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We’re staying in Vida during the Olympic Trials in Eugene; what should we check out?

Vida is pretty remote but it’s in a very, very pretty spot with lots of outdoorsy things to do. It’s right along the McKenzie River which is one of the prettiest rivers in the state.

From Vida, it’s about a 40-minute drive to the trailhead for an easy hike to Tamolitch, the Blue Pool–this one is on my bucket list of hikes that I need to do. Everyone I know who has done it tells me it’s really unbelievably pretty!

Another hike in that area is to Sahalie and Koosah Falls–fairly easy hike and the waterfalls are gorgeous.

The Sahalie and Koosah hike is one segment of the McKenzie River National Trail, which is one of the country’s top mountain biking trails. I don’t know if you’re into mountain biking or will have access to bikes, but if you are then you should not miss out on that option. If you don’t have mountain bikes, you can rent them for the day from McKenzie River Mountain Resort, which also provides a shuttle service. If you’re not into mountain biking, you can also go hiking or trail running on the McKenzie River Trail–TheClymb.com named it one of the country’s top five running trails.

The area around Vida is known for having some fun natural hot springs to visit, such as the Terwiliger Hot Springs. (Be aware that as with many natural hot springs, clothing is considered optional for some visitors here.)

If you like swimming, you can do that at Cougar Reservoir.

If you like fishing, some of the state’s best fly fishing is on the McKenzie River, and there are lots of outfitters who will rent you gear and take you out. Paddling and rafting on the McKenzie River is very popular too. Get ahold of a number of guides who will take you fishing or rafting and rent you gear. You can also opt to go rafting on the McKenzie.

I hope your visit to Oregon for the Olympic trials is fabulous–have a great time!

Where should we stop to play golf between Redmond and Bandon?

Before you leave Redmond, I recommend playing the courses at Eagle Crest Resort. The Eagle Crest owners also own Brasada Ranch, which is about 20 minutes east of Eagle Crest and is a fantastically fun golf experience.

As far as the trip from central Oregon to Bandon, I have a “no-brainier, must play” recommendation…..Tokatee Golf Course.  It is located about an hour south from Eagle Crest next to the town of Blue River.  It is family owned gem that is easy to walk and has tremendous views of our Cascade mountains.  It is modestly priced and the beer is real cold!

If you want to get further down the road before playing golf, I would travel to Florence where you can play Sandpines Golf Club.  It is right on the ocean, great public play course.  And, just up the hill from Sandpines is Ocean Dunes that too is more modest in design but an easy golf course to get around and modestly priced.  In any event, you are experience great public play courses along your travels from Bend to Bandon.

Answered by Noel Lucky, Ask Oregon Golf Expert on June 17th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

I’m a big ‘Goonies’ fan… where do you recommend we visit?

Astoria is famous for being the filming location of the 1985 hit classic ‘The Goonies,’ as well as a handful of other popular movies. Astoria of  has a wide range of accommodations from luxury hotels on the riverfront to historic downtown boutique hotels, chain hotel brands and a good selection of bed and breakfasts. So, depending on your definition of quaint and not necessarily pricey, there are probably a few good choices for you. For a quaint motel, consider the Astoria Crest Motel. It is just east of downtown Astoria in a fabulous view location on a bluff and prices are reasonable.  For budget minded hipsters, downtown boutique hotels include the Commodore Hotel and Norblad Hotel and Hostel. You’ll have to check them out online to see if they’re your cup of tea. If you enjoy bed and breakfasts, consider Rose River Inn, Clementine’s and Crosby House.

Related to the The Goonies, I would definitely suggest a visit to the Oregon Film Museum in Astoria and you should consider a day trip to Cannon Beach, home of Goonies Rock (Haystack Rock). Ecola State Park offers great views as seen in the movie. Check out this page on the TravelAstoria website for more Goonies ideas. My other favorite Astoria area attractions include the Columbia River Maritime Museum, Lewis and Clark’s Fort Clatsop and the Peter Iredale shipwreck on the beach at Fort Stevens State Park. On a clear day, a stop at the Astoria Column will offer great views. The Astoria Riverwalk makes for a nice stroll or you can hop on the historic trolley to tour the riverfront.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on June 13th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

Are there places to stand-up paddleboard near Ashland?

Excellent question! Yes, there are several great places to SUP near Ashland. In fact, my family regularly paddleboards. At Emigrant Lake, which is located just a few miles from town, maybe people SUP from the boat dock area at the county park, or from the campground or beach. During peak season (June-August), several kiosks on-site rent paddle boards by the hour or day as well.

About 45 minutes from Ashland in the scenic Applegate Valley. It’s lovely to SUP on Applegate Lake as well. From Ashland, take I-5 to the Phoenix exit, then follow signs to Jacksonville. From there, take Highway 138 to Applegate Lake. You can also head out Highway 140 to Fish Lake or Lake of the Woods, or Highway 62 (from Medford) to Lost Creek Lake.

For the adventurous and advanced, we have also seen quite a bit of SUP activity on the Rogue River, particularly on the (mostly) calm section from Lost Creek Dam to Shady Cove (also on Highway 62, before you reach Lost Creek Lake). There are riffles and Class I-II whitewater to contend with, however.

Have fun in Southern Oregon paddleboarding!

Is part of the Oregon Trail still visible in Eastern Oregon?

There are two great spots that I would suggest to see the Oregon Trail. One is Blue Mountain Crossing, just off I-84, about nine miles west of La Grande. It’s a half-mile paved, easy accessible trail that follows some of the best preserved and most scenic traces of the Oregon Trails. Blue Mountain Crossing has discovery trails where you can literally walk in the footsteps of the pioneers. Plus, there are benches and picnic tables where you can rest.

The second spot I suggest is the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City. This is a great museum that offers you with a hike out to see the wagon ruts. Managed by the BLM, the center tells the story of emigrants through exhibits, program, films and special events. Specifically, the center focuses on six themes related to westward migration and settlement: pioneer life on the Oregon Trail, mountain men and early trail travelers, Native Americans along the Oregon Trail, natural history along the trail and in Eastern Oregon, mining and early settlement, and the history of the general land office.

What are the best lakes to wakeboard near Bend in June?

I’d say the most popular place for wakeboarding in Central Oregon is Lake Billy Chinook. It’s strikingly beautiful and large. Three rivers come together and are dammed into a fantastic waterway for boating.

Another popular spot is Cultus Lake. Both Billy Chinook and Cultus are about the same accessibility from Bend, but they are vastly different in terms of surroundings. Cultus is surrounded by forested mountains while Billy is in a high desert rimrock canyon. Given the time of your visit, I’d choose Billy Chinook. Cultus can be colder as it’s at a higher elevation.

Plus, Billy is simply bigger and, in my opinion, more fun to traverse than Cultus. Have fun!

How can one drive on the sand near Sunset Beach?

Driving on the beach between Fort Steven State Park and Gearhart is allowed with some seasonal restrictions. You can reach the beach access at the west end of Sunset Beach Road, just past the State Park parking area. Many other regulations and restrictions  are enforced for those driving on the beach. Speed limits must not exceed 25 mph and drivers can be cited for driving, even at lower speeds, if driving poses harm to the beach environment, ocean shore resources or creates a hazard to humans or wildlife. Drivers and vehicles must be legally licensed and all provisions of motor vehicle laws of the State of Oregon are applicable and enforceable.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on May 31st, 2016 - Post Your Answer

What are the not-to-miss golf courses on the Oregon Coast?

There are many wonderful golf courses along the Oregon Coast, ranging from all levels of difficulty and pricing. If you start south and head north, a really cool place to play is Salmon Run in Brookings. The Jack River crosses the course several times.

Two hours north is Bandon Dunes, considered the world’s most famous collection of courses with now five courses total. Bandon Dunes Resort is a must for the serious golfer looking for a memorable “bucket list” kind of experience. And there are a variety of accommodations, restaurants and accessible oceanfront so you can really take in the Coast. Just a few miles from Bandon Dunes, another enjoyable golf course is Bandon Crossings. And if you choose to stay in Bandon, the Bandon Inn is a lovely place to stay and tour the town.

 

As you head up the coastline, you must try to play Sandpines Golf. It is in the city of Florence and is considered one of the better public play courses in Oregon. Across the way from Sandpines is a fun, fun course named Ocean Dunes. It is modestly priced and you can play it well under four hours.

 

As you continue up the coastline, there are several other courses you can put on your “must-do list.” Salishan resort course in the town of Gleneden is known for tasty crab.  Manzanita Golf Course in the city of Manzanita is lined with trees, has ocean views and is really fun to play. Hawk Creek Golf in Lincoln City is a gem of a track and kind of a secret place mostly locals play. Gearhart Golf is one of the first courses to populate Oregon and again, is a lot of fun to play.

 

In all cases, you can’t miss celebrating the Oregon Coast with its views, good energy and fun, fun golf!

Answered by Noel Lucky, Ask Oregon Golf Expert on May 27th, 2016 - Post Your Answer
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What is there to see and do in the city of Lebanon?

Lebanon is a great little town that has undergone some big changes in the last decade; it’s gone from being mostly dependent on the timber industry to being the home of a small medical school and regional health care facilities — the growth due to this new development has brought some great amenities to the town. Here are my top picks for Lebanon and the surrounding area.

  • Cheadle Lake: This is a 100-acre lake and park surrounded by trails, home to lots of geese and ducks and turtles. It’s a great place to go for a walk or a run, and lots of fishermen and kayakers use it too. Only small electric-motored boats are allowed, no jet skis or other high-powered boats. Last weekend my husband and I took our canoe out to Cheadle Lake paddled around at sunset; it was absolutely beautiful and we saw a family of geese and their goslings swimming together.
  • Japanese Garden at Boulder Falls Inn: This Japanese-inspired garden is adjacent to the Boulder Falls Inn in Lebanon, but you don’t have to be a guest there to visit the garden. It’s small (about 1 acre), but absolutely gorgeous, and is open year-round. It was designed by Hoichi Kurisu, the same internationally-known designer behind Portland’s Japanese Garden.
  • Restaurants: Lebanon is a small town but has several restaurants I’d highly recommend:
    • 1847: This is adjacent to the Japanese garden; you can eat there and look out at the pond and flowers. Northwest cuisine with an extensive Oregon wine list. 1847 recently won awards from Open Table and was named to the Oregon Wine A-List for its food and wine.
    • Kris’ Kitchen: A little family-owned bakery on Main Street with amazing made-from-scratch breads, cinnamon rolls and pie. You won’t find any fancy lattes here, but if you want to sit down with a mug of hot coffee and a mouthwatering homemade treat, this is the place to do it.
    • Growler Cafe: This is a delicious little downtown cafe with tons of craft beer on tap. Their seating area is on the small side, but the food (extremely tasty sandwiches and pub food) is top-notch, and the folks who work there know their craft beer and have a good variety on top.
    • Conversion Brewing: Just opened recently — Lebanon’s very first brewery! Family-friendly, with wood-fired pizza and high-quality craft beer. When I went, I tried the beer sampler and didn’t find one that I didn’t like.
    • Victorian Chocolate Company: This tiny, bright-purple spot doesn’t look like much from the outside, but go on in and you’ll find dozens of varieties of delicious hand-made chocolates from the extremely friendly master chocolatier who runs the place. Absolutely worth a stop.
  • McDowell Creek Falls: One of my favorite hikes in the area. Three miles of trails take you to two different waterfalls. It’s in the hills just a few miles outside of Lebanon. Bring your camera — lots of great photo opportunities on this hike.
  • Marks Ridge Winery: If you do the hike at McDowell Creek, reward yourself with wine-tasting at Marks Ridge! It’s a small winery up in the hills just a few miles past McDowell Creek Park. It’s normally open only on weekends, but if you know in advance when you’re coming they are happy to make appointments for other days. The views from here are incredible, and they have live music on summer weekends.

 

  1. Day trip to Brownsville: About 15 minutes from Lebanon is one of the cutest little towns in the Willamette Valley: Brownsville, Oregon. It’s got less than 2,000 people and a charming, walkable downtown. It’s famous for being the filming location for the 1986 classic “Stand By Me” with Wil Wheaton, Jerry O’Connell, River Phoenix and Corey Feldman. If you happen to be there this July, they’re celebrating the 30th anniversary of the movie!

 

  1. Foster and Green Peter Reservoirs: If you like water sports and swimming and you’re here in the summer, visit Foster and Green Peter Reservoirs. Formed by dams that generate hydro-electric power, these lakes are also great for boating and water-skiing, and there’s a county park on the shore with a nice swimming area for families. (You can rent a boat for the day at the lakeside marina).

 

  1. Downtown Albany: About 15 miles west of Lebanon is Albany, which has a beautiful historic downtown. I’d highly recommend a visit to the Historic Carousel Carving Studio & Museum, where you can watch volunteer wood-carvers create beautiful carousel animals right before your eyes. There are a number of great restaurants in downtown Albany, but my favorite is Sybaris Bistro. They’re only open for dinners Tuesday-Saturday, plus a Saturday brunch, but if you can make time to eat there you won’t be disappointed. The chef, Matt Bennett, is incredibly creative, and the food is new and delicious every single time.

 

 

One more thing: here’s a nice map put out by the city of Lebanon that shows all the city’s parks and trails, plus lists annual community events.

 

Besides Crater Lake, where should we stop in Southern Oregon?

Before you get to Crater Lake, I suggest exploring Ashland and the greater Rogue Valley.

Outside Ashland, I highly recommend spending some time in the Siskiyou Mountains. Whether you have kids or not, Willow Witt farm is a wonderful retreat. Stay the night in a lodge room or ‘glamping’ style in a canvas tent. In Ashland, I recommend Ashland Hills Hotel or the downtown Lithia Springs hotel. You can take in a Shakespeare show or just enjoy the culinary scene here.

Outside Ashland, the Rogue River is one of the most beautiful spots in the valley. See it in multiple places: head up to Shady Cove when you’re en route to Crater Lake and check out the lava tubes up by Prospect and Union Creek, or watch the whitewater rafters north of Ashland at Galice. You can even hike part of the river on the Rogue River Trail there.

If you’re into winery tours or wine tasting, check out the Applegate Wine Trail or Upper Rogue Wine Trail. Applegate Lake is a wonderful place to hike and swim (past Ruch and Jacksonville), and historic Jacksonville is charming as well!

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