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UPDATE Pac NW Road trip

UPDATE
My original post is farther down the page. I am in Oregon and I have a few minutes with my feet up before going out for dinner. Since you folks were so helpful, I figure I should tell you how it's going.

Seattle was 57 and rainy when I landed at SeaTac early yesterday afternoon. Following your suggestion, we drove the scenic route close to the coast and due south to Astoria instead of continuing on I-5 toward Portland. Once we left I-5, the road was mostly 2-lane with hardly any other cars on the road and lots and lots of trees, then across the mouth of the mighty Columbia on the Megler-Astoria Bridge. We're staying at the Comfort Suites with a river view - we can see the bridge from the room (and pretty much everywhere in Astoria :-). There's a colony of barking seals so we closed the window before bed last night. We had a very good dinner at the Silver Salmon (best sweet potato fries I've ever had). We would have gone to Buoy Brewing but they close too early (7 pm on Sunday).

We started our day at Fort Clatsop. The reconstructed fort and the museum were interesting but the best part was hiking in the woods along the river. We went back to Astoria, checked out Josephson's Smokehouse for salmon jerky and then had lunch at the Bridgewater Bistro (another great view of the bridge) and berry cider on tap. We still had time to see the Astoria Column, the Columbia River Maritime Museum and Safeway. Now we're headed to the Blaylock Whiskey Bar for dinner.

Tomorrow: Tillamook and points south to Depoe Bay.

I will continue to post here (as space permits). We passed Nehalem Winery. I considered stopping but I had my heart set on Blue Heron French Cheese in Tillamook and it was more than expected. We had 2 cheese tasting plates, one was all bries, the other was a mix of local cheeses (we ate about 1/2 and took the rest for later, though with all the restaurant recommendations I don't know when later will be). Tillamook Creamery was a disappointment. The line for ice cream was long and extemely slow. The flavors on hand didn't appeal to either of us, we settled for others that were "meh." Haagen Dazs and B&J are better and none comes close to decent gelato. We went to Gracie's Sea Hag tonight for dinner. Thanks for the recommendation. Elly loved the clam chowder and my Caesar salad with a large helping of cold smoked salmon was excellent. Watched the sun set over the Pacific at 9 pm.

The saga continues in a reply on June 11. (I've reached the maximum allowed for a single post)

Original post. My friend will pick me up at SeaTac airport around noon on Sunday, June 6 and will drop me at Portland airport around 4 pm the following Sunday. We haven't seen each other for 3 years (thank you Covid) so the main goal of the trip is to spend time together. We are budget-conscious but not miserly. We enjoy most stuff, nature, scenery, museums, easy hiking, I like wine and she's a foodie. I have a national parks pass and we especially like to visit state and national parks. In the past I drove through Oregon with an AAA guide book and a cell phone, often finding motel rooms more or less last minute.

My first question is whether we can wing it or if we really need to book rooms in advance for a series of 1-2 nighters? We're okay with 2-4 hours driving a day.
The second question is what is or will be open - restaurants, sights.

My nebulous idea is to spend our first night near/on the Columbia River and then loop through Oregon and maybe southern Washington, skipping Portland itself.

Must have - smoked salmon jerky!

Thanks for any advice, information and random thoughts.

Posted by
1321 posts

I’m a member of a National Park group and from what I’ve been reading, rooms in and near National Parks are pretty much booked up this summer. I suggest that you go to the website for the parks that you want to visit and see what is available, and the sooner the better. The big five in Arizona and Utah certainly are booked. Not sure about Oregon and Washington parks.

I can’t respond to what restaurants might be open, as I live in California. I hope to get to the Redwoods sometime this summer.

Posted by
1554 posts

Do you want to spend time in Washington State? If so, spend the first night in/near Seattle. All the national parks in that area (Olympic, Rainer, North Cascades) are going to be a decent drive from the airport. There will likely be snow in June at the latter two. Weekdays will be less crowded. Any in park lodging (if open) should be booked ahead. School won't be out yet so mid-week you are probably going to be ok with regular lodging, but you might not get your first pick. There is a lot of pent up demand for local travel due to COVID so it is a little hard to predict.

Very hard to say what will be open in two months. In Oregon it's looking a lot like we're heading toward a third surge in COVID cases (let us hope it is just a little wave and not a tsunami). Masks will very likely still be required at that time, but each county here has different restrictions based on COVID metrics - that impacts indoor dining, museum occupancy, etc. Just be sure to ask locals what's ok and what is not. The outdoors will always be open, though in early June you're likely to encounter rain so bring a jacket.

Random things that may be of interest in the general area you described: Mt. St. Helens (Johnston Ridge visitor center should be open by June), Chihuly Museum of Glass (Tacoma), any McMenamins hotel property is quirky and affordable, Astoria is a lovely Columbia River town with plenty of activities (and smoked salmon jerky). Better wine is farther into Oregon (Willamette Valley) if you're wanting a winery experience. PM me if you have specific questions, happy to help.

Posted by
384 posts

No way would I try to wing it with lodging here this summer. Everyone is wanting out and places have been filled for months.

The McMenamins suggestion is excellent, IMO. Check out their website and you willet a good idea of how unique each one is and what the history of the place is. They too book out far in advance, so if you see something you like, snag it.

Posted by
984 posts

Suggest you map out your route of places you want to visit and then visit a couple of travel websites like booking.com or hotels.com to check lodging availability. Then decide where you need reservations and where you can wing it. PNW is a beautiful area to visit!

Posted by
203 posts

Washington State is experiencing an upward Covid case count and Oregon is worse. It's impossible to know what will be open or not in 6-8 weeks.
My suggestion is to book an Air B&B (2 shorter stays) at the coasts and take day trips. It's staying light longer now and you could start with WA beaches from the airport on day 1. ONP/Hoh River/ meal at Kalaloch ( if open then) for a couple days. Time together even if it's very cold and rainy would be cozy in front of a fire...picking up food/wine locally.
Astoria/Cannon Beach and then south...the beaches also give you the ability to be away from crowds.

Posted by
1425 posts

Since you are starting from SeaTac and ending in Portland, I would not try to get to the Columbia River the first day. Depending on what time you arrive, you could visit Mt. Rainier on your first day; if it's too late, you could stay somewhere around Tacoma or Olympia and visit Mt. Rainier on Monday. You could also visit Mt. Saint Helens on your way south.

Others have given you good suggestions for Oregon places to visit. I would definitely try to visit Cannon Beach and Mt. Hood.

You may still encounter snow at higher elevations, but that shouldn't prevent you from seeing much.

Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
12350 posts

Hi Chani, Welcome to the PNW! I have a few random comments.

First, I would definitely plan and book in advance. Looking at the TripAdvisor forums, it seems have the US is heading this way this summer, starting in June. Olympic National Park is the most popular destination, and decent lodging there (which is scarce to begin with) is getting booked up. I did not see this National Park on you list but if you are considering it, you must plan and book ASAP.

Some above mention that our mountains may still be under snow in June. I will emphasize that they will definitely be under snow, at least above 5000 feet or so. You did not mention North Cascades NP on your list, and it should stay off the list. It is not on your way to Oregon anyway. Mount Rainier, on the other hand, is still worth a visit if you are interested. The main visitor area, Paradise, will be buried under snow but the road and parking area will be clear, and the historic hotel up there will be open if you want to stay the night. You can hike on the snow when it is firm (in the morning) and there will likely be people going out on skis or snowshoes. This could be your destination for your first night after arrival at SeaTac.

An alternate suggestion for your first night: the charming Victorian town of Port Townsend, a ferry ride plus 1-hour drive away. The town is right on Puget Sound with beautiful views of mountains across the water, as well as islands to the north. A nice range of accommodations, and there are several excellent restaurants with outdoor dining. Historic Fort Worden, now a state park, is right in town. It has a nice beach and forest trails for walking, and a little marine museum on the pier. I did not check if it is open yet, but I will.

From here you could make your way south toward Oregon either by driving south on 101 along Hood Canal and then west to the southern Washington coast, ( also 101) or return to Seattle by ferry and head south on I-5.

Now about that smoked salmon jerky. The best place to buy it is Pike Place Market in Seattle, where the fish markets sell the long strips in bulk by the pound (around $50 a pound but you don’t have to buy that much). The packaged stuff is usually in small pieces and it is very expensive! REI sometimes has it but not right now. You could head to Pike Place Market frommthe airport before going further. No need to spend more time in Seattle than that, unless you want to see Seattle Center and the Chihuly exhibit there.

One place in Oregon I would suggest you definitely include is Silver Falls State Park near Silverton in the Willamette Valley. The park has lots of waterfalls and they will be nice in June. Stay nearby at the Oregon Garden Resort.

https://www.oregongardenresort.com

The room rate includes admission to the adjacent botanical garden. And they have dinner packages that include a nice dinner for two with bottle of wine for about thirty dollars more than the room rate. You can order whatever food you like from the main menu, but the wine is limited to their house wines, a Chardonnay or Zinfandel. But you cannot beat the price.

There are wineries in the area butnwe have never had time to visit those so I cannot make recommendations on that.

Edit: here is some information on the Silverton area, including wineries, gardens, and places to stay and eat.

https://www.oregonwinecountry.org/east-of-eden

Posted by
4765 posts

Lola has very good suggestions about whatever time you have for Washington. But I wouldn't go to Seattle just for smoked salmon. You can find it (vacuum sealed, higher priced) right at SeaTac airport. I know the Olympia Farmers Market has it, if you're interested in seeing my beautiful town. I'm sure you'd find it in Port Townsend and probably many other places along whatever route you take. Best bet would probably be western Washington though.

There will be a lot of snow at the higher elevations, including around the parking lot at Paradise, but Mt. Rainier is still spectacular in good weather. You could try Paradise Inn or the National Park Inn lower down at Longmire, or several options in the gateway town of Ashford. Alternatively, if you want to loop around the Olympic Peninsula you could probably stay in Port Townsend or Sequim or Port Angeles. Kalaloch Lodge is right on the ocean but has no vacancies on June 8 per its website.

You may have seen the Columbia Gorge on your previous trip, if not you should. Hood River is a good base for this. Whatever your itinerary, I suggest reserving rooms soon for any places that you really care about, and for any weekend nights. You can probably wing it midweek, lining up your overnights a day or so ahead, if you don't care a lot about exactly where you stay.

Oregon and Washington are seeing increasing cases but we're also vaccinating like mad. My guess is that hotels and restaurants (reduced indoor capacity) will still be open in June. I remember reading about your trip to this area a few years ago and I hope this next one is enjoyable and rewarding.

Posted by
1966 posts

Hi Chani!!!!
I will second Lola's comment about Port Townsend. I've been here in Washington for 30 years and it remains my favorite small town. It's got great restaurants, cool Victorian architecture and Fort Worden State Park nearby, where you can do mini-hikes with spectacular water views. There are also really interesting WWII bunkers out in the park to wander. In town, there's an over-filled used bookstore (William James Books) that I love and tons of public seating areas for just sitting and enjoying the view. It's one of those quintessential PNW views - water, mountains, trees and ferries.

On a Sunday, our traffic will not be that bad (hopefully!). Not sure how long you will have been traveling so not sure how much energy you will have but your if your friend picks you up at noon and you head to Port Townsend, you should be there within 2 hours. I leave from Tacoma and it takes me 90 minutes to get to Port Townsend. On a clear traffic Sunday, you can get from SeaTac to Tacoma in 30 minutes and then 90 more on to Port Townsend.

From Port Townsend, you are then only about 50 miles from Olympic National Park. I'll let others chime in on the virtues of Olympic National Park as I'm not a big park/trail/hiking fan and haven't been back to Olympic since I was seen running through a forest trail madly clanging my bear bell, in search of the parking lot and a hot shower/flush toilet:)

Posted by
12350 posts

Valerie has a good suggestion for getting to Port Townsend if you want to go directly from the airport ( skipping the stop in Seattle at Pike Place Market for salmon jerky). From the airport you head south to Tacoma and take the Narrows Bridge across the water, instead of the ferry. Then drive north to the Hood Canal Bridge, etc.

This will save you wait time at the ferry as well as money ( ferry fees). You will miss the great views of the Seattle skyline and Mt. Rainier from the ferry, but you could always come back to Seattle by ferry if your plan is to drive down I-5 to reach Oregon.

From Port Townsend you could easily reach Hurricane Ridge in Olympic NP for a visit—-this is close to Port Angeles. There will be some snow around but the easy trails should be OK. On a clear day the views are glorious. I wouldn’t go if it is not a clear day. There are lots of other things to do in Port Townsend itself, as Valerie points out.

And I will strongly advise against trying to see more of Olympic NP farther west ( the beaches and rain forest). As I mentioned above, it will be VERY crowded in June, as all the visitors who asked on TripAdvisor about visiting Washington’s national parks have been advised that Rainier and North Cascades will be buried under snow and not available for hiking. So most will be funneling into the western parts of ONP. Plus it is a long drive to the rainforest and Olympic beaches on mostly unscenic roads in the company of logging trucks. No views of water or ocean from the road. Tribal lands are closed to visitors so some of the beaches are not even accessible.

Nor should you be tempted to stay overnight in Port Angeles. The town has none of the charm of Port Townsend and is a covid hotspot right now, as mask compliance is low. This is according to the ONP Destination Expert on TripAdvisor, who lives in Port Angeles.

If you want scenic beaches with good tourist facilities, go to the Oregon Coast, not Washington.

Posted by
12350 posts

Dick, is that actually salmon jerky that they have? Not just smoked salmon, but the dried strips? That would be great if she can find it elsewhere than Seattle. I just couldn’t be sure of the availability outside of Pike Place Market fish stalls. It is sold online, but I don’t trust the quality. And it is mostly the packaged bits.

Posted by
2873 posts

Hi Chani, as a native Washingtonian, I wholeheartedly give another nod to Port Townsend. Like Valerie, it is our favorite small town to visit. Great restaurants, beautiful scenery, historic architecture, Fort Worden... I recall my first visit years ago. We were visiting friends in Port Hadlock and it was the weekend of their Victorian Home Tour. Went over for a few hours and walked the tour and fell in love with this amazing town. As of this week restaurants are open at 50% capacity except for three counties that went back to level 2.

We are fans of the Oregon Coast (not WA Coast). Our other favorite area in Oregon is the Willamette Valley. We have based ourselves in Newberg and visited surrounding towns like Dayton, Dundee, Silverton, McMinnville (Aviation Museum), etc. This area as well as Port Townsend can offer nature, scenery, hiking, wine and wonderful food!

As Far as Salmon Jerky- From what I know Totem Smokehouse (totemsmokehouse.com) at the Pike Place Market is a top seller. It doesn't require any refrigeration after opening. I believe it is vacuumed packed for freshness. If this is what you are looking for could it be shipped to your friend? Or if convenient pick it up?

Posted by
12350 posts

That’s funny——I wonder how long that writer has lived up here. It is mostly Californians that call it “June gloom” (you will see a lot in the California TripAdvisor forum). Around Seattle, everyone I know refers to it as “marine layer”. It does extend all the way up and down the west coast, but around Washington it is not confined to June. And it usually, but not always, burns off by afternoon.

Posted by
1321 posts

I agree with Tim. I’ve lived in Costal California for 43 years and I tell my east coast friends to avoid travel along the west coast of California and Oregon ( I presume the same in Washington) until at least July because of the marine layer. When it starts in May and doesn’t end until July-ish , it’s May gray and June gloom to me. It usually burns off by the afternoon but there have been a few years that I didn’t see but a few minutes of sun until August. That is rare though.
Just be prepared for the possibility of some cool and damp weather.

Posted by
3154 posts

I have really enjoyed our several forays into the Columbia River Gorge. You can drive straight there from PDX. We’ve stayed at the Mcmenamin’s historic hotel near the beginning of the road through the gorge. Multnomah Falls is beautiful and offers a nice hike with great views. I think we had a fine brunch there one time. We also liked staying in Hood River. There is a good local history and nature museum close by, maybe in the Dalles(?).

There are some good small wineries on both sides of the river, with pleasant surroundings and friendly proprietors. If you want some recommendations, pm me. My daughter and sil, who live in Portland, have taken us to some of their favorites; and it is always a lovely experience.

Posted by
7605 posts

The second question is what is or will be open - restaurants, sights.

That is a hard one to answer. Washington just had 3 counties regress one stage, so now its 25%, not 50% at restaurants and the like. For many, trying to operate at 25% does not work out economically.so they close down. I have no info on Oregon.

The 'winging it' on motels, is not what I would consider a good idea. Something will probably be available, but it will certainly be evident why it is.

Posted by
5657 posts

What's open in Oregon is complicated. The answer is county by county dependent and activity dependent. Oregon COVID website:
https://coronavirus.oregon.gov/Pages/living-with-covid-19.aspx

For example, today Multnomah County is at HIGH RISK and Bars, Restaurants, Breweries & Wineries are restricted to:

Indoor dining allowed. Takeout highly recommended. Indoor capacity:
not to exceed 25% maximum occupancy or 50 people, whichever is
smaller. Outdoor dining allowed. Outdoor capacity: 75 people maximum.
Indoor and outdoor seating: 6 people per party and per table maximum,
limit 2 households. 11:00 p.m. closing time

On the other hand, Lincoln County is at MODERATE RISK and Bars, Restaurants, Breweries & Wineries are restricted to:

Indoor dining allowed, capacity not to exceed 50% or 100 people,
whichever is smaller. Indoor seating: 6 people per table maximum.
Outdoor dining allowed with a capacity of 150 people maximum. Outdoor
seating: 8 people per table maximum. 11:00 p.m. closing time

Posted by
774 posts

As noted the issue of what will be open is going to be a concern, as it's still changing week to week. This also impacts what "sights" are "available" tor tourists. State Parks in WA are pretty much closed as far as amenities go, but the trails are open as long as you wear a mask and keep your distance. Tiger Mountain's trails were busy this weekend. The chain hotels are going to be your best bet, and I highly recommend you plan based on where you can find a room. Ocean Shores is swinging into high gear on the weekends just with locals who want to get away.

The best place to buy fresh seafood (or salmon jerky) in and around Seattle is Fisherman's Terminal between North Queen Anne and Magnolia and inside the locks. This is where the guys at the Pike Street market (and most of the better restaurants) get their fish and you can too, without paying tourist prices. In the same area I suggest you also visit Discovery Park and take the trail down to the lighthouse. If you pick up lunch you should picnic at the Daybreak Star Cultural Center. Odds are you'll be the only people there and if the weather is clear the view is world class.

From Seatac to the Columbia is 3-4 hours depending on traffic. Plan accordingly.

Last I heard the Tillamook dairy was not open. Nor was the Lewis and Clark Center at Cape Disappointment.

If you get up around Forks stop and take the hike out to Second Beach. It's one of the most scenic places on the West Coast.

Based on your airports I recommend you revise the order of your trip and see what interests you in Seattle/WA State first, and then swing into Oregon ending up at the Portland Airport.

Too many of my favorite foodie places are gone now, so I can't really make a recommendation, but check "Eater Seattle" and Open Table for the latest info.

Posted by
12350 posts

Second Beach is closed, along with other tribal lands along the coast, for the protection of tribal members and their health. There is no projected date for re-opening.

https://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/wilderness-trail-conditions.htm#onthisPage-4

For this and other reasons like long driving times, crowded trails, limited tourist facilities, and the likelihood that the best places are already booked up, I did not encourage Chani and her traveling companion to try to see Olympic National Park on this trip.

Posted by
1554 posts

Addendum to clarify one point, the Tillamook Creamery is open, just the usual restrictions like to-go food only (https://www.tillamook.com/visit-us/creamery). And if you decide to follow any of the Willamette Valley suggestions, which are all on point, definitely PM me, that's my neighborhood :)

Posted by
774 posts

As the additions from Lola and CL show things are subject to change. I was out to Second Beach less than 2 months ago (and Crescent Lake too).

Posted by
12350 posts

It is only East Beach Road at Lake Crescent that is closed, due to a fire last summer. The lake is still accessible from Highway 101 and other access roads.

But the Second Beach closure is not new; it has been closed continuously since last March (2020) because the access crosses Quileute lands, which are closed to the public for the protection of tribal members. Here is the NPS notice from last summer, and the Quileute website, with no projected opening date mentioned:

https://quileutenation.org

https://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/second-beach-trail.htm

Posted by
14404 posts

Wow!! Thank you all for taking the time to respond. It's been a year and a half since I've planned a trip and I've forgotten how much work it is LOL. I wrote this 36 hours ago when I had only a nebulous idea to spend a week on the road with Elly. Your responses have focused me and I thank you all for that. I will definitely book rooms now. With a definite plan, I'll be able to book sights and tours in advance as well, so we should be okay. I'm focusing on Oregon because Elly's been to a lot of places around Seattle, but not much in Oregon, and I just love Oregon. All the snow (brrr) you talk about in WA made my choice easier.

Background . . . I lived in the SF Bay Area for several years and took a lot of road trips before I moved back to Israel 15 years ago, a number of them through Oregon and at least a couple into Washington.

My amorphous plan is to head south from SeaTac. Since I leave home for the airport around 4 am PDT (maybe get a little sleep on the 4.5 hour flight), I'll be okay with 3-4 hours in the car to Astoria (Google says 3 hrs) and a little sightseeing and early dinner. I'm sure I'll want an early night. Dick may entice me to Olympia instead. (Dick, tell me more).

Astoria > Newport > Salem/Willamette Valley > The Dalles > Portland

I've only driven the Columbia Gorge via Multnomah eastbound. This time it would be westbound - does it matter? I remember pulling over a lot to admire the various falls.

Lola - Silver Falls SP sounds great. I looked at the Oregon Garden Resort website and I'm sold on it, maybe 2 nights . . . get in late afternoon, have a day in the area and then head north first thing in the morning. Salmon jerky. At Pike's Market will they vacuum seal it? I'll want some to take back to Chicago to share and some to take home to Israel too. I'm sure Elly could pick it up for me before our trip. If not, I will get a supply in Astoria (thank you Trotter for Josephsons).

CL - I am very interested in spending a day or two in the Willamette Valley. Given the descriptions of the coast in June, it sounds like we shouldn't plan more than a couple of days there.

Posted by
7605 posts

All the snow (brrr) you talk about in WA made my choice easier.

The snow is in/on the MOUNTAINS. ( where it belongs). You would have to make a deliberate effort to encounter it, such as going to Paradise (or Sunrise if the road is open by early June) at Mt Rainier

Posted by
725 posts

Chani, it sounds like you are enjoying the trip so far. Glad you were able to see the Astoria Column. Tillamook is a nice stop - get some sharp cheddar and crackers to go with a pint or maybe a nice Oregon white wine. Have fun!

Edit: oh, also, there is a cute winery called Nehalem Bay Winery off HWY 101 that would be an enjoyable stop. They specialize in fruity wines, if you are into that.

Posted by
4765 posts

Nice of you to post while you're traveling. I would have waved if I'd known you were driving down I-5 a mile from my house on Sunday! It's a wet cool week around here after a dry hot (for us) week, but hopefully your weather will improve down in Oregon.

Fort Clatsop is terrific. I can't imagine spending a whole winter in that little stockaded place, with rain almost every day and elk on the daily menu. Not having access to Palm Springs and other winter escapes, they apparently got thoroughly sick of rain and elk and short dark days. Glad you're having a good time so far.

Posted by
14404 posts

Linda – we both prefer French cheeses, so Blue Heron beat out Tillamook Creamery. We might have been tempted by Nehalem Bay Winery, but we needed some food before drinking alcohol. The Blue Heron offered flights of 5 tastings. We each chose from a menu of 5-6 wines in each of 4 groups: white, rose, red, and sweet. Fun with the various cheeses. We ended up with one bottle of cabernet franc and 2 bottles of mead, and a lot of other cheese and goodies from the extensive selection in their shop.

Dick – The weather's definitely improved, if still bit colder than I'd like. Better that than too hot!! I first visited Fort Clatsop when I lived in the Bay Area. They reopened in 2006 after the fire destroyed the reconstruction that I saw, which must have been around 2000 (yikes, 20 years ago). What impressed me then was that this corps of soldiers cooked all their own food and sewed their own clothes. When you mentioned the elk, I was reminded that a ranger had told us the local tribe tried to get them to eat fish (and probably vegetables) but the men were not accustomed to that and refused. So if they were tired of elk meat that's on them (haha).

Posted by
725 posts

Ahhh yes. Blue Heron is great for French inspired cheese. I still have a wonderful champagne mustard that I purchased from the extensive market. The blue cheese I bought is long gone. Glad you chose Blue Heron instead.

Posted by
5657 posts

What is "French cheese"? A Swiss friend commented that the difference between French and Swiss cheses is French cheese is moldy.

If you like Blue cheese, look for Southern Oregon's Rogue Creamery's Blue Cheese, best in the world:
https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/best-cheese-world-american-oregon-rogue-river-blue-top-award-a9182131.html

The world’s best cheese has been revealed as an organic blue cheese
that comes from Oregon, US.

Rogue River Blue was crowned the winner in the annual World Cheese
Awards, marking the first time an American product has won the
prestigious title.

Posted by
2873 posts

Chani, I would suggest Kelly’s Marionberry Habanero Pepper jelly to go with Oregon’s wonderful Blue Cheese! Enjoy the rest of your stay. Cheers!

Posted by
6353 posts

Janis is right. OMG Kelly's pepper jellies are outstanding, especially the Marionberry Habanero. Surest place to find them is at a Roth's grocery or Whole Foods, but other stores have them also. We like them on Effies oat cakes or corn cakes along with some fresh cream cheese and topped with the pepper jelly - mmmm. A true Oregon treat. Of course you must have a good Oregon wine to compliment them.

Posted by
2873 posts

Nancy, you and I think alike! I love Effies Oatcake Biscuits, cheese & the Kelly’s Marionberry Habanero jelly! I believe Fred Meyer also carries the jelly. ;) And as Nancy mentioned enjoy with a good Ore. wine. This is making us think it’s time for a road trip to Ore.

Posted by
1554 posts

Welcome back to Oregon Chani! So glad you were able to make it. Bummer about Tillamook Creamery! I second the recommendation to find Rogue blue cheese - there's a Roth's grocery in Silverton and they're currently advertising Crater Lake blue to pair with Underwood wine :) Apologies for the cool weather, but we're in a drought already this year so we need the rain. In any case, the raindrops make everything glitter and the gardens should be spectacular. Enjoy your visit.

Posted by
14404 posts

By "French cheese" I mean (and Blue Heron makes) a semi-soft cheese that is called brie or camembert (in France, it depends on the region where it is made). The marionberry habanero jelly sounds good, but I suspect it would overwhelm the more delicate flavor of the brie.

CL - It's great to be back in Oregon. Coming from an eternally drought-ridden country, I will not say one negative word about rain in your beautiful state.

Part Two

We drove south from Depoe Bay (pronounced DEE-poh) to Newport to buy some salmon candy. They sell it faster than they can make it. We bought what was left, about 2-3 oz. The drive via Corvallis to Salem was very scenic. We stopped for lunch in Corvallis at Block 15. The best was the real brewed root beer. We ended up spending the night in Salem rather than Silverton because of a screw up in the reservations. That gave us the opportunity for a long walk in the beautiful Riverfront City Park. The afternoon was warm and sunny, so lots of folks were out enjoying the park and the weather.

Yesterday was an excellent day. We walked for over 3 hours in Silver Falls SP and enjoyed it all, though we only saw one water fall. It was too cold and cloudy for our picnic lunch (brie and imported Spanish manchego that we got in Tillamook) so we drove to Oregon Gardens. It had warmed up by then and the skies had mostly cleared. After our picnic we walked in the Gardens till closing at 4 pm and then checked in at the Resort for one night. We got the dinner package - any two entrees from the dinner menu and a bottle of house wine for an add'l $30. The food was delicious, the service was excellent and we only had to walk across the parking area to our room with a gas fireplace and a private deck.

I'd planned a long scenic drive for today to The Dalles for our last 2 nights. I should have nixed that and taken 205 and 84, but I underestimated the impact of the weather on the scenery. We had a late lunch in Hood River at Double Mountain. The pizza was really good, so was the cider. After we got settled in our room we had a walk around the historic center including a few of the famous murals, picked up a few things at the supermarket to go with all the Blue Heron cheese we still have and ate supper in our room in our pjs. .

Posted by
3154 posts

Hi Chani,
Since one of my daughters lives in Portland, I am always on the lookout for places in Oregon to visit. What resort did you stay at, near the Oregon Gardens, with the dinner special? And, just where is that attraction located?

Posted by
725 posts

I too have been reading the account of your Oregon trip Chani..

Posted by
6353 posts

Rosalyn, I believe she stayed at the Oregon Garden Resort, it's right there at the garden. If I'm wrong she will correct me. The garden is located just south of Silverton.

Posted by
14404 posts

Nancy's correct. That's where we were. Because of new ownership (or management), the gardens are no longer free to hotel guests, but the $12 admission is worth it and goes to the upkeep, I'm sure. The hotel is on the edge of the gardens, just up the road from the entrance. It's in Silverton, maybe on the outskirts?
The only thing I had a little problem with was the booking. The website doesn't seem to allow you to make a single booking if you want to stay more than one night but only want the dinner package on one of the nights. Then it's easier to just phone them. There certainly are enough menu options to eat there 2 or 3 nights, though. And since it's not in the center of town you'd have to drive to eat anywhere else.

Today - Saturday - the weather did a 180. It was warm and more sun than clouds - warm enough to warrant using the AC in the car. We are staying in The Dalles. According to info at the Fort Dalles Museum, the name was given by French fur traders because the small stone islands in the Columbia River resembled flagstones (dalles in French). The French traders called it Les Dalles.

Fort Dalles Museum is rich in history, has lots of old vehicles - milk wagon, postal wagon, hearses, buckboard, and a few vintage cars. Our favorite was the Anderson Homestead which was located some 12 miles away but the local historical society ( or some such) got the money together to dismantle and reassemble it on the museum grounds. We didn't get there until an hour before closing, otherwise we could easily have spent another hour there at least. Cal gave us a lot of information about the history of the fort and the museum, the Cody gave us a tour of the Anderson house with lots of stories about the family. It seemed like they both had lots more to share if only we'd had more time. We did get to listen to music on one of the earliest Edison phonographs.

Before that, we visited the delightful Maryhill Art Museum, also with a really interesting history which includes building the road along the Columbia River, Tsar Nicholas II, Auguste Rodin, and a dancer who became famous at the Moulin Rouge! You may have to visit the museum to piece together these disparate characters :-) There's also a beautiful collection of chess sets and a charming exhibit of haute couture from post-WWII Europe. The drive back to The Dalles (westbound) on the WA side has some wonderful views of the river and a few glimpses of Mt Hood (I think, though someone said it might be Mt Adams) when the clouds lifted so they didn't blend in with the snow. We took a chance on a Mexican restaurant we saw near our hotel - Casa El Mirador. Great food. And I discovered a new drink (which I saw but didn't taste) - Coronarita. It mixes a margarita with a bottle of Corona. Now, each is fine on its own, Im not at all sure I'd like the taste of the two mixed together. It is an interesting look though.

The best is yet to come - tomorrow we drive to PDX via the historic highway along the Columbia Gorge passing the waterfalls.

Again thank you to everyone who made suggestions, even if I didn't take them all, the ones I did accept were all great. There just wasn't time for all of them. And we only saw a small bit of Oregon. I encourage everyone to visit.

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4765 posts

Hope you're having a good drive to PDX and good weather. It rained cats and dogs here this morning! Come again to the PNW, later in the summer the weather is more reliable (until the fires get going).

Posted by
234 posts

Looks like you've fallen victim to our usual June weather (we don't refer to it as June-uary for nothing!). though today's rain is desperately needed. It sounds like you've had a wonderful trip---thanks so much for letting us know how it all turned out. Come back anytime!

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14404 posts

Final episode

We stopped at the Bonneville Dam this morning. It was excellent, we got to visit the power house and see some of the turbines - though they weren't running - the demand for electricity is low right now. The guide said when it gets warmer (as it surely will since they supply power to eastern WA and OR and some of northern CA too) then these turbines will be used as well as the ones on the WA side of the dam. We watched some of the fish going through the dam and up the fish ladders, mostly shad, some chinook and a few lampreys. Then we drove the historic highway to Troutdale. The popular falls were all full - no parking spaces and nowhere to wait for one to open up. We did stop at Latourell Falls so we weren't disappointed. The hexagonal rock formations behind the falls are striking - are there similar ones at any of the other falls? Last stop was Crown Point Vista House for very good views of the majestic Columbia. Pix are not great, though, because the sky was totally overcast. Still nice to look at.

Great week! Thank you Oregon 💕

Posted by
577 posts

I used to take my daughter to Bonneville Dam to feed the sturgeon. I wonder if the fish ponds are still there. Thanks for the updates. I hope you had a wonderful visit. Safe travels, Chani!

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14404 posts

Trotter- we didn't stop at the fish hatchery there so we'd have more time driving through the gorge. I was sorry to have missed seeing Herman again.

Posted by
31303 posts

Chani,

It sounds like you've had a wonderful trip in Oregon. I was going to second the recommendation for McMenamin's Kennedy School, as it's a very unique and quirky property. However it sounds like your trip is almost over so you can plan to spend a few nights there on your next visit to Oregon.

It's great that you're able to travel again.