Ask Oregon Questions & Answers

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Is there an alpine slide somewhere around Mt. Hood?

Yes, there is an alpine slide on Mt Hood, located at Ski Bowl East. In addition to the slide, they have 20+ activities available,
including a zip line, bungee jumping, human hamster balls and more. My kids and I were just up there a couple of weeks ago and had a blast!

Enjoy planning your adventure!

We plan to be in the Willamette Valley for 2 days. Please suggest a town where we can say that would be convenient for touring the vineyards and sampling some good food without being too touristy.

Three places came to mind when I read your question.  They are McMinnville, Eugene and Albany!  Three very different Oregon towns each offering what you are looking for.  First of all, McMinnville is situated more in the Northern region of wine country.  It’s has a
bustling downtown with lots of restaurants and shops and very close to hundreds of wineries and vineyards.  One of my favorite places to visit when I’m in McMinnville is the McMenamins Hotel Oregon. Good food, beer, wine and lodging!  A couple of my favorite wineries are Adelsheim and Sokol Blosser.

Eugene is further south but also perfectly situated for wine tasting, touring without being too touristy and a place where you will find
delicious food!  The Inn at the 5th is a beautiful hotel located in the 5th Avenue Public Market in downtown Eugene.  Lodging here could afford you to be smack dab in the middle of all the GOOD food and shopping!  There is a wine tasting room also attached to the hotel. Two favorite wineries in the area are Sweet Cheeks and King Estate. And a few dining suggestions downtown: The Vintage and Sweet Life Patisserie. Our Daily Bread is found on the way to visit some of the wineries in that area!

Albany is smaller town of only about 50,000 pop.  Home to several delicious restaurants as well, it’s also home to Matt Bennett, a James Beard Award Nominated Chef!  He owns three restaurants downtown, one of which I send all of our visitors to who are looking for a true taste of the Pacific Northwest: Sybaris. Albany is also located in the middle between McMinnville and Eugene so a perfect spot if you are wanting to get as much as possible from all areas of the Willamette Valley.

Answered by Debbie Lusk on August 17th, 2012 - Post Your Answer
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I will be traveling from Portland to Baker City and want to take 2 days for the trip. I love art/sculpture, local crafts, scenery and small towns. Can you suggest a good overnight point for my first night?

I recommend a driving route on the Old West Highway (26) that will take you over Mt Hood, through small towns along Highway 26 and along the scenic John Day River directly to Baker City. The total driving time is about 7 hours.

For your first night—if you’re up for driving—is the quaint town of Mitchell, Oregon, about 4 hours away from Portland. If you’d like to save the bulk of your driving and sightseeing for the next day, treat yourself to a night at Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood.

Answered by Lynne Curry on August 17th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

What are some fun festivals in Eastern Oregon?

A great music festival is the  The Bronze, Blues & Brews music festival. Over Labor Day weekend is Juniper Jam, a great showcase of regional musicians in the folk/rock tradition. I highly recommend both. Two important cultural festivals include the Maxville Gathering that celebrates the logging history in Oregon and the annual Nez Perce art show. One of the biggest and most celebrated festivals is the Pendleton Roundup in September.

If there’s a particular type of festival or one in another part of Eastern Oregon you’d like to know more about, please let me know.

Answered by Lynne Curry on August 17th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

We live in Northern CA and are looking to go visit a town in Oregon that has nice scenery, shopping, quaint hotels, things to do but not too long of a driving distance since we are looking at a long weekend away – possibly over Thanksgiving. What do you recommend?

It sounds like the town of Ashland is right up your alley. Just off Interstate 5 and just north of the California border, this town is, arguably the region’s main tourist destination. It boasts a wide variety of restaurants and
accommodations, including boutique hotels and many bed-and-breakfasts, plus the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Cabaret Theater and a vibrant arts scene in a small, walkable downtown area.

The Railroad District is home to numerous galleries, on the other end of town is the Schneider Museum of Art at Southern Oregon University. See the Mail Tribune newspaper’s guide to visual arts and the Shakespeare festival for more information.

The beginning of the holiday season brings the festival of lights, craft fairs and ice-skating in Lithia Park, one of locals’ favorite spots for easy,picturesque hiking. Ashland also a cyclists’ town with mountain biking,
the Bear Creek Greenway and numerous bike shops.

Family-friendly activities abound, but there’s Science Works Hands-On Museum, North Mountain Nature Center and programs at Northwest Nature Shop.

Ashland makes a good home base for exploring Jackson County’s other attractions: Crater Lake (the state’s only national park), Jacksonville, a national historic landmark (also a good town for antiquing), as well as lots of artisan foods, particularly Rogue Creamery and Lillie Belle Farms in Central Point.

Answered by Sarah Lemon on July 26th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

We’ll be visiting Oregon in August and driving from Portland to Hood River one day, and then to Bend the next day. What would be the best way to experience Mt. Hood? Is there any way to get to the snow in that period of time?

The best way to experience Mount Hood, especially if you want to get up close to some snow, is to visit Timberline Lodge. You won’t get any closer to the mountain. They do a great lunch buffet, for a very reasonable
price using many local ingredients. Take a ride up on the ski lift to the Palmer Snowfield, where you can play in the snow year round, even in August.

You may also consider making a stop at Trillium Lake on your way to Bend, and not far from Timberline Lodge. Yet another great view of the mountain here, reflected perfectly in the lake if the wind isn’t blowing too
hard.

Enjoy planning your Oregon adventure.

When and where do people go clamming and crabbing?

Crabbing and clamming don’t always go hand in hand.  You want to have minus tide for good clamming so that the beds are exposed. For crabbing, ideally you want a small tidal exchange so that the current isn’t too great.

You will find the most low tides in May, June and July but twice every month there are minus tides, during the full and dark phases of the moon.

A common saying for crabbing is “any month that ends in a ‘R’ has the best crab.”  The later into the fall the better.  During the summer, crabs are available but it can be hit and miss.  Also, there will be more soft crab in the summer.  A soft crab is one that has recently molted its shell and will not have as much meat.

Nehalem, Tillamook, Netarts, Yaquina, Alsea and Coos Bay are all very popular crabbing spots.  Nehalem, Tillamook nd Yaquina have some piers/docks you can crab from.  Most bays also have boat rental places.

Answered by David Johnson, Ask Oregon Fishing Expert on July 26th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

What to visit in Eastern Oregon for 2 days?

Two days in Oregon will give you time to explore the Oregon Trail and native American history, including the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute around Pendleton or further east in Baker City at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. Check out geologic history in the Painted Hills and the John Day Fossil Beds, including the amazing Thomas Condon Paleontology Center. If you’re looking for wilderness adventure, head to the Wallowa Mountains in the northeastern corner of the state or the Steens in Southeastern Oregon. For a great overview and idea planning, I recommend you start here.

Answered by Lynne Curry on July 26th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

Can you ski at Mt. Hood in the summer?

The summer skiing on Mount Hood rocks! We were just up skiing on Hood yesterday and it was an amazing day. When are you coming, do you need to rent gear, and what would say your ability level is currently? Can’t
wait to have you out here in Oregon! Have a fantastic day and can’t wait to hear from you!

Answered by Asit Rathod, Ask Oregon Snow Sports Expert on July 26th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

My husband and I are planning a trip to Bend in August. We have a 14 month-old and would like to hike somewhere that isn’t too difficult and has some safe swimming holes. Any suggestions?

A great hiking option, relatively flat, is the Deschutes River Trail, which runs right through Bend. The trail system is awesome!  People do swim at McKay Park, but it’s not really safe or a swimming  hole, necessarily. If you want that, I’d head up to Elk Lake. Especially in August, the water is warm and definitely safe – try the South Beach for a shallow hole. There is a lot of hiking up there, but it’s more mountainous. Have a wonderful trip!

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