Oregon’s ten best romantic escapes
written by Sarah Max
We’re looking for updates to this list! leave your thoughts in the comments!
Forget about the drugstore greeting card, February 14th dinner reservation and other Valentine’s Day clichés. A better idea: Pack your bags, grab your sweetie, check in at one of Oregon’s great lodges, inns or cottages – and check out for the weekend on an Oregon romantic getaway. We put together these ten sweet escapes to suit any whim. Feeling nostalgic? Spend a weekend savoring vintage Portland. Got the winter blues? Give yourself a good dose of Pinot therapy (in every sense of the word) at a world-class inn and spa in wine country. Just need a change of scenery? Make yourself at home in a luxury condo in the Gorge, an artsy suite in Jacksonville or a cozy cottage in downtown Bend. And if your intentions are great, but your budget is small, not to worry. Hot springs, coastal yurts and moonlit ski outings can be yours for less than what you’d pay for a dozen roses.
Best Oregon romantic getaway: Va-Va Vintage Portland
STAY: HOTEL VINTAGE, PORTLAND
WHEN: History buffs should plan to go before February 12. Music lovers, time your trip for the Portland Jazz Festival, February 17 through 26.
Book the hotel’s own romance package for in-room bubbly and rose petal turn-down service, or create your own with a classic twist. Spend the morning treasure hunting the likes of Lulu’s Vintage and Magpie (shopvintageportland.com). Grab lunch at Huber’s Café (hubers.com), then head to the Oregon Historical Society for a behind-the-scenes Treasures of Vault exhibit (ohs.org, ends February 12). The circa 1907 Dan & Louis Oyster Bar Restaurant (danandlouis.com) has plenty of its own artifacts on display, but the oysters are the real attraction–and, of course, an aphrodisiac themselves. If your tastes are more turf than mollusks, book a table at Ringside Steakhouse (ringsidesteakhouse.com), where nothing says “I love you” like a 14 oz. dry-aged New York steak.
Best Oregon romantic getaway number 2: Wine Country, Spa Country
STAY: THE ALLISON INN & SPA, NEWBERG
DINE: The Inn’s own Jory is worth the trip.
Best Oregon romantic getaway number 3: Ski Bumming in Style
STAY: LAVABELLES, BEND
WHEN: Time your visit with WinterFest February 17 and 18 for snow sculptures, ice carvings, live music and more.
Best Oregon romantic getaway number 4: Ski-In, Ski-Out, Make Out
STAY: TIMBERLINE LODGE, GOVERNMENT CAMP
DINE: Reserve a table at Timberline’s Cascade Dining Room or splurge with a Winemaker’s Dinner at Silcox Hut.
Best Oregon romantic getaway number 5: Sweet and Salty in Astoria
Best Oregon romantic getaway number 6: Bad Weather, All the Better
STAY: THE OCEAN LODGE, CANNON BEACH
WHEN: March 8-11 for Cannon Beach’s Wine & Culinary Festival, savorcannonbeach.com
The best days at the beach aren’t necessarily blue skies and balmy. In fact, Oregon’s coast comes alive in the winter months when big storms blow in, bringing fifty-mile-an-hour winds and fortyfoot waves. To feel the full thrust of Mother Nature, put on your rain gear and head for the hills. Ecola State Park just north of Cannon Beach offers several viewpoints along its rocky shoreline. When the weather isn’t so treacherous, explore the many miles of undulating–and often muddy – trails that stretch all the way to Seaside.
A wrap-around veranda, two-story fireplace, oceanfront rooms and sweeping views of Haystack Rock make The Ocean Lodge (theoceanlodge.com) an ideal place to admire the storms without mussing your hair. For dinner and a show, reserve two seats at EVOO (evoo.biz). Chefs Bob Neroni and Lenore Emery prepare a gourmet meal with wine pairings while you watch, learn and taste.
Best Oregon romantic getaway number 7: The Gorge Deluxe
STAY: COLUMBIA CLIFF VILLAS, HOOD RIVER
DINE: Double Mountain Brewery for truffle pizza; Celilo for a farm-to-table feast
Should you choose to leave your villa, there’s plenty to do within a thirty-minute drive. Pick up pastries and coffee at Doppio (doppiocoffeelounge.com), then drive across the river to the Klickitat River trail (klickitat-trail.org), a thirty-mile former railroad line that’s great for spotting wildlife and getting your mountain biking, hiking or trailrunning fix when higher elevation trails are under snow. After a morning of do-gooding, head to downtown Hood River to shop and taste your way through the afternoon. Start at Double Mountain (doublemountainbrewery.com) for craft beer and pizza. From there, you can hit the Full Sail Brewing Co. brewery tour (fullsailbrewing.com), stop by the Naked Winery tasting room on 2nd Street (nakedwinery.com) and meander in and out of the shops on Oak Street. Don’t leave Hood River without a meal at Celilo Restaurant (celilorestaurant.com)—denying your sweetheart such delicacies as house-made pasta topped with braised pork Sugo is grounds for divorce.
Best Oregon romantic getaway number 8: Ashland’s Theatre district
STAY: ASHLAND SPRINGS HOTEL, ASHLAND
WHEN: Oregon Shakespeare Festival begins previews of its 2012 season on February 17 and opens the following weekend.
Best Oregon romantic getaway number 10: Tiny Town with a Big Heart
STAY: ELAN GUEST SUITES, JACKSONVILLE
DINE: Stock up on gourmet goodies at Jacksonville Mercantile, or get a table for two at Gogi’s Restaurant.
The city is also a nice jumping-off point for the Applegate Valley Wine Trail (applegatewinetrail.com), which starts near Ruch and follows the Applegate River west toward Grants Pass, taking you past more than a dozen wineries serving warmer climate varietals.
Pick up a couple of your favorite bottles, then swing by the Jacksonville Mercantile (jacksonvillemercantile.com) to stock up for a private picnic at the oh-so-stylish Elan Guest Suites (elanguestsuites.com, suites start at $180). The boutique hotel’s three suites feature original art from local painters, fully-equipped kitchens and all the technological bells and whistles you need to listen to your favorite tunes or cozy up with a good movie.
Best Oregon romantic getaway number 10: Nest in the Northeast
STAY: POCKET HOUSE OR ECOHUIS, PORTLAND
DINE: Any place serving fresh, seasonal and local cuisine
A better-than-typical day in Northeast Portland might start with a leisurely locavore’s brunch at Tasty n Sons (tastynsons.com). Plot your next meal while strolling along Mississippi Avenue (mississippiave.com), eventually working your way north and then east to the heart of the Alberta Arts District. Warm up with a hot stone massage at ZenSpace (zenspace.info) or hot cocoa from Random Order (randomordercoffee.com). When dinner beckons, you’ll find no shortage of options for fresh, local cuisine. Ned Ludd (nedluddpdx.com) has perfected the art of wood-fired fare with a menu that’s always changing. Natural Selection (naturalselectionpdx.com) serves up vegetarian dishes that will win over even die-hard carnivores. Of course, with so many artisan food shops in the neighborhood, dining in is just as appealing. Pick up wine, cheese, fresh pasta and other gourmet essentials at Pasta Works (pastaworks.com), then top it off with tarts and tortes from Pix Patisserie (pixpatisserie.com).