Ask Oregon Questions & Answers
Heading from Canada to Crater Lake and Florence. Could you recommend bars in those areas with unique local beers? Many thanks from a thirsty wanderer!
In Florence, your best bets are the Beachcomber Pub (20 taps, with some nice southern Willamette Valley picks) or Wakonda Brewing Co. I actually haven’t been to Wakonda yet, but the reviews are impressive.
Crater Lake isn’t ringed with pubs, so take some beer with you. Oh, and if you’re taking OR 58 from Eugene down to Crater Lake, you must stop in Oakridge at the Brewers Union Local 180. It’s a tiny brewpub run by one of the country’s leading advocates of cask ale. Ask for him if you want to spend an hour in lovely conversation. His name’s Ted and you can tell him I sent you.
We will be staying in Newport in mid-September and would like suggestions for a scenic route to drive to Mt. Hood. We would like to see some of the scenic sights in Central Oregon along the way. Is the Three Sisters area too far off the path?
Well, seeing the Sisters on the way to Mt. Hood isn’t exactly the direct route, but if you are up for a leisurely driving tour of the state, it’s a lovely way to go! From Newport you can head east over the Cascades, seeing many lovely sights along the way. From Bend, head north on Hwy 97 to Mt. Hood. The whole endeavor will take you seven hours +, so if you have time, you might consider staying over a night (maybe in Bend?). You can see the Cascades from parts of I-5 (assuming you took a more direct route from Newport to Hood), but it isn’t nearly the same as seeing those peaks up close.
I was wondering if you could tell me the best area to visit mid-July for fishing. I have two boys ages 13 and 15 that love to fish. -Tammy H.
Here are a few great options around the state to visit with good fishing for the boys:
On the central/southern Oregon Coast check out Siltcoos Lake.
On the northern Oregon Coast, Fort Stevens State Park is a great option. It’s rich in history; there is the beach and a lake for shore fishing for bass, trout and perch.
I’m coming to Ashland to see the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I want to check out some breweries, some wineries, some natural wonders…. I’d LOVE some ‘local’ (that is, somewhat off-the-obvious-path) suggestions of things to check out. -Kristin G.
You’re on the right track with plans to partake of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland’s claim to fame. If you haven’t already, see the Mail Tribune newspaper’s guide to the festival for news and reviews.
If you want to take in the region’s primary natural wonders, plan a day to visit Crater Lake, Oregon’s only national park, or Oregon Caves, the state’s first national monument. I always recommend both, but they are several hours’ drive apart. Here’s a recent story from the Mail Tribune to help you decide.
You could spend a couple of days on wineries alone. The Rogue region boasts dozens 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.
Ashland has a few popular breweries, including Standing Stone and Caldera, but the up-and-comers are in Medford. Check out Southern Oregon Brewing and Walkabout, which is opening its taphouse in July. While you’re in Medford, eat at Downtown Market Co., the town’s No. 1 restaurant on TripAdvisor and one of my personal favorites.
Most of my “locals-only” tips center around food and dining. Ashland is replete with restaurants, particularly around the plaza, but some of the best (and more affordable) dining is removed from the downtown core. I always make a point of eating at Morning Glory for breakfast, Happy Falafel for a fast, inexpensive lunch and a newcomer, called Sauce, for really flavorful, healthy food.
It sounds a little strange, but Ashland Food Co-op in the railroad district does more food-service business than anywhere else in town. It has a salad bar, hot bar and deli that’s fresh, fast and can accommodate any type of diet.
Check out all my Ashland-area dining coverage here.
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.