Outdoors

Why Not Pick Up a Hobby on Your Next Weekend Away in Oregon?

Forge a knife in Falls City, milk a cow in Sandy, learn archery in Ashland, and more

By Gabriel Granillo

Learn how to forge a knife with Gordon Hanson (right) at this Falls City Airbnb Experience. 

The pandemic has made hobbyists out of all of us. You have your sourdough starters, your Animal Crossingers, your burgeoning green thumbs, and aspiring guitarists. And as COVID-19 has waxed and waned (and waxed and waned) some of those hobbies may have fallen by the wayside. 

But maintaining a hobby is not only a way to tap out from the daily caseload, it can also be incredibly rewarding. (Learning a new skill and getting outside are also welcome bonuses.) Across Oregon you'll find tons of folks looking to share the wisdom they've acquired from years in their respective trades, many of whom have signed on to host workshops, lessons and the like via AirBnB's Experiences platform. From forging a utility kitchen knife to finding out you're pretty good with a bow and arrow, here are a few Oregonians ready to help you find a new hobby during your next jaunt out of town.

Forge a Knife in Falls City

From $300

At host Gordon Hanson’s blacksmithing workshop in Falls City, just southwest of Salem, you’ll learn how to shape steel into a fully functional, artisan blade. Using European anvils and 1095 high carbon steel, guests can create one of two blade styles: an everyday or utility kitchen knife. The whole process takes about eight to nine hours, and guests should wear protective flame-resistant clothing (such as denim or cotton) and bring their own lunch. The hosts also have a nearby three-acre tiny home available to stay in. If booked along with the knife-making experience, guests receive 15 percent off their stay.

Milk a Cow in Sandy

From $20

Time to update that resume and add “milking a cow” to your list of skills. At David and Charlie Jones's homestead out in Sandy, which they’ve been slowly turning into a working farm, you’ll learn the ups, downs and sideways of milking a cow, from preparation to final product (which, of course, you’ll able to buy at the end of the experience at a 50 percent discount). The hosts ask that you bring clothes and shoes you don’t mind getting dirty. They’ll provide the equipment—and the cow. 

Learn Archery in Ashland

From $112

Hold your quivers: before loosing your arrows at targets in this secluded archery course in Ashland, you’ll learn a few mind-body techniques that'll make you feel like Robin Hood. With the host Lloyd Canty, chief instructor at Moonbow Archery, you’ll learn about instinctive archery through several challenging and creative target practices. It’s a style of archery Canty calls “aiming from the heart.” The hosts ask that guests arrive on time so that they may be properly fitting with archery gear including armguards, finger tabs, bows, arrows, and quivers. 

Silversmith in Tigard

From $85

In this Tigard silversmithing workshop you'll learn basic techniques while making three stacked sterling silver rings (not for the elven-kings under the sky, Sauron). Host Barbara Kennedy of Artisans of Metal and Thread, has been making jewelry since 1976 and will guide you through this two-hour experience, from sizing to forming to cutting to burnishing. Experiences are available Tuesday and Thursdays between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., and Saturday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Food, drinks, and equipment will be provided.  

Bake a Baguette in Corvallis 

From $92

You've mastered the sourdough loaf, now let's move on to a french baguette. The host Shannon, cofounder of Sam's Station bakery in Corvallis, has been baking for 45 years. She'll walk guests through the process of creating baguette dough, kneading, and resting, all the while preparing a seasonal butter, jam, or honey lemon curd, which you'll be able to take home at the end of the session (along with two baguettes). Food and drinks will be provided. 

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