Dexter is about 11 miles south of Eugene on highway 58, is the. Ironically in 1872 when the town was being established they named it ‘Butte Disappointment’. Luckily the name didn’t stick and in 1875 the postmaster had the brilliant idea to rename the town Dexter after the brand of stove the family owned. I guess that is one way to pick a name.
Currently the tiny town of Dexter is unincorporated, which means they have no city government but they do have amenities like a post office and library, so if you decide to stay at the Dexter Shores RV Park have most of your provisions with you. The Dexter Market has basics, it is close to the post office, and the Buckhorn Tavern. The Cascades Foothill Library is petite and overlooks the lake and is within sight is the Dexter Lake Club. The Lake Club is famous for its scenes in 1978 movie Animal House.
If you are too young or haven’t seen the movie in ages, it’s time to grab your toga, joint and beer, and get ready to ‘Shout’ with Otis Day and the Knights. You will recognize the brick wall in the dark cozy bar which has plenty of pictures from the movie. You can play a few casino games, or shoot a round of pool. Weekends have live entertainment. Also, they have backyard seating so you can enjoy the weather.
Attached to the Lake Club is Rattlesnake BBQ. My compliments go to Pit Master Dustin Holmes, because he understands the art of slow cooking meats. We were told that he spent years traveling from Texas to Tennessee learning from the best. When he brags about his breakfasts, it is no lie. I recommend the brisket omelet and a good old traditional Bloody Mary for breakfast or brunch. This BBQ joint has outdoor seating that overlooks the lake to add to the fun.
Now that you have eaten it’s time to visit Dexter’s biggest attraction is the wonderful Dexter State Park and Dam, with its well-kept grounds, and its blue green lake. The Lookout Point Dam and Dexter Dam are very successful Army Corp of Engineers projects which has prevented flooding since 1954 and creates the lake. As a bonus, the Dexter Dam creates power and has one generator capable of producing 15 megawatts.
This Dexter State Park has wonderful ample parking spaces for both vehicles and boat trailers, boaters enjoy the two-lane boat ramp. The lake is a favorite of swimmers, fisherfolks, recreational boaters, lazy drifters and even well-choreographed oar boats with 4 to 8 rowers.
If the water isn’t ‘your thing’, there is a well- marked 18 hole frisbee golf course that is canopied by oaks and Douglas fir trees. You outdoor chefs can enjoy the picnic tables with BBQ stands and fire rings. If you want to sit with a cup of coffee or sandwich there are benches scattered throughout the property.
For exercise, you can walk across the dam or on many of the trails along the property. You can reach nearby Elijah Bristow State Park through a system of connecting trails that follow the Middle Fork of the Willamette River. There are horse trails and bike paths for those that don’t want to sit still. Pets are allowed on leashes, don’t forget to bring water, a nibble of kibble and a few bags for cleanup. Whether you bring binoculars to watch the birds, or a good book to fall asleep with nothing can beat a day on the lake!
For more information visit http://oregonstateparks.org