This spring, take advantage of stable gas prices and hit the Oregon road. These three scenic drives offer displays of Oregon’s brilliant spring colors, from vibrant fields of tulips to soft pink and white cherry and pear blossoms. Hurry…
Spend the day exploring the scenery to the east of Salem. This 55-mile route offers plenty of affordable stops, from a free visit to Mt. Angel Abbey and its Alvar Aalto-designed library to nearby outlet mall shopping at the Woodburn Company Stores to 40 acres of colorful tulips and daffodils at Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm (you’ll have to venture slightly off the tour route but it’s worth it!). If the spirit leads you northward from the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, backroads through Canby and Wilsonville offer the chance to catch spring in full flower.
The route is named for Oregon’s largest state park. Stop at Silver Falls State Park for a picnic lunch and a moderate hike that takes you past ten waterfalls. Keep your eyes peeled for spring wildflowers, though you’ll have much more luck on the flower-front at nearby Oregon Garden. Hop aboard the tram to see this 80-acre oasis of color, or spend time walking through the nearly two-dozen specialty gardens on display. Why not stay over at the new Oregon Garden Resort? Enjoy dinner and a dip in the pool or hot tub before calling it a night.
Oregon Wine & Farm Tour
Explore the bounty of southern Oregon’s Rogue and Applegate valleys on the self-driving Oregon Wine & Farm Tour. Along the way, you’ll have your pick of more than two dozen delightful stops, including winery tasting rooms like the family owned Valley View Winery in Historic Jacksonville, EdenVale Winery at EdenVale Orchards in Medford and the family-owned Weisinger’s of Ashland Winery, located on a former organic fruit orchard.
Speaking of fruit orchards—there are plenty of those along the tour as well. Opened since 1908, Hillcrest Orchard is one of the oldest continually owned family orchards in the Rogue River Valley. They grow a huge variety of premium pears, which harvest in the fall. If you time it right this month, you’re likely to see acres of fluffy cloud-like pear blossoms.
Another worthwhile stop near Grants Pass is the renovated rustic barn at Pennington Farms, also family-owned, for fresh berry jams and baked goods. Later in the summer, they’ll have a variety of freshly picked berries to choose from as well.
The famous Harry & David is another fun stop. Take a tour, which provides free samples of all sorts of locally made deliciousness. How’s that for a tasty deal?
Download a driving map here: www.oregonwineandfarmtour.com
Each April, more than 15,000 acres of fruit trees in Hood River Valley burst into bloom. And a great way to see this vast fluffiness is on the Hood River Valley Fruit Loop Tour. This 35-mile self-driving route takes you through the area’s many fruit orchards, wineries, farm stands and quaint communities. There are more than 30 stops in total, and it’s all just 45 minutes east of Portland. Don’t forget your camera.
Download a driving map here: www.hoodriverfruitloop.com/things/locations.html
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