One of the hot new destinations in the US these days is the beautiful state of Oregon.
I’ve gathered together a few gems here to help you get the best out of a trip there. Just email me if you want to know more.
Oregon sits on the northern border of California and opens out to the Pacific coast. Climatically it’s on the cool side but it has a diverse range of habitats and activities, especially if you’ve already done all the usual US must-dos like Las Vegas, the Disney Worlds and New York. It’s also an easy place to self-drive and there’s plenty of wilderness to get lost in.
The biggest city in Oregon is Portland, about 125 kms inland from the coast. It’s a decent sized city – around 2 million people – and is known for its friendliness and fantastic foodie culture. According to Time magazine Oregon is currently the top food state in the US. There’s an excellent local transport system, good accommodation options and the shopping is tax free.
Portland has a lot of green spaces allowing plenty of walking and cycling options in the city. Work that in with a trip to their fabulous Farmers Market, then check out some of the great eateries and local beers. You’ll easily fill a few days around the city.
One of the bigger attractions outside of Portland is the Columbia River Gorge, with its huge basalt cliffs, waterfalls and walking trails. The highest point in Oregon, and a key part of the Columbia system is Mt Hood, an active volcano. Here you’ll find year round snow, fishing, kayaking, interesting local foods and some very luxurious lodges. It has three ski areas, a long ski season and good night skiing.
The nearby Willamette Valley is the state’s wine region, specialising in cool climate aromatics like riesling, pinot gris and chardonnay.
Central Oregon is another area where outdoor pursuits triumph. You’ll find good golf, more fishing, caving and rock climbing. Southern Oregon is more rugged with good cycling and mountain areas. The local foods are also worth checking out. The high point (or is it a low point?) of Eastern Oregon is Hells Canyon, which is actually deeper than the Grand Canyon. The east is a very laid back area and key farming region.
And like most Kiwis we are usually drawn to the coast at some point. Oregon has a 400 mile long western shore, just over an hour’s drive west from Portland. Sandy dunes and rocky islands line the coast and there are good golf courses nearby.
(C) by Sue Farley