Brandon and I just returned from an adventurous trip to Oregon to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. We chose this area because we wanted to visit “wine country” and also dip our toes in the ocean for a bit. I love that we went this direction (instead of traditional Napa) because it was such a different and new experience for both of us!
We packed up our cozy sweaters and headed for a gorgeous getaway along the Oregon coast, as well as deep in the Willamette Valley. Now that we’re home, I thought it would be fun to share some pictures and take you along our little adventure.
Starting from the sky…
This was the view from the plane on the way to Portland. B took this picture, which was perfect timing to get Mount Hood peaking through the clouds.
Once we landed, we rented a car and high-tailed it to the beach. I was taken back by how tall the evergreens were. The ground was sprawling with ferns as big as our car and every now and then you’d see pops of bright yellow from the maples that were still trying to hang on to their leaves.
As soon as we arrived at Cannon Beach, which was less than two hours away, we checked into Stephanie Inn. As you can see, it’s right on the water. The sky was foggy, which gave it a mysterious backdrop. Our room was on the second floor, so we had a perfect view of the Pacific.
Ready for the view from our room? This was taken at sunset when we arrived. I felt like an ocean princess sitting on our balcony taking in this view and the salty air.
I couldn’t wait to throw on my boots and go for a walk down the beach. The sand was so compact and easy to walk on. And the views…
If this looks strangely familiar, you might remember it from the movie The Goonies. It was filmed in this area.
So, B and I ran into a super interesting guy who was meandering along the water with his dog. He graciously took our picture. (It was windy, which is why we’re squinty and my hair is crazy. Lol.)
As we got into a conversation with our photographer friend, we learned he was nearing the end of a 45-day drive from one coast to the other. He was inspired by his dad, who made the same trip more than 20 years ago. We didn’t catch his name, but we were introduced to his dog, Bernie, who was very well-mannered. (Our Leo would have sprinted off the moment he laid eyes on a seagull.)
Anyway, he was the first of many cool people we met along the way…
We woke up the next morning at 4am, not just because we were excited to get back on the beach, but also because our bodies were used to being two hours ahead! I love this picture of my sweet B drinking his coffee.
The daylight brought with it some interesting treasures along our walk, such as sand dollars, washed up jellyfish and all kinds of shells.
I couldn’t figure out what made all of the squiggle marks in the sand. This jellyfish was larger than my head. I should have dropped a penny next to it for scale. Trust me, it was huge.
Look at this sweet seagull chillin’ in the morning sunshine. I wanted to just perch next to him for the day.
Oh, I also spotted this cute little fella. He was hopping around the property of the hotel nibbling on herbs from their garden. I swear he had to be someone’s pet. Look how tame he was!
When it came to food, we decided to splurge. We also tried to eat things native to the region, which were all kinds of berries, nuts and seafood.
I snapped this picture of a hazelnut grove along the way. I’ve never seen this before!
Back to our hotel…the restaurant was led by Executive Chef Aaron Bedard. He served up a meal that could have broken records. It was pretty much the best pecan-crusted salmon that has ever touched my lips. I can say that with authority.
After dinner, we received this surprise treat at our table to celebrate our anniversary. May I introduce you to my new best friend: The Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Tart consisting of Belgian dark chocolate mousse, Oregon hazelnut crust, huckleberry compote and chocolate fudge sauce.
After our time at the beach, we headed inland for a few days. We stayed at Le Puy Inn. It was a lovely house owned by a couple, who are both architects. Every detail was in place, including complimentary wine glasses and chocolates in our room, as well as organic bath salts and candles next to the tub. It was heavenly.
We toured the Willamette Valley visiting local vineyards and wineries. This area is home to some of the best Pinot noir in the world. Apparently the area has the same latitude as the Burgundy region of France, and has a similar climate in which the finicky Pinot noir grapes thrive. Cool, right?
There are more than 400 vineyards in this valley alone. Needless to say, we had a few options to choose from. We started off at Hawks’ View, which ended up being our favorite destination. You can see Mount Hood in the distance.
We lingered in this spot for quite some time enjoying their wine, as you can see below.
Oh, and notice the flared lip on the glasses? We discovered these are designed specifically for a Pinot noir. It delivers the wine closer to the middle of the palate, which allows you to better experience the flavors. We felt so smart learning that.
The day was simply gorgeous. We had sunny skies and didn’t even need jackets. We kept hearing how this was going to be the last sunny day in the area until next year.
We woke up to this scene the very next day. It was a breathtaking rainbow over the valley. It also meant rain was on the way. It didn’t stop until we left. Although, we came prepared. Boots and umbrellas are an Oregon staple.
One of the tasting rooms we picked (on day two) was called Elizabeth Chambers. They produced their wines in town and purchased their grapes from various vineyards in the area. This made it a bit different. I also loved their logo. When you have so many wineries to choose from, you start picking them like race horses – go with the look.
This whole place was beautiful. It was an old power plant and is on the historic register in McMinnville. They rent it out for parties and weddings. Perfect setting for something like that for sure.
We made time along the way to sample some craft beer and seafood chowder, which I had been craving since the moment our plane landed from Arkansas. It was delicious. I would have taken some home in my purse if it weren’t so messy.
They were both highly recommended, and we understand why. You couldn’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
That pretty much concludes our tour. B and I had such a memorable trip. I hope you enjoyed a little sample of it all. Be sure to see it in person if you ever have the chance. I’m pretty sure I’ll be going back at some point. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take another 15 years 😉
Here’s to plenty of adventures, my sweet friends!