I moved to Oregon because I fell in love with the land. Nowhere else can the variety of landscapes, outdoor adventures, raw ingredients and folks full of character match what I discovered in Eastern Oregon. For my latest episode of The Original Fare, streaming on PBS, I climbed aboard a zippy Ducati and meandered through desert campsites, mountains blanketed by wild flowers, farm stands selling goods from eggs to beef heart, and got my hands on the most local whiskey produced in the state. Here are some of the places I visited.
Trouthaven Lodge is beautiful rustic retreat on Wallowa Lake. These modernized, yet vintage cabins offer a covered porch to relax with a spectacular view of the lake. Think Dirty Dancing, Eastern Oregon style.
This is serious field-to-glass here at the first micro-distillery in Eastern Oregon. The Stein family believes that high-quality ingredients, handcrafted processes and dedicated heartfelt people are what make their spirits superior, which is why they raise, mill, mash and distill what’s grown on their land.
Photo credit: Judiaann Woo
This small rustic farmstand works on the honor system — like days gone past — where you can pick up steaks, ground beef, beef hearts, eggs and even pick your own herbs. A perfect stop for provisions for your camp out!
Cory Carman is a hero amongst those in the know in Oregon’s food scene. Her grass-fed beef is of the utmost superior quality, and they’ve added pigs to help restore the land while filling the belly. If you can’t make it to the ranch for a visit, keep an eye out for the Carman name on menus across the state.
As Pendleton’s first craft brewery, The Prodigal Son Brewery and Pub is located in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Mountains. Get your growlers and get to campin’!
Photo credit: Greg Robeson
Located in the Homestead Springs Farm in the Grande Ronde Valley, this blacksmith believes their hand-forged skillets and cookware to be the finest available. It looks great in the wilderness and a fancy kitchen!
Pendleton blankets are classic Oregon. No trip to the area is complete without a visit to the Pendleton Woolen Mill & Retail Store, where you can find great deals and an array of designs.
Photo credit: Eastern Oregon Visitors Association
Whether you’re looking for some down-home cooking or a cold beer on tap, this historic restaurant has been serving customers for over 125 years. Belly up to one of the best dive bars in town.
This place is great for a quick stop. Offering farm-to-table, locally and regionally sourced ingredients, Walker’s is at the heart of one of the most abundant farming and ranching regions in the country.
Cottonwood Canyon State Park has activities for every adventurer — whether you’re looking to hike, camp, go boating, horseback riding, fishing, or hunting. The park offers a vast and rugged terrain, from the vertical cliffs carved by the John Day River to the deep side canyons and arid rocky grasslands that extend for miles in all directions. (And it’s a new state park so get there before everyone finds out about it!)
Tamástslikt Cultural Institute celebrates the people who have lived on this land for more than 10,000 years. The institute educates visitors on the traditions of the Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla tribes. Visit their exhibits and try fry bread and other traditional, seasonal foods in their restaurant.
For more adventures in Eastern Oregon, catch the season premiere of The Original Fare, streaming on PBS on May 2, 2017.