Sipping Our Way Through The Willamette Valley, AKA Oregon Wine Country

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After 3 fun-filled packed days in Portland, we took about a 45 minute drive and headed to the Willamette Valley for a 2 night stay at the Allison Inn & Spa.  On the outside, the Allison looked a little bit like ski condos (IMO).  However, the inside was beautiful with dark wood and a sleek, yet cozy feel.  There were many soothing sitting areas.  We hung out a lot in the lounge right outside the hotel lobby and we had breakfast on the deck at Jory Restaurant.  The hotel is situated right in the heart of the valley, so our view consisted of mountain ranges, rolling hillsides, working vineyards, and agricultural farmlands.  Not bad!

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Our room was quite large and modern, and came with a basket of gourmet snacks from local vendors and farmers in the valley.  This was a really nice touch.  100 chocolate covered hazelnuts later, we were picked up in a private car by Todd Weeks, of Summit Wine Tours and began our wine country excursion.

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We started our tour at Archery Summit.  There we had a private tour of the winery and learned all about the harvest and storing process of the wine.  Each time we stopped to have a lesson, we were treated to a different type of pinot.  Our tour took about 90 minutes as we explored the vineyards and natural caves.  In one of these caves, we had more wine and some snacks in the “tasting room”.  The room was unbelievable.  It was very hard to leave.  I want to have a party there.  Do you think my guests would make the trip? 🙂

After our tour, it was time for lunch.  Although we heard WE HAD TO GO TO RED HILLS MARKET, Todd correctly steered us away from what would have been a 45 minute line (We actually went at the end of the day).  Instead, we called our lunch order into The Horse Radish, picked it up, and ate it on a picnic table at the next winery, Beacon Hill Winery.

A few of us got the Italian sandwich from The Horse Radish.  It came with Sopressata, Genoa, Ham, Hot Coppa, Provolone, Tomato & Mama Lil’s Spicy Peppers.  We all agreed, it was by far the best Italian “sub” we had ever tasted!

IMG_1769As we ate, the owner of the winery came around and poured us a few of their wines.  We were the only ones there.  The setting was so gorgeous and tranquil.  The grounds were absolutely breathtaking.  You can actually stay at the winery.  There are 2 properties, a cabin and a home.  The home accommodates 6 and is only $350 per night. The next time the 6 of us go back, maybe we will stay here instead.  🙂  It would be a fun stay for 3 couples!

Our final winery of the day was Fairsing Vineyard.  On a very clear day here, you can see the peaks of Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson and Mount St. Helens in neighboring Washington.  I was definitely slowing down at this point, and I finally turned down my first sample here (a white pinot).  Despite that, it was still a great visit with a beautiful setting and spectacular views.  Make sure you walk the labyrinth!

IMG_1780At the end of the day, we beat all the crowds and basically had Red Hills Market all to ourselves for a quick market visit.  It was a cute gourmet shop, but not so sure what all the hype is about.  Personally, I don’t think anything could have topped that Horse Radish Italian sandwich.  I am glad I had that amazing lunch because I had to skip dinner that night.  I was sick from all of the wine.  Like I said, I never said no to a sample until the end of the day, and I drank every last drop of each sample before that.  Next time I will pace myself better!

Day 2…

IMG_1783IMG_3654While my friends spent the day at the hotel enjoying the spa and playing golf at a local course, Rob and I (a little hungover) headed to the Oregon Coast.  We walked around Cannon Beach, a very quaint, upscale beach town on the Pacific.  We had an amazing lunch at The Lazy Susan Cafe.  Rob had a hot seafood salad and I had a tuna nicoise one.

IMG_3657After having lunch and leisurely exploring the town, we headed to Haystack Rock.  The rock is a “unique monolith” that attracts wildlife (we saw birds).  It towers 235 feet over the beach and is an astounding sight to see.  Rob and I took pictures from the road (with many others).  Had I been with my kids, I would have made it down to the beach.

Our final dinner (and my favorite) was at The Barberry, in the town of McMinnville, about a 30 minute drive from The Allison.  The restaurant was beautiful and the food outstanding.  It was the perfect way to end our stay!

We checked out the next morning.  Although, I am trying to change to keep up with the times, I still like to print my paper boarding pass.  My phone is always on it’s last leg.  (I am trying to change that too).  Anyway, the nice man behind the desk had trouble printing it for me.  So I needed to help him out.  When Rob came down he found me in my element.  He thought it was funny and snapped away. IMG_3667

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To pay 🙁 for our 2 night stay, I used my Chase Sapphire Preferred card as I get 2x Ultimate Rewards points on the hotel stay.  For our meals in the valley and throughout Oregon, we used our Chase Freedom card because restaurants were a 3rd quarter 5x Chase Ultimate Rewards bonus category.

I hate paying for stays, but love my Chase cards!