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Where’s a good spot to crab near Astoria without a boat?

You may find some crabbing charters out of the port of Hammond south of Astoria. In addition, the 12th Street bridge in Seaside is a popular non-boat location with crab rings dropped directly off the bridge. One of the best crabbing experiences on the North Oregon Coast is further south on Nehalem Bay. Kelly’s Marina and Jetty Fishery both offer crabbing from the docks (and boat rentals) with rental gear available right there. You can also have your catch cooked and cleaned right there and feast on your catch just steps from where it came out of the water.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on March 25th, 2016 - Post Your Answer
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Is it possible to visit Hood/Gorge and the Coast in two days?

You can absolutely do it! My suggestion would be to drive from Portland to the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Byway. Take in the waterfalls, take in the misty air, take in the probable rain (bring a rain jacket) and then stop for ice cream at EastWind Drive Thru in Cascade Locks before making your way to Hood River. There’s a little coffee shop/restaurant called Doppio’s Cafe on Main Street. They’ve got the best sandwiches in town and even better coffee.

After leaving Hood River, head toward Mt. Hood. Make a quick stop at Tamanawas Falls trailhead and hike through the forest to the jaw-dropping waterfall. It’s an easy 4-mile round trip hike that will leave you feeling refreshed and inspired to see what else you can find. Continue heading toward the mountain. You can take in some killer views at Trillium Lake or drink the world’s best hot chocolate at Timberline Lodge in front of a roaring fire. When you’re finished with that, you can drive through Government Camp and stop for pizza or beers, or both!

You can make it back to Portland in time to recharge and plan out the next day.

The Coast is sure to blow your mind. Head west on Highway 26 until you hit Cannon Beach. If you’re looking for a view, stop at Haystack Rock and take it in. This is the most photographed area of Oregon. How cool is that? From there, take a short drive down to Oswald West State Park and walk through the forest for about a mile before it opens up to the Pacific Ocean. You’ll feel like you’re in Jurassic Park, but I assure you, dinosaurs won’t bother you here.

If you’re still feeling jazzed about the Coast, you can head on over to Hug Point State Park, just down the road. It’s a similar beach and is just as rocky and wild as the others, but this one has caves and a waterfall. Just to keep you on your toes. From here you might be chasing the sunset so I’d recommend settling in and taking a few deep breaths because sunsets on the Oregon Coast are about the closest thing to a religious experience I’ve ever had.

From there, you can head back to Portland.

Take lots of pictures. Use our hashtag (#traveloregon) and soak up the experience. There’s no place like Oregon!

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What restaurants should I try in Central Oregon? Mind you, I’m a chef!

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.

Where should we stay during our romantic honeymoon on the Coast?

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.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on March 16th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

What are the best wineries, restaurants and hotels in the Willamette Valley?

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!

Hotel:

  • For the fanciest hotel near wineries, I’d have to say The Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg, Oregon. It’s a beautiful place to stay, the food is amazing, and they have some great wine touring amenities (personalized concierge service, personal recommendations from staff, Lexuses that guests can borrow for driving around wine country). It’s been named one of the top five luxury hotels in the US, and one of the top 500 hotels in the world. Definitely worth checking out!
  • If you’re looking for a smaller, more intimate inn, The Black Walnut Inn in Dundee and Youngberg Hill in McMinnville are both also very lovely and upscale.
  • If you’d like a hotel in a small city, where you can walk from the hotel to great restaurants and urban wineries and breweries, I’d suggest Inn at the Fifth in Eugene. I’ve stayed there more than once and had a great experience each time.

Wineries:

  • Here are seven wineries that are known for having gorgeous views.
  • There were four Willamette Valley wineries that made Wine Spectator’s top 100 list in 2016: Evening Land, Big Table Farm, Bergstrom, and Solena Estate
  • A few others that are personal favorites of mine: Brooks Winery in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA of the Willamette Valley–great wines, beautiful views, and a gorgeous but relaxed tasting room that makes you want to linger there all day; Brick House Vineyards, a small producer that’s open by appointment only. When you get an appointment, it’s a private tasting around the “tasting table” in their winery, which is a beautiful old converted horse barn right next to the vineyard.

Restaurants:

  • Sybaris Bistro, Albany– amazing and creative food, inspired by the seasons, the terroir of the Willamette Valley, and the chef’s creative urges. Top-notch service and wine list as well.
  • JORY at The Allison Inn, Newberg–chef Sunny Jin is one of the top-rated chefs in Oregon for good reason. You won’t be disappointed.
  • The Joel Palmer House, Dayton–delicious food with a focus on wild-foraged ingredients, especially Oregon’s wild mushrooms. Also a legendary wine cellar with the most extensive Oregon list in the state, and in a beautiful historic building.
  • Party Downtown, Eugene — just ate here for the first time last night and had a great meal! I highly recommend the Kitchen’s Choice menu. Let the chefs in the kitchen serve you up a series of their best bites–we tasted close to a dozen different dishes, and each was delightful.
  • For more casual stops between wine tasting–Red Hills Market in Dundee, a bistro/market with a cozy neighborhood pub feel and delicious food; or The Horse Radish in Carlton–great sandwiches, great soups, house-made desserts and a mouthwatering cheese plate.

You won’t go wrong with any of these choices. I hope you enjoy your trip!

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Where are the best places to see wildflowers near Ashland in April?

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.

Are there charter services that will take us to Haystack Rock to spread our parents’ ashes?

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.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on March 1st, 2016 - Post Your Answer

Where can we fish for trout or catfish near Roseburg?

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife regularly stocks reservoirs and lakes with trout. You can find the schedule of trout stocking for your area online.

However, a good bet for catching catfish would be to head over to the Coast and fish in Siltcoos Lake.

Answered by David Johnson, Ask Oregon Fishing Expert on February 29th, 2016 - Post Your Answer
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Is it better to visit Mt. Hood in the winter or summer?

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.

What day trips can bird watchers and active seniors take from Seaside in September?

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.

Happy exploring!

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on February 26th, 2016 - Post Your Answer
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