Need help from Oregon experts.

Old May 3rd, 2008, 01:05 PM
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Need help from Oregon experts.

My mother (age 70) and I are planning a short trip to Oregon during the Memorial weekend and I was hoping to get some tips from Fodorites out there. As usual I think I may be planning too much in too short a time but here is what I have so far.

Friday afternoon arrive Portland, check-in at the Hotel Monoco.

Saturday spend time in Portland (Saturday Market, Chinese gardens, Powell bookstore, etc)

Sunday drive East along the Columbia River (Hwy 84) to Hood River and then back around via Hwy 26 to Portland stopping at various points of interest along the way.

Monday leave Portland early and drive West on Hwy 26 to Cannon Beach and then South along the coast stopping at various points of interest and then overnight somewhere midway between Cannon Beach and Florence. Maybe Lincoln City or Newport?

Tuesday finish driving South along the coast and at Florence drive East to Eugene and then Hwy 5 back to Portland where we will spend our last night at the Hotel Deluxe.

Wednesday Ė flight home.

Iím wondering if we can see this much of the Oregon coast in 2 days time and not be too rushed. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
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Old May 3rd, 2008, 01:20 PM
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Good choice of hotels

Saturday Mkt is good for an hour at most imo.
Chinese Gardens are good for about an hour with tea in the Tea House..really pretty.
Powells you can spend a day in lol or an hour..if you like Art / Photography books, go to the Top floor..wonderful!
There will be lots of day left-over..will you just wander that neighborhood? ( the Pearl District)..you can hop on a Streetcar at 10th & Couch, by Powells and go to NorthWest 23rd & Marshall and walk along 23rd...fun! boutiques etc with nice little cafes and ice cream stops.

Sunday ( do you want to see the waterfalls/gorge?)
That would be the Historic Hwy then to 84...I would come back home on 84 but if it is from Hood River maybe not.

26 to Cannon Beach then South is excellent.
You will enjoy the way the scenery changes as you drive towards the coast..I always enjoyed that drive

It does sound like a lot when you do the coast but I am lousy on travel times..
mms and beachbum will probably have great ideas as well as other locals..

beachbum stayed at the DeLuxe and liked it
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Old May 3rd, 2008, 01:32 PM
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Thanks Scarlett for the great feedback. On Sunday I thought we would see the Multnomah Falls, Gorge, and a friend told me about a place to view the fish underwater. Can't remember the name. I also thought about stopping at a couple of wineries if there are any in the area on our way back. Do you know of any within a close proximity to Portland?
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Old May 4th, 2008, 01:17 AM
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A native Oregon resident here.

The Coast:
Your beach trip is way too much to enjoy. Personally, I would go to Lincoln City directly and south. That way, you see much more interesting scenery. You get the wild rocky coast, but also pretty sandy beaches. I can recommend Depoe Bay, a cute mini-harbour with nice views and little stores (Don't forget to get salt water taffy). There's whale watching there almost all year. Sea Lion caves are a fun stop. Somewhere up in that area, among the curves, either before or after the Sea Lion Caves, is a restaurant, way out there by itself, overlooking a steep cliff. I recommend it. It's not high-tone (it's a coastal joint); the food is ok, but the view is spectacular. I don't remember the name or exactly where it is, but ask anyone along the coast about it and they'll tell you what it is. Newport Beach is a resort-type town with the Ripley's and Wax Museum-type stuff. Along the way are lighthouses you can visit. Florence is a cute little town, as is Yachats. In Bandon, there's a little game park, with big cats. If you go far enough south, you can poke your foot into the giant redwoods (Del Norte) just south of Cresent City, CA, just past the Oregon border. If you've never been in the redwoods, please do; there's nothing like it. They have seals on the docks in Crescent City, too. Then you can cross over to I-5 and go back to Portland by freeway. The road to get to the freeway, though, is a trip in itself - very winding, but beautiful, so don't wait until dark to do it (both for the beauty and the driving). This whole south coast trip can easily be done in two days (I've done it), depending upon how much time you spend stopping, of course, but do go the Lincoln City and south portion of the coast instead of the north; I grew up in the north portion, and the southern part is much more interesting and varied. If you do go to the north coast, though, go to Fort Clatsop in Astoria; it's a recreation of Lewis & Clark's final stop at the coast. Astoria also has an interesting historical museum, and the Astor column. Seaside is a fun little resorty-town for us Oregonians, but really not worth spending much time in for visitors, unless you're into kitsch. Cannon Beach is a much more interesting beach, with rock formations and tidal pools. AND a good bakery (cheese-bread, cinnamon bread, huge eclairs).

Back to Portland:
I find the Chinese garden unexciting and overpriced. The Japanese Gardens in Washington Park, however, are the best I've ever been in, lovely and serene, and considered to be extremely authentic. They do entail some uphill walking and some steps, though, so your mother needs to be reasonably fit. The best view of Portland and of Mt. Hood (on a clear day)is from the Rose Gardens in Washington Park. It's been a cold year, so I don't know if the roses are out the way that they should be by this time, but roses or no roses, the view is worth it. The Saturday Market is ok, but overpriced. Don't spend a lot of time. Powell's Bookstore is a dream, but be careful. Once in there, in the seductive labyrinthine book stacks, you may find it difficult to leave, and when you do your wallet will be lighter and your luggage heavier, at least if you're a book nut like me. A little drive down the Willamette river to an overlook to see Willamette Falls, if you've the time, is worth the time.

Columbia River Gorge:
Don't forget to take the scenic highway on one direction of the trip, then leave it just east of Multnomah Falls. There are absolutely gorgeous waterfalls (roadside turnouts to stop at them) that you'll miss if you don't, and the stunning view of the gorge from Crown Point that is a must-see. Get some free literature about the Columbia Gorge at Multnomah falls. Farther along the gorge is the Bonneville Dam, where you can look at fish going through the fish ladders, and watch the spillways. Hood River is cute with little shops, and you can see windsurfers there on a good day (one of the best places in the world for it), but it's really not a must-do. On the other hand, if you're into art, go across the bridge at Hood River to the Washington side, then go east to the Maryhill Museum. They have a great collection of Rodin sculpture, Indian Art, a Russian collection, and fashions. You also, at this point, hit the beginnings of the desert-like areas of Washington (and Oregon, on the other side of the river). On the way back to Portland, go by the freeway. Note the huge rock formations to your left at one point. Indian legend says that they are Indian maidens that were turned into stone. There's a huge rock formation on the side of the road called Rooster Rock. You'll understand why when you see it. You can also see Beacon Rock, across the river on the Washington side.

A couple of things not on your list are Mt. Hood and Mount St. Helens. Both are within easy driving from Portland.

Mt. Hood has record snow packs this year (they're still skiing up there), although the peaks always have snow year-round. This is a beautiful trip. Timberline Lodge is gorgeous and open all year, with a nice restaurant inside. Check out the websites.

Mount St. Helens? Enough said. Google it. If you do go, and want closer, make sure about which observation center you go to; opretty close, and one, although it has great exhibits, isn't.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 06:13 AM
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Here's a website that I bookmarked with great info on the NW
http://goodstuffnw.blogspot.com/

wintkat
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Old May 4th, 2008, 07:10 AM
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Doesn't Mt St Helens require most of a day?

I agree it can be a Must See but in this short trip, with so many other destinations on the list...is Mt St Helens such a good idea ?
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Old May 4th, 2008, 07:22 AM
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MickiMc, I think you need to factor in that Memorial Day weekend in Oregon will be quite busy. The Gorge, especially Multnomah Falls, will be mobbed if the weather is decent at all. Expect a lot of traffic on Highway 101 too, which has a lot of slow spots anyway through all the towns. Just factor in extra time.

I think I agree with skipping Cannon Beach if you want to go that far south in that short of time and just head out to the coast via Highway 18 and start in Lincoln City. The scenery from Lincoln City south is spectacular.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 09:09 AM
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I don't know that the scenery between Lincoln City and Florence warrants the extra couple hours in the car. The stretch from Newport to Florence is unquestionably jaw-dropping, but so are views from Ecola State Park, and Three Capes Scenic Loop. So, consider heading to the coast on hwy 26, then returning on hwy 6 from Tillamook. It would make for a more leisurely feeling trip, I think.

Saturday Market is entertaining for a couple hours, but if your mother is into gardening, I bet she'd prefer Portland Farmer's Market. It's rated one of the top five in the country. Plants, produce, baked goods, and other specialty food products... and a completely different crowd.

Yes, Scarlett's right; I did stay in, and enjoy The De Luxe. Good choice, but if you're new to Portland, you might question the location. Don't! Perfectly safe, and well situated for walking to the Pearl District, NW 21st & 23rd, and downtown.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 10:17 AM
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Great idea about the Farmers Market, beachbum !
ww.pova.com is a great site with a calendar so you can see what is happening when in Portland and beyond.

I believe a winery or two will be having Open Houses.

Aside from beachbum and a Andrew and mms here, who are in the know, over on the Portland Forums on TripAdvisor.com, there is a resident Wine Expert who can tell you all about that
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Old May 4th, 2008, 10:45 AM
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Good luck with finding a room in seaside or cannon beach, if you don't have a reservation already.

Personally, I like the cannery pier hotel in astoria.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 12:14 PM
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Thank you, thank you. There is such good stuff here and Iím modifying my itinerary. I sorta figured I was planning too much for this trip. From what Iíve read here and elsewhere the Southern part of the coast not only has more spectacular views but is also a bit less crowded. I didnít realize when planning this trip that the timing was during the Memorial weekend holiday until after I had bought our airline tickets. So, with this in mind Iím thinking that the drive South via Hwy 18 to Lincoln City will be less crowded and therefore more enjoyable. The question now is where to overnight and how far down the coast to go. What about the Overleaf Lodge in Yachats? The following morning we would continue down the coast to Florence and then over to Eugene and back to Portland. Or should we drive further down the coast and if so where should we begin the drive back to Portland?

I like the idea of the Farmerís Market instead of the Saturday Market. I think my Mom would prefer that. Saturday will be Farmerís Market and then the Japanese Gardens at Washington Park and maybe a drive to Willamette Falls overlook. We could save the bookstore for something to do one evening after dinner or before our flight leaves on Wednesday.

Sunday: At what point do we take the Historic Columbia River Hwy? From looking at the map it appears to begin at Troutdale. Should we take this until Multnomah Falls, Bonneville Dam, or Hood River? And on the way back would we have time to take Hwy 35 / 26 back to Portland with a stop at Timberline Lodge? Or, am I planning too much for this day?
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Old May 4th, 2008, 12:28 PM
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hi,
From post by Scarlett
www.pova.com missing 1 "w"

looks like www.pova.com opens as http://www.travelportland.com/

wintkat
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Old May 4th, 2008, 12:34 PM
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Highway 18 from McMinnville to Lincoln City is a busy highway and will be crowded for sure over Memorial Day. It's not an un-scenic drive but not full of breathtaking scenery, either. Then again, none of the routes to the coast in northern Oregon are - lots of green and trees but not a lot of scenery. Actually, you could potentially take Highway 22 from Salem out to Highway 18 - that's a little more scenic than Highway 99W and perhaps less traffic.

Highway 101 will be busy south of Lincoln City as well.

Driving over Memorial Day isn't impossible and I didn't mean to scare you. You simply need to plan some extra time and be patient. And try to check via internet or the radio about traffic problems. If there's an accident on one of these 2-lane highways you could be stuck for hours in traffic so if you could do anything to avoid that, I'd do so.

I personally enjoy Newport, a larger town on the coast. There's a couple of nice beaches, some decent restaurants, the Oregon Coast Aquarium (Keiko "Free Willy" the Whale lived there for a few years), and a bayfront area with some cheesy tourist attractions. Newport with no traffic is 2.5 hours from Portland so figure 3 hours or so on that weekend. And you'd be stopping a few times on 101 between Lincoln City and Newport for the scenery. And you might stop in Newport itself. So Newport might be a good place to stop over.

Some people like Highway 38 from Waldport back through Corvallis to I-5. I don't recall it being a can't miss drive. If you do head east from Florence (Highway 126) you could stop in Eugene and check out the University of Oregon campus (I have a thing for college campuses so I would personally, but it's just your average nice campus). But backtracking on 101 isn't a terrible idea either, since the scenery is different out your window going north than it was south, and there's no "can't miss" views going inland to I-5.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 12:40 PM
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As for the Columbia River Scenic Highway, I prefer to pick it up at Corbett off of I-84 instead of Troutdale, because the good scenery really doesn't start til just past Corbett. There are some breathtaking postcard views from there of the Gorge (from the Women's Forum and from Vista House), then you can drive the highway into the woods and the spectacular waterfalls and on to Multnomah Falls, the largest. You could probably end your drive on the Scenic Highway there and hit I-84 and continue on to Hood River if you wish. Timberline Lodge is pretty neat if you wish to spend the extra 1-2 hours required to drive up there and check out Mt. Hood up close.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 12:45 PM
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The Farmer's Market is really nice.

As far as the gorge goes, head out of Portland on I-84 eastbound. You can hook up with the old scenic highway either from the exit at Troutdale (#17) or at Corbett (#22). I almost always use the Corbett one. From that exit, take a right and head up the windy hill. At the stop, take a left and that will put you onto the old highway. Nice stops along there include the Portland Women's Forum (odd name but fantastic views), Vista House, and then of course Multnomah Falls. You can continue on this old highway for quite a ways. If you decide to do a loop, then continue out to Hood River, then hop onto HWY 35 which will bring you around the backside of Mt. Hood, then catch up with HWY 26 westbound. Timberline Lodge is off of that and has several restaurants, and it is a nice lodge.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 12:52 PM
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Can't believe I missed a winery question! ;-) You're looking for winery stops on your way back from where? Most are located west and southwest of Portland, so I'm not sure how that would fit into your itinerary.

Contrary to what you're thinking, I'd guess the drive on hwy 18 to the coast would be more crowded than any of the three routes to the north coast beaches. Hwy 18 is pretty much the only option to central coast beaches from Portland; I can't remember being on it when traffic wasn't heavy. If you go that way though, Overleaf would be the place to stay if you can get it.

Yes, the Historic Columbia River Highway starts near Troutdale; can't remember the exit though.... 17 or 18? You'll be forced back onto I-84 after Horsetail Falls, but I'd continue to Hood River and hwy 35 up and around Mt. Hood. Lots of driving, but if you're not stopping for long hiking, easily doable in a day.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 12:53 PM
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sorry for the echo, mms..... ;-)
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Old May 4th, 2008, 01:02 PM
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Ack!! Yes, I was typing fast and left out a w.... sorry...thank you wintkat..yes, it is Travel Portland

Great for finding deals , info etc.

Warning about the Farmers Mkt..go hungry. lol.
I like to grab a coffee at the Starbucks on the Park Blocks and just wander through the market, munching on various baked goods...and taking home flowers.
I bet you will love it
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Old May 4th, 2008, 01:02 PM
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And I have to learn to proof read!!

I likeD to ......

I no longer live in Portland ... sad/happy face.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 01:44 PM
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Wineries: Is this doable - Saturday morning Farmerís Market and then Japanese Gardens? Then, stop someplace for lunch and in the afternoon drive to a couple of wineries? Are there any wineries you would suggest that are fairly close? Then back to Portland and relax a bit before dinner. Do you have dinner recommendations?

Sunday Ė Gorge / Mt Hood area and if time allows an early dinner at Timberline Lodge.

Monday - Leave Portland early (7:00 a.m. Ė Iím a morning person) taking 99W / 18 to the coast. Maybe lunch in Newport (suggestions?) With the rest of the afternoon drive to Yachats and stay at the Overleaf Lodge (I just reserved a room here for Monday night). Iíd like to find where the restaurant that Nightbird2 spoke of with the pretty view. I wonder if we could have dinner there Monday night or if it is further down the coast maybe lunch on Tuesday. How long do you think it will take to reach Portland from Florence on that Tuesday? If we left around 3:30-4:00 could we be back in Portland by 7:00?

The information you are providing is sooooo helpful. I really appreciate it! And I'm getting so excited about our trip I only wish we had more time.
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