Explore Stunning Nature And Unexpected Art
Much of the Valleys allure comes from its sprawling, oil-painting landscapes: With snowy Mt. Hood looming in the distance, the deep-green coastal range, and the sweeping valleys, this is very much the green and misty Pacific Northwest of your dreams.
A great day trip about 90 miles from the epicenter of wine country is Silver Falls State Park, considered by many to be the crown jewel of Oregons state park system. Escape the crowds with 35 miles of back country trails, or get back to the wine faster with the show-stopping Trail of Ten Falls, a roughly seven-mile loop. Those seeking a shorter trip can head to Molalla River State Park near the town of Canby, which has a mostly flat three-mile loop where three rivers meet.
For an even more immersive day trip, the rugged Oregon coast can be reached in less than an hour. But considering that hour is spent winding through a densely forested mountain pass overloaded with waterfalls, swimming holes, and hikes for any skill level, its best to take your time and stop often. Further south near the college town of Eugene, the Spencer Butte Trail offers a moderate to challenging loop that really impresses during the spring wildflower bloom, offering some of the states best Cascade Mountain views.
A Weekend In The Willamette Valley
The Willamette Valley has been on my radar for a long time so when we found cheap tickets we jumped on the opportunity and decided to spend our long holiday weekend drinking all the Pinot Noir. Because we were short on time we really wanted to figure out the best town to stay in Willamette Valley. Our criteria was a place with things to go, close proximity to all the wine and a little bit of charm. And we definitely succeeded.
The Willamette Valley & Wine Country
The Willamette Valley is world famous for its fabulous and plentiful wineries, which could easily take several days to explore. They’re not the region’s only highlight, however. Visit humble Salem, Oregon’s capital city, for its museums and stately buildings. Nearby is an amazing waterfall-filled state park, along with a lovely abbey that’s home to a 2.5lb hairball . Pause in dynamic and liberal Eugene, full of energetic college students, pretty riverside parks and fine restaurants. And don’t forget historic Oregon City, the lovely McKenzie River area and the region’s wealth of festivals.
Located just 25 miles southwest of Portland, the Willamette Valley is well located: from here, head east to the Columbia River Gorge, north to Washington and west to the coast. Everything is so close by you’ll want to linger for longer than you planned, so stretch that schedule and put on your explorer’s hat you’ll need it.
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Take A Chartered Flight
Play: Though you might think its an experience meant only for celebrities and dignitaries, taking a private chartered flight is a luxurious experience you can claim as your own. Forgo the security lines and cramped rows of passengers for a comfortable jet experience with Eugenes Valkyrie Air Charters. It offers scenic flights, transportation to Pacific Northwest vacation destinations and even organized wine tours to Walla Walla for a day or a weekend.
Eat: After your afternoon above the clouds, tuck in at one of Eugenes premier fine-dining experiences, Rye, where youll find decadent dishes like wild boar bolognese and smoked duck breast.
Stay: Find your way to the Excelsior Inn, an early 1900s fraternity house that has been thoughtfully transformed into an Italian villetta bed-and-breakfast.
Willamette Valley Bed And Breakfast
Beautiful in any season, the Willamette Valley region will impress and inspire you. Our home is minutes away from some of the area’s best wineries and vineyards.
Custom built with all of your comforts in mind. Each room has a king-sized bed, en-suite bath with heated floors, two-person soaking tub, separate shower, private patio, sitting area with fireplace, and climate control.
Breakfast is served each morning at 9 A.M. in the Great Room. We look forward to sharing our gourmet breakfast with you and your new friends. Gluten free, vegetarian, allergies and other food restrictions can be accommodated upon request.
Discover what guests love most about staying at Willamette Valley Bed and Breakfast
Truly a special place. Celebrated our 20th anniversary here and it did not disappoint. Every detail well conceived. Meticulous smart design. The hosts are gracious and welcoming. The breakfast is gourmet. Best value in the area.
My boyfriend surprised me with a stay here for my birthday, and it was perfect! Dan, and Maureen have made their little b& b a paradise! There has been so much thought put into every detail and aspect. I dont think theres anything they havent thought of. The bed was incredibly comfortable, the bath is like a spa retreat. The breakfast that Dan prepared was delicious! We will definitely be returning in the not so distant future. Thank you for spoiling us we truly enjoyed our stay!
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Day 2 In Oregon Wine Country
Start your morning with a relaxing spa treatment at The Allison Inn & Spa. This luxury resort is the first of its kind in the Willamette Valley wine region and has really made a positive impact on tourism. Located on 35 hillside acres, The Allison Inn should definitely be visited during the day to fully enjoy the property.
Coffee or Brunch: If you want to keep your chill spa vibe, stay at The Allison Inn & Spa and visit Jory Restaurant for brunch. Otherwise, stop by Coffee Cottage for a quick coffee and pastry and head to your first winery.
Touring Willamette Valley By Wine Style
Dixie Huey is a local sommelier and has worked with a number of Willamette Valley wineries since 2008 through her company Trellis Growth Partners and also through the ¡Salud! The Oregon Pinot Noir Auction. For those travelers looking to sample wines based on their preferred style, she offers some insight into what to keep an eye out for.
The overall style of wines made in the Willamette Valley tends to be balanced, in terms of fruit, acidity, structure. Given the climate here, we do not tend to have very ripe, higher alcohol wines and focus on growing cooler climate varieties such as Pinot Noir, Pinot gris, Chardonnay and Riesling. These wines are particularly beautiful for a versatile range of food pairing. In my opinion, the culinary compliments are the most special stylistic attribute of wines grown here.
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Gourmet Dinner In The Vineyard
Play: What better way to experience wine country than a gourmet meal with each course expertly paired with locally crafted wine? The only thing that could make the meal better is live music from top-rated musicians. This magical evening is what youll get at Eola Hills Wine CellarsTwilight in the Vines dinner series. The meal is served as a picnic at their Legacy Estate Vineyard and comes complete with a checkered picnic blanket, complimentary wine glasses and a fresh bundle of flowers.
Stay: Once youre properly satiated and serenaded, drive 7 miles southwest to end the evening at The Independence, a charming boutique hotel located on the banks of the Willamette River.
Eat: Continue your gourmet-food excursion with a home-cooked Italian meal at Mangiare Italian Restaurant, located in the 1913 former Sperling Hotel building in Independence.
Chehalem Ridge Bed & Breakfast
Courtesy of Chehalem Ridge
This upscale bed and breakfast is located in Newberg, Oregon, 1000 feet up on Chehalem Mountain, overlooking Willamette Valleys Wine Country. Recently named a 2021 Travelers Choice Award winner by TripAdvisor, Chehalem Ridge features five tastefully appointed rooms with attached private bathrooms, stunning views, and modern amenities like heated balconies, jetted tubs, fireplaces, and gourmet breakfasts centered around homemade and local ingredients.
28700 NE Mountain Top Road, Newberg, OR 97132, 538-3474
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Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley: Dundee Hills Ava
Day One & Two
Antica Terra Appointments only at 1:30 and 3:30 tastings. This is a winery you probably have not heard of, and you may have difficulty finding it even as you are staring right at it! Without solicitation, several sommeliers in Portland raved about this winery and the winemaker, Maggie Harrison. This is a true oenophile experience and collectors choice, as you will be tasting Antica Terra wines side-by-side with European wines of excellent pedigree, from importer Neal Rosenthal. All the European wines are limited release and available for sale. The tasting takes place in a beautifully appointed part of the barrel room, dress for cool temperatures. I guarantee the experience will exceed your expectations.
Argyle Winery Named by the locals as Best Winery, I suspect for their sparkling wines. This is a good option for a drop in the Tasting House is open until 7 pm. Thursday-Sunday during the summer. If you would like a seated tasting, please call or write for a reservation. Pick up some sparkling wine to serve as your palate-refresher.
Duck Pond Cellars One of the best value wineries. I predict you will leave here having met your new week-day Pinot Noir best friend. Still family-owned and run since 1993. Drop in or reserve the Vineyard to Glass tasting experience.
Willamette Valley Wineries to Sip In Dundee
Four Graces Purple Hands Panther Creek Cellars Dobbs Family Estate Hawkins Cellars Evening Land Dundee Hills
Dinner Cruise On The Willamette
Play: Take in the sunset while gliding on the river at a romantic pace aboard one of Oregons most iconic sternwheelers, the Willamette Queen. Sitting on the deck as the paddle wheel propels you forward will have you feeling as if youve taken a step back in time. Reservations are required for this two-hour adventure that leaves from Salem Riverfront Park. Arrive in style or end your excursion with a bang by adding on a ride in the Willamette Queen Lincoln Limousine, where youll enjoy chilled Champagne as youre chauffeured around.
Eat: For dinner, it doesnt get much better than Rudys Steakhouse, where fresh oysters, clams and crab accompany a menu of hearty beef classics.
Stay: Stay at the deluxe Grand Hotel in Salem, which is in the middle of downtown, mere walking distance to shops, bars, restaurants and the citys beautiful riverfront.
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Beautiful Places To Stay In Oregon Wine Country
Gallery: Oregon wine country lodging
There is no shortage of beautiful places to stay in Oregon wine country. Dozens of B& Bs dot the hills of Willamette Valley, classy hotels rule the cities, and historic farmhouses and vineyards open their doors for wine-seeking travelers.
The wealth in options allows you to craft your own perfect wine country getaway. Want to tour tasting rooms in Dundee? Wake up to scenic panoramas in the morning? Splurge on a complete wine country experience? Plan ahead, leave yourself a little flexibility and there’s probably a perfect place for you in the Willamette Valley.
We’ve narrowed all the local lodging options to a good dozen, but if you want the full picture scroll through a big list from the Willamette Valley Wineries Association.
Harvest time at Youngberg Hill.
With 11 flats across two historic locations in downtown McMinnville, 3
Street Flats combines a hotel, bed and breakfast and vacation rental experience. The flats have a hip, urban vibe with a healthy dose of luxury.
$220 to $340 per night 219 N.E. Cowls Street and 555 N.E. Third Street in McMinnville call 503-857-6248 for reservations.
You can’t miss the silos. Abbery Road Farm utilizes three converted grain silos for its 5-room bed and breakfast in Carlton, with an additional three-room ranch house rental nearby.
$405 to $650 per night 2525 Allison Lane, Newberg call 503-554-2525 for reservations.
Where To Stay In The Willamette Valley
So, where did I leave off blogging about my trip to Oregon? Oh yes, explaining the drama that took place leading up to the half marathon! I have a bunch of pictures so Im going to break it into a number of posts I had multiple people ask for Oregon recommendations so Ill try to share details of my favorite places both in the wine country and Portland. And heavy on pictures, little on words.
For wine country, Ill share the best places to stay in the Willamette Wine Country, the best places to eat in Carlton , and a few of my favorite wineries. Ready? Lets go!
First up, the best places to stay in the Willamette Wine Country. Hands down the best place to stay is where I stayed. ha! Granted, its the only lodging we stayed at in the Willamette Valley, but I cant imagine how there could be a better place. I booked it on VRBO, #437879, the Meadowlake Getaway Guesthouse. Its a small cottage on the property of Jay MacDonald who owns The Tasting Room in Carlton and EIEIO Winery .
There was a giant comfy bed, a nice kitchen, and had an amazing deck overlooking the wine country. There were also chairs a short walk away from the house that had even better views than the deck.
We spent a lot of time sipping wine, taking in the views, away from any traffic or noise. It was wonderful.
We cooked fresh salmon and halibut on the grill that we got at a great market Harvest Fresh in the next town over, McMinnville. It had been caught that same day!
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How To Plan The Perfect Oregon Wine Tasting Trip
Oregons Willamette Valley is one of the best U.S. wine capitals, known for its delicious and award-winning wines, and every wine lover needs to make a pilgrimage out to rural Oregon to try everything it has to offer.
You may gravitate towards wining and dining in the Willamette Valley during the warmer, summer months of June to September, but dont limit yourself. Wine season technically lasts all year long, which means you can beat the crowd during cellar season .
Taking a long weekend trip to the Pacific Wonderland gives you ample time to explore the majestic Willamette Valley one wine glass at a time as you travel from winery to winery. Weve put this guide together to help you plan your wine country vacation so you can get up close and personal with the vines, the land, the process, and the people.
Why Visit The Willamette Valley
Pinot Noir. Thats why. I can stop writing now. But I wont. The Willamette Valley is home to over 500 wineries. Which means you can spend a year drinking all the Pinot Noir. Although known for Pinot Noir you can sample of number of varietals including Pinot Gris, Pinot blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Melon, Gewürztraminer, sparkling wine, Sauvignon Blanc. We even had a chance to try some Syrah, Cabernet, and Merlot.
Even though we were only there for a long weekend the trip was successful since we managed to visit 12 wineries. 12 wineries in 3 days is a bit aggressive. Not sure how I lived to write about it but it was one of the best trips. A lot of it had to do with picking the perfect home base for our adventures in the Willamette Valley.
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More About Mcminnville Or
One of the hardest decisions when trying to figure out where to say is picking a location that is central. After scouring the read and reading tons of recommendations we settled on the town of McMinnville. It was perfect. We were less than a 20 minutes ride to most of the wineries we ultimately visited and there was so much in town including a number of wine tasting rooms, yummy restaurants and even a rooftop bar. I would highly recommend making this your home base when visiting wine country.
Veni Vidi Vino At Willamette Vineyards
Only 20 miles from our urban oasis, escape to the wine oasis of Willamette Valley. Here is where youll find world-famous Pinot Noir and other varietals such as Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, and Riesling all in a laid-back atmosphere. Stretching 150 miles from Portland to Eugene, the Willamette Valley is home to 200-plus wineries, most family owned and operated. Each of our 117 guest rooms is named after one of the wineries here during your stay, pop into your rooms namesake and say hello! Dont know where to start with so many options? Meet the rock stars of Oregon wine right in our living room each evening from 5 to 6pm during our hosted social hour. Get a taste of Willamette Wine country every night. See whos pouring
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Willamette Valley Wine Tasting: Chehalem Mountains & Ribbon Ridge Avas
Bergstrom Winery Reserve a private, seated tasting of the estate and single-vineyard wines. Your dedicated host will walk you through a great deal of information. You will have more white wines here than at the previous days wineries, what a great start to your day. Dress warm, as the tasting takes place on the open-air patio.
Beaux Freres By appointment only. Your classic tasting will take place standing at the tasting bar in the winery, it will be cool. This tasting is not a very long visit. There are other options for longer, more exclusive wine tastings with winery tours.
Ayers Vineyard Here you will experience a true garagista winery . Be sure to contact Kathleen McElroy to arrange a tasting with the winemaker . You will not have a more personal experience in any tasting room, anywhere. Be sure to come prepared with you most technical winemaking questions, they will surely be answered here. These wines take advantage of the marine sedimentary soils found in Ribbon Ridge vineyards which are dry-farmed according to the rules of the DRC Deep Roots Coalition.
Ken Wright Cellars- This tasting room is housed in a former train station. Try to schedule this on a day when Ken can greet you. There are a lot of wines to taste through. The variety is a result of numerous single-vineyard bottlings each showcasing the particular terroir of the area. Ken believes in minimal intervention in each of his wines.
Willamette Valley Wineries in Proximity