Welcome homes: Historic Eugene houses welcome visitors

      Watch All in a Day's Drive Wednesdays on KMTR NewsSource 16 at 6 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

      EUGENE, Ore. You've likely driven by these places numerous times, but it's easy to overlook them since they blend in with Eugene's historic downtown.

      But there are three former homes that're always welcoming visitors.

      From the outside, they appear to blend in with any other old house. But at a second glance, these spots nestled into Eugene's historic downtown are a welcome spot for visitors.

      "And we have people come in every week and say, 'I've lived in Eugene for 30 years and never came in here, wow!'" Sara Palmer said.

      Palmer is the executive director at the Shelton McMurphey Johnson house on Willamette Street.

      The house was built in 1888 and overlooks Eugene's market district. It's now owned by the city, but is open to tours and special events several days a week.

      "We've gone from having a few rooms open to now where we have the entire house open to the public," Palmer said.
      And the house is not just for show. You can also rent out the place for special events like parties, even weddings.

      "We rent it out at the same rate you'd pay to rent any other city facility," Palmer said. "So you get this for the same price as half the Bascom Tykeson room at the library, which is a pretty good deal."

      The next spot on this downtown trip is vintage in name only. From brunch to dinner, The Vintage on Lincoln Street draws in a steady crowd with both desserts and some flashy work behind the bar.

      "We make our own infusions, which you can see when you walk in the restaurant at the bar, so that's fun to get a cocktail here," owner Shannon Ford said.

      Finally, less than two blocks away, you can find a cozy spot to rest your head at the Oval Door Bed and Breakfast, another place that's easy to miss at first glance.

      "Because from the outside, I think people think, 'oh it's another house,''' co-owner Nicole Craig said.

      But your smart phone may be your saving grace. Because not only will it point you in the right direction, you can also use it to book any one of six rooms at the inn.

      "We have a lot of people who find us with their i-phone and though they're using modern technology to find us, they do want the comfort of an old fashioned bed and breakfast," Craig said.

      And you can find all three of these welcoming old and not-so-old houses all in a day's drive.

      Vintage owner Shannon Ford says they'll soon undergo an expansion that will add more seating to the second floor dining area. They hope to finish that work next year.