All in a Day's Drive: Make the most of Cottage Grove

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      COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. Kids and families will go just about anywhere on a hot day if it means cooling off. And if you're near Cottage Grove, there are plenty of places where you can do just that.

      In the July heat, people will find just about any excuse to find some morning fresh air, even if that means stopping to sample a few blueberries.

      "An excellent break. I needed some exercise, I needed out of the car," Dove Kimball said with a laugh. Kimball and her mother are traveling back to Caldwell, Idaho after spending time on the Oregon Coast.

      The grapes may not be ripe at Saginaw Vineyard just yet, but the blueberries are coming in nicely. The vineyard near Cottage Grove just began its u-pick season to hungry travelers.

      "It's $1.50 a pound you pick. Just bring your container to the vineyard. Bring it into the tasting room, we'll weigh it and send you out. And our joke around here is if you bring kids, we'll weigh them too," Karen Proden said. Proden is the sales manager at the vineyard.

      If you keep going south near Cottage Grove, you can find a few places to dip your toes in the water on a hot day, including Baker Bay on Dorena Lake.

      "People tell us all of the time, it's the best kept secret," park caretaker Treeva Pinnock said. Pinnock and her husband run the Dorena Snack and Splash at Baker Bay.

      "It's always a nice place because it's very quiet and not very many people here. Yet, you kind of wonder why, because it's beautiful surroundings," Jim Kakalow said. Kakalow is visiting from Lake Oswego.

      Kakalow admits the serene lake is easy to miss for newcomers. But you'd also be missing out on a swimmer's haven as well as kayaking, fishing, camping.

      "Still a little chilly, but when you have 90 degrees, it feels great," Kakalow said.

      Still, that's not the only place where you can cast a line in the water.

      "Almost every single day," Quinn Kopachic said.

      Quinn Kopachic and his friends have spent much of their summer break fishing for bass at Cottage Grove Lake.

      "It's fun boating out here and fishing out here. Of course, if you go to the other side, there are a lot of places to jump off into the water," Kopachic said.

      Just a few places where you can find a sweet escape from the hot summer sun. And you can find them all in a day's drive. Next week, Cottage Grove will host Bohemia Mining Days, which includes a carnival, games and live entertainment. Admission is free. Events run from July 17th through the 20th.