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Hidden Food and Wine Finds

As the state—and especially greater Portland—continues to develop cachet for its super restaurants, farmers' markets, wineries, and microbreweries, it's worth making the effort to venture a bit off the beaten path to find some genuine only-in-Oregon culinary treats.

Burgerville, Portland. With nearly 40 locations around metro Portland, Burgerville has taken classic fast food to new heights by sourcing local, seasonal ingredients, from Washington sweet onions for its onion rings to the fresh blackberries and hazelnuts in the luscious milkshakes.

Clear Creek Distillery, Portland. Clear Creek paved the distillery way with its unique spirits—the pear brandy or cherry Kirschwasser make a perfect nightcap, and a sip of Douglas fir eau de vie will deliver you right to the heart of an Oregon forest.

Josephson's Smokehouse, Astoria. Once the heart of Oregon's salmon-canning industry, the endearingly raffish town of Astoria is still a prime destination for seafood lovers. Drop by Josephson's for hot- and cold-smoked salmon, prawns, halibut, and albacore.

King Estate Winery, Eugene. Set in a stunning chateau high on a hillside south of Eugene, off-the-beaten-path King Estate produces wines sold widely throughout the country, but relatively few visitors make it down here. The restaurant serves first-rate Pacific Northwest regional cuisine.

Rogue River Creamery, Central Point. This small dairy in an otherwise nondescript town near Medford produces phenomenal blue cheeses in several varieties (from Smokey Blue to Oregonzola), plus a delectable lavender-infused cheddar.

Sleepy Monk, Cannon Beach. Portland's Stumptown Coffee is Oregon's most famous coffee roaster among die-hard java connoisseurs, but true aficionados rave about this tiny, organic coffeehouse in Cannon Beach—the dark, bold Bogsman Brew blend is heaven in a cup.

Offbeat Museums

Although you'll discover a plethora of art and history museums, Oregon fascinates visitors with its diverse selection of lesser-known, quirky museums.

Columbia River Maritime Museum, Astoria. The observation tower of a World War II submarine and the personal belongings of the passengers of area shipwrecks are among the exhibits inside, while outdoors on the riverside dock you can tour the lightship Columbia, which formerly plied the region's waters as a floating lighthouse.

Evergreen Aviation Museum, McMinnville. Engrossing facts about aviation complement an awesome assortment of flying machines at this expansive repository best known as the home of Howard Hughes's "flying boat," the Spruce Goose, which has a wingspan longer than a football field and its end zones.

Favell Museum of Western Art and Native American Artifacts, Klamath Falls. Inside this relatively small building you'll discover an astounding collection of some 100,000 Native American artifacts, plus the world's largest collection of miniature guns and a trove of Western artwork.

High Desert Museum, Bend. Evocative and intricate walk-through dioramas and an indoor-outdoor zoo with creatures great and tiny convey the high desert's past and present in a delightfully airy and family-friendly space.

Kam Wah Chung & Co. Museum, John Day. This former trading post in tiny Canton dates to 1866, and traces the legacy of Oregon's early Chinese community, which worked mines in the eastern part of the state. The building served as a general store and opium den at various times.

National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, Baker City. With a simulated span of the legendary Oregon Trail, this well-designed museum offers a thorough and vivid look at life for the some 300,000 pioneers who entered Oregon from the Midwest during the 19th century.

Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum, Hood River. Two massive hangars make up this museum filled with beautifully restored and still working vintage planes and cars dating back as far as the 1910s.

Distinctive Lodging

In Oregon you can stay in hip, urban neighborhoods, along the beach, in the woods, or atop snow-covered mountains. Accommodations include elegant, full-service boutique hotels, luxury alpine retreats, historic bed-and-breakfasts, cozy ski chalets, rustic national park cabins, and funky local motels.

The Allison Inn & Spa, Newberg. Elegant yet refreshingly contemporary, this 80-room boutique resort and spa has finally given Oregon's scenic Willamette Valley accommodations worthy of the region's ethereal Pinot Noirs.

Heceta House, Heceta Head. Occupying the same dramatic promontory as a working lighthouse, this Queen Anne-style bed-and-breakfast has views of the Pacific that inspire many a marriage proposal.

McMenamins Kennedy School, Portland. The quirky McMenimans company has readapted dozens of buildings around Oregon as pubs, restaurants, and hotels—from a former asylum to this cleverly designed property in a funky northeast Portland neighborhood, a 1915 elementary school.

Sunriver Resort, Sunriver. A former military base near Bend has transformed into an almost self-contained resort village. Golf, great food, luxury rooms, and, above all, the high desert's sweeping sense of splendid isolation are the main draws here.

Timberline Lodge, Mt. Hood. This iconic 60-room lodge on the upper slopes of Oregon's highest peak is buried beneath many feet of snow for much of the year. Admire the 96-foot stone chimney in the lobby.

Weasku Inn, Grants Pass. Luminaries from Hollywood's Golden Era, including Walt Disney and Carole Lombard, stayed at this rambling timber-frame lodge on the wild and scenic Rogue River during its early years. Now it's a luxurious inn surrounded by 11 rustic-chic cabins.

Majestic Mountaintops

Oregon is studded with mostly conical mountain peaks, which are strung along its Cascade Range from the Columbia River right down to the California border. The lofty summits, most of them topped with a full cover of snow all year-round, make for memorable photography subjects. Those who venture closer, however, will discover some of the state's best opportunities for recreation.

Mt. Ashland. The first soaring peak you encounter upon crossing into southern Oregon on Interstate 5, this 7,533-foot peak has great skiing much of the year, and also rewards visitors with fantastic views of the Rogue Valley.

Mt. Bachelor. This 9,065-foot peak offers some of the best downhill skiing and snowboarding in the West—consider the impressive 3,265-foot vertical drop. In summer, you can ride a chairlift to the Pine Marten Lodge for panoramic vistas across the shimmering Cascade Lakes.

Mt. Hood. One of Oregon's most recognizable land features, the snowy, conical Mt. Hood rises to some 11,245 feet (the tallest in the state). and is visible from downtown Portland, more than 50 mi away.

Neahkahnie Mountain. Although it tops out at just 1,661 feet, this craggy peak is one of the most dramatic along the state's winding coastline. Trails leading to the top draw plenty of hikers from nearby Manzanita and Cannon Beach., and the views up and down the coast are mesmerizing.

Steens Mountain. A striking sight in eastern Oregon's otherwise rather level high desert, this 9,700-foot peak was created from a massive block of fractured lava and is largely devoid of vegetation. Hikers here have been known to spot golden eagles and bighorn sheep.

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