Indulge every kind of passion—for food, wine, art, culture, the outdoors, your dog, yourself and your lover—with these premier Oregon adventures
written by Vanessa Salvia
It’s well-known that the ancient Greeks had multiple words for love. They differentiated between passionate love, the affectionate love of friends, familial love—even obsessive love. Of course, feeling one type of love doesn’t preclude another—you can love food and wine and outdoor adventure, or be a dog lover who also loves art and culture. Fortunately, in Oregon it’s easy to do a romantic getaway with a single focus or one that mixes it up. So for an adventure your dogs will love as much as you will, or a place to indulge a passion (obsession?) for great food and wine, visit any of these spots for the ultimate expression of self love—bringing your canine pals or significant other is up to you.
Much of the Oregon Coast is dog-friendly, but there’s a difference between allowing dogs and really welcoming them. Headlands Coastal Lodge & Spa not only welcomes them, they make your sandy stay easier and more fun with their dog-friendly amenities. Each pup receives a Ginger dog bed (made in Bend), water bowls, towels and treats upon arrival. After you enjoy the sunsets and scenery, visit the rinsing stations at the entrance to hose yourself and your four-legged friend off before you head back to your room, each with a private oceanview balcony.
Reserve a special dog-friendly table at the Meridian Restaurant & Bar, and pick up maps to all the nearby dog-friendly trails. Each season, the lodge offers new adventure packages, most of which can be customized to include your dog. “Our adventure coaches learn what you want to do and experience and help you plan your itinerary, from tidepools to fishing trips and everything in between,” says marketing manager Briana Romancier. “It’s a fun way to immerse yourself, even if you don’t know anything about the Oregon coast, and there’s definitely fun stuff for all the four-legged friends to do, like sunset bonfires on the beach.”
To really pamper yourself and your pooch on a city outing, opt for Royal Sonesta’s dog-friendly suites, where you can bring your pet without an extra charge. The Sonesta’s building has a long history in Portland. Built in 1912 as a department store, it retains the marvelous architectural details a retail store of that time had to have—soaring ceilings and picture windows make for a luxe lobby. The location, near the Pearl District and Portland fixtures such as Powell’s Books, is central to strolling bliss. Easy access to Tom McCall Waterfront Park pleases people and pooches, with a walk or run along the waterfront path.
OUTDOOR ADVENTURE LOVERS
Just because you want to spend your time outdoors doesn’t mean your lodging should be dowdy. Eco-chic boutique property Tetherow has luxuries such as balconies, fireplaces, spa-style bathrooms and views of its backyard, an 18-hole golf course and 700 acres adjacent to the Deschutes National Forest, with the Cascade range beyond. It’s less than two miles to the Old Mill District, where a riverside trail weaves by shops and restaurants. Just 18 miles up the road lie the slopes of Mt. Bachelor.
“Tetherow is so close to everything,” said marketing manager Carrie Ramoz. “It provides genuinely out-the-door access to endless miles of paths, trails, and outdoor adventures.” The Adventurous Romantics package offers snowshoe or cross-country ski rental and a shuttle to a nearby sno-park where you can bring your dog (they’re welcome at Tetherow too), a picnic lunch and bottle of wine. Just be sure to book it two weeks in advance.
Back at your haute base, unwind in the outdoor heated pool and stay put for a local culinary journey at The Row and Solomon’s restaurants. Head downtown for more diversions. Or, after a day of adventuring, keep it mellow and check out one of the locally crafted Breedlove Guitars so you can sing a love song beside the fireplace or jam under the stars at one of the outdoor firepits.
SILVIES VALLEY RANCH
Here, you’re not only staying at a hotel or a lodge, but also an honest-to-goodness ranch. Silvies merges a luxury retreat and spa experience with an ecologically sustainable livestock ranch. Bike, herd goats or cattle, shoot, hike, fish, go for a wagon or horseback ride, ice fish, or golf in the snow with neon-green tennis balls, all without leaving the 140,000-acre property. “We’ve got a huge playground,” said Mark Conn, the property’s marketing director. A new winter package for a three-night stay includes the first night at the lodge and on the second night, ski or hike to the property’s remote cabin with an outdoor shower and dinner around the fire. “We cook everything outside. It really is for the outdoor adventurous,” said Conn.
Back at the lodge, treat yourself to a couples’ massage or other restorative treatment at the tranquil Rocking Heart Spa, filled with natural light and inspired by high desert nature and culture. Let city life flow away in the indoor lap pool, saunas, hot tubs or on the climbing wall.
Golfers will want to play the 18-hole reversible golf course, clockwise or counter-clockwise. Enlist a goat caddy—yep, custom-saddle wearing goats who carry a few golf clubs, extra balls and tees, refreshments and peanuts (for them and you) on two courses.
ARTS & CULTURE LOVERS
You’ll feel as if you joined a hip art entourage at The Nines, where you’ll be surrounded by an art collection curated by Oregonian Paige Powell, a former confidante of Andy Warhol. Browse more than 400 sculptures, paintings and custom installations throughout the property and in your room. The 35-foot stairwell chandelier called Bird Song, created by Melody Owen, uses glass, LEDs, and steel to illustrate the audio waves of Pacific Northwest bird songs. The library features artwork by filmmaker Gus Van Sant, and guest rooms are home to original art by students of the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Choose from modern, local, sustainable steakhouse fare at Urban Farmer, or pan-Asian cuisine at Departure on the fifteenth floor, with a remarkable outdoor terrace and bird’s-eye views of the city of roses.
ASHLAND SPRINGS HOTEL
Ashland is no secret to art and culture lovers, home to the world-famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival. After hitting award-winning galleries, theaters and restaurants, return to well-appointed accommodations such as the Ashland Springs Hotel, in a lovely, historic building that crowns Ashland’s skyline. In 1925, when the Ashland Springs Hotel building was built, the nine-story structure was the tallest between Portland and San Francisco. Originally designed to be six stories, the visionary builders had higher aspirations.
“You feel the opulence and the historic energy when you enter the grand lobby, with the mezzanine, spectacular chandelier, original flooring and beautiful stained glass,” says Karolina Lavagnino, marketing director for the property, part of the Neuman Hotel Group. Throughout the hotel is a naturalist theme, with framed lithographs of birds and pressed plants and curio cabinets filled with shell collections.
Other great escapes include Lithia Springs Resort and Wine Garden, where rooms have mineral hot springs water flows directly to soaking tubs beside fireplaces. For a mid-century chic experience, head to Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites.
Set behind a stone wall and wrought iron gate, the Excelsior Inn and Restaurant is steps from the University of Oregon campus, but will transport you to Italy a hundred years ago. Originally a fraternity house built in the early 1900s, it now feels as if you’re dining in a small Italian villa. The fourteen guest rooms all have a European charm and some are dog friendly.
Owner Maurizio Paparo creates menus that span the regions of his Italian homeland and include dishes such as pasta al granchio, crab with fettuccine, in a smoked mussel cream sauce with wild mushrooms, lemon, crispy onion and chives. The pastries look like gems in a jewelry case. For a casual mood, there’s the bistro, and the restaurant is elegant without being stuffy. On three nights each month, a Cucina Regionale dinner includes the wine and dishes emblematic of Italy’s diverse culinary regions.
COLUMBIA CLIFF VILLAS
Getting a fresh perspective is easy when you’re in a luxurious perch above a 208-foot waterfall. At Columbia CliffVillas, European-style hotel rooms, villas and penthouse suites treat you to Columbia River Gorge views. Private balconies look straight down the cliffs to the river. Let the concierges help arrange dining options in Hood River, where local bounty is practically a religion and wineries outnumber churches by about fifty to one.
At Celilo Restaurant and Bar, Chef and Managing Partner Ben Stenn worked in France and New York City before falling in love with Hood River in 1995. Since then, he’s forged deep relationships with area growers and producers, a focus that’s manifested in dishes which let the ingredients sing. Just one example is the pan seared coho salmon, served over French beans from nearby Oak Rose farm, with olives, capers, feta cheese and Sardinian fregola pasta, garnished with pickled pepper relish and mint aioli.
THE ALLISON INN & SPA
The Willamette Valley is known for world-renowned pinot noirs, and Newberg is in the heart of it all, within minutes of more than 100 wineries. The downtown is charming, and its seven wineries with tasting rooms makes it easy to park, sip, and wander. Pop into the Chehalem Cultural Center to take in rotating art exhibits between sips and dinner. It’s admission-free, which lends itself to making a brief visit or extended visit.
Art is part of the experience at The Allison Inn & Spa, with more than 500 original works curated from 100 Oregon artists throughout meticulously tended gardens, grounds and guestrooms. Meander along a path to The Allison’s Rain Dance Vineyards with its new tasting room and immersive experiences such as vineyard tours in the founding family’s 1969 Land Rover.
“The fireplace in the lounge at The Allison is a really romantic spot for a glass of wine or a cocktail,” said Leslie Caldwell, executive director of Taste Newberg. “It’s an ultimate destination for luxury and romance, and of course, wine.” Jory, the resort’s four-star restaurant, is named for the region’s soil and terroir which has brought world renown to its wine.
THE SETTING INN
A new, contemporary property, The Setting Inn, is perfectly situated for wine tasting, with scores of vineyards and wineries within a ten-to fifteen-minute drive. Begin just across the street at Vidon Vineyard, a certified sustainable vineyard and winery crafting 100 percent estate wines since 1999. The Setting Inn’s expert concierges can schedule tasting dinners and exclusive tours. Most working vineyards won’t allow guests to get close to the grapes for harvesting, but inn’s boutique vineyard gives you access to touch, taste and take pictures.
Put on your fluffy robe and slippers and from your room’s balcony or sheltered patio, take in the surrounding ten acres filled with lavender and fruit and Cyprus trees. Ramble outside through the manicured courtyard and to The Barn, a modern take on retro fun, with bocce, cornhole, croquet and badminton. Every detail will let you disconnect from your routine and reconnect with romance inspired by beautiful surroundings.