ride out into the amazing countryside (maybe out to Rogue Farms or Redgate Winery). It also had a lot of the standard items you would expect (and appreciate) – microwaves, mini-fridges, Keurig, etc. Side note – they are in the process of a bike rental area in case you don’t feel like bringing your own.
They also have some suites available that would provide more space to have a girls weekend, wine tasting basecamp, or running weekend.
If you are lucky enough to secure a suite with a balcony, the views of the river really knock it out of the park.
While downtown Independence has some cool spots to eat, there is one on-site dining option – Territory. Breakfast is buffet style and complimentary for those staying at the hotel. Lunch and Dinner menus are pretty simple and straightforward, but quite delicious. They pride themselves on using fresh, local ingredients, which is in great abundance in the surrounding farmland, and features nice views of the Willamette. There is also a bar area and they serve up local brews and wine, in addition to cocktails.
Right outside of the Territory doors is an outdoor seating area that would be perfect for a meal or a drink in the summer. It miraculously stayed pretty dry for us, so we grabbed a morning coffee and headed up to their rooftop deck to enjoy some great views of the river and know this would be prime viewing for summer concerts in the adjacent Riverview Park.
If you don’t have as much time to explore the running trails around the hotel, or maybe it’s too dark and/or wet, there is a small gym (6 machines – two treadmills) with really new equipment.
If you are planning on bringing multiple bikes, feel comfortable knowing that there is a bike maintenance room with tools and work benches – available 24 hours.
They are also finalizing work on an on-site spa, so stay tuned for that. There is a hot tub currently in operation nonetheless.
The Independence is an absolute jewel for the Mid-Willamette Valley and beyond. There is a lot to explore in the area and I am guessing that most Oregonians outside of the Capitol City have never ventured this way. Now, with an affordable hub and basecamp for your travel, there is no reason not to.
The Independence Details:
Address: 201 Osprey Ave, Independence, OR 97351
More about The Independence:
Located in charming, historic downtown Independence, Oregon on the Willamette River and adjacent to the city’s Riverview Park with its amphitheater, network of walking trails and river access.
The city is experiencing a resurgence with great local businesses, world class wineries and vineyards and exceptional outdoor recreation on the Willamette Scenic Bikeway and Blue Highway kayak trails.
Conveniently located less than 5 minutes from Western Oregon University, about 10 minutes from Oregon’s capital, Salem and 1 hour from Portland, Independence is right in the heart of the Willamette Valley and less than an hour from the Oregon Coast.
Many thanks to the The Independence for allowing us to check out their property! Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.