written by 1859 Oregon’s Magazine staff
photography by Toby Nolan
The Pacific Northwest seems as if it was made for winter holidays and, when done right, vice versa. They go together like goose down and jackets, whiskey and salted caramel s’mores and the warmth of a fire kindled with handcrafted pinecone-cinnamon-rosemary and rose-petal soy starters. And once you’ve celebrated friends, family and the season, grab some functional gear from under the tree, open up that gift of a PNW getaway you gave yourself, and strike out on a dreamy, new-year renewal adventure, from truffle hunting and bubbly wine tastings to mineral-springs soaks and chill-yet-toasty ways to explore waterways. Merry, indeed.
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Yacht Tubs and Hot Tub Boats
Float into 2022 on the waters of the Pacific Northwest in just a bathing suit—with nary a chill. This is no New Year’s Day polar plunge. In Portland, rent an 18-foot Yacht Tub, a boat with an integrated 104-degree soaking tub for six, and soak in the Willamette River scenery. Take in the city skyline and its bridges and turn up the yacht rock on the Bluetooth as the vessel’s blue lights illuminate the surroundings. Navigate as you would play Atari—with a joystick.
Seattle’s Hot Tub Boats offer virtually the same amenities on Lake Union, aboard boats built by devoted shipwrights dedicated to the Seattle community.
Portland’s Yacht Tubs
$360 for two hours
Seattle’s Hot Tub Boats
$400 for two hours
Lithia Springs Resort’s Wine & Wellness
Warm your body and soul in Southern Oregon, where water from local mineral springs flows, heated, into luxurious soaking tubs into your private bungalow or suite made even more cozy with fireplaces. With a Wine Country Escape Package, choose from four sustainable wineries to customize your experience. Savor gourmet breakfast and dine at Larks Home Kitchen Cuisine in downtown Ashland. Executive Chef Franco Console’s cuisine captures the essence of the region with ingredients from local farms, orchards and artisans.
Or, kick off a new year with the women’s empowerment and wellness retreat package named for the state motto, “She flies with her own wings.” Embark on a journey of healing, self-awareness, reflection, renewal and reset in this tranquil resort set on four acres of gardens punctuated with fountains, a koi pond, gazebo, tree canopies—perfect for meditation. With two, hour-long, private “discover sessions” with an expert life coach, consider it an investment in your future self as you sustain yourself with gourmet breakfasts, afternoon tea with fresh baked goods and fruits.
Wine Country Escape Package overnights start at $284
She Flies with Her Own Wings two-night retreats starts at $498
Truffle Hunting Tours
Give yourself or others time to roam Oregon’s wilderness in search of coveted, elusive truffles, just as the season kicks off in January, or book one for spring. Explore the forest with Stefan Czanecki, owner of the Willamette Valley wine touring company Black Tie Tours, and his trained truffle-sniffing dog, Ella. (Czanecki’s family moved to the valley in 1997 to drink wine, hunt mushrooms and open the acclaimed restaurant, The Joel Palmer House in Dayton, and has been introducing others to the region’s bounty ever since).
You’ll be comfortably transported to fertile foraging grounds, where you’ll learn truffle hunting tips and etiquette, as well as how to use these little world-famous treasures in dishes at home. A mix of patience and instant gratification, the tours culminate with a truffle-themed picnic lunch.
If that isn’t heady enough, heighten the experience by requesting the tour company arrange for a guest winemaker to join you for the tour and pour wine for a private tasting during lunch.
$250 per person
Optional wine experience: $125 for up to six people
Beyond Brooks’ Tastings at Home
Want to savor carefully curated, local foods and wine with their artisan makers—and even friends and family near and far—without having to leave your home? Each month, Brooks Winery in Amity offers a tasting webinar based around premium wine and a culinary theme ranging from chocolate and charcuterie to breads and barbecue.
For example, in January, discover Camas Country Mill with its founders, Tom and Sue Hunton, and their stone-milled sustainable grains from the Willamette Valley as you sip a 2016 Brooks Sparkling Riesling and a surprise new release. In February, Portland’s Woodblock Chocolate creators Jessica and Charley Wheelock chat about the history and philosophy of cacao, their journeys to farms from Hawaii to Peru and how they developed chocolate crafted from just two ingredients: cacao and pure cane sugar.
As with all Brooks purchases, part of the tastings’ proceeds benefit environmental nonprofits 1% For The Planet and Kiss the Ground.
$99 + shipping