Willamette Valley: A Traveler’s Guide

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  • by WC STAFF
  • on MARCH 1, 2016
  • 821
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With the tall trees, clear streams, and excellent farmland, the Pacific Northwest is one of the most relaxing, delicious, and clean regions of the country. The wineries and restaurants are world class, while the natural beauty reminds visitors to leave their worries behind. Relaxation meets refinement in Willamette Valley.

Where to Stay

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Image Source: Yelp

The Allison Inn & Spa
2525 Allison Ln
Newberg, OR 97132
(503) 554-2525
TripAdvisor: 5 stars, 671 reviews
Check availability

Oregon is undoubtedly a laid-back locale, but rustic relaxation hits its pinnacle at The Allison Inn & Spa among redwoods and the state’s marvelous countryside. The variety of rooms include luxurious beds, fireplaces, and oversized windows peering above the estate. The large indoor pool is flooded with light, and guests can spend hours wandering the manicured gardens.

Insider tip: Wake up early on summer Sunday mornings for a revitalizing yoga class in the garden.

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Image Source: Yelp

Hotel Lucia
400 SW Broadway
Portland, OR 97205
(503) 225-1717
TripAdvisor: 4 stars, 239 reviews
Check availability

Although it is located right in the middle of downtown Portland, Hotel Lucia offers a relaxing, elegant escape from the city’s bustle. The rooms of this recently renovated boutique hotel offer cutting-edge design as well as plenty of comfort, making each one hip, but not too trendy. Pets are very welcomed and even encouraged—Hotel Lucia provides pet room service.

Insider tip: Take a look at the “pillow menu,” and choose from a range of specialty pillows.

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Image Source: Yelp

RiverPlace Hotel
1510 SW Harbor Way
Portland, OR 97201
(503) 228-3233
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 1,402 reviews
Check availability

Situated along the tranquil banks of the Willamette River, RiverPlace Hotel is one of the most beloved hotels in Portland. The praise is well-earned—RiverPlace Hotel has the friendly staff and charm of a boutique hotel, but each room also includes the modern luxury of a big-city establishment. The place is so focused on relaxation, a yoga mat is supplied in every room.

Insider tip: The weekend brunch at RiverPlace Hotel’s Three Degrees Restaurant, featuring bacon-wrapped oysters and berry compote-topped waffles, is not to be missed.

Where to Eat

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Image Source: Yelp

Andina
1314 NW Glisan St
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 228-9535
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 1,743 reviews
Reservations: Recommended

Although several thousand miles north of the Andes, Andina serves gourmet Peruvian cuisine in the Pacific Northwest using time-tested recipes and local ingredients. The dining room is modern, clean, and crisply decorated, but the owners infuse in a large dose of Portland’s famous sensibility. The tapas menu includes several varieties of ceviche, perhaps Peru’s most iconic dish, and the plates are small, so you can taste all of them.

Insider tip: Finish the meal with one of Andina’s rotating selection of crème brulees or ice creams. They are dictated by the seasons, but all are housemade and decadent.

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Image Source: Yelp

LePigeon
738 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 546-8796
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 336 reviews
Reservations: Recommended

You will get to know your fellow diners at the long communal tables of Portland’s LePigeon, and you will all soon agree that you’ve fallen in love with the kitchen’s French-inspired fare. The restaurant’s namesake may not be the fanciest bird in the field guide, but the chefs here will amaze with the foie gras and trout roe appetizer, the Kobe beef Salisbury steak, the truffle parmesan risotto, or even the blue cheese-topped burger.

Insider tip: Trust the kitchen to delight your taste buds with a nightly tasting menu that comes in either five or seven courses, with expertly selected wine pairings also available.

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Image Source: Yelp

Castagna Restaurant
1752 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 231-7373
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 105 reviews
Reservations: Recommended

At the moment, Castagna Restaurant is essentially defining the future of Pacific Northwest cuisine. The dining room is modern and minimalist, with most of the spotlight focused on the food, like Oregon classics including dungeness crab and king salmon. With flavors that would please a lumberjack, but an eating experience that would satisfy a New York food critic, Castagna Restaurant blends rustic and cosmopolitan dining.

Insider tip: Not feeling like white glove swankiness? The Castagna Café next door is owned by the same folks and sells high-end pizzas and soups.

What to Do

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Image Source: Yelp

Willamette Valley Vineyards
8800 Enchanted Way SE
Turner, OR 97392
(503) 588-9463
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 1 review
Reservations: Not required

While the atmosphere of the tasting rooms at many wineries encourages short visits, the cavernous space at Willamette Valley Vineyards pushes you to stay awhile and sip at the large fireplace in the middle of the room. Huge windows offer inviting glimpses of the vineyards and the Oregon countryside. On warmer days, soak in the sun and Willamette Valley Vineyards’ long selection of wines on the large patio.

Insider tip: Their pairings and food menu rotate daily, but if the truffle mac ‘n’ cheese is available be sure to order.

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Image Source: TripAdvisor, Yelp

Eola Hills Wine Cellar
501 S Pacific Hwy W
Rickreall, OR 97371
(503) 623-2405
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 32 reviews
Reservations: Not required

The tasting room at Eola Hills Wine Cellar is housed inside a repurposed barn where country living and fine wines are celebrated every day and where visitors can picnic under the oak trees or wander freely among the vines and property. It’s deceptively easy to spend several hours sitting beside the spring-fed pond in the middle of the estate.

Insider tip: Bring along some stale slices of bread to feed the koi fish while you stroll the gardens.

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Image Source: Yelp

Terra Vina Tasting Room
585 NE 3rd St
McMinnville, OR 97128
(503) 474-6777
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 16 reviews
Reservations: Not required

The intimate Terra Vina Tasting Room brings upscale wines to the tiny downtown of McMinnville, Oregon, an easily walkable joy. Chat with the staff at the tasting bar or settle down with your samples at the elegantly dressed tables with your friends or significant other. Since it is open until 7 p.m. most evenings, Terra Vina Tasting Room is an elegant way to begin a night out.

Insider tip: If you’re looking for small bites to hold you over, walk over to La Rambla for some Spanish tapas.

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Image Source: Yelp

Silver Falls State Park
Park St
Silverton, OR 97381
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 496 reviews

Because of its abundance of natural waterfalls, Silver Falls State Park is lauded as the jewel of Oregon’s state park system. Probably the most famous attractions are the South Falls, a 177-foot curtain of falling water that you can actually walk behind. The views aren’t limited to master hikers—almost all of the trails at Silver Falls State Park are rated moderate or easier.

Insider tip: The longer you hike, the more waterfalls you’ll discover, but if you’re looking to maximize your time the first 5 miles covers the majority of them.

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Image Source: Yelp

Opal Creek
North Fork Rd
Lyons, OR
(503) 892-2782

The 35,000 pristine acres of Pacific Northwest surrounding Opal Creek has survived mostly untouched for thousands of years. Burbling streams, abundant wildlife, and century-old trees turn a visit to Opal Creek into meditative experience. Leave the modern world behind; the area doesn’t get cell reception, anyway.

Insider tip: Check their workshop calendar for unique monthly educational seminars on topics like wilderness meditation, mushroom foraging, landscape painting.

Wild and gourmet, rural and sophisticated, the Willamette Valley contains both upscale living and natural bounty. It’s a mysterious, almost mystical place, and it is an out-of-the-way region where it is fine to get lost.