Kim Cooper Findling loves Oregon. She’s lived in the Beaver State all her life and made a career out of writing about its best places, most recently as the editor of Cascade Journal, an ambassador for our Ask Oregon program, and as the author of Chance of Sun: An Oregon Memoir and Day Trips From Portland: Getaway Ideas for the Local Traveler.
We caught up with her to talk about the recent release of the second edition of Day Trips From Portland and her favorite destinations that lie within a couple of hours of Portland.
What’s it like to write a travel guidebook?
Fast and furious! The press gave me five weeks to complete the second edition revisions. Luckily I’ve got 15 years worth of Oregon travel writing experiences in my head, and managed to squeeze in a few research road trips, too. Why not? I never get tired of traveling through Oregon’s variety and beauty looking for cool places to share with readers.
What is your favorite destination in the book?
That’s an impossible question to answer, because the beautiful thing about Portland is the richness of landscape and experience that lies all around us. I’m a coast junkie, however, and will choose to head west most of the time. Pacific City is one of my favorite places. The Three Capes Scenic Drive boasts some of the most spectacular scenery anywhere. The Inn at Cape Kiwanda is a great lodging for ocean views, and Grateful Bread Bakery delivers delicious breakfasts and lunches. Pacific City is also known for some of the best surfing on the Oregon Coast. Moment Surf Co. can rent you gear or give you lessons.
How about the best day trip for foodies?
Definitely Oregon wine country. Yamhill County is a treasure trove of delights for the senses, including taste. There are dozens of wineries producing excellent pinot noirs and more — don’t miss Winderlea in Dundee and Alexana and ROCO in Newberg. Incredible restaurants have popped up to compliment these regional wines. Recipe in Newberg serves delicious French style dining in a lovely historical house. Thistle in McMinnville is an experience as much as a fantastic meal — the menu varies nightly and is always sourced locally, and the space is cozy and very cool. Don’t miss the chance to try a cocktail from Thistle’s intimate bar. And of course, the Joel Palmer House in Dayton is an Oregon classic for fine dining.
Most adventuresome day trip?
I always think hitting the road is an adventure, especially if you take your children along! Which I often do, and there are plenty of family-friendly adventures in my book. Take the kids clam digging on the coast, hiking and waterfall gazing on the Columbia Gorge Highway, white water rafting out of Maupin, or for a ride on the historic trolley in downtown Astoria. The Enchanted Forest in Turner (outside of Salem) is another don’t miss adventure — that place is amazing and totally “Oregon.”
What’s next for you?
This summer, we’ll see plays in Ashland at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a concert at the Britt Festival, stay on the beach in Lincoln City, camp in the Cascade Lakes south of Bend, sleep in a cabin on the Metolius River in Camp Sherman, and stay at the awesome McMenamins Crystal Hotel in Portland when I’m in town to speak at Powell’s Books in August! I’ll love every minute of it. I have the best job in the world.