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Which Willamette Valley town offers quaint inns and wineries?

Sounds like a fun trip you have planned. My top recommendation for a trip that has all of the above (out of the way pretty wineries, good food, interesting accommodations and a close flight) would be for you to focus your trip on the southern portion of the Willamette Valley. The entire Willamette Valley is…

What are the best wildlife viewing areas near Carlton?

You’re in luck — the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife maintains a great map where you can view the best wildlife viewing areas all over the state. Here’s the link: https://myodfw.com/wildlife-viewing. Click “view map” to get to an interactive version where you can get more information. The closest wildlife viewing locations to Carlton are the…

What historic sites should we see in Salem?

What a fun travel adventure! Salem has a lot of historic sites to explore. First I recommend ordering a free Travel Salem guide, which will have loads of helpful information. In the meantime, here are some web links you can use to start your planning. The Salem state capitol building: This is a must-visit, and…

What should we not miss in the Eugene area?

Do you like hiking? If so, Spencer Butte is a short (1.7 mile loop) hike that is right on the edge of the city. It is short but it is steep — however if you don’t mind the walk you’ll find absolutely stunning panoramic views at the top. Hendricks Park is another gorgeous forested park…

Does the Willamette Valley have farm-to-table dining tours?

I have an easy answer to this question: yes! There are lots and lots of farm-to-table dining opportunities in the Willamette Valley. It’s one of the things we’re best at :). If you’re looking for an actual farm dinner–a delicious dinner prepared by a talented chef and actually hosted on a farm, brewery or winery–there…

Where should we stop along the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway in October?

The Willamette Valley Scenic bikeway is beautiful and October would be a great time of year to ride it. Here are my thoughts on each of your questions. Quaint B&Bs Salem Century House of Salem is a historic home that’s just half a mile from the bikeway route and very bike-friendly. Albany Edelweiss Manor is another…

Are there places to paddleboard near McMinnville?

Good question! Depends on what you define as “near.” I know lots of  folks paddleboard on the Willamette River…which isn’t right in McMinnville, but isn’t that far away, either. There are multiple places to put in/take out on the Willamette. I know people paddleboard from Wallace Marine Park in Salem, which is maybe 30 minutes…

Where is the best place to have a picnic on the I-5 corridor between Portland and Salem?

What a fun question! Here are my top recommendations. Memorial Park in Wilsonville. This would be a really easy stop for getting on and off I-5 and a great place to get out and stretch your legs. Heading south from Portland, you’d just take exit 283, then head east for 1 mile. Memorial Park is…

What is great day trip from Eugene?

Have you visited the Oregon Coast? It’s beautiful, and from Eugene it’s an easy one hour drive to Florence, which has all kinds of things to do — giant sand dunes to explore, a historic lighthouse, nice beaches, some pretty hikes. Your kids might like going for dune buggy rides or going sandboarding (like snowboarding,…

What are sightseeing activities between Portland and Eugene for non-city folk?

That’s a big area but there are a lot of options. It’s good that you say you’re not big city people, because the Willamette Valley is short on big cities but big on quirky smallish cities and towns. Here are a few broad ideas about things you might like to see and do as you…

What are the public transportation options in the mid-Willamette Valley?

Public transportation to small towns in the Willamette Valley is somewhat sporadic. Some towns have regular bus service, while others have none at all. Here are some of the best resources for public transportation in the Linn/Benton county area: Linn-Benton Loop: The Linn-Benton loop will connect you from Corvallis to Albany. Linn Shuttle: From Albany, you…

Where do you suggest taking out-of-state friends for a wine-tasting lunch near Salem?

Lucky for you, it’s very hard to go wrong with any wineries in the Salem area! Here are a few fun ones: Brooks Winery Brooks has a wonderful blend of elegant wines and a welcoming atmosphere. It’s an absolutely gorgeous space with great views of the Cascades and a fun outside area with picnic tables…

Which Willamette Valley city is the most walkable?

When I think of cities in Oregon that are highly walkable for non-drivers, the two local college towns, Corvallis and Eugene, both come to mind immediately. Others are either too large or too small or don’t have amenities like groceries, restaurants, medical facilities and housing all clustered in a central area. Here’s a little bit…

Are there hiking trails between wineries in the Willamette Valley?

There are several wineries south of Eugene that border each other — King Estate and Iris Vineyards are backdoor neighbors, and Chateau Lorane is also very close. I have heard anecdotally that you can walk from King Estate to Iris, and last year there was a 5K/10K trail run in the area that took the…

Are there hiking trails all the way around Foster Lake?

You happened to ask a good person — I grew up near Foster Lake and my family used to walk on the shoreline trail every evening! The walking trails at Foster Lake are great, and there are lots of places where you can walk right up to the lake shore and dip your toes in the…

What are the best breweries between Salem and 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….

How should my group take a cheese tour of the Willamette Valley?

I happen to love local cheese, so I love that you are asking this question! I am not aware of anyone offering a pre-set cheese tour of the valley. However, I would suggest you contact Black Tie Tours; they are based in the Dundee area and offer mainly wine tours but are very open to…

Where do you recommend a short wine tasting cycling trip in the Willamette Valley?

My top pick would be the Eugene area for cycling to wineries. You’ll find a higher concentration of wineries in the Dundee/Newberg area, but the roads are more highly trafficked with very minimal shoulders, and not as good for cyclists. In the Eugene area there are a couple of different routes that will take you…

We’re staying in Vida during the Olympic Trials in Eugene; what should we check out?

Vida is pretty remote but it’s in a very, very pretty spot with lots of outdoorsy things to do. It’s right along the McKenzie River which is one of the prettiest rivers in the state. From Vida, it’s about a 40-minute drive to the trailhead for an easy hike to Tamolitch, the Blue Pool–this one…

What is there to see and do in the city of Lebanon?

Lebanon is a great little town that has undergone some big changes in the last decade; it’s gone from being mostly dependent on the timber industry to being the home of a small medical school and regional health care facilities — the growth due to this new development has brought some great amenities to the town….