Explore Oregon

The majority of Inn the Ground is set in the earth in wine country.

Inn the Ground

written by Kerry Newberryphotography by Inn the Ground When the setting sun hits Inn the Ground, wine country’s newest retreat, you’ll often see a family of deer frolic through the surrounding native grasses and wildflowers. It’s one of many serene scenes that unfold at this nine-room oasis located just outside of Carlton. Set in the hillside above a working regenerative farm, nature permeates all the spaces here. In the upper-level community rooms, you’ll find floor-to-ceiling windows that bring brightness even on rainy days. Walls are hung with contemporary artwork, often evoking the natural world, along with bookcases stocked with titles that focus on regenerative agriculture and social transformation (think Masanobu Fukuoka, Rebecca Solnit and Masaru Emoto). Designed to foster a deep connection to nature, two-thirds of the building is recessed into the land. As you walk downstairs to the rooms, you’ll gaze across the living roof, lush with seasonal grasses…

Dubbed the Covered Bridge Capital of the West, Cottage Grove is the place for romance and nostalgia.

Cottage Grove

When it’s time for romance, plant a kiss in Cottage Grove written by James Sinks In yesteryear, covered bridges also were known as kissing bridges. Some say it’s because the seclusion offered a seductive smooching opportunity. Or, because horses slowed to a walking gait to pass through, it became much easier to wink and lean into a lip-lock. And for the superstitious, a kiss represented a wish for luck, as covered bridges were known to sometimes house bats and other scary critters. Whatever the reason, or the season, the spans remain a perfect place to practice your pucker. And in Oregon, you’ll find opportunities aplenty surrounding the hamlet of Cottage Grove, dubbed the Covered Bridge Capital of the West. So if you’re hoping for some kissing on Valentine’s Day—or any day, really—the town just might be the mood enhancer you’re looking for. “If you are a city nightlife person, then…

Southeastern Oregon’s Alvord Desert is one of the state’s darkest places to ogle stars and the Milky Way.

Oregon’s Top 8 Places to Stargaze

Going beyond light pollution for celestial arrays written by Jen Sotolongo Outside of Oregon’s metropolitan areas lies a celestial sanctuary, where expansive landscapes, high desert elevation and commitment to preserving natural darkness create ideal astro-tourism opportunities for stargazers. With two designated International Dark Sky Places in Central Oregon and remote destinations hundreds of miles away from light pollution, Oregon offers cosmo lovers an abundance of stargazing options throughout the state. CENTRAL OREGON Central Oregon is a haven for stargazing enthusiasts thanks to its high desert location and frequent clear skies. Dedicated to preserving night skies, the region is home to two designated International Dark Sky Places offering ample opportunities to stare into night skies. From the Prineville Reservoir to dedicated observatories, Central Oregon offers a celestial symphony for all to enjoy. Prineville Reservoir: Oregon’s First Dark Sky Park In May 2021, Prineville Reservoir became Oregon’s first state park to earn…

The new Ritz gleams in the Portland skyline.

The Ritz-Carlton, Portland

written by Kerry Newberryphotography by The Ritz-Carlton, Portland Since first breaking ground in 2020, there’s been a buzz of anticipation surrounding the Pacific Northwest’s first Ritz-Carlton hotel. In October, the five-star hotel opened in the heart of downtown Portland. Befitting a city where reclaimed wood prevails over white table cloths, the overall design balances earthy with refined details throughout the space. In the rooms and suites, the interiors celebrate the lush and wild landscape of the region. The immersive grand lobby, aptly deemed Forest Hall, evokes the evergreen landscape of the Pacific Northwest with sensational biophilic design. Nature as art also stars in the lobby bar where a luminous installation of leafy plants and twinkling lights unfurls from the ceiling. ROOMS In the 207 guest rooms and 44 suites, you’ll find signature amenities from luxurious Frette linens and plush slippers to soft waffle weave cotton robes. The interiors evoke misty…

Of Portuguese heritage, St. Peter’s Church in Echo is slowly being restored.

Preserving Heritage

The rally to restore a historic church written by Joni Kabana If you find yourself traveling along Oregon’s Interstate 84, consider taking a short side trip to the small historical town of Echo, 8 miles south of Hermiston and 20 miles east of Pendleton. Set amid gorgeous rolling hills on the banks of the Umatilla River, Echo takes you way back in time. You can sip wine at either Echo Ridge Cellars or the Sno Road Winery, take a jitter juice or lunch break in the family operated H&P Cafe or peruse any of the small yet highly fascinating museums. There are seven buildings that are registered with the National Register of Historic Places, so simply strolling the town’s streets is a history lesson in and of itself. The real treasure of this town is tucked away on a lot that, despite facing three major floods in the last century,…

Spirit of Halloweentown festivities transform the town of St. Helens in the fall.

Autumn in St. Helens, Vernonia and Sauvie Island

The path less trodden to adventures in fall written by James Sinks Fittingly, for a movie about off-duty Halloween monsters, Disney producers scouted for a ghost town. They found a perfect backdrop in northwest Oregon’s St. Helens. The mills were long gone, but the once-busy downtown boasted a picturesque public square, a classic courthouse and a stunning view of its namesake, Mount St. Helens, 39 miles away across the Columbia. Filmed a quarter century ago, Halloweentown became a cult classic and even spawned several sequels. Soon after, cameras returned for the vampire-teen romance mashup Twilight, in which St. Helens stood in for another timber town, Forks, Washington. Now, each autumn when Mother Nature readies her technicolor picture show, St. Helens unpacks the nostalgia, costumes and cash registers. For six weeks, downtown and the central plaza—where usually you can trace Lewis and Clark’s voyage on stepping stones—are transformed into the “Spirit…

Sosta House’s Great Room is open to guests for dining, reading, working or visiting by the fireplace.

Sosta House

written by Kerry Newberryphotography by Kenna Beban For brother-sister duo Nico and Mia Ponzi Hamacher, Sosta House means much more than an idyllic wine country retreat. “We are sharing the way we grew up,” said Nico. “With beautiful moments in the garden and around the table.” Their three-room bed and breakfast that opened mid-July is in the original home of their grandparents—wine legends Dick and Nancy Ponzi. Over the course of a year, the siblings, along with extended family and friends, brought their vision to life, turning the home that housed multiple generations of the Ponzi family into a thoughtful wine country getaway. In fact, their 90-year-old grandfather helped build the back deck. One of Mia’s friends stitched all the curtains on her grandmother’s sewing machine. And their father, winemaker Eric Hamacher, spearheaded the organic kitchen garden that supplies ingredients for guest breakfasts and wine-paired dinners. Most of the artwork…

Witch’s Castle in Forest Park is a creepy symbol of a creepy seduction and subsequent murder.

Witch’s Castle

Macabre folklore a stone’s throw away written by Joni Kabana Looking for a gothic love story location that is full of mystery close to your favorite take-out eatery or coffee shop? Take a short hike to the Stone House, otherwise known by locals as the “Witch’s Castle” in Portland. This hidden wonder, located via a short hike along forested pathways, has quite a sordid history. Ernest Tucker, commissioned by the Bureau of Parks, built this stone building in 1929 to serve as a public toilet and storage room. As part of the Works Progress Administration projects, this structure was completed sometime during 1935–1936. It was in full operation until 1962 when the Columbus Day Storm destroyed the water line, which has never been repaired. But there’s more! Folklore has it that Danford Balch brought his family to this spot by way of the Oregon Trail around 1850. Balch claimed a…

McCredie Hot Springs is just east of Eugene and along Salt Creek.

Oregon Hot Springs

Four places around Oregon with very different vibes for your relaxation written by Jen Sotolongo Hot tubs are great, but there’s nothing quite as idyllic as soaking in a natural hot spring in the woods in the middle of nowhere. Thanks to the volcanic mountains that run throughout the state, Oregon is home to a number of hot springs. Ranging from luxurious resorts to rustic soaking pools situated in far-off destinations, these natural hot springs offer a relaxing excursion. Whether you are looking for a unique adventure or seeking a therapeutic wilderness retreat, Oregon’s hot springs will leave you in pure bliss. WILLAMETTE VALLEY AREA Breitenbush Hot Springs Breitenbush Hot Springs offers a remote and tranquil escape nestled amidst the picturesque beauty of the Mount Jefferson wilderness. In 2020 the Lionshead Fire, one of the most destructive fires in Oregon’s history, ripped through the resort, burning down 73 buildings on…