Ask Oregon Questions & Answers
I gather that you’re after morels, which are this region’s signature springtime mushrooms. The actual season depends largely on elevation. If we get some warm weather in February (50s), which is not uncommon, there can be early flushes of mushrooms in March, particularly in areas burned over by forest fire the previous year. The picking starts to accelerate in April at lower elevations, around 1,000 to 2,000 feet, but the main crop comes in May out of the region’s mountains.
You could get lucky if you have a proven spot in mind. Otherwise, speaking from experience, you can spend a lot of time wandering around in the woods, getting poison oak for your pains and coming home empty-handed. Then you’ll walk past a bark-mulched planter bed in the city and see the mushrooms among the shrubbery!
Just make sure wherever you go, you obtain a permit from whatever agency manages the land you’ll be picking on, which can take a bit of figuring out. It’s usually Bureau of Land Management or the U.S. Forest Service.
Here’s a story I wrote for the Mail Tribune newspaper about shrooming that has some more tips.
If I could choose just a few things for you do in an afternoon near Newberg, they would be as follows:
Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum: This is a great place and if you have wanted to see the Spruce Goose, it’s here! You could certainly spend a lot longer than an afternoon here, but it can be toured and enjoyed in just a few hours if that’s all you have.
Downtown McMinnville: A great place for everything you are looking for! The rooftop restaurant at the McMenamins Hotel Oregon would be a great place for lunch and then let the shopping begin! Downtown McMinnville is filled with shops and sites and delicious places to find good food! You could certainly spend hours just enjoying it!
You can also enjoy visiting Sleigh Bells between McMinnville and Newberg: I love this place! It is a huge gift shop and I am sure it is filled to the brim with Halloween and Fall items right now. Sleigh Bells is also a working Christmas Tree farm so take the tour if you go! Last time I was there, they were serving tea and I know they had some homemade goodies such as fudge for sale. There’s a lot to see there!
We want to see lighthouses on the Oregon Coast in November. Are there RV campgrounds open year-round?
Temperatures are typically mild along the Oregon Coast in November, so only on rare occasions do you need to worry about ice or frost on our roads. This is the rainy season on the coast and it can rain hard and be windy, but the Oregon Coast is spectacular anytime of year and many people come specifically to experience the weather and stormy seas.
There are several State Parks that offer year round RV campsites including Cape Lookout State Park (close to Cape Meares Lighthouse), Beverly Beach State Park (near Yaquina Head and Yaquina Bay Lighthouses), Sunset Bay State Park (near Cape Arago Lighthouse), Umpqua Lighthouse State Park (near Umpqua River Lighthouse), Bullards Beach State Park (near Coquille River Lighthouse) and Cape Blanco State Park (near Cape Blanco Lighthouse). There are also many private RV parks that remain open year-round.
The Heceta Head Lighthouse north of Florence is undergoing an extensive renovation and it is currently completely covered, but Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park nearby is also open year round for RVs.
Visit the Oregon State Parks website to look into the RV facilities.
Hope this is helpful and happy exploring!
We are travelling along I-84 from Pendleton, Oregon to Salt Lake City, Utah. Are there any State Parks that are close to (or along) that stretch of I-84? –Zig
Between Pendleton and the Oregon-Idaho border, there are 4 state parks close to I-84.
Heading west to east, they are:
You might also consider stopping near Baker City at the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center open 9-4 daily until December.
There are many great places to view migrating Gray Whales in December all along the Oregon Coast. On the North Oregon Coast, I would recommend Ecola State Park near Cannon Beach, the Highway 101 viewpoints from Neahkahnie Mountain near Manzanita or Cape Meares State Park west of Tillamook. On the Central Oregon Coast, I recommend Depoe Bay, Yaquina Head near Newport or the Cape Perpetua Interpretive Center near Yachats. On the South Oregon Coast, try Shore Acres State Park near Charleston, the Face Rock Viewpoint in Bandon or Harris Beach State Park in Brookings.
The winter Gray Whale migration typically peaks in late December and December 26-30, a statewide program called “Whale Watching Spoken Here” positions volunteers at these locations and others to help visitors spot the migrating mammoths.
You can find more information on the program HERE along with a list of all of the locations which can be good for spotting whales anytime between mid-December and mid-January.
Happy whale watching!
I am the AskOR Willamette Valley expert and I am happy to give you a few suggestions for enjoying our gorgeous region! First of all, for lodging, I would check out www.obbg.org if you are thinking you might enjoy a night in a B & B along your route. If you would like to wine taste or if you are in to seeing some of the most beautiful country in the world, take hwy 99W out of Portland south all the way to Eugene.
On your route, enjoy our small towns and villages and know that in each and every one of them you’ll find something good to drink and delicious local food to enjoy. You’ll be going right by the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum near McMinnville: http://www.evergreenmuseum.org If you have ever wanted to see the Spruce Goose, this is its home!
Traveling further south along this route, you will come across my favorite place for local beer and food in Amity, OR at The Blue Goat Cafe: http://amitybluegoat.com Save room for dessert because it’s really good!
A great place to stay if you want an in between Portland and Eugene place is Corvallis. A vibrant bustling town home to Oregon State University. Take the campus tour if you’d like or take a hike! My most favorite Oregon hiking trails are nearby. The Mc Donald Dunn Forest: http://www.cof.orst.edu/cf/recreation/trails.php I hike here a few times a month and there’s always something new to see. You can do just a few miles or take a longer route as you choose. My reward for working hard on these trails is a bite to eat at either Block 15 or American Dream Pizza on 2nd Ave. both in downtown Corvallis.
You can choose to skip over to Albany from here on hwy 20 right out of downtown Corvallis and enjoy their darling downtown area before heading again south on to Eugene again via hwy 99. A few tidbits about Albany… they happen to boast the most in number and varied styles of historic homes and buildings in the entire state of Oregon! Worth a stop for some photos of the gorgeous vintage abodes and a trip to the Albany Carousel Museum and studio is awesome: http://albanycarousel.com A few places to dine if you choose to eat in Albany:
Well… this is my short list. I am happy to provide you with more info but this could keep you busy far longer than a day and a night. Hope you enjoy your planning and your trip. Thanks for your question!
There are some serious fly fishers who will fish in March but I would say later in the spring it gets even better.
Many of the rivers that get salmon and steelhead runs do not open until the third week of May to protect the young salmon and steelhead that are migrating to sea. Most lakes open during the third week of April or are open year-round.
Check out regulations here: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/licenses_regs/regulations.asp
There are many beaches along Oregon’s 363 mile coastline where you will find agates. On the North Oregon Coast, I would recommend beaches south of Cannon Beach such as Arcadia Beach or Short Sand Beach (Oswald West State Park). Further south, Oceanside is known for agates where at low tide you can pass through a tunnel at Maxwell Point to find gravel beds great for agate hunters.
On the Central Oregon Coast, the stretch of beach between Otter Rock and Newport are famous for agates, including the appropriately named Agate Beach. Further south you will find some good agate beaches between Yachats and Florence. Consider the beach access areas adjacent to small creeks such as Agate Point just south of Yachats, Neptune Beach or Stonefield Beach.
The quieter seasons of the year are often the best for agate hunters. Not only is there less competition for the prized stones, but off season storms often pull sand off the beach and waves dislodge agates from the shoreline revealing them to beachcombers. Look for areas of gravel deposits, then look closer to find the polished translucent quartz stones along with polished jasper and sometimes petrified wood and fossils.
Happy agate hunting!
Ski season on Mount Hood can open as early as Halloween but the Thanksgiving weekend is generally the target date for all the resorts. If you really have the bug like me, Timberline runs limited operation on weekends starting in early October through the official resort opening when all lifts are operational. It is weather dependent, so make sure to check their website or the Timberline snow phone 503-222-2211. Have a awesome winter and hope to see you on the slopes!
What are some good indoor rainy day activities in the Mt Hood/Columbia River Gorge area? -Greggory D.
I would recommend checking out the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center/Wasco County History Museum in The Dalles, along with the Fort Dalles museum.
You may also be interested in WAAAM (WAAAM: Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum) in Hood River. Definitely some interesting photographs of the vintage vehicles could be had there.
While not indoors, I would suggest checking out the Mosier Twin Tunnels trail. There are some great vantage points of the Gorge from here, and the tunnels do offer shelter from the rain. Keep an eye out for the historic graffiti left inside by snowbound travelers back when this was the highway.
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