Thursday, October 15, 2015

Oregon Road Trip

From October 2nd through October 11th we road-tripped around Northwest Oregon; spending two nights each in Portland, Astoria, Newport and Dundee, plus a final night back in Portland before we flew out on Sunday morning. The Pacific Northwest is an incredible place abounding with beautiful adventures. Portland is a scene for terrific food and microbreweries galore. The rugged Columbia River Gorge is an outdoor enthusiasts playground with breathtaking vistas, waterfalls and hikes. The Oregon coastline is strewn with stunning, sprawling beaches, and lined with lush, emerald forests. The rolling hills of Dundee in the Willamette Valley offer picturesque rows of grape vines and a winery or tasting room a top every other one. 

In the midst of all this is farmland. We were surprised by the amount of farms with hundreds of grazing cows and horses we passed through driving down Interstate 101. The geography of this state knows no bounds - especially when you take into consideration there is a barren desert landscape just further west of the Columbia River Valley than where we ventured.

The direct flights on Alaska Air were a breeze - worth noting that we decided on this trip because we had flight vouchers after being stranded in the Seattle Airport last March. We were pleasantly surprised with easy flights: on time take off, early arrivals, nice planes, friendly staff, and best of all a free case of checked wine each. From BOS to PDX - Alaska Air is a win. 

International Rose Test Garden | "City of Roses"
sipping on a sour beer @ Cascade Barrel House | SE Portland
Baerlic Brewing Co tasting flight | SE Portland
bone marrow @ Little Bird Bistro | Downtown Portland 
Columbia River Gorge | Crown Point Vista - Scenic Byway
Astoria - Megler Bridge (connects OR to WA) | Astoria
Bob at Shipwreck Beach | Fort Stevens State Park 
Ecola State Park | Crescent Beach
with Haystack Rock | Cannon Beach
Mo's famous Clam Chowder | Newport Bayfront
Nye Beach dunes | Newport
starfish @ Cobble Beach | Yaquina Head
Pacific Ocean post swim | Nye Beach 
view from Winderlea Wine Co | Dundee Hills
Apple Dutch Baby for breakfast | La Bastide B&B
among the grape vines | Willamette Valley

Each morning after we arrived in a new city we'd head out for a run. I'm sure none were over three miles but it always felt good to start out exploring with exercise and no particular place to be. In Portland we looped through the Willamette riverfront parks, over pretty pedestrian friendly bridges and along the spacious downtown streets. In Astoria we made our way down the Columbia riverfront, stopping at every pier along the way for views of the majestic Humpback Whales (!) who decided to grace the town with their presence that day. In Newport we ran on Nye Beach, the wide sandy flats making it easy, the strong winds not so much. We needed to work up a sweat anyways because we were determined to jump in the Pacific Ocean. (It was 54* water, but we did it!) In Dundee there were hills and farms; we ran by goats, horses and llamas, past crab tree orchards, autumn hued vines and thick, towering evergreens.

Over 7 days we drove about 11 hours - which allowed plenty of time to spend relaxing and exploring. It worked out really well. All of our hotels were excellent - seamless stays with zero issues, I would happily recommend each one! Below are a few details, if you are interested. 
The starting point above is Hotel Modera -  so after Portland we grabbed our rental car from the airport and drove east to see Multnomah Falls and hike Oneonta Gorge. Then, we drove over The Bridge of the Gods into Washington and cruised west, crossing back into Oregon further north and over to Astoria. The little hook at the top was a detour back into Washington the next day to see Cape Disappointment. From Astoria it was due South on 101 to Newport, with a few stops along the way at Cannon Beach and Devil's Punchbowl. After Newport we backtracked North and cut over on Route 18 to the Willamette Valley and 99W took us into Dundee. On our last day we stopped for lunch in McMinnville - a cute little town just south of Dundee. The red ending point is Portland Airport.

Portland | Hotel Modera | 515 Southwest Clay Street | modern boutique hotel with chic, eye pleasing decor. beautiful courtyard with a live wall and cozy firepits. convenient downtown location, steps from Gov Tom McCall Waterfront Park and Pioneer Courthouse Square. Easy access to public transportation - across from the TriMet and close to bus stops. *We booked through Tablet when they were having a 20% off sale*
Astoria | Cannary Pier Hotel | No. 10 Basin St | luxurious and unique. every room is positioned for absolutely stunning views of the Columbia River and the Astoria-Megler Bridge. The spacious rooms are well appointed to include a small waterfront balcony, a windowseat, a fireplace and a clawfoot tub. They also provide in room binoculars and Pendleton wool blankets! Good continental breakfast. Wine and cheese happy hour.
Newport | Hallmark Resort | 744 SW Elizabeth St | oceanfront views and easy (stair) access to Nye Beach. There are a lot of hotels to choose from on the beach in Newport - I got a sense this one falls in the middle of the spectrum with standard appointed motel rooms. They had a lovely salt water pool, hot tub and sauna which we took advantage of after we swam in the frigid pacific! 
Dundee | LaBastide Bed & Breakfast | 21150 NE Niederberger Road | newly built home with modern furnishings, cozy decor, quiet, friendly, family run B&B. Walkable to downtown bistros and tasting rooms. Convenient drive to Dundee Hills wineries. Amazing breakfasts!!

There will be a lot more time here dedicated to each place; the food, what we did, you know the drill!


  1. This looks like an amazing trip! Oregon is on our list for the near future.

  2. We went to Cascade on 10/3...right after we moved into our new place. I must have totally just missed you! Looks like a great trip.

  3. I love the post! Have a nice weekend:)