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We want to go wine tasting in the North Willamette Valley. Where should we stay and where should we eat?

The towns I love for wine tasting are Newberg, McMinnville and Dundee. All three are driving distance of each other in Yamhill County.

In Newberg there are lots of great B&B’s and vacation rentals. Here are a few favorites:
dreamgiversinn.com/ 
lepuy-inn.com/ 
lobenhaus.com/
distinctivedestination.net/lionsgateinn/

For dinner, The Painted Lady is seriously top notch. Recipe- A Neighborhood Kitchen is also very nice. Downtown Newberg has many tasting rooms all located within walking distance of each other. You can see a map here:  newbergdowntown.org/wine-tasting/ 

In McMinnville, walk the downtown area where you can shop, taste wine and eat at wonderful restaurants. Here you can stay at the Mattey House which is a B&B located in a beautiful 1892 Queen Anne Victorian Home on 10 acres.  Or perhaps you would prefer Youngberg Hill Vineyards and Inn, a 22 year old organic vineyard and tasting room with deluxe accommodations. There is also a classic European style B & B called The Steiger Haus that is located in downtown McMinnville. There are many options for meals in this town but a few of my favorites are: Community Plate (lunch only), Nick’s Italian Café and Bistro Maison. Here is a guide to downtown McMinville:  downtownmcminnville.com/explore

If you make a stop in Dundee, The Dundee Manor is a nice place to stay, as is the Black Walnut Inn.  While in town, you can even visit Herbert Hoover’s (America’s 31st president) boyhood home.  There is no shortage of good restaurants in the area. Thistle, Tina’s and the Dundee Bistro are all great choices. Red Hills Market is good for casual dining.

What are the must-see places in Salem?

Salem is a good city to stay in because it is a central location to all sorts of places to visit in Oregon.  It is also the capital so if you want, you can visit our state’s capital building located in downtown Salem.  Inside the building are murals painted depicting our state history.  Outside are sculptures on the grounds and one on top of the building that is covered in gold leaf and represents Oregon’s first settlers.  In 1984, school children raised the $38,000 to cover the statue in the gold leaf holding a penny drive!

If area history interests you, the Willamette Heritage Center at the Mill might be another good stop for you.  The site houses the 1889 Thomas Kay Woolen Mill, the best preserved Victorian-era factory in the American West, with exhibits that change throughout the year.  The current show is “Threads to New Worlds: A Collection of Fiber Arts”.   There are also four buildings dating from the 1840s and 1850s that are restored and furnished in period that you can tour.

The Bush House Museum is another nice spot to visit.  This Italianate mansion was built in 1878  by pioneer businessman Asahel Bush II and is set in a 100-acre park.  You can take a guided tour of the home Wednesday-Sunday at 1, 2, 3 & 4 pm.  I suggest walking around the park for a bit after you tour the house.  The Bush Barn Art Center is located nearby.  It features three galleries and a gift gallery exhibiting the works of artists from the Pacific Northwest. Also nearby is the Historic Deepwood Estate.  It is a 1894 Queen Anne Victorian Home situated on approximately 4 acres of manicured gardens and nature trails.  If you plan on touring all of these locations, you can buy a pass here- https://www.boxofficetickets.com/bot/wa/event?id=188645 that will get you into these places and also the Hallie Ford Museum of Art for $20.

There are also lots of great places to visit just outside of Salem.  I don’t know if you plan on driving around a bit but you are 25 miles from Silver Falls State Park, the largest state park in Oregon.  More about the park here- http://www.oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=parkPage.dsp_parkPage&parkId=151

Willamette Valley Vineyards is also located just outside of Salem and is an award winning winery and tourist destination.  The tasting room is open to the public from 11 am until 6 pm daily.  They also provide complimentary winery tours and tastings every day promptly at 2 pm.  They ask that you call ahead to confirm availability.
1-800-344-9463  http://wvv.com/visit/tasting_room/

Check out Travel Oregon’s suggestions on planning a getaway to Salem.

What are some points of interest between Portland and Ashland?

Hi Betty,

Just south of Portland, you can exit the main freeway and get on to 99W.  I would suggest you do this and then sit back and enjoy the ride!  You will be soon be entering the Willamette Valley and I will suggest some stops along your route.

One of the first stops should be McMinnville, Oregon where you will find a sweet town filled with shops, restaurants and wine!  You will also find the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum. This is a great stop and depending on time, you could actually spend several hours there if you wish.  From this area, you will be surrounded by our Willamette Valley wine country.  If you are wine drinkers, you will most surely want to stop at many of our wineriess.  We have hundreds so pace yourselves and enjoy!  A few of my favorite stops for tasting are as follows: Adelsheim, Sokol Blosser, Cubanisimo, and Van Duzer.

If you plan to spend a few days traveling, you could certainly check out some B & B’s in wine country as well:  www.obbg.org will give you a nice list and be sure to utilize the interactive map to find one to suit your specific area.

If you are into seeing some waterfalls, check out Silver Creek Falls along the way. You can choose to just sight see a bit or take an easy or difficult hike depending on what you want to do.  Also a great place for a pic nic too!  It’s not too far from Salem, OR however on the east side of I 5 but totally worth the stop!

Also, check out the covered bridges in Linn and Lane counties. I love the covered bridge routes… romantic and picturesque!

From the area of Lane County, you will be heading south toward Ashland.  You can choose when you’d like to jump on I-5 and make it to Central Point.  There you will want to visit Rogue Creamery and Lillie Belle Chocolates.

And if you have time… you will not want to miss seeing our Crater Lake!

Answered by Debbie Lusk, Ask Oregon Portland Expert on January 30th, 2013 - Post Your Answer

What are some ideas for how our family could spend an afternoon in the Newberg area?

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!

Answered by Debbie Lusk, Ask Oregon Portland Expert on November 19th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

We have a day and night to get from Portland to Eugene, what could we see on our way? –Linda

Hi Linda,

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!

Answered by Debbie Lusk, Ask Oregon Portland Expert on November 8th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

I will be in Eugene for a meeting on Jan 14th and 15th and would like to see some of the Oregon Coast; perhaps on the previous weekend or maybe starting on Jan 10th. What area would be relatively easy to drive to from Eugene or Portland? What kind of weather should I expect? Can you suggest some B&Bs? — Lois

From the coast, the most direct route to Eugene is from Florence on the Oregon Coast via OR 126 (just under 1.5 hours). You didn’t mention where you are traveling from, but it sounds like you may be coming from the north and you could easily spend four days traveling the North and Central coast between Astoria and Florence. Astoria is famous for bed & breakfasts in historical Victorian homes. If you are looking for more ocean beach destinations, I would consider starting in Seaside or Cannon Beach. In Seaside, you may want to try the Gilbert Inn B&B (historic home). In Cannon Beach, consider Song of the Sea B&B (modern home, close to town and beach). Just south of Cannon Beach is the unique French Chateau-like Arch Cape Inn. In the Newport area, you may want to consider the Sylvia Beach Hotel. It’s actually a historic beach hotel, but very B&B like with a literary slant. Rooms are furnished and decorated based on famous authors. Another unique B&B stay would be the Heceta Head Lighthouse B&B, the original lighthouse keepers’ home (near Florence).

Weather is typically mild and rarely below freezing on the coast, so your travel along the coast should not be a problem. You will want to check on pass conditions as you pass through the Coast Range on your way to and from the coast. From the Portland/Longview area, the lowest elevation on the North Oregon Coast is Highway 30 into Astoria (the Washington side of the Columbia is even closer to sea level). Highway 26 is the most direct route to the coast from Portland, but the Coast Range summit is about 1500 feet and is most likely to have mountain travel conditions. The highest point on OR 126 from Florence to Eugene is under 800 feet.

Weather in January is typically cool with highs average in the high 40s and lows in the mid to high 30s. It is one of the wetter months of the year, averaging nine or more inches of rain during the month, so be prepared. Many come to the coast for storm watching this time of year. There can be high winds. The storm tossed seas can be an awesome site.

Hope this helps.

Happy travels!
Gary

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on October 17th, 2012 - Post Your Answer
, , ,

We love cycling, although more road cycling than mountain biking, and I’m not too great on hills! Are there any particularly good (and relatively flat) cycle routes you could suggest? -Gill

Yes… as a matter of fact, where I live in Albany, OR we are actually right in the middle of an awesome scenic bikeway. I actually have a B & B there and we get bicyclists from all over the world stay with us because of our location. Check out this site, and we often have guests ride our covered bridges that begin just a few miles from Albany. You can certainly find shorter distances within these rides and many areas offer flat riding areas. That happens to be why our scenic bikeway and covered bridge area in Linn County is so popular.

Also, many people ride the bikeway just partially let’s say from Albany to Eugene and then take the train back to Albany for example. Amtrak has a great schedule and is a great resource for our bicyclists wanting to ride only a portion. You can certainly just enjoy a ride around one of our towns such as Corvallis! It’s all flat and riding to Oregon State University and around the downtown will offer you some great sites. There’s even a bicycle renting shop downtown if you aren’t bringing your own. They are all super nice and helpful.

Hope this helps!
Debbie

Answered by Debbie Lusk, Ask Oregon Portland Expert on October 16th, 2012 - Post Your Answer
,

We’ll be staying in Corvallis for about a week and are most interested in seeing Oregon’s natural wonders. How much could we jam into our itinerary?

I happen to live only 10 miles from Corvallis and love so much about this region so let’s go!

Here are a few links to check out:

Corvallis Tourism
Albany Visitors Association
McDonald Dunn Forest
Mary’s Peak
William Finley National Wildlife Refuge
Gentle Breeze Japanese Garden
Starker Forest
The Oregon Garden
Silver Creek Falls

I know this is a lot to throw at you but seriously, I’ve been to these place and they are totally worth checking out! I am an avid hiker and love the Oregon outdoors as well. So, please feel free to also check out my blog at www.whitebreadandjam.blogspot.com for more ideas and ways to spend your time here.

You could seriously spend just a week in the Benton and Linn County areas around Corvallis however, if you find time and have a day or two, check out our beautiful Oregon Coast! Newport isn’t that far away and the little town of Nye Beach is quaint and right on the sandy beaches of the Pacific Ocean. You can also take a day trip up to see Multnomah Falls as well. One of Oregon’s most beautiful natural wonders and worthy of a good hike around the falls area. Don’t forget your camera!

Believe me when I say I’ve only tapped the tip of the ice berg with this list. There’s so much more to do and see. So, please let me know if I can provide more ideas of places to visit. Have a great trip and enjoy Oregon!

Answered by Debbie Lusk, Ask Oregon Portland Expert on September 10th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

Your advice on day trips for a family with young children, originating in Eugene?

In Turner, the Enchanted Forest is super fun if you know ahead of time that this ain’t Disney.  In Independence, they have the Wings of Wonder butterfly exhibit.  Evergreen Aviation Museum is fun and the Wings and Waves Waterpark is like nothing else!

In Salem there is the A.C. Gilbert’s Discovery House Children’s Museum. Silver Falls is pretty to hike.  Splash! Lively Swim Park in Springfield has a wave pool, water slide and lots of other cool things.

There is also a roller rink in Springfield and Cascades Raptor Center is in Eugene. Fir Point Farms has goats that climb into trees to eat! Where else are you going to find that?  I love this list as it provides so many activities that involve nature.

If you happen to make it to the Wings of Wonder exhibit, please also stop in Albany, where you find the sweetest Carousel Museum and Carving Studio. Take the tour and see the animals coming to life step by step.  You may see carvers hand carving the animals, painters and more volunteers bringing this project to its eventual ending and assembly in about 5 years.

Answered by Debbie Lusk, Ask Oregon Portland Expert on August 29th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

My wife and I are visiting Oregon for three weeks starting and ending in Eugene. We would like to see as many of the waterfalls as we can. Which are the best areas to see them?

We have a lot of waterfalls here in Oregon and I have been fortunate in that I have seen many of them.  I will say the most spectacular of course is our Multnomah Falls area. I would plan to spend at least most of a day in this area.  I have hiked the Wahkeena Falls Hike counter clockwise and will say, it was a killer but I  would do it again in a heartbeat!  In fact, I’m in the planning stages to do it again with some folks that have never been.  It’s about 5 miles long and if you want your fill of waterfalls, this is the place to do it!  We took a backpack lunch and lots of water to drink and even soaked our feet at the very top so plan on taking your sweet time if this is something you think you want to check out.

Whether you hike the Wahkeena Trail or not, the whole area there and the drive on the Historic Columbia River Highway is spectacular!  Lots more waterfalls, a winding road with foliage and old trees worthy of stopping to explore.

While you’re near the Hood River Valley, I would continue on and take an easy hike on the Tamanawas Falls Trail. I’ve done this easy hike several times and if you are taking someone with you, don’t tell them what’s at the end of the trail.  It’s a surprise!

Around the Salem and Silverton area, check out our gorgeous Silver Falls. This is where we take all of our visitors and friends when they want to see waterfalls.  You can choose to admire the falls from the park, a short “easy” hike or a longer more strenuous hike… your choice!  The park is beautiful and you can most certainly spend a whole day enjoying it.

There are lots of places right outside of Eugene as well to see waterfalls. The easiest walk I took was to see Sahalie Falls.  My friends at the Eugene, Cascades and Coast Adventure Center will be happy to assist you in finding even more if you are interested!  Please visit the adventure center while you are in Eugene if you’d like to learn even more about our Willamette Valley and the Eugene area.

I have lots more ideas and some places I am sure I have been and enjoyed when it comes to waterfalls so if you’d like even more info, let me know.

Thanks for your question and have a wonderful trip!

Answered by Debbie Lusk, Ask Oregon Portland Expert on August 18th, 2012 - Post Your Answer
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