Oregon is filled with romance. Parts of this state are dark and misty, others bright and cold. The scenery is so stunning, there isn’t much need for the manufactured machinations of candy hearts and carnation bouquets. Still, it doesn’t hurt to add a little something to the background—it could be just what you need to stoke the fire and heat up the passion.
There’s an old standby in Central Oregon that sometimes gets overlooked by its more modern, fancy competitors. But Black Butte Ranch is old-school Central Oregon, done just right.
Black Butte has all the necessary components for a great romantic weekend—the mountain views, the quiet serenity, the horseback rides. The ranch offers an extensive list of spa treatments, including a side-by-side massage. And Black Butte is a perfect jumping-off point for a weekend of year-round outdoor adventure. Hoodoo is just up the road, so a ski day is within reach. There are endless hiking, biking and other opportunities similarly nearby.
Beyond the usual joys of Black Butte, the ranch offers a $59 romance package for any vacation rental. That package includes a bottle of champagne and two wine glasses, as well as some local spa products, a box of truffles and, you guessed it, rose petals spread just so when you arrive at your rental.
Don’t doubt the power of rose petals, side-by-side massages and a glass of bubbly enjoyed on the porch during the sunset—sometimes clichés exist because they are true.
This one comes with a caveat. First of all, Kokanee Cafe in Camp Sherman is one of the best restaurants in Oregon, not just near Black Butte. But it’s closed in the winter months. Next up, Cottonwood Cafe (formerly Jen’s Garden), is a tremendous restaurant—but the trick is, it’s only open for breakfast and lunch. So instead of a romantic dinner, start out your day with a romantic breakfast and go from there. Big Tree Benedict, anyone?
There’s just something about old Hollywood glamour. It’s everywhere you look at Hotel deLuxe in Portland. The boutique hotspot in Portland, right in the bustling urban downtown core, is a great jumping-off point for a city date night. It’s also got the kind of amenities that mean you never have to leave the hotel if you’d rather stay warm, dry and cozy with your sweetie.
Gracie’s, a popular restaurant with sophisticated American food, is in the building. Driftwood Room is the kind of dark, leather-and-wood bar you can melt into for hours of craft cocktails and old-timey glamour. And the hallways are covered in Hollywood stills from the height of elegance.
About twice a month, the hotel offers Pop-Up Cinema, free screenings of old movies with cocktails and snacks available for purchase. The events are held in the private Screening Room, which has a 16-foot screen and gold-leaf ceilings—this is no joke.
To up your romantic quotient, have a pint of Salt & Straw ice cream delivered to your room. Other amenities include Shinola bikes ready to help you explore the city, rain or shine. There’s a pillow menu so you can try out different pillows, even a “spiritual menu” with religious tomes available for you (there’s also a spiritual menu for your dog, if he’s on hand—that means pet psychology and dog massage).
OK, this will require you entering a different hotel, which might seem weird. But just ten-ish blocks away from the Hotel deLuxe is Departure, which offers up some of the best, forward-thinking Asian food in the city. Bonus: If you’re there on a clear night the view is nigh unbeatable. For something a little more low key, head to Clyde Common, a tavern-style spot that has a tops happy hour. Order the popcorn and thank me later.
Do you like your romance with a side of adventure? Check out the Westcliff Lodge’s glamping sites. These platform tents come with a fluffy bed, furniture, and a serious view of the Columbia River Gorge.
No chocolate and wine specials here—instead, there are packages to combine a stay with a river-rafting trip or windsurfing lesson. You can head out into the gorge for a day of thrilling experiences, then return to the creature comforts that make for a romantic evening. Bonus: the lodge and glamping sites are just 45 minutes from Mount Hood, and the property is filled with greenery and rock walls, with nooks and crannies along trails that are perfect for stealing a kiss.
The glamping sites are only available during the warmer months.
In Hood River, go classic farm-to-table with Celilo, a hotspot that offers up the classics but also manages to get pretty interesting with options like paella and cioppino. Hood River is even better for a good drink—Full Sail Brewing’s pub has a great deck for watching the windsurfers on the Columbia River.
It’s not news to Oregonians that Ashland is a great stop for a romantic weekend. The small town is a charmer, and it has the added bonus of fulfilling the culture quotient with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites is a classic spot that has been extensively renovated and given a very mod feel. The retro furnishings and the epic lobby décor will put you in the mood for a Jetsons-like vacation.
The hotel has several packages that will serve your romantic needs. First, there’s the Lunar Experience package, which features the traditional truffles-and-champagne treats but adds a bouquet of flowers and a meal voucher to LUNA Cafe + Mercantile. A Craftmanship Wine and Dine Package includes wine flights, charcuterie and cheese boards, and the LUNA meal voucher. There’s also a package that features movie tickets, which might be just the thing to take your romance back to humble high school beginnings.
Best nearby romantic dinner
Ashland is one of those lucky small towns that overshoots its size with great restaurants. Larks Restaurant is an accessible favorite that is fancy but not so fancy you’ll feel uncomfortable. Another great option is Alchemy, which goes all in on the fine dining—steak tartare, pommes frites, raviolo.
Romance always seems pretty natural at the Oregon Coast. The chill in the air lends itself to a heavy blanket and an evening gazing out at the ocean through the rain. The Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa in Astoria sits out in the Columbia River, near where the river meets the Pacific Ocean. It’s on the site of, you guessed it, an old fish cannery, and the views are second-to-none—you can watch barges and boats pass by from a private balcony.
Every room has a fireplace, and the day spa has a Finnish sauna, which just feels right in Astoria.
The hotel offers a romance add-on package, which includes a couples massage, champagne and chocolates. But beyond that, there are plenty of options to spice up your weekend at Cannery Pier—including a two-hour sunset cruise that includes wine and hors d’oeuvres, or a Columbia River Eco Tour if you find environmentalism sexy. Hey, it’s Oregon—lots of locals are super into the environment.
Best nearby romantic dinner
This one is a no-brainer. Bridgewater Bistro is nestled right up to the Columbia River by the Astoria-Megler Bridge that connects Oregon and Washington. The views are backed up by a seafood-filled menu and great wine. Runner-up status goes to Baked Alaska, a classy spot that could win clam chowder wars.
Here are a few more ideas for romantic getaways in Oregon:
*A winner has been selected for this category* Congratulations to Ashley J. in Bend!