Explore Oregon

Free tours are offered daily at the Parliament Buildings overlooking Victoria, BC’s Inner Harbour.

A Victoria Venture

Traipse back in time and across cultures on Vancouver Island, BC written by John Macdonald Note: At the time of writing in mid-August, Canada began welcoming back fully vaccinated leisure travelers from the United States who have proof of being fully vaccinated. We all have our own reasons for visiting Victoria. My reason was quite narrow. I wanted to walk Fan Tan Alley in Chinatown, also known as Canada’s narrowest street. In the era of social distancing and pandemics, I realize this may not resonate with everyone, but, for me, it was a grounding starting point to explore the history of Vancouver Island and Victoria. Vancouver Island’s largest ethnic groups are British descendants and Chinese, the former because it had been a fur trading outpost and then British colony, the latter population largely streaming in after the 1858 gold rush. Chinatown is Canada’s oldest and second in North America only…

Take the Oregon Outdoor-100 Challenge

Take the Oregon Outdoor-100 Challenge

Pro tips for your own challenge to explore 100 scenic state sights Written and photographed by Travis Hughes The mark of a truly great adventure is when the memories outnumber the miles traveled. A few years ago, I embarked on a quest to see 100 of Oregon’s most scenic spaces. It took me just over three years to complete, and the memories will last a lifetime. As a lifelong Oregonian, I wanted to see Oregon’s iconic places, such as Blue Pool, Multnomah Falls, Crater Lake and Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, but I also wanted to see the state’s lesser-known gems. My final list included everything from crashing waterfalls and towering rock formations to mountain summits, stunning beach vistas, wind-whipped deserts and spooky caves. Taking the Oregon Outdoor-100 Challenge requires some planning. Here are some tips I learned along the way. Think outside the box Every corner of Oregon is…

Milton-Freewater’s cobblestone soil, naturally enhanced by Walla Walla River deposits, yields distinctive wines.

A Destination AVA—Served on the Rocks

Savor, hike and explore Milton-Freewater’s valleys in wine-tastings Written by Angela Ashberry For most wine aficionados, Eastern Oregon’s Milton-Freewater doesn’t register as a wine tasting destination. Its location puts it far from anywhere convenient and 300 miles from the Willamette Valley. Its climate seems more suited to peppers and corn than wine grapes. Its hyphenated name sounds like a corporate law firm. Yet this small town with a population of 7,050 that’s 5 miles south of the Washington state line and 10 miles south of Walla Walla is emerging as a destination for those who are as adventurous with their travel as they are curious about a wine’s terroir. Welcome to The Rocks! Day 1 HEARTY HIKING • WINE TASTING Start your day with an ambitious hike about 37 miles east of Milton Freewater. Head to the South Fork Walla Walla Trailhead 15 miles southeast of town. The Table Springs/Bear…

Hotel Grand Stark’s exterior reveals the building’s heritage from 1906, as the Hotel Chamberlin.

Hotel Grand Stark

Written by Lauren Sharp At the heart of Portland’s industrial Buckman neighborhood is the Hotel Grand Stark. This historic destination offers a whimsical nod to the Pacific Northwest with an eccentric twist—as a respite for those looking to embrace the Rose City’s eclectic central east side. It opened in the spring, the first Oregon property of Los Angeles-based Palisociety Hospitality Groups’ boutique hotels. Palisociety founder Avi Brosh set out to create a space embodying the Pacific Northwest experience, elevating the city’s creative, quirky character. “My hope is that guests feel that they receive the true experience of the place from the decor, accommodations and food in all of our properties,” Brosh said. “In turn, our team set out to pay tribute to the artistic spirit of the inner east side and create a place that serves neighborhood locals and travelers alike.” The property’s classic facade is the legacy of its…

The pre-dawn Milky Way slides past “Dino Rock” along the entry road to Prineville Reservoir State Park.

Twinkle, Twinkle

Stargazing goes big in Oregon with global recognition written by Cathy Carroll Everyone may think there’s nothing to stepping outside and stargazing, but like many things in the world, some places are simply better for some things than others. When it comes to being knocked out just by looking up, a few places in Oregon have been designated as the best in the world. Prineville Reservoir State Park in Central Oregon is one. It’s the first Oregon park to be a certified International Dark Sky Park, the newest addition to the International Dark Sky Places Program. The only other such place in the state is in Sunriver, just south of Bend. It turns out that being a dark place requires effort. In Prineville, state park workers replaced harsh outdoor lights with softer yellow and red lighting that reduces “skyglow,” and they educated the public about light pollution. The reservoir joins…

MountNbarreL offers a local’s look at Hood River orchards and wineries.

Loop Dreams: Guided E-Bike Tours

The inside scoop on the renowned Fruit Loop guided e-bike tours Written by Cathy Carroll When the wet west meets the higher, drier East at the Columbia River Gorge, it coaxes from the earth a veritable summer picnic basket, from chardonnay, pinot and zinfandel to strawberries, blueberries, peaches and pears. That’s when the roads winding through Hood River call to take to them on two wheels. With the wind in your (helmeted) hair, the terroir fills your senses with every push on the pedal. MountNbarreL’s addition of e-bikes to their roster of guided tours makes it that much easier, especially for groups at varied levels of ability or desire to power themselves through an afternoon of exquisite sips and samplings of local savories and sweets. Best of all, the bike tours have a distinctly insider feel as local guides weave in the stories of area growers and makers of wine, beer,…

Kiteboarders harness the wind of the Columbia River Gorge, where wing foiling is helping beginners.

7 Summer Itineraries for New Experiences

Get inspired to press pause on sightseeing and plunge into the action Written by Kelsey Swenson Peeking out from under your shell after winter and spring, new experiences await in a world that’s coming back to life. Where to begin? We’ve curated a list of seven ways to redefine vacation. Jump into the deep end—stretch your legs and train your mind with the practice of trying new things. Our state’s abundance of outdoor adventures is matched only by the joy Oregonians reap when sharing them with others. Push the boundaries of your next getaway, and you’ll find people offering musical joy, confidence on the waves and in life, soul-restorative forest retreats, and the fulfillment of playing on trails while remedying the devastation of last year’s wildfires, too. This summer will be the one you were dreaming of in 2020 as you—and our community—reopens, rebuilds and recreates. 1. Art When you walk…

Historic Luscher Farm

Food Forays: Following Oregon Food Trails

Follow these food trails to satisfy a hunger for world-class food, landscapes and meet the folks who make it happen written by Cathy Carroll No matter what, food not only sustains us, the better it is, the better we are, and the more fun we have. Now is the time to connect with some of the best food in the world, grown in Oregon, and the people who farm it, ranch it, brew it, crush it and cook it. With spring in full swing and summer on its way, following food trails through some of the state’s most compelling landscapes is our preferred way to feed body and soul. Each region has a trail designed to take you off the beaten path and get a locals’ view of where to go to eat well and satisfy not just your appetite, but a hunger to discover new food, new places and…

Capitol Hotel

Central Hotel: Shot in the Dark

In Burns, only those in the know get into The Boiler Room’s secret whiskey stash. written by Shirley A. Hancockphotography by Chris Murray While restoring the prohibition-era Central Hotel in Burns, residents Jen and Forrest Keady discovered a 500-square-foot-space hidden deep beneath the lobby. It had a distinctly mysterious, seedy, bootlegger vibe, said Jen Keady, a history buff and restoration junkie who grew up in the Eastern Oregon town. She got to work. Using repurposed lumber, brick and metals, the Keadys created a secret, underground lair that celebrates the 1920s age of the speakeasies, the juice joints, the blind tigers. They call their’s The Boiler Room. You won’t find much on their website and there’s no password, but a whispered inquiry to the proprietors may get you a tour—and complimentary tasting. Through the dead-bolted door that reads, “Private. Boiler Room,” down the creaky wooden staircase, dimly lit by red lights…