Destination: Grants Pass, OR
The town was “named in honor of General Ulysses S. Grant’s 1863 victory at Vicksburg. Originally named Grant’s Pass’s, the apostrophe was dropped after 1900. Grants Pass was a stagecoach stop in the 1860’s. It became a rail head when the Oregon-California Railroad (now Southern Pacific) was completed in 1884.”
Surrounded by the Cascade, Siskiyou, and coastal mountain ranges, modern-day Grants Pass has a population of 37,779 with a vibrant arts culture and unique historic district. It also serves as a hub for some of the most beautiful natural wonders in the region. Go south and it’s a little over an hour away from California. Head west and you can be at the Pacific Ocean in a couple of hours. Travel northeast and you can be at Crater Lake National Park in about the same time. Chart a course north and you can be in Portland in four and a half hours.
The biggest celebration in Grants Pass takes place over Memorial Day Weekend with its Boatnik festival. The epicenter of the four-day celebration is Riverside Park in the heart of town where they set up carnival rides, food booths, games, and vendors. On Friday night, fireworks over the river is the main attraction, and on Saturday they hold the Boatnik parade in the middle of town. The highlight of Boatnik is sprint and drag boat races, topped off by the Tom Rice Memorial Water Hydroplane Race on Memorial Day. The event attracts people from around the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
Besides Boatnik, another source of city pride city is Dutch Bros. The company started as a small coffee stand run by brothers Travis and Dane Boersma, third-generation dairy farmers. The brothers started out with a pushcart in the middle of town, but now the company is the largest privately held, drive-through coffee chain in the country. Grants Pass is definitely a coffee town.