Ask Oregon Questions & Answers
We are traveling to Portland and would love to take right off and go on a nature excurion. We are considering Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helen’s. Can you tell us which you would recommend and why? In both cases, can you recommend a wonderful place to stop for exquisite dining and wining? something we would never find on the East Coast? – Jan M.
Mount Saint Helens is going to be pretty much out of the question. Due to the time you have available, the drive is too lengthy for you to enjoy yourself. Most of the visitor center’s don’t open until May 18th either and the dining options in the area are limited, to say the least.
Mount Hood, however, is maybe an hour and a half from the airport, and you would have plenty of time to explore once you get there. Timberline Lodge is definitely something you won’t get on the East Coast. They feature Northwest cuisine and an extensive wine list including a large number of Oregon wines. In fact, they have the largest wine list in the state. You can’t go wrong there.
If you are looking for something even closer with more time to fit some hiking in, try a drive along the historic highway in the Columbia River Gorge. The Tippy Canoe near Troutdale has the best seafood this side of the coast, a great wine list and cocktail menu. If the weather is warm and dry, they have a beautiful outdoor dining area featuring stone tables, fire pits, and patio heaters if it’s a little bit chilly.
|Mt Hood & Columbia Gorge, Wine|
My friend and I are planning a motorcycle ride over to the Oregon Coast from Northern Idaho near the end of July. Any roads or towns you would recommend hitting? We would like to spend some time near the ocean and find some good local brews.
There’s a coveted motorcycle route through the Wallowas on the 39 road (Hell’s Canyon Scenic Byway) from Joseph to Halfway—if you have the time. To get to the Wallowas from North Idaho, you’d come through Moscow and Lewiston over highway 82—another epic two-lane roadway—to Enterprise. That’s where you’ll find Terminal Gravity brewpub, one of the first small crafters in the state and home of a great IPA. (I am a huge fan of their single hop variety double IPAs only available at the brewpub.) If you take the 39 road, you’ll end up on Highway 84 in Baker City, where you’ll find Barley Browns Brewpub. I also recommend a stop in Pendleton at Prodigal Son Brewery. From there you can continue on I-84 and swing through Hood River and the Double Mountain Brewery before high tailing it to the coast.
|Beer, Eastern Oregon|
We have three kids 5 and under. We want to go on a vacation and check out Oregon, but don’t know where to go? We would love some good ideas. We don’t mind camping, and we like doing things outdoors, but the kids might only last hiking for a couple of days and then be wiped out. – Sharp Family
Wow… you won’t believe the list of family friendly recommendations in the Willamette Valley. Here are some places to check out:
We’re interested in renting a home on or near the beach in Oregon for a few weeks this summer. We have kids ages 5, 6, and 12 and are looking for a sandy beach, relaxed quiet community with great fishing, biking and playgrounds. What areas do you suggest? – Lauri
In order to enjoy boating and easy docking, you’re going to have to find a place that is not oceanfront, but more like a bay, inland lake or river. I’m picturing a few places like that on the Nehalem River, and on the Nestucca River, both in Tillamook County. I just did a quick search and found a few on Mercer Lake, near Florence. But, I don’t know of any small, non-touristy communities that are also good for biking and playgrounds — those just don’t seem to go together. But I’ll bet the kids will think the beach is a pretty good playground.
We’re taking a roadtrip from California to Oregon. I would like to do the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway and stay there for a few days to really enjoy it. I would like to stay around the area for 3-4 days, to do some rafting, and definitely hiking and see all the waterfalls. If we can also visit some wineries along the way that would be great. – Priscilla N.
I live right on this scenic byway and can attest to its beauty. It’s indeed worth a few days of your time.
This byway is named for two rivers: the Rogue (in my backyard) and the Umpqua. Of the two, the Rogue is regarded more for its rafting. The Medford Mail Tribune readers picked Noah’s River Adventures as their favorite guide service last year in an annual poll.
There are many other companies in Jackson and Josephine counties that operate rafting trips. If you’re driving Highway 1 up from California, you should take Highway 199 into Oregon, and you will pass right by Grants Pass, a major jumping-off point for river trips and the gateway to the Rogue’s Wild and Scenic section.
You’ll want to do your wine tasting early on, as most wineries on the byway are in the Gold Hill/Sams Valley areas. Del Rio is one of the area’s best, just a couple of miles from Gold Hill, where the byway begins. Folin and Cliff Creek cellars and Agate Ridge all are in the Sams Valley area, which surrounds the byway near the Table Rocks. Make sure to stop for a hike on these mesas, locals’ favorite hiking trails.
Finally, Crater Lake Cellars in Shady Cove is one of the last stops on the area’s wine-tasting trail. See the Mail Tribune’s complete guide to wine tasting in the region.
As far as lodging goes, there is a variety, from hotels and country inns to camping. The Edgewater Inn in Shady Cove has reasonably nice accommodations. Between that town and Diamond Lake, Prospect Hotel is about the only lodging.
Additionally, here is a story from the Mail Tribune about a few of the waterfalls on the byway.
|Rafting, Southern Oregon|
These kinds of questions are always rough to answer, but I’ll give it a shot. The trouble is, IPAs are so variable that opinions invariably vary. But you didn’t ask me to waffle, so here goes.
I personally have three favorites, for different reasons:
If I plan to do the coast ride by myself, what would you recommend to prepare for the trip from North – South on Rt. 101?
The Oregon coast is a pretty fantastic stretch of coastline, complete with a ton of off-bike adventures and amenities to make the whole thing enjoyable. Late September/Early October would be a nice time–after the summer rush, but before the weather really starts to get inhospitable to long days of pedaling.
I’ll say right off I had a hard time finding info on a company that just offers gear shuttling for a ride like yours. There are certainly many companies that offer guided, supported trips, but as far as a shuttle service, this was the only one I found. It comes highly recommended.
For lodging, you’ll do best to look at your route first, estimate your daily mileage, and focus your searching on the towns you want to stay in. It’s worth looking at VRBO.com to see if there are some smaller, private rentals that might be available, since that’s always a nice way to go, but can also be impractical for single night stays.
Here are some recommendations for coast lodging, dining, and things to see/do.
From an overall planning point of view, here are a few great links you might find helpful:
Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Bike Routes (note the link to Oregon Coast Bike Route)
Great Oregon rides around the state (be sure to look at the resource links)
I’m looking for a 5-star place to stay for one night as close as possible to the California border, but I can’t seem to find anything.
If on I-5, stay in Ashland at the Ashland Creek Inn. Tu Tu Tun in Gold Beach is close to California on the map but a long drive on rural roads.
|Hotel Recommendations, Southern Oregon|
My husband and I are going to go up the Oregon Coast for a vacation. We want to stay in a hotel that is pretty much walk out to the beach. Any suggestions? We are probably going to start in the southern part and travel north.
We Pamper Campers mentioned the Fireside in Yachats. That hotel is adjacent to the Overleaf Lodge, which is also quite nice. The Adobe has its own restaurant, which always nice if you don’t want to drive around. Be advised, though, that all three Yachats hotels overlook a rocky shelf — beautiful but no long walks on the sand.
Where is a good place to spot Oregon Redwood trees? Any tips for a weekend getaway to see the trees and maybe an urban area of Oregon?
Our region is indeed home to a largely overlooked pocket of redwoods. They are on the extreme south coast near Brookings, just north of the border. This is a very remote area of the state, with no “urban” area anywhere close. You could, however, visit the Rogue Valley by driving east for about two hours on Highway 199 to Grants Pass. Medford is the largest city with about 75,000 population. The surrounding towns of Ashland and Jacksonville are known for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Britt Festivals outdoor concerts, with world-class whitewater rafting on the Rogue River, as well as biking, fishing, wine tasting and world-famous artisan foods. Here’s a story published last year in the Mail Tribune newspaper’s Joy magazine about a little-known redwoods hike: “A Stroll in the Redwoods.”