On June 14, 2013Dan Howard answered the question:Equestrian Wine Tours offers a truly family-friendly option for vineyard visits - one of the most personalized and sincere family-run horseback riding experiences offered in any wine region in the country. And even though it may not be intuitive to bring children on a winery tour, ultimately it is a very exciting 'family factory' setting where the vistas and the fermentation tanks and barrel rooms leave a lasting and meaningful impression on children. Wine has been a part of human civilization for more than 5,000 years and a family-friendly wine region like Willamette Valley is an ideal place to share the wonder and art of wine making.
On October 22, 2012Amanda Arnold answered the question:You’ll find enough to see and do in the Willamette Valley to fill a weekend or longer. But should you want to see even more of the postcard-worthy countryside beyond this top wine growing region, we at Forbes Travel Guide have scouted a few side trips from Willamette Valley that are worth the drive.
1. The Oregon Coast. You can’t go wrong if you point the car toward the coast. Experience an authentic fishing town in sea-soaked Newport, home to the West Coast’s largest commercial fishing fleet. You can walk the working docks and watch ruddy-faced fishermen bring in the daily catch, then visit the acclaimed Oregon Coast Aquarium. After taking in the town, feast on Oregon Dungeness crab at the seafood market and restaurant Local Ocean, complete with a view of the Yaquina Bay and colorful fishing boats.
2. The Columbia River Gorge. One of the most majestic roads in the state winds along the deep blue Columbia River, the largest North American river that flows into the Pacific. The radiant blue meanders by craggy peaks, mossy hilltops and breath-taking waterfalls. Even if you aren’t an avid trekker, the Multnomah Falls hike is a must. The basic hike is short and winds to a lookout for the 620-foot cascade -- the second highest year-round waterfall in the nation. You won’t forget the view and the soft mist on your face. If you drive 20 more minutes, you’ll reach Hood River, a mecca for windsurfing and kiteboarding and a fun spot for people-watching, shopping and lunch.
3. Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. If you have time, plan an overnight trip to Bandon. It’s a picturesque mix of dramatic ocean views and beautiful cranberry bogs. While you can easily spend a day in the town eating fish and chips right on the docks and discovering local artwork, the worldwide draw to the area revolves around tee time. The wind-swept courses at Bandon Dunes are perched 100-feet above the Pacific Ocean, on a landscape that could easily be mistaken for Scotland. Whether you golf at sunset or sunrise, the view is awe-inspiring.
On October 22, 2012Amanda Arnold answered the question:While most travelers come to the Willamette Valley for its wineries, you’ll still find plenty of charming boutiques to explore in the small towns that fill the area. The tree-lined Third Street in downtown McMinnville is a slice of Americana, brimming with independent boutiques and bookstores, cafes and farm-to-table restaurants, and art galleries and wine shops. If you pop into local favorite Mes Amies for designer shoes, scarves or the perfect dress, you may run into one of many area’s resident food writers or the co-owner of the cozy R. Stuart Co. Winery and Bar, located just two doors down. R. Stuart is the perfect spot for a snack and a glass of their bright cherry Oregon pinot noir.
After some wine and cheese, it’s time for art. The galleries on Third Street spotlight local artists—you can find landscapes painted on barrel staves and vibrant pastels of lavender fields by local plein air artists. Take a break from shopping to taste treats handcrafted by a local chocolate maker, salami crafter or artisan jam maker, followed by cocktails on the rooftop of the valley’s Hotel Oregon.
Art collectors will want to visit the nearby Lawrence Gallery in Sheridan, which showcases some of the finest art in the Pacific Northwest and represents more than 150 nationally recognized artists ranging from painters to sculptors.
On October 22, 2012Amanda Arnold answered the question:Willamette Valley is populated with folks who are passionate about place. Locally made products abound—and they’re all delicious. You’ll want to bring a little of the Willamette Valley home with you, so be sure to save room in your suitcase for wine, chocolate, nuts and other locally produced foods. Most wineries can facilitate shipping, and other gourmet products can be tucked into your bags. Besides wine, Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ picks for the top things to bring home from the Willamette Valley include:
1. Chocolates. Don’t miss the handmade chocolates at Honest Chocolates in McMinnville. You’ll find decadent flavors that range from blueberry-pinot to currant-claret ganache.
2. Truffle oil. Oregon Truffle Oil, made by mushroom guru (yes, there is such a thing) Jack Czarnecki of the Joel Palmer House in Dayton, Ore., is the first all-natural truffle oil ever produced in the United States and is flavored entirely from wild Oregon white truffles.
3. Homemade jam. After you sample a flight of jams at the Republic of Jam store, take home a tasty trio of preserves. Flavors like apricot vanilla Riesling, bacon, and rhubarb rosemary are pretty irresistible.
4. Charcuterie. Bring back a few salamis from Fino in Fondo, owned by the husband-and-wife team from Nick’s Italian Café. A few to sample? Tartufo, Soprassata and Calabrese.
5. Nuts. Freddy Guys Hazelnuts are harvested from a family-run orchard in the mid-Willamette Valley. The dark chocolate covered hazelnuts will make you swoon, and the all-natural, dry roasted hazelnuts have the perfect crunch.