Oregon wine country

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May 31st, 2008, 05:12 PM
  #1
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Oregon wine country

I am planning a trip with my husband in July to Oregon for 7 days. First visit-we are very interested in wine tasting but would also like to see as much of the area as we can in this time. Starting in Portland. Can we stay in Portland and do the Willamette Valley wineries or would you recommend staying a few days in that area? Places to stay? What are the must sees? Thanks for any tips!
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May 31st, 2008, 05:49 PM
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Yes, you can stay in Portland and do winery day trips. It is maybe 30-45 minutes from downtown Portland to the winery area..

There is a beautiful Inn in the winery area if you wanted to do a night or two there and the rest in town. The Black Walnut Inn
www.blackwalnut-inn.com

My favorite hotel in town is the Monaco
www.monaco-portland.com

There is also the Lucia www.hotellucia.com/
the Inn at Northrup Station. www.northrupstation.com/

www.pova.com is good for first timers to Portland and the area..

Must sees:
Japanese Gardens
Pittock Mansion
Washington Park
Farmers Market in the South Park Blocks
Classical Chinese Gardens

the Coast..90 minutes from downtown Portland - Cannon Beach , a great day trip.

the Gorge.. 40-45 min from downtown..waterfalls, one after another.. views that are breathtaking..must see.

Get a guide book !

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Jun 1st, 2008, 06:45 AM
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Scarlet, thank you for your reply. I checked out the Black Walnut Inn and it looks wonderful-I would like to stay there 1 night. I have been reading all the posts and I am so confused right now...I want to see it all and perhaps Seattle too in 7 days!! Arriving early (9am) in Portland will stay our 1st night in Portland -If I stay at Walnut the next night-should we go back to Portland and do day trips from there(the coast and Gorge) or drive from Walnut to one of these? Is Seattle too ambitious? Thanks for any advise!
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Jun 1st, 2008, 07:45 AM
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My idea to avoid a lot of backtracking would be to do something like stay in Portland for 2-3 nights, the Black Walnut 1 night if they don't have a minimum..go to the Coast or Seattle from there. That drive, I believe is about 4-5 hours.

In only 7 days, I would skip Seattle and concentrate on Oregon.
Say 3/4 days in Portland..
1 of those days can be the Gorge, , 1 just seeing the Japanese Gardens, Chinese Gardens, Rose Test Gardens and Pittock Mansion, and 1 day to winery area..stay overnight
Day 4 drive to Cannon Beach, see if you can stay overnight for 1 night, if not, stay at the Coast 2 nights.
Drive South of CB to Manzanita and farther south and enjoy the fabulous coastline and small towns.

Locals will have more for you on that..we lived there but not long enough

Seattle deserves more time, I think..
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Jun 1st, 2008, 10:05 AM
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mms
 
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Scarlett gave some good information. Seattle is too much to incorporate into this trip. One night near the wineries is enough for most people. Besides the BWI, a new place has opened that is the most amazing views. Chehalem Ridge B&B. So if BWI is full, check this one out.

I would stay at the coast for 2 nights, and most places on the north coast have 2 night minimums at least in the summer. You would need to book asap to find a place, but the area is great so worth the extra stress right now to do that.

The gorge is an easy day trip from downtown. The coast is too, but staying over allows you to see so much more of it.

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Jun 1st, 2008, 01:08 PM
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We had a fabulous trip to Portland, the wine country and the coast in 2006. I'd stay a couple nights in Portland and enjoy the city, then drive out to Willamette Valley and spend at least one night (possibly two) to do the wine thing!

I don't know if I ever posted a trip report here, but I've copied a couple of relevant tips here:

After leaving Portland (and you've gotten some good trust-worthy suggestions for there already) we stayed at funky but fun McMenamin's Hotel Oregon in McMinnville.

The best places to taste wine in Willamette Valley are the rooms which serve various vineyards -- The Tasting Room in Carleton was recommended to me by a friend who used to have her own wine bar in Washington DC and now lives in Sacramento. I sort of wish we'd gone there later in the day as we would have bought more. (We only bought one bottle there, early in the morning, a nice Pinot Noir from Belle Pente.)

We also enjoyed the Carlton Winemakers Studio -- http://www.winemakersstudio.com We did hit a couple of winery tasting rooms, Duck Pond -- which was mediocre but pretty, Ponzi's tasting rooms are nice and friendly but the wine was, again, a bit of a disappointment. They DO have great t-shirts "Live Well -- Drink Well" of which I bought one, but no wine.

Domaine Serene has extraordinary grounds. Unfortunately we spent a bit too long taking pictures of those grounds and missed the opportunity to taste their highly regarded (and highly priced) wines as we walked into the tasting room at 4:05PM on a Sunday afternoon while they stop offering tastings at 4:00PM.

All in all, if you are visiting from the East coast and are serious about putting together a case to ship home, you would be best served visiting a tasting room like the two I've mentioned above and putting together a "mixed case."

We found that tasting fees seemed fairly steep in Oregon compared to Napa, Sonoma, Virginia, North Carolina, France, Italy or South Africa. But the experience was helpful while ordering wines in restaurants the rest of the trip -- at least we knew some to avoid, and some we felt comfortable chosing. It has also proven helpful "back at home" because Oregon Pinot Noirs always seem to show up on wine lists in nice restaurants. There is less of a mark-up in restaurants than you find in cities like NY, LA, and DC.

While we totally enjoyed staying at the Hotel Oregon, we ate lunch there on Sunday and breakfast the next morning, and while the food was good, the service was cheerful but woefully time consuming.

We made reservations for dinner one night at Tina's on ORE 99 West in Dundee (near the Ponzi tasting room and restaurant.) We had a fine dinner there, excellent service, and they use fresh local ingredients. The dessert was REALLY outstanding -- layers of meringue and berries and whipped creme drizzled with chocolate and raspberry sauce. The pan grilled oysters are a super starter.

Have a wonderful time in Oregon. It is a beautiful place, the people are terrific, and you will eat and drink very well there!

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Jun 1st, 2008, 01:12 PM
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I just realized, someone sent me this link that you might find helpful, too!
http://www.oregonwine.org/Home/
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Jun 1st, 2008, 01:35 PM
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silvana, I got all my information from mms when we moved to Portland..I canno t take any credit
Have a wonderful trip..I miss Portland .
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Jun 1st, 2008, 02:12 PM
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Thanks Scarlett

Yes, I live near the wineries. If you need any info, just ask. Beachbum is another poster here who is quite knowledgable in this area. The biggest thing to remember is that high prices do not necessarily mean that a particular wine is any good. I have found the best ones to be from the smaller wineries and are much more reasonably priced than some of the big names on the blue tourist signs. Pinot noir is big here, but pinot gris is a close second. Last fall the weather was so wet that the wineries were scrambling to harvest. Because that was a rough year, many places will have you tasting the 2006 instead.
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Jun 1st, 2008, 02:44 PM
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Thank you for all this great info-I'm getting a clearer picture of where to go! The wine info is greatly appreciated-we are very much into wine tasting-one of the reasons we chose this area for this trip. However, coming from New Jersey-the natural beauty is something we are looking forward to. My husband is still trying to sneak in Seattle, although I agree 7 days is not enough time!
Can you suggest places to stay near or at Cannon Beach?
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Jun 1st, 2008, 02:50 PM
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mms
 
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I really like Cannon Beach. We always stay at the Surfsand Resort, which is the only place on the OR coast with cabana service. The hotel is very nice, has views right out to Haystack Rock, is right on the water, good restaurant on site (the Wayfarer) and is an easy walk to the heart of downtown. That all said, since it is just the two of you, you might be interested in their sister property the Stephanie Inn. I have not stayed there, but Beachbum has so he can give first hand information on that. He also has stayed at the Surfsand quite a bit so could give you a good comparison of the two. I prefer the location of the Surfsand however, because I like to walk everywhere.
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Jun 1st, 2008, 02:52 PM
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Cannon Beach???

http://www.barbneal.com/wav/uncat/robot01.wav
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Jun 1st, 2008, 04:06 PM
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I agree, Cannon Beach..beautiful.
SurfSand and Stephanie Inn and also the Ocean Lodge www.theoceanlodge.com
( my new goal for when we go visit friends in Or)..

Where to eat..
Wayfarer
Gower Street Bistro
grab a picnic from Ecola Seafoods..



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Jun 2nd, 2008, 06:15 PM
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Thank you for all your great info-here is my itinerary so far -still open for any suggestions!
Tues-Arrive Portland 9am-sightsee in Portand
Weds-Wine tasting-stay at Black Walnut Inn (this was the only night avail until following Mon)
Thurs-Do some more wine tasting on way to Cannon Beach (staying Thurs/Fri at SurfSand)
Fri-Cannon Beach area
Sat-Drive to 3 Capes Scenic Loop-return to Portland Sat night
Sun-Columbia Gorge ?stay overnight??
Mon-Gorge?-return to Portland in evening
Tues-finish seeing Portland -plane leaves at 9pm
Is the Gorge a 2 day trip? Suggestions to stay?
Thank you again for all your help-if anyone is planning to visit the New Jersey area I would be happy to help!!
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Jun 2nd, 2008, 07:21 PM
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The Gorge is only about 30-45 min from downtown Portland.. not at all necessary to stay over somewhere else.. unless you just wanted to.

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Jun 2nd, 2008, 07:44 PM
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Scarlett is right. The gorge is an easy day trip from downtown. If you want to hike at all though, you might want to stay over just depending on how much you would do. Just in case, a few places to look at in the gorge are the Edgefield, View Point Inn and Bridal Veil Lodge.
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Jun 3rd, 2008, 10:19 AM
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The Columbia Gorge Hotel is a very nice place to stay, they offer a great Farm Country breakfast that is included with your stay. Have a great trip! ***kim***
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Jun 3rd, 2008, 11:15 AM
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I agree with others; the Gorge is an easy day trip from Portland, even if you do some hiking. Hood River, the farthest east you'd be, is only an hour's drive. If you do decide to make a 2-day trip out of it, consider spending the night at Timberline Lodge at the top of Mt. Hood, and maybe doing some hiking up there too.

Suggest you spend Wednesday tasting in the Dundee area, and stop in Carlton on your way to Cannon Beach. Lots of nice, and high-priced wineries around Dundee where you'd enjoy tasting, but for some, you'll need to increase your credit card limit if you plan to buy. Ask if you'd like recommendations.

And busted's suggestion re buying is good too. You can put together mixed cases at Ponzi's tasting bar in Dundee, or any of several places in Carlton: the aforementioned Tasting Room, Tyrus Evan tasting room in the remodeled train station across the street, Horse Radish four doors down, or Carlton Winemaker's Studio, a co-op of sorts where several small producers share a facility.
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Jun 3rd, 2008, 03:32 PM
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Thanks for all your suggestions-I have the "bones" of the trip done-now the details-
Appreciate which wineries are not to be missed-also are most open or by appt?
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Jun 3rd, 2008, 04:52 PM
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There are many smaller boutique-type places making some of Oregon's best wines, but most of those taste by appointment only, and with the appointment usually comes an expectation of purchase. But no worries.... lots of great wines at places with regular tasting hours too.

For many visitors, Domaine Serene, Archery Summit, and Domaine Drouhin top the list. All three make wonderful wines, but expensive.... and tasting fee is $15. I think you'd just as much enjoy De Ponte, just up the hill from Archery Summit. Nice wines there too, at a fraction of the cost. Erath is another popular place; one of Oregon's pioneer wineries. And if you like sparkling wines, Argyle, at the main intersection in the tiny town, is getting good press across the country. Decent pinot noirs there, too. We've also had nice experiences at Torii Mor, and Rex Hill, in Newberg. These all have regular hours.

In Carlton, I'd add Scott Paul and Cana's Feast to the several tasting rooms. Both are in town. As you head to the coast from there, you'll pass signs for several others. Take a chance on one; you might discover a gem!
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