Editor’s Note: With a new year comes new resolutions and we’ve got a load of ideas for 2009. This is a four part series reflecting on how to make a “fresh start” in 2009. (Read Part 1: “Learn Something New” & Part 2: “See Something Spectacular”)

After the rush of the holiday season, what better way to relax than a breathtaking hike to waterfalls that offers sweeping views of mountains, deserts, and lakes, a getaway to one of Oregon’s many day spas, rustic natural pools or indulging in the decadent delights of an specialty artisan chocolate maker?

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Hike Among Waterfalls.
The Columbia River Gorge has the Pacific Northwest’s highest concentration of waterfalls, including Multnomah Falls, which is the second-highest year-round waterfall in the country (and, yes, you can hike to the top, although this trail is not for beginners). Other hiking options in the area include trails that take you past Latourell Falls, Horsetail Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and the list goes on. Over in the Willamette Valley east of Salem is Silver Falls State Park, Oregon’s largest state park. Its Trail of Ten Falls is a seven-mile hiking route that leads you to views of 10 different waterfalls.
>>Go hike to a waterfall…

Book a Weekend Spa Trip.
Choose from Oregon’s dozens of destination spas, including Avalon Hotel and Spa in Portland, which is home to Spa Chakra and offers more than 60 health and beauty therapies for him and her. Or book a stay at Shibui Spa at FivePine Lodge in Sisters, whose Asian-inspired design has endless tranquil elements (indoor ponds, stone and woodwork).
>>Go get a massage…

Go on an Oregon Chocolate Journey.
Experts say that chocolate can be good for your health—it provides antioxidants, can improve skin, and even lower blood pressure. It’s a good thing, then, that Oregon is home to more than a dozen artisan chocolate shops. So, cheers to your health—go ahead and taste a wild huckleberry truffle from Moonstruck, or a bing cherry infused dark chocolate ganache from LillieBelle Farms. And did we mention the sipping chocolates from Cacao, and the exotic flavors (salted lavender caramel, habanero caramel crown) from Alma?
>> Go on a chocolate tour…

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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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