AFAR, an experiential travel guide, has a compilation of experiences that fellow travelers have enjoyed in Oregon. The following are excerpts and images taken from AFAR’s Oregon archives, which highlight a few trip suggestions and insights.
Recharge at the Allison Inn & Spa (by Hannah Wallace)
With its indoor pool and lavish spa, the Allison Inn & Spa is the most comfortable place to recharge between wine tastings. At the restaurant Jory (named for a local soil that’s ideal for growing pinot noir), chef Sunny Jin highlights the region’s abundance as well as ingredients from the hotel garden. An 800-label wine list inspires endless pairing possibilities. From $330. (503) 554-2525. This appeared in the May 2013 issue.
Vineyard Hotels: Black Walnut Inn, Oregon (by AFAR Magazine)
At the first hint of daylight, I jump from bed to see the view I’ve been anticipating all night. I swing wide the double doors of my spacious, antiques-appointed room, and the cool morning air drifts in from grapevines just steps away. Beyond I can see the patchwork of vineyards and vegetable farms that forms the Willamette River Valley, the heart of Oregon’s wine country. Green buds are beginning to break on the vines. Come October, these leaves will blaze yellow above clusters of dusky fruit. For now, I watch from my patio as acrobatic swifts dart above the vineyard’s trellis wires.
It is blissfully quiet. I’d better get started. Down in the dining room, a stately, deaf West Highland white terrier named Bailey patrols the mahogany floors as I work through a neat row of silver-dollar-size pancakes. At an elegant desk nearby, Karol Kirby, one of the innkeepers, books my tasting appointments.
I begin at Anderson Family Vineyard just over the ridge. Owner Cliff Anderson, bespectacled and slouched in diligent focus, explains the superlative growing conditions in the Dundee Hills. He puts a clod of reddish soil in my hand. It is soft, crushable, and bluish gray inside. Cliff explains that it lends the wines of the area a unique mineral character. Allison Anderson, tall and tan from working among the vines, walks me through the winery, from the grape-sorting table to the press to the barrels in the dark cellar. Then she pours one of their recent chardonnays. “You can taste the sun on this one,” she says, smiling. To me, it tastes of flint and flowers.
I return to the inn, visit the cookie jar by the front door, and set out again, this time on foot. Following the tractor track beside the vineyard, I pass through a grove of hazelnut trees to arrive at Torii Mor Winery, which specializes in single-vineyard wines. There, I taste a viognier bright with honeysuckle and a pinot noir bursting with plum and licorice. At Lange Estate Winery and Vineyards, another half mile up the gravel road, I taste another pinot noir grown on the vines just outside the door. Its earthiness, light color, and bright red cherry and raspberry flavors are the trademarks of Dundee Hills pinot. This is what I came for.
Back at the Black Walnut, I look down at the boot prints of red clay trailing behind me on the stone patio. If wine is, as the French maintain, the expression of a place, the bottles I am taking home with me carry not just wine, but a hint of that rare earth and a gorgeous hilltop awash in fresh Oregon air. —Tom Colligan
Black Walnut Inn, Dundee, Oregon 503-538-8663. From $295. This story appeared in the September/October 2011 issue. Photo by Tom Bodley.
More than wines and mountains in Oregon – See aviation history (by Miki Kamijyo)
Outside Portland, OR, the area is known for its pinot noirs as it has vineyards galore and beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. And right out there is the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, in McMinnville just a short drive from downtown Portland. I didn’t know about this museum before my trip out west but absolutely happy that I came across it.
The most notable aircraft at the museum is the Spruce Goose, the largest wooden airplane ever constructed and built entirely of wood. And amazingly, it’s only flown once. It was designed by Howard Hughes, from the movie the Aviator, during World War II for the U.S. military and the Spruce Goose demonstrates American ingenuity and history.
The museum houses a huge collection of aircraft both historical and modern as well as spacecraft too. The museum is actually comprised of 3 separate hangar-type structures so it’s expansive and makes for great sky and space exploration even if you’re stuck on the ground. There’s also a movie theater so you can make a full day and of course, it’s great for kids ages 2 to 87.
Many of the workers here are former military volunteering their time, which only adds to the experience because they’re part of the history that you see around you. When we drove up to the museum, I felt like an 8 year old because you can see the large shiny aicraft through the massive glass walls of the museum. It was such a unique place and you can’t help but come away feeling like you want to fly too.
Sights from a Bike Seat (by Jay Rymeski)
Portland by bike is Portland done right. Pedal Bike Tours has the gear, guides, and itineraries to give you a two-wheeled taste of this platinum-rated cycling city. PBT prides itself in offering a nicely maintained, easy-to-ride bike that’s perfect for the relatively flat tours it runs throughout the inner city area. “Chose from a step back in time with the history tour, eat/drink your way through town on a food cart or brewery tour, or explore beyond Portland’s borders with a wine country adventure.”
Any way you stoke it, a Pedal Bike Tour opens you up to the vast cycling culture and infrastructure the Rose City has to offer. Portland boasts over 300 miles of bikeways made up of bike paths, lanes, trails, and dedicated parking to secure your ride. PBT rents bikes, too, so after you get your guided tour from one of their knowledgable staff, take off on your own for some additional miles around town. Maps are optional, but always wear a helmet.
Oregon’s Only Olive Oil Producer
Red Ridge Farms has been growing grapes in the Dundee Hills for 40 years. In 2005, it added olives to its repertoire, becoming the only commercial producer of olive oil in Oregon. Oregon Olive Mill is a premier purveyor of Extra Virgin Olive oil and is home to 17 acres of olive trees planted on the family’s 120 acres and a state-of-the-art Italian mill.
At Red Ridge Farms you can taste your way through Oregon produced olive oils, sip delicious Durant Vineyards wine, and browse the nursery for a selection of aromatic herbs, olive trees, specialty plants, and unusual outdoor pottery. You can wander the gift ship which is full of local products, olive oils, specialty vinegars, gourmet salts, houseplants, and other distinctive gifts. Complimentary olive oil tastings are offered daily.
Private tours and elevated olive oil tastings are available by appointment. Please call (503) 864-8502 or visit www.redridgefarms.com for more information.
Photo by Cashcat1/Flickr.