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Which Willamette Valley sites are not-to-miss or off the beaten path?

Glad to hear you’ll be visiting the Willamette Valley! An early welcome to you. Wineries, historic sites, scenic spots, good food, and off the beaten path experiences–those are some of my favorite things too and you’ll definitely find them here! Here are some of my favorites: Wineries: Here are seven wineries that are known for…

Are there flower fields not too far off Interstate 5?

You’re in luck — there are a lot of gorgeous flower farms in the Willamette Valley, and most are not more than 20 minutes east or west of Interstate 5, the main north-south route through Oregon. Depending on what time of spring or summer you’re driving through, there will be different flowers in season. Also,…

What are the rules on wild foraging in forests?

My very simple, condensed answer about foraging is: as long as you are picking small amounts of non-endangered species for personal use, it’s most likely going to be fine. (i.e. picking a few berries or mushrooms while you’re hiking) Regulations depend on what you want to pick, where you’re picking it and how much you…

Where are the best places to watch the sunset near Salem?

What a great question! Here are my ideas for good sunsets near Salem. Willamette Valley Vineyards is just south of Salem is on a hill facing west toward the Jory hills and the Coast range. The west facing views at Willamette Valley Vineyards are great any time of day, but when the sun is setting on a…

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…

Are there sites in the Willamette Valley which are approachable by power chair?

I can answer this one pretty well, as one of my relatives uses a power chair and we’ve gone many places together over the years. Are you looking for camping sites? Or parks and natural areas? Here are a few ideas: Sunnyside Park and RiverBend Park are two very pretty campgrounds on mostly flat ground…

What are some of the best breweries to visit near McMinnville?

Of course, you’ll be deep in Wine Country there, and I should encourage you to stop in at one of the bajillion wineries for a drop of pinot — it is definitely worth a stop. As for beer, a couple to put on your list are Golden Valley (McMinnville), one of Oregon’s older breweries and a good one….

Can you recommend affordable hotels near wineries in the Willamette Valley?

For the most concentrated wine tasting area, stay either in the Yamhill Valley (Newberg, Dundee and McMinnville area, where the majority of the Willamette Valley’s wineries can be found) or in Salem (easy access to the Eola-Amity Hills AVA). My go-to fun, budget-priced hotels in Yamhill Valley: McMenamin’s Hotel Oregon, a beautiful historic hotel in…

Where can I photograph the most covered bridges in 3 days?

You can definitely photograph dozens of Oregon’s covered bridges in a three-day journey. How many you can hit just depends on how much driving you want to do and how early you want to get up and get started! Assuming you start on the north end of the Willamette Valley and head south, I suggest…

Are there lakes we can kayak in the Eugene and Roseburg area?

I love kayaking — and it’s a great vacation idea! Here are a few spots in that area you might try: Fern Ridge Reservoir is a really big lake just a few miles west of Eugene with nice park areas on the shore and plenty of room for kayaking. Willamette River is not a lake, but the Willamette…

What are your favorite U-pick berry farms around Salem?

Berry picking is one of my favorite things to do in the summer! Greens Bridge Garden in Jefferson, a little south of Salem, is one of our family’s favorite U-pick farms. They have a really large variety of fruits and berries to pick, and they have a nice little farmstand store as well. In addition…

Where can we hike somewhere close to McMinnville or Dundee?

Dundee and McMinnville are beautiful areas! Most of the countryside directly surrounding Dundee and McMinnville is covered in vineyards, and some vineyards actually have hiking or walking trails. Here are a few to check out: Sokol Blosser, just outside Dundee: they have a guided vineyard hike you can sign up for. Winter’s Hill Vineyard, Dundee…

Where are the best places for rock hounds near Salem?

Fun question! There are a few places in the Willamette Valley that are known as being great for rockhounding. The areas surrounding the South Santiam River, the Calapooia River, and Quartzville creek (all of these are about an hour southeast of Salem) are popular with rockhounders and folks who pan for gold as well. Also, check…

Can you help me plan a fabulous but reasonably priced girls weekend?

A girls weekend sounds fabulous! You really can’t go wrong in any part of the Willamette Valley if you’re looking for wine, food and fun. Since you specifically asked about something that’s reasonably priced, I’m going to pass along a few ideas for places to stay that I know are a bit off the beaten…

Should we visit Willamette Valley wineries in April or May?

Both April and May are great times to visit wineries in the Willamette Valley, but if I had to pick I’d lean toward May because it’s Oregon Wine Month and many wineries are offering special events and tastings that they don’t offer at other times of the year. Depending on your preferences, you may or may not…

When and where can I go hunting for Oregon truffles?

I actually just attended the Oregon Truffle Festival last month, which is an amazing event if you want to learn more about truffle hunting when it comes around again next January. I learned a little bit about truffle-hunting, but you’ll probably have to seek out a true pro for expert advice. Here’s what I can…

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…

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…

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…

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…