Exploring My Top Three Enchanting Oregon Getaways
One of the greatest aspects of living in Northern California is the number of relaxing escapes just a short drive or flight away. Recently craving beautiful changing leaves, mountainous wine country, and small town quaintness, I headed just north of home to Oregon. I had always wanted to go, and this fall jaunt did not disappoint. It’s the perfect time of year to visit—the earthy, richly colored scenery provides serene downtime ahead of crazy Christmas season. Complete with sample itineraries, here are three of the best areas to visit for your next trip up to The Beaver State.
Destination: Willamette Valley
Where to stay: The Allison Inn & Spa
Hotel Highlights: In less than an hour after you land at Portland International Airport, you can be transported to this luxe, quiet resort surrounded by lush scenery. As the only high-end hotel in Willamette Valley’s wine country, The Allison Inn has everything from pinot-therapy spa treatments to a vast collection of original works by Oregon artists. The hotel’s restaurant, JORY, is led by James Beard-nominated executive chef Sunny Jin, who sources his ingredients from the estate’s garden, and pours The Allison’s own Austin Knoll wines from the estate vineyard. If in need of a daytime jaunt, go tasting at more than 200 wineries nearby. The Concierge can even arrange personal tastings at famed regional hot spots or tucked-away gems.
What to do: The number-one, don’t-miss spot: REMY Wines, run by native McMinnville winemaker Remy Drabkin. Her company, REMY Wines, is a small production winery specializing in single vineyard Barbera, Sangiovese, Lagrien and Dolcetto. Drabkin’s tasting room, baR, celebrates excellent Italian-style wine, grown right in Oregon. After your afternoon buzz, head to McMinnville’s historic Downtown, known as “Oregon’s favorite main street.” Explore the picturesque family-owned shops, the Farmer’s Market, wine tasting rooms and restaurants, and take in one of the theater performances or special events. Unwind after your vino at Thistle Restaurant and Bar to recharge with some nosh. You can feel good about the farm-to-fork eats here—the chefs work with local farmers and ranchers and have a hand in every aspect of the culinary process. If you have an extra day to explore the region, visit Beckham Estate Vineyard, a smaller estate that combines limited production wines with artistic displays of original ceramic artwork created by co-owner
Andrew Beckham. Follow up your tasting at Beckham with seasonal plates at another top recommendation, Subterra — A Wine Cellar Restaurant. If heading to Oregon in the off-season, hit the popular Oregon Truffle Festival, an annual culinary experience held on three separate weekends in January. Part two hits the Newberg & Yamhill regions on January 22-24 with plenty of activities and events such as delicious truffle-infused dinners paired with local wine. I’m already trying to schedule my return trip for it!
Destination: The Oregon Coast
Where to stay: Sylvia Beach Hotel
Hotel Highlights: The unique concept of Sylvia Beach Hotel is quite appropriate for its fantastical cliffside setting. Perched high on a 45 foot bluff above the sea, the literary-themed inn features 20 rooms, each decorated and furnished in dedication to famous authors. (Think Mark Twain, Jane Austen, JK Rowling, Shakespeare.) The entire property is filled with books for hotel guests, who can get lost for hours reading in the library’s nooks overlooking the water. A stay here is truly all about peace and quiet—there are no televisions, radios, phones or Wi-Fi.
What to do: All 363 miles of Oregon’s stunning coast line are free and open to the public, so plan a few days of explorations. Enjoy the beachy scenery, explore the tidepools and sand dunes or shop up a storm. Newport is an ideal coast town to spend a day, what with its artsy Nye Beach neighborhood boutiques and plenty of one-of-a-kind eateries to stop in. The original Mo’s, located at the Old Town Bayfront, features the famous clam chowder bread bowl that inspired a chain of locations. Charter a whale watching boat, visit the historic lighthouse at Yaquina Bay State Natural Site in the afternoon or fit in a trip to the Oregon Coast Aquarium. When winding down for the day, you’ll find the freshest dinner catch at Local Ocean restaurant and market and cold Oregon microbrew at the famous Rogue Brewery.
Where to stay: Hotel Eastlund
Hotel Highlights: A luxury boutique hotel, Hotel Eastlund is the “it” place to stay in Portland’s Eastside area. Sleek, modern décor and a contemporary vibe make all 168-hotel rooms inviting, cozy and chic. (The recent $15 million remodel didn’t hurt, either.) Grab a coffee and pastry to go from the gourmet Citizen Baker café and wine bar, or escape to the hotel’s rooftop for dining under the stars and cityscape views at Altabira City Tavern.
What to do: Eat! Oregon’s rich farm-to-table food scene means tons of hot spots to devour, from trendy downtown bistros to gems hidden in the suburbs. You’ll notice the locally sourced theme everywhere—from French twists at Allium Bistro to sleek rooftop restaurant Departure, which boasts killer city views and Pan Asian dishes including veggies, fish and farm ingredients grown or sourced by Executive Chef Gregory Gourdet. Need to chow down in between sightseeing? Hit up famous local food truck Nong’s Khao Man Gai off 10th Street and Alder for Thai chicken and rice. Brunchers looking to gleefully drink away the afternoon can chill at a garden table at Meriwether’s. Located in a historic building in Northwest Portland, this go-to brunch spot features everything from corned beef skillet hash to fried chicken and waffles and brioche French toast. Make sure to advantage of Portland’s outdoor attractions, such as the tranquil Portland Japanese Garden. Even more impressive, the International Rose Test Garden is a 4.5 acre park filled with 7,000 rose plants in rare, colorful bloom