Ask Oregon Questions & Answers
I want to combine a trip to Portland with a visit to the Willamette Valley. What would you plan to see and how should we travel from Portland to the Willamette Valley?
I really love your question! I live in the Willamette Valley but have a loft in the Pearl District in Portland. The main thing you have to do in Portland is EAT!!! Take advantage of one of the many great walking tours of the city.
From Portland, I would travel to and through the Willamette Valley on Highway 99W. Staying off the interstate will give you the best experience. Wineries are everywhere as well as the most beautiful B & B’s.
There is a lot to see in the valley but our wineries are our main attractions as they should be. Each one is unique and beautiful with qualities not found anywhere else. A few of my favs: Left Coast
A stop near McMinnville at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum should be on your list as well. The Spruce Goose is housed here as well as many other very cool planes and space vehicles. Totally worth the stop.
My biggest piece of advice is just to take your time when driving through the Willamette Valley. Take a side road or two and you may be very happily surprised at what you find. It’s a beautiful place so
We are planning a business trip to Ashland in late July. Could you tell me of interesting sites in that area? Any ideas for day trips? Any wineries?
A nice day trip from Ashland is Jacksonville, a national historic landmark that hosts the outdoor Britt Music Festival concert series into October. Or go on an artisan-food tasting tour in Central Point, home to Rogue Creamery and Lillie Belle Farms.
You could spend a couple of days on wineries alone. The Rogue region boasts dozens of wineries between Ashland and Medford, known as Bear Creek Boutique Wines. The Applegate Valley has its own “wine trail,” as does the Upper-Rogue region. See the Mail Tribune’s complete guide to wine tasting, as well as local wine coverage by columnist Janet Eastman.
My sister and I are looking to relocate to Portland, but don’t know where to start. We would like a neighborhood that is pedestrian-friendly. Where one can walk to near by restaurants, grocery stores, banks, etc. ight budget since we are unemployed due that we are taking care of our Mom. What part of Portland would you recommend to us that would be a nice and safe place, yet housing would be inexpensive? – Natalia T.
Portland has lots of pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods – check out these posts on my blog along with the discussions in the comments: “Best Thing About Your Neighborhood” and “Top 5 Portland Neighborhoods for Car Free Living.”
In general the further out you get from downtown, the more affordable housing becomes. Some neighborhoods I would recommend that have that combination of inexpensive housing and walkable amenities are Roseway, Hollywood, Montavilla, Kenton, Arbor Lodge, St. Johns, Sellwood, Multnomah Village. In addition some of the suburbs are less expensive and have very walkable downtowns, including Oregon City, Milwaukee, and Hillsboro.
We’re coming to Oregon this summer. We want to rent a place on the beach, walk, eat well, see local sites and shop in art galleries. We also want to spend a couple of days in Portland. There are four of us and none of us have ever spent time in Oregon before. Do you have any suggestions for how to set up a couple days in the city and four days on the coast? – Elaine R.
On the Oregon Coast your best bet for art, beach, and eating well is probably Cannon Beach on the North Coast, or Newport on the Central Coast. I’m also partial to Astoria (where I live part-time) for everything you listed, except it’s about 10 miles inland from the beaches, on the south bank of the Columbia River (which is about 4 miles wide at that point, so it feels more like a bay). In all the above places there are plenty of hotels, motels, and beds and breakfasts.
I’m visiting Oregon this summer and want to hit the best flea-markets and swap meets Oregon has to offer. Any suggestions? – Sims J.
The two events that come to mind are my two favorite events that hit the Willamette Valley in early September. I know you said you were visiting Oregon this summer, however, if you are able to extend your trip, it would be totally worth it!
First of all, Albany holds an event each year called, “Antiques in the Streets!” It is held Saturday, September 8, 2012 – all day long! This event is held every year on the Saturday after Labor Day. It’s huge and with that and all the other antique shops in town, you are sure to fill your entire Saturday.
We have several hotels in Albany, however, there is a very sweet B & B in Brownsville called the Brownsville House B & B. Cyndi and Bob have lived in Brownsville for over 30 years. The perfect place to go to after Albany’s Antiques in the Streets and a just a short drive to Coburg the next day for their Antique Fair! There are also a lot of B & B’s in Eugene just outside of Coburg for lodging as well if you choose to stay close to the Sunday fair.
My wife and I would like to see the best of the Oregon coast in two or three days. We’ll be doing it after visiting Ashland. Any suggestions? – Rev S.
I’d recommend you stick to the south and central coast, then, if you only have two or three days. I’d think you could enjoy the scenic Highway 42, from Ashland west to Bandon, then north on Highway, 101. If I had three days, two nights, I would probably spend the first night in Florence, see the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, have lunch in Yachats, then the second night in Newport, and spend the morning there (the Oregon Coast Aquarium, beautiful bridge, lovely bayfront) before heading west on Highway 20 to Interstate 5.
The town of Florence is known as the state’s center for rhododendrons. The annual rhododendron festival is May 18 – 20, 2012 this year. But the corridor of Highway 101 between Reedsport and Florence usually is awash in the flowers between May and June.
I am looking for a place to go to that is on the beach but not too far from Washington state to take my family to in the summer. Suggestions? – Alicia P.
You’re in luck, as Oregon’s north coast has plenty of places to stay at the beach. You’ll find lots of rentals and hotels and lovely beaches in Pacific City, Rockaway Beach, Manzanita, Cannon Beach, Seaside, and Astoria (though Astoria is actually about a 10 miles inland, it’s the closes to Washington – right across the river!).
There are several routes you could take to Astoria from Portland. If you take Highway 30, there aren’t too many tourist destinations, but there are a few viewpoints over the Columbia River. Highway 26 is another option, and along that route you’ll find various viewpoints and parks that are worth visiting, also places like Camp 18, which is a strange but delightful restaurant/logging museum. And you can’t miss it – it’s right on the highway.
If you take Highway 6 to the coast to Tillamook, you should visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory! And then proceed up Highway 101 to Astoria. On 101 you’ll find lots of parks and towns that are worth visiting.
We’re touring by car from Vancouver, British Columbia and have 3-4 days available to see some of the highlights of Oregon. Are there any quaint and atmopheric towns in Oregon? We’d like to see mountains, lakes and the coast too. Can you suggest any must-see destinations?
I’m not sure how far into Oregon you were planning on driving, but if you’re looking for atmosphere in the southern part of the state, Ashland is the town for you. Surrounded by mountains (Cascades and Siskiyous), its vibe is about as European as you’ll find almost anywhere in Oregon.
Just off Interstate 5 and just north of the California border, Ashland arguably is the region’s main tourist destination. The small, walkable downtown area is full of historical buildings, along with the Railroad District, which is an easy walk of several blocks. Lithia Park is one of locals’
Ashland makes a good home base for exploring the region’s other attractions. I couldn’t agree more that Crater Lake is a must. The drive from Ashland to the national park takes about two hours.
Want to take my wife on a short three day getaway. Would like for her to see a Bald Eagle and have a romantic view of the mountains, ccean, or lake. Any suggestions?
There’s one place that stands above all the other nationwide for viewing bald eagles. That’s the Klamath Basin region of Southern Oregon. While late winter is the prime time to see them, you stand a good chance during other times of the year. Here is a great story in the Mail Tribune about viewing bald eagles in the region. Contact the folks at Bear Valley National Wildlife Refuge for more specifics. As far as inspiring landscapes, the region has plenty of lakes and mountains. The ocean is many hours’ drive away. You could fly to Klamath Falls by way of Portland or San Francisco on United Airlines.