Say “Be Mine” with Wine
Long cold winter days practically beg for cozy romantic getaways to warm both your heart and soul. But you don’t need to head to a tropical location to turn up the heat in your love life; this Valentine’s Day, Cupid’s pointing his arrow straight at Oregon Wine Country. Rediscover the romance in your relationship and watch the sparks fly when you plan a romantic getaway for you and your special sweetheart to any of the following wine country inns.
Part I: Willamette Valley
Explore the multitude of Columbia Gorge wineries from one centralized location in Troutdale and then rendezvous at McMenamin’s Edgefield. Schedule a few hours of pampering at Ruby’s spa (think side-by-side massages) or just relax your cares away in the soaking pool—it’s sure to put anyone in the mood for love. Nibble on dinner at the Black Rabbit Inn, showcasing wines from McMenamin’s vineyard and on-site winery, as well as other wineries and vineyards nearby. Cleverly combining art with music and history with various pubs, restaurants, theaters, gardens and golf scattered throughout the property, Edgefield is a true destination resort. One recommendation, though: Unless a European-style hostel is what you’re envisioning, request a room with a private bathroom. For your wine drinking convenience, McMenamin’s also has two other hotels located in the heart of Wine Country. Sip at Hotel Oregon in McMinnville—with its romantic rooftop bar that makes midnight kisses a reality—or wine and dine at the lovely Grand Lodge in Forest Grove, ideally located on the Sip 47 corridor.
Love is always in the air at The Three Sleeps Vineyard Bed and Breakfast in the Columbia Gorge. Spend the day seeking snowy adventures on Mt. Hood or tasting wine in Hood River, and then retreat to your idyllic and secluded retreat in Mosier. You’ll discover a rustic Tuscan estate overlooking the Domino IV Estate Vineyard—the perfect backdrop for rekindling old flames. The name is derived from American Indian folklore. When early settlers asked how far it was to the ocean, the answer was, “Three Sleeps.” This remote, intimate, and very special Bed and Breakfast is just like home, only better. (Closed until March, but you can book your trip now and have something to fantasize about until then. Dreamy.)
The Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg is more like an impeccable small-scale wine country estate rather than a hotel, and is perfect for a getaway now or any time of year. Tour and taste around the Willamette Valley, then bathe in the lap of luxury while indulging in some of the best service, food and wine around. Unwind in the magnificent indoor swimming pool and whirlpool, or indulge in “pinotherapy” spa treatments. Yes, as in pinot-therapy. Can you think of a better kind? Afterward, enjoy a Pinotini next to a raging fire, followed by a candlelit meal in JORY restaurant. With dramatic vistas stretching across Yamhill County, decadent dishes and thirty-seven pages of extraordinary wines, JORY is likely one of the Willamette Valley sexiest restaurants. Four seductive words: Chocolate. Pinot. Noir. Cake. Need I say more?
In the Willamette Valley, there’s practically an inn or B&B around every corner. Two places to celebrate your love and put high atop your list are Youngberg Hill Inn (outside McMinnville) and the Black Walnut Inn (in Dundee). Both offer exquisite accommodations, and lucky for you, are top-notch wine producers as well. Each estate is situated on grand hilltops surrounded by rolling vineyards and picturesque views that seem to go on forever. Add to the fun with one of Youngberg Hill’s private packages, such as culinary and winemaking classes, bike tours, winery tours and tastings, private breakfasts or romance packages. The Black Walnut Inn is the epitome of l’amour and Old World charm. In fact, you can book a stay in the L’Amour Suite and feel like you’ve stepped back in the time, or stay in the opulent Master Suite with expansive views of nearby vineyards. Sophisticated and elegant, with luxurious linens, soaking tubs, king beds and eye-dropping views, escaping to this inn is like taking a quick trip to Europe.
Make a reservation at any of these places and know that they’ll help infuse your relationship with a quick shot of passion and make you look good in the process. For additional Willamette Valley Wine Country lodging ideas, such as the Stoller Vineyards Guest House and Le Puy Inn, click here.
Part II: Eastern and Southern Oregon
Travel through the scenic Columbia River Gorge, past the many vines in Milton-Freewater and don’t stop until you get to the Inn at Abeja in Walla Walla, Washington. Located in the breathtaking foothills of the Blue Mountains, a memorable experience of luxurious lodging, fine wine and cuisine awaits your arrival. Visit Milton-Freewater and Walla Walla wineries, then awaken your senses and soothe your heart at this stunning turn-of-the-century restored farmhouse. A variety of suites and houses on the grounds are available to suit your every need, and each is perfectly appointed. The winery and inn are surrounded by thirty-five acres of gardens and vineyards, perfect for lovebirds to get lost in. After enjoying their magnificent wines in the Small Barn, grab a blanket, curl up in a hammock and steal some kisses from your sweetheart while watching mesmerizing sunsets fill the sky with quixotic colors. Warning: You won’t ever want to leave.
If you lovebirds want to flock south, the historic Winchester Inn in Ashland appeals to those in search of a place that offers an extensive collection of Southern Oregon wines and access to one of the best kept secrets in the wine world, Applegate, Rogue and Umpqua Valley wines. The Winchester’s restaurant and wine bar carry more than 300 different wines at one time, with more than sixty percent from the local area. This top-notch boutique inn is close to over fifty of the area’s wineries and features spa services and lush gardens that will make you want to stop and smell the roses. With a focus on food and wine, they offer a concierge service, wine flights and wines by the glass that highlight everything Oregon has to offer.
Part III: Stir up the Passion
Part of the beauty of a wine country escape is that you can do as little or as much as you want. Lounge around wherever you decide to stay or hire a knowledgeable and experienced driver like Grape Escape Winery Tours and sit back, relax and leave all the planning and hard work to them. Or travel in style with Luxury Limo Wine Tours and obtain exclusive access to the area’s boutique wineries.
It might be winter, but if the thought of pedaling from one world-class winery to another in the fresh air and wide, open skies turns you on, Pedal Bike Tours might just make you go head over heels. With bike rentals and tours through Yamhill County wine country, you’ll cruise along stretching country lanes past vineyards and hazelnut orchards. Stop for a romantic picnic lunch with views of century-old farms and scenic landscapes.
It may sound like the stuff of fairy tales, but Equestrian Wine Tours in Carlton offers guided two-hour horseback riding wine tours that wind through the Red Hills of Dundee with optional gourmet picnic lunches. No horseback riding experience is required, but a sense of adventure and a desire for a good time is always recommended.
If you’re really looking to spice things up, consider floating over the valley at sunrise on a Vista Balloons hot air balloon ride (complete with brunch), or let yourselves get whisked away on a helicopter tour by Precision Helicopters. Either way, seeing the sites from this vantage point is sure to leave you both starry-eyed and breathless.
While some of these suggestions might be weather dependent and not really an ideal option at this particular moment, keep in mind that there are no restrictions or time limits on romance. You don’t need Valentine’s Day to sweep your lover off their feet; you can be the superhero of love any time of year. Mother Teresa said it best “Love is a fruit in season at all times and within reach of every hand.” Put these ideas in the bank, let them earn interest and cash them in when you think the time is right to pull out all the stops. Enjoy love, enjoy life and sip lots of great wine.
*A winner has been selected for this category* Congratulations to Ashley J. in Bend!