My sister and I heading north from on I-5 took the Ankeny Hill exit 243 (about an hours drive) and headed West to learn more about a family member of previous generationslong was a Ferryman at the Buena Vista Ferry. (We are descendents of the Taylor Family, as in Taylors Ferry Rd in Portland) The Buena Vista Ferry, still running daily every 5-10 min at Buena Vista is one of the oldest Ferries still crossing the Willamette River for well over a hundred years. The beautiful farm land and rolling hills to approach the ferry was worth the drive alone, but heading with our car across the sparkling river on the ferry, where I saw a steelhead come up for a tasty fly, and osprey fishing along the banks, we completed the quick passage and departed the Ferry to drive up a small hill. A few blocks distance our way to Buena Vista House, a B&B where we were to spend the evening, and were surprised to behold a gem. The quaint Buena Vista Flowers, a wonderful wooden building with gabled roof and welcoming colorful signs and flowers abounding at the top of the “Ferry Road” just a few blocks from the Ferry was such a surprise as we crested the rise in the now very small, but once turn of the century bustling city of Buena Vista.
The wonderful wooden doors were unlocked and tin buckets of hand tied floral bouquets were in water in colorful assortments. The chalkboard sign indicated that we could take our pick, and leave the money on the counter or mail it later. We felt as if we had stepped into another time and place. Cozy, warm and inviting, unpretentious and fun. While we thought while in the flower shop and enjoyed the wonderful ambiance and fee, that we had “seen it”, but then as we took pictures of the delightful window sills and abundance of colorful pots cascading with blossoms, we decided to wander down a small path between the lush beds of flowers and discovered that the darling flower store, was just a tiny bit of the gardens. We wandered about enjoying the quaint décor and discovered the beautiful 2 acres of immaculate gardens hosting well over 100 varieties of seasonal blooming flowers, and foliages to delight us around every corner. As we explored we came upon additional buildings hosting pots of tins, mason jars wonderful old sinks and pots and blooms of all types and more and more flower beds all in bloom from delphinium to celosia to zinnas in a riot of color and beauty.
As it turns out, the owners Mary Dean & Ian Cordner, who also live on the property were not there, but spend their Saturdays selling mixed bouquets of their beautiful local blooms at The Salem Farmers Market and other outdoor venues in the surrounding areas and always leave an assortment for the locals to purchase, whether they are “home” or not. It is an “honor” tradition from a byegone day, and so very lovely.
Our destination was really only a few steps away at the small B&B “Buena Vista House” where our hostess Claudia welcomed us with a similar fashion of “here is the key” I’m headed out for groceries, as we were the only guests in the wonderful cozy home filled with treasures, snuggly beds and a moment to step back in time in this wonderful tiny town nestled steps away from the Willamette River. The surrounding area, once bustling with trade and commerce before the railroad moved 3 miles away, are rolling wheatfields and farms, pioneer cemetaries lovingly tended on the top of knolls and while less than 15 min from Interstate-5 hustle and bustle, you felt as if you had stepped back in time and were just 8 miles from Independence and Monmouth where restaurants and commerce await in small towns that still bustle in this quaint rural area.
If you are looking for a lovely days drive, a summertime treat for the senses in riding the ferry crossing
($3 for cars including occupants) and the visual treat of Buena Vista Flowers, this is just a gem waiting for discovery.