Sarah Marcus has followed both her passion and a dream. While working at other careers, she began to make cheese at home, curious about the art and science of cheesemaking. Starting in the spring of 2005, Sarah worked behind the counter at Cowgirl Creamery in San Francisco’s Ferry Building, selling and learning about some of the world’s finest cheeses. It was only a matter of time before her love affair with curd was in full bloom, sending her on the road to fully embrace what she calls her ultimate love. In 2008 she moved with her husband to Dundee, where they launched Briar Rose Creamery two years later. Sarah has received numerous awards for her fresh chevre, aged cheeses and euphoria-inducing chocolate chevre. Here’s how Sarah recommends spending a few days around Oregon on a cheese-filled road trip.

Get out the camera
Face Rock Creamery recently opened in Bandon, where you can watch cheddar being made and buy it at the source. Grab some fresh, squeaky curds or a piece of cheddar, some locally made salami and a bottle of Oregon pinot noir and head to the beach. It’s one of the best spots on the Oregon Coast for beachcombing, tidepools and kite flying. Huge, ancient rock formations stick out of the sand like old shipwrecks.

Can’t-miss meal
Rogue Creamery in Central Point is a must-stop destination down in Southern Oregon. Whenever I’m visiting the creamery and cheese shop, I make a beeline over to Buttercloud Bakery just down the road in Medford. They bake some of the best biscuits on the planet, but what keeps me coming back is their mac-n-cheese. They use Rogue Creamery’s blue cheese and cheddars, and it’s baked to perfection.

Start your day
I like to swing by Fairview Farm in Dallas and grab some of their goat milk yogurt made right there on the farm. They have a small store where you can buy their cheese and even goat milk ice cream. Top the yogurt with some fresh blueberries, strawberries or blackberries, and you’ve got a terrific morning starter.

You’ve gotta see this
If you’re driving through McMinnville, take time to visit the legendary Spruce Goose at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum. It really is huge. There’s also a water park next door where you can slide out of the belly of a 747. Afterwards, head into town and grab some cheese at Abby and Oliver’s. It’s a well-stocked cheese counter inside Anthony Dell Cellar‘s tasting room in downtown McMinnville.

Unique sleeps
The Black Walnut Inn is tucked up in the Red Hills of Dundee. It’s a beautiful, Tuscan-inspired villa with panoramic views of the Willamette Valley, Mt. Hood and the Cascade Mountains. You are surrounded by some of the most sought-after wineries in the state, and four cheesemakers are within an hour’s drive (Willamette Valley Cheese Company, Quail Run Creamery, Fairview Farm, and Briar Rose Creamery). Plus it’s less than an hour from Portland’s hot restaurant scene. What could be better?

Meet the maker
Learn how to make your own cheese at Quail Run Creamery near Gaston. A tiny creamery with miniature goats, they offer cheesemaking classes on weekends. Get your hands into the curds and whey and see what it takes to make your own cheese.

A treat worth driving out of your way
It’s definitely the Cheese Bar In Portland, where you can buy from the best cheesemonger in the country, Steve Jones. The Bar has a beautifully managed counter offering artisan cheeses from all over the world, with a focus on Oregon. You can sit for a while and enjoy a cheese board, cured meat board and one of the best sandwiches in Portland.

Looking for more culinary inspiration? Check out our other Trails to Feast around the state.

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In this Itinerary

These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

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  1. Anne Barnett says…

    I recently took my mother to the Face Rock Creamery. It was a delight. Clean and the ice cream was delicious. We had a wonderful visit. I went before that just after it was opened and we had some “squeaky cheese” and tasted many of their delicacies and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It is a must see. The master Cheesemaster there is the cream of the crop. Dont miss it on your way through Bandon. We also went to Old Town Bandon while we were there and I was so excited to see so many great shops.

    Written on July 10th, 2013 / Flag this Comment
  2. Linda Wampach says…

    Why is Willamette Valley Cheese Company not on the list? Add them to your list while wine tasting in the Eola Hills AVA. They’ll let you sample anything that they produce and many of the wineries serve their cheese. They’re just outside of Salem and their Brindisi is a pure delight. http://www.wvcheeseco.com/

    Written on July 13th, 2013 / Flag this Comment
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