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BY JO OSTGARDEN | Surrounded by natural beauty and diverse geography, Oregonians have
long embraced the notion of the “staycation.” We know full well we could spend a lifetime exploring Oregon and never run out of places to go and things to do. But whether you live here or are just visiting, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the options. With that in mind — and in celebration of the state’s 150th birthday — Ultimate Northwest created our own “bucket list” for Oregon. On the following pages, you’ll find 150 of our favorite getaways, from the iconic to the offbeat. Yes, it’s an arbitrary list (and it might miss one or two of your favorites), so consider it a starting point. In fact, we challenge you to get out there and get to know our incredible state by creating your own 150 — in celebration of Oregon.
PHOTO BY TORSTEN KJELLSTRAND
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EXPLORE Surfing, Shakespeare, wine and wildlife: Oregon offers a multitude of sensory treats for anyone willing to live a little. FOODIE EXPERIENCES Buy fresh organics at the farm stand at Gathering Together Farm (25159 Grange Hall Road, Philomath; 541-929-4270; gatheringtogetherfarm.com). During the growing season, the Community Supported Agriculture farm also serves fresh organic lunch, Saturday breakfast and, on the first and third Sundays of the month, a knockout brunch.
2. Head to the beach with friends to learn how to make sumptuous small plates and pair wines with the culinary experts at EVOO Cooking School (188 S. Hemlock St., Cannon Beach; 503-436-8555; evoo.biz). 3. Not far down the road is the Pacific Coast Center for Culinary Arts (801 S.W. Highway 101, Suite 401, Lincoln City; 541-557-1125; oregoncoast.org/ culinary), where you can learn how to cook regional specialties while enjoying coastal views from the windows of a polished, professional kitchen.
5. Hood River’s Fruit Loop (hoodriverfruitloop.com) is one of those iconic Oregon destinations, like Crater Lake and Multnomah Falls — a can’t-miss experience. Wedged between the foothills of Mount Hood and the mighty Columbia River, this fertile valley was planted by hopeful pioneers more than 150 years ago. It’s only 35 miles long, but you could spend a weekend taking it all in.
4. Farther south, at Summer Jo’s farm stand in the heart of the Rogue Valley (2315 Upper River Road Loop, Grants Pass; 541-476-6882; summerjos. com), you’ll find a farm stand, a fine restaurant, an artisan bakery and a wine cellar. Yes, all down on the farm.
PHOTOS BY TIM LaBARGE ABOVE, JONI KABANA TOP LEFT AND MICHAEL O’LEARY TOP RIGHT // ILLUSTRATION BY CHRIS PYLE ultimate NORTHWEST 2 7 FEB/MAR 09
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Association (503-646-2985; willamettewines.com) joins the Oregon 150 celebration as an official partner to promote “150 Days of Wine in the Willamette Valley.” The series of events includes special tastings, open houses and vineyard seminars, and takes place between mid-February and Labor Day weekend in all agricultural viticulture areas.
wine and chocolate lovers. Enjoy awardwinning theatre at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (15 S. Pioneer St., Ashland, 541-4824331; www.orshakes.org); indulge your sweet tooth at the Ashland Chocolate Festival; or visit and explore the abundance of worldclass wines and fine restaurants.
8. While pinot noir is the star of the Willamette Valley, southern Oregon’s warmer, drier growing season has inspired a diversity of varietals, including syrah, dolcetto, grenache and tempranillo, to name a few. Best of all, this area is perfect for wine weekends, with an amazing array of historic inns and lodges, riverside hotels and B&Bs, and loads of gourmet and bistro dining options. Get more info from the Southern Oregon Wine Association (sorwa.org).
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9. Ashland hits the high notes for theater,
10. Gather the girls and head to the beach near Seaside for a Girlfriend Getaway Surf Camp (503-738-0758; nwwomenssurfcamps. com). Start your day with yoga on the beach, followed by on-land surf simulation and inwater personal coaching; catered lunch and beverages, all surf equipment, bus transportation, T-shirt and our gift bag are included. OFFBEAT OREGON 11. Billed as a mysterious point where some laws of physics are temporarily suspended as the result of a confluence of magnetic fields, the Oregon Vortex (4303 Sardine Creek L Fork Road, Gold Hill; 541-855-1543; oregonvortex.com) is a place
where objects seem to defy gravity and other laws of nature; compasses go haywire, balls roll uphill and people appear taller and shorter. Skeptic or believer, you’ll be entertained.
12. In 1950 farmer Paul Trent and his wife photographed an unknown craft hovering in the sky over an Oregon field; their pictures are thought to be some of the most credible images of UFOs to date. Each year, the McMenamin Brothers honor the sighting with their UFO Festival, held at McMenamins Hotel Oregon (310 N.E. Evans St., McMinnville; 503-472-8427; ufofest.com). It’s part conference, part costume party and a good excuse to cut loose.
WILDLIFE ADVENTURES 13. Elk viewing sites are excellent places to learn about elk and conservation. On the west side of the state, take a side trip to the Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area (www.dfw.state.or. us/resources/visitors/jewell_meadows_wildlife_ area.asp), a meadow frequented in the cooler months by some 300 Roosevelt elk.
AND BRUCE ELY RIGHT
WINE WEEKENDS 7. The Willamette Valley Wineries
PHOTOS BY BETH NAKAMURA LEFT, JAMIE FRANCIS CENTER
Wine tasting may be a staple of Oregon tourism, but the state is also fast becoming known for its artisan cheese producers. Oregon goat cheese makers walked away with a record 11 awards in 2008 at the American Dairy Goat Association’s Goat Cheese Competition in Fort Collins, Colo. The Oregon Cheese Guild (oregoncheeseguild.org) is an excellent resource for cheese-tasting tours. Or, to save time, head to the Oregon Cheese Festival, held yearly during the third weekend in March in Central Point.
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14. Cross-country lovers in Oregon are a lucky lot, what with so many places to ski — and with Oregon Nordic Club (www.onc.org) to help them discover it all. With 12 chapters across the state, this is the go-to group for information about the best places to ski Oregon’s backcountry trails and to join outings and overnight trips.
15. On the east side of the state, ride in horse-drawn wagons (weekends through early March) with T & T Wildlife Tours (541-856-3356; tnthorsemanship.com) to see a huge herd of Rocky Mountain elk near the Anthony creek feed site north of Baker City. HISTORY AND HORSES 17. Head to Baker City for the Old Oregon Trail Ride (visitbaker.com) to relive the past in historic wagons on old trails and freight roads.
18. It’s hard to imagine someone pushing a fully loaded wheelbarrow for 2,000 miles, but several dozen pioneers died trying. Most everyone else so grossly overloaded their ox or mule-drawn wagons, they had
Every spring and fall, thousands of migratory birds — from waterfowl to shorebirds, cranes to raptors, wading birds to songbirds — stop to rest and feed in Oregon. Head to the high desert to witness the spectacular migration of geese, herons, egrets and cranes in the wide-open spaces of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (www.fws.gov/malheur) in the state’s southeast corner. to walk beside them. The best places to feel their pain — i.e., the ruts — is the Blue Mountain Crossing near Spring Creek and outside the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center (22267 Oregon Highway 86, Baker City; 541-523-1843; blm.gov/or/oregontrail).
19. Organized in 1910 as “a frontier exhibition of picturesque pastimes, Indian and military spectacles, cowboy racing and bronco busting for the championship of the Northwest,” today the Pendleton Round-Up (pendletonroundup.com) is a celebration of the cowboy spirit — a classic rodeo experience with expert riders, stunning horsemanship, a big parade and a Native encampment and princess pageant.
MUSIC FESTIVALS 20. Located in the historic 1850s gold rush town of Jacksonville, the Britt Festival (brittfest.org) presents dozens of summer concerts featuring world-class artists in classical, jazz, blues, folk, bluegrass, world, pop and country music.
21. Celebrating 40 years this July, the Oregon Country Fair (25000 Highway 126, Veneta; oregoncountryfair.org) hosts more than a dozen stages. Musical acts incorporate many styles, including folk, rock, jazz, blues, bluegrass and world music.
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PENDLETON ROUNDUP page 29 PHOTO BY JA MIE F R A NC I S
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Looking for a place to play? In Oregon, your options are limited only by your favorite pursuits and the distance youâ€™re willing to travel. From near to far, here are our top picks:
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PEAK ADVENTURES 26. One of the rewards of climbing Mount Hood is seeing the peak’s stunning visage reflected as a shadow in a pink morning sky as you look toward the coast. The Mazamas (503-227-2345; mazamas.org), Oregon’s premier outdoors group, can get you there.
27. Besides being an official visitor’s center for Clackamas County, Mt. Hood Adventure (88335 E. Government Camp Loop Road, Government Camp; 503-2723062; mthoodadventure.com) provides
snowmobile tours, equipment rental, lessons, lodging, catering and event organization.
28. Whether you’re seeking a minithriller sled dog run for the kids or an allday marathon, Oregon Trail of Dreams (541-382-2442; mtbachelor.com), owned and operated by Jerry Scdoris and his daughter Rachael (an Iditarod finisher), can make it happen.
Powder skiers and snowboarders head to the Mount Bachelor Ski Resort (13000 S.W. Century Drive, Bend; 800-829-2442; mtbachelor.com), one of the largest ski areas in the Pacific Northwest. Seven high-speed lifts (10 lifts total) deliver skiers to 3,100 vertical feet of groomed slopes; the snowboard park offers rails, jumps and the Superpipe, a 400-foot-long half-pipe with 18.5-foot walls.
TREKKING 30. Hiking in Oregon (oregonhiking. com) is an endless delight — so many trails, so little time. Top moderate hikes include the Oregon coast’s Cascade Head (5.4 miles round trip); central Oregon’s Canyon Creek Meadows (4.3 miles round trip) and Silver Falls State Park Loop (6.9 miles); Eastern Oregon’s Elkhorn Crest (6.5-mile loop); and Northwest Oregon’s Wahkeena Loop Trail via Multnomah Falls (1.2 miles to the six-mile loop trail). PHOTO BY JAY MATHER TOP AND PROVIDED BY MT. BACHELOR ABOVE // ILLUSTRATION BY CHRIS PYLE
31. Backpackers seeking utter solitude and a visually rewarding adventure hightail it to Ice Lake (15.8 miles roundtrip), a picturesque timberline pool surrounded by smooth granite bedrock with the tallest peaks in the Wallowa Mountains’ Eagle Cap Wilderness — Matterhorn and Sacajawea — as a backdrop.
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If you’re fascinated by rock climbing, grab a camera and head to Smith Rock State Park (off U.S. 97, nine miles east of Redmond; 541-548-7501). Better yet, book a climb with Chockstone Climbing Guides (541-318-7170; www.chockstoneclimbing.com), a guide-owned outfitter that’ll show you the ropes. continued from page 35
33. Join a naturalist from the Bend Fort Rock Ranger District (541-383 4771; mtbachelor.com/winter/activities/ snowshoeing/index.html) for free 90-minute snowshoe tours of the Deschutes National Forest watershed. Those 10 and older can learn about winter ecology, geology, and flora and fauna; snowshoes are provided, and no experience is needed.
WATER SPORTS 34. The Columbia River Gorge is the go-to spot for windy watersports like windsurfing, kiteboarding and stand up paddling; the Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association (windsurf. gorge.net/cgwa/) can help you sort out the details.
35. Kayakers (oregonkayaking.net) find a diversity of opportunities at top-rated playgrounds throughout the state. Top spots for sea kayakers include Oswald West State Park’s hidden cove; whitewater experts take on the challenging Illinois 36 ultimate NORTHWEST FEB/MAR 09
River’s 156 rated rapids; and flatwater paddlers enjoy the slack water of the Upper Deschutes.
36. The Rogue River, designated by Congress as a National Wild and Scenic River in 1968, gives visitors entree into an unspoiled wilderness. Many go by raft via Merlin and Grants Pass (ci.grants-pass.or. us), known as the whitewater rafting capital of Oregon, where some 25 outfitters offer trips.
FISHING AND GOLFING 37. Flyfishers looking for expert guides go to Deschutes Angler Fly Shop, (504 Deschutes Ave., Maupin; 877-3950995; deschutesangler.com) — the only BLM special-use-permit holder for the Deschutes River — to get hooked up with John Hazel and his team of guides. 38. Operated by the Wallowa Union Railroad, the Fish Train (541-437-4475; minammotel.com) drops off flyfishers and
picks them up on the return as it traverses the Wallowa River Canyon, hailed as one of the best steelhead flyfishing locations in the West.
39. Golf Digest chose central Oregon
Jump Start Spring
(800-800-8334; visitcentraloregon.com), with more than 25 courses, as one of its top 50 best golf destinations in the world (yes, the world).
BIKING AND RUNNING 40. Every February, Cycle Oregon
TORSTEN KJELLSTRAND TOP RIGHT AND JAMIE FRANCIS BELOW
PHOTOS BY STEVEN GIBBONS TOP LEFT,
(503-287-0405; cycleoregon.com) announces the new route for its everchanging weeklong September ride across Oregon. (Don’t have seven days to spare? Consider the weekend ride.)
Shown Ventura by
41. A top destination for
MADE FOR LIFE
exceptionally fit mountain bikers is the 26.5-mile-long McKenzie River National Recreation Trail (www. fs.fed.us/r6/willamette/recreation/ tripplanning/trails/uppermckenzie/ mckenzie3507.html). It follows the wild and scenic McKenzie River and its tributaries while passing through a 600-year-old Douglas fir forest, and farther up, spectacular waterfalls and lava flows.
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42. When in Eugene, trail runners will want to spin through Buford Recreation Area (bufordpark.org), renowned for its rolling grade through wetland, prairie and oak savanna
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GOV. TED KULONGOSKI Although he was born in rural Missouri, thereâ€™s no question Ted Kulongoski has a deep affection for Oregon. The only governor in state history to have served in all three branches of government, he has traversed the state many times in the course of his job. If you could go anywhere in the state for a week, where would it be?
â€œBackpacking in the Wallowas with my wife, dog, fishing rod and camera.â€?
Where would you take your closest friends for a weekend?
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Where have you always wanted to go but havenâ€™t? â€œIn no particular order: Oregon Caves, Zumwalt Prairie, Wheeler Ridge Japanese Bombing Site Trail and the Trout Mountains.â€? â€”Jo Ostgarden
PHOTO BY MICHAEL LLOYD
Just south of Bend, discover Central Oregonâ€™s premier family vacation hub. With our SPRING BREAK package, enjoy the complete Sunriver experience.
The governor said heâ€™d contact Dick Jenkins in Diamond and reserve space on his Heritage Tour (round barn.net/jenkins_tour.htm). â€œFrom Dick, our friends would learn about southeast Oregon history, geology, economics and natural history â€” including juniper trees â€” on a daylong tour on public and private land. If we had time left over, Iâ€™d take them to Steens Mountain.â€?
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habitats, or up Mount Pisgah, with a trail system varying in distances of up to 16 miles. Main trailheads are accessible off Seavey Loop Road, near the 30th Avenue exit on I-5.
43. A hybrid sport that crosses hiking and running, trail running (centraloregonrunningklub.org) is at its best in Bend — recently dubbed “America’s Best Trail Running Town” — and the city’s network of trails will inspire even neophytes. CALL OF THE WILD 44. A mere 45 minutes southeast of Portland, Milo McIver State Park (located on Springwater Road, four miles west of Estacada; 503-630-7150; stateparks.com/ milo_mciver.html) is a beautiful spot for various outdoor pursuits: You can camp, hike, ride horses, bike (on or off road), fish, paddle or play a round of disc golf.
47. 45. Crater Lake National Park (nps.gov/crla/) is called the Jewel of the Cascades for a reason. To access the shoreline and hike Wizard Island, traverse 1.1 miles down steep Cleetwood Cove Trail to the boat that ferries tour passengers to the island. There, you’ll find a trail that leads to the cone’s 800foot summit.
49. The 52-mile Steens Mountain Backcountry Byway (BLM, Burns District; blm.gov/or/districts/burns) provides access to four Southeast Oregon campgrounds and astounding views of Kiger Gorge, East Rim, Big Indian Gorge, Wildhorse and Little Blitzen Gorge overlook.
PHOTOS BY JAMIE FRANCIS TOP AND TERRY RICHARD BOTTOM
Paddlers, hikers, campers and wildlife watchers looking for a way-off-the-beaten track adventure head to the Owyhee Canyonlands (BLM, Vale District; blm.gov/or/districts/vale). The canyonlands, which encompass 700,000 acres of wilderness and 288 miles of rivers in eastern Oregon, are home to the world’s largest herd of California bighorn sheep, 6,000 pronghorn antelope and seven species of bats — in addition to sage grouse and songbirds, redband trout, longnose snakes and pygmy rabbits.
47. In addition to some outstanding crabbing and sea kayaking opportunities in its estuary, Nehalem Bay State Park (stateparks.com/nehalem_bay.html) possesses one of the longest and most uncrowded beaches in the state, perfect for walking and horseback riding.
48. Lakeview (lakecountychamber.org), one of the highest-altitude cities in Oregon at 4,800 feet, is known as the “Hang Gliding Capital of the West.” The best time to be there is July Fourth, when gliders far and wide celebrate Independence Day together.
50. The Flying M Ranch (23029 N.W. Flying M Road, Yamhill; 503662-3222; flying-m-ranch.com) offers this great idea for a girls or guys weekend: an all-inclusive Trask Mountain overnight trail ride. Go by horse to a secluded log cabin, where you’ll partake of a hearty barbecue dinner, sit around the campfire and spend the night in a woodheated bunkhouse.
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STEENS MOUNTAIN BACKCOUNRTY BYWAY page 39 PHOTO BY JA MIE F R A NC I S
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