Now that we have survived the holidays, and things are getting back to “normal”, we find ourselves in a more “gloomy” kind of funk. Nothing really exciting going on, weather is cold, raining, snowing, and just can be king of blah. Maybe things at work aren’t such a great picnic lately either.
We can all have those days, where nothing seems to work., Bosses with deadlines, computer issues, the average work day extending into the evening. So this article may give you some exciting ideas on a little “vaca”, that won’t attack your wallet or credit cards to much, but will put you in an area of fine wines and country charm. Let’s visit the Willamette Valley, McMinnville Oregon.
Planning a trip to wine country anywhere in Oregon, your best deals on lodging as well as seating at restaurants, and sipping wine at wineries, is anytime but summer and holidays. Usually summer isn’t all that crowded and you can still have a great time, and find good deals, but there are still lino’s showing up wit a load. Most holiday weekends find the wineries going all out for visitors, however the plus is they usually offer discounts on their wines.
Keep in mind that this area has a group of small towns or “Burgs”, each with some pretty in-expensive choices for lodgings. Let’s look at one that fits right in with life in the country, the “Bed & Breakfast”. Never stayed in one?, you just don’t know what you are missing. There are quite a few in this area, and prices vary by establishment and rooms, but deals are there to be had, especially during the “off” seasons. Let’s look at one, the “Mattey House”.
This quaint 1892 historic home, is on the National Historic Register. The original owner, born in England, moved here and started a butcher business. At one time a strawberry farm it has had many owners, and has been a B&B since the mid 1980’s. The owners Jack and Denise are British, lived in Germany, Italy and across the United States. With a vineyard in the front of the Inn, it sits on a quiet peaceful ten acres. All rooms have air conditioning and private bathrooms, and being in the heart of wine country, how sweet it is. The benefits of staying here are being in the heart of Wine Country, having the owners prepare an excellent breakfast for you every morning, and provide you with area discounts and suggestions for wineries to visit. Room rates will start around $140 per night, with multi night deals available.
Another great place to stay is McMenamins Hotel Oregon in downtown McMinnville. Here they serve craft style beer and local wines in the restaurant and you get to stay in “Queen European Rooms” starting at $60 per night depending on the season. Beware that during busy months rooms book early, and the rooms with private baths go rather quickly.
Looking for something a little more upscale, but not over the top, then a newer, smaller “Boutique Hotel” located in Dundee is what you should look at. The Inn at Red Hills offers you twenty casually elegant rooms, each with vineyard views, and modern convinces. Rooms starting at $140 per night and up, you should check for deals, especially on multiple nights stay.
Now let’s check out some of the wineries in the area to visit. There are so many to choose from, we will give you a select overview of a handful to start with.
The first winery we suggest is Panther Creek in the downtown district of McMinnville. This winery is located in an old 1920’s former power plant. The winery has had a few owners, but is now owned by Liz Chambers, with her Winemaker Michael Stevenson. Now let me warn you, watch your step in this tasting room! Wine Dogs Abound! Zooey, one of the friendliest but mellow Labs! Is your “Meet and Greet” usually at the doorway. You will enjoy the adventure of their historic building brick walled tasting room, the tasting staff will guide you through an array of fine wines. Try their flight of Pinot Noirs, which in the Willamette Valley, is what the area is known for producing, of fine quality, and Panther Creek is no exception to that rule.
Another suggestion on your wine journey is August Cellars located in the Newberg, Oregon. Something quite unique about August Cellars, is that not only could I taste their wonderful Pinot Noir’s, but I also could taste six other winemakers wines, created there at the August Cellars facilities. August Cellars is a family owned and operated vineyard / winery, located on their century old orchard property. The tasting room is modest, but quite airy, with oversized windows where you can gaze into large cellars of stored casks of ageing wine. As I said, there are six other wineries operating at this facility. They are mostly smaller wineries, without their own facilities yet.
Our third suggestion is one that takes your breath away, seriously. Vista Hills Vineyard and Winery is one of the most beautiful wine tasting rooms, and surroundings you may ever experience. Called “The Treehouse Tasting Room” for a reason it sits on top of a mountain, in the Dundee Hills of Dayton, Oregon, in the middle of forty acres of world –class Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. The “Treehouse” overlooks the beautiful Willamette Valley, and you can sit out on the expansive deck, and relax with a glass, or bottle, with a view of their vineyards and mountains, is the reason this is a destination point for visitors, and wedding parties alike. At this winery, you will be sampling and surly purchasing some fine Pinot Noirs as well as a bottle or two of the Treehouse Estate Pinot Gris. And don’t forget to try one of their handmade “Original Hawaiian Chocolates”.
There are hundreds of wineries in the area and Oregon itself. In the Willamette Valley, you will have no problem finding other wineries and tasting rooms. The area locals will offer you suggestions on their favorite wineries, shops and restaurants, and they are usually very true. On the subject of dining, let us tell you about “Nick’s Back Room”.
When you asked for suggestions for a nice restaurant for diner, you will here over and over about Nicks. Nicks Italian Café is located in downtown McMinnville. This is not your ordinary Italia restaurant. Wood fired oven, unbelievable tasty pizza, pastas, beef etc. And if you are really looking for an experience, try dining or just snacking on appetizers in “Nicks Back Room.” This is here the locals hang out in the evening, and quite a nice experience.
If you are looking for a special place to dine that features wines of the area along with excellent menu, “The Bistro Maison” French Restaurant, also located in McMinnville would be a fine choice. . A little bit more pricy, but the food, atmosphere, and wine list are worth every penny.
I leave you with the opportunity to experience something wonderful, and some choices to assist you in your journey, on an adventure that you can keep to a budget, and yet live like king and queen. Life does have many choices, and maybe it is your time to take the next step from a dream, to an adventure.