Ask Oregon Questions & Answers
I can recommend many great restaurants. Don’t miss 5 Fusion — award-winning chef Joe Kim is amazing. Ariana and Zydeco are other excellent fine dining choices. For more casual food, try Jackson’s Corner and Nancy P’s Bakery. Also, Hola! has great Peruvian food. Definitely hit a few brew pubs — my favorites for both food and beer are Bend Brewing Co., 10 Barrel and Three Creeks Brewing. Do you need lodging recommendations too? I like the Oxford Hotel, Tetherow and Hampton Inn and Suites.
There are 363 miles of options for romantic escapes on the Oregon Coast, so your decision will depend on the kind of experience you are after. I would list Cannon Beach, Yachats and Bandon as great small towns that offer options in luxurious resorts with views, intimate dining and beautiful scenic areas nearby.
Cannon Beach, on the North Oregon Coast, checks all of the boxes with several nice oceanfront resorts, including two of the Coast’s top luxury lodgings, Stephanie Inn and The Ocean Lodge, both of which have views of Oregon’s famous Haystack Rock. You’ll find intimate dining at places like Newmans at 988, Irish Table, The Bistro or the Stephanie Inn’s in-house dining room. The town offers quick access to nearby Ecola State Park and its inspiring views. Just to the south you can visit the romantically named Hug Point.
Yachats, on the Central Oregon Coast, is home to the luxurious Overleaf Lodge and Spa, overlooking an active rocky portion of the Coast. Fine dining is more limited than Cannon Beach, but there are a few good restaurants. Yachats is just a few minutes from the spectacular viewpoints and hiking trails of the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area.
Bandon, on the South Oregon Coast, offers a beautiful beach to stroll and some great restaurants, including Alloro and The Loft. Oceanfront lodging is more limited, though Sunset Oceanfront Lodging has a few rooms perched directly over the stunning beach and its rock formations.
A few other great options for lodging to consider would be Whale Cove Inn near Depoe Bay. It offers luxurious rooms with views of beautiful Whale Cove and an exceptional in-house restaurant. If you want to walk the beach, you will have to drive to nearby beaches at Fogarty Creek or Otter Rock. Also nearby is the isolated, but large complex of the Inn at Otter Crest with access to its own stretch of beach and just minutes from the natural attraction of Devil’s Punchbowl.
For some, the eco-friendly WildSpring Guest Habitat in Port Orford is the ultimate in romance with only five elegant cabin suites in a natural setting. It’s a short drive from the beach at Battle Rock Park and fine dining at Redfish restaurant (which also operates a luxury lodging unit in the building).
Another romantic option, though not on the ocean, is Tu Tu Tun Lodge, up the Rogue River from Gold Beach. It is remote and romantic and also offers fine dining in-house.
I guess I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Proposal Rock on a nice stretch of beach along the tiny town of Neskowin. The town is mostly a quaint residential community, but there are some ocean-view vacation rental condos available and a great little restaurant. From Neskowin, it’s about a 15-minute drive to one of my favorite restaurants on the coast, Blackfish Cafe and 25 minutes away from The Bay House, both fine dining institutions in Lincoln City.
Picking the best hotels, wineries and restaurants in the Willamette Valley is a little bit like picking a favorite child…they’re all so great it’s hard to pick just one. But I’ll do my best!
You won’t go wrong with any of these choices. I hope you enjoy your trip!
|Willamette Valley, Wine|
April is a lovely time to visit Ashland! Right in town, I suggest spending some time in Lithia Park, which offers acres of cultivated gardens, duck ponds and wooded walking trails. For wildflowers, you’ll find them at higher elevations. The best place, in my opinion, to view alpine wild flower blooms is Mt. Ashland, in the high alpine meadows below the peak. They are accessible via the Pacific Crest Trail or the forest service road that continues past the Mt. Ashland ski area parking lot. Usually, April is a good time to visit this high elevation, but this year, we’ve had a lot of snow, so it may still be covered until May. Still, keep it on your radar.
Slightly lower down in elevation, Grizzly Peak is also a good wildflower viewing area. Located on the other side of I-5 from Mt. Ashland, the trail is a five-mile loop. If you don’t already have accommodations, I highly suggest a stay at Willow-Witt Ranch. This working organic farm is located near Grizzly Peak (outside town) and offers beautiful mountain meadows and pastures of its own. I visited in late April and lots of flowers and other plants were blooming.
The nearest charter boat services to Cannon Beach would be in Garibaldi, south of Cannon Beach, or to the north, in Astoria or Ilwaco. Some charter services specifically offer burial at sea charters, including Garibaldi Charters and Pacific Salmon Charters.
It should be noted that Haystack Rock is at the edge of the shoreline and, to be legal, ashes must be scattered at least three nautical miles from land, according to The Clean Water Act. The EPA does not permit scattering remains along the shoreline. All burials or scatterings must also be reported to the EPA in writing within 30 days. You can read more and find the reporting form on the Environmental Protection Agency website.
||Fishing, Outdoor Adventure|
There are so many fun things to do on Mt. Hood in the summer. It’s actually my favorite season on the mountain (probably because I am not much of a skier). Though, there are plenty of other things to do on Hood in winter if you don’t ski!
Do you like to hike? There are many beautiful hiking trails in the Mount Hood National Forest, from easy to difficult. Some of my favorites are the Old Salmon River Trail, Mirror Lake, and Umbrella Falls. The later puts on an especially beautiful wildflower show towards the end of July. You can even hike a section of the Pacific Coast Trail if you desire, and pass some hikers on their way to Canada from Mexico.
Trillium Lake is one of my favorite summer spots. There is a very easy trail around the lake, and one of the most stunning views of the mountain you will get. Mount Hood Adventure will even deliver rental kayaks to the lake if you want to go for a paddle.
Then there is the Mount Hood Adventure Park at Ski Bowl. The slopes are transformed into an alpine slide in summer, and there are many other activities available including a Malibu car race track, bungee jumping and a zip line.
Of course, if you still want to put your feet in snow, Timberline Lodge offers the only year round ski area in North America. If you aren’t interested in skiing, you can take the Magic Mile Sky Ride up to Palmer Glacier and play around.
|Mt Hood & Columbia Gorge|
At the top of my list would be Ecola State Park, just 15 minutes south of Seaside. It offers easy walking paths with beautiful coastal views of Cannon Beach, Haystack Rock and other sea stacks, the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse and the capes and headlands miles to the south. It can be a great bird-watching location, too. In September, seabirds will be gone from their rocky nesting grounds, but Brown Pelicans, cormorants, bald eagles and many varieties of woodland birds are common. Be sure to visit the Indian Beach portion of the park, too. It offers some great views of interesting rock formations.
Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach is another must. Again, you will have missed seabirds, like the small colony of Tufted Puffins that nests there, but there are always a variety of birds and many photo opportunities. Plan your trip for a low tide to explore the tidepools. The little town of Cannon Beach is also very picturesque and fun to explore. It is known as one of the Northwest’s top art towns with several galleries and upscale shops and restaurants. Cannon Beach also has a short nature trail that skirts Ecola Creek, a good spot to look for birds and river otters. The nature trail passes the city’s water treatment lagoons that are also good bird-watching locations. Keep your eye out for herds of Roosevelt Elk in these areas; they are commonly sighted this time of year.
There are some nice areas just south of Cannon Beach you will want to explore. There are nice highway side viewpoints just south of town and some State Parks you should consider. I like Arcadia Beach and Hug Point for photography. Both offer access to beaches that are worth exploring. If you avoid high tide at Hug Point, you can walk to the north around the point to a picturesque small waterfall carved out of sandstone. Further south is Oswald West State Park that offers a few options for short walks, as well as longer hikes. The walk from the main parking area to Short Sand Beach is an easy one through rainforest to the beautiful, small cove beach. Further south down the highway, a small gravel parking area offers a short walk to Devil’s Cauldron, a basin of turbulent wave action at the bottom of sheer cliffs. A little further south are several turnouts along the edge of Neahkahnie Mountain offer expansive view of the coast to the south.
For longer day trips south, I most enjoy the Three Capes Scenic Route. The most rewarding location for a short visit is Cape Meares that offers a short trail that circles the edge of the cape, emerging at a lighthouse. You can make a full day of this and also visit Cape Lookout State Park and Cape Kiwanda, then return to Seaside via the US 101.
For day trips north, my favorite stop for photography would be Fort Stevens State Park where the 1906 shipwreck Peter Iredale can still be seen on the beach. The South Jetty area of the park is known as a good bird watching location.
During your time in Seaside, you will want to visit the estuary just north of downtown. A small park offers easy trails and often good bird watching.
I can think of several scenic tours you might enjoy. The Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway is a great choice — lakes, mountains and lots of beautiful forest. Take Highway 26 east through Prineville to the Ochocos — another great backroad through forests. Old McKenzie Highway, Highway 242, is amazing, as is the Aufderheide, Scenic Highway 19. A trip to Crater Lake would be well worth the time, too. Have a great trip!
If you have a rental car, everything you’ll want to do will be easy! There are a ton of great, kid and adult friendly hikes around the area that I’m sure you’ll love.
If you’re looking for vistas and mountain views:
If you’re looking for forested tree tunnels and waterfalls:
If you’re looking for places to ski:
There’s also dog-sledding at Mt. Bachelor! It could make a good day/overnight trip to ski at Mt. Bachelor and then do a dog-sled tour in the backcountry.
My favorite hikes if you head towards Bend:
Also, would you like to soak in some natural hot springs?
If you need any rentals or gear for any of the adventures you’ll go on, I’d highly, highly recommend stopping into the Mountain Shop in Portland. They’re the oldest (and greatest, in my opinion) gear shop in the country.
Have the best time in Oregon!
|Outdoor Adventure, Snow Sports|