Friday, November 23, 2012

Experiencing the Four Seasons in One Week - Days 3 & 4

Continuing where I left off in my previous post about the LaRowe's visit...

Day 3 - Friday, October 19th
Dave & Linda picked us up at our house in SE Portland around 9am. Today's destination - the Pacific coast, about a two hour drive to the west. Our first stop was Astoria, the historic port & trading center at the mouth of the Columbia River. We walked out on Pier 39 to see the sea lions and cargo ships, then headed up to Coxcomb Hill to climb the 125-foot-tall Astoria Column. I stayed on the ground as I've done the climb a couple of times and the spiral staircase makes me dizzy! As we came off the hill we drove around some of the historic captain's houses. By then we were all getting hungry so, wanting to save time, we ate at a simple fish & chips shop in downtown Astoria.

Linda, Dave & Greg atop the Astoria Column
While there are many things to see along the coast, the weather wasn't cooperating, so we didn't stop as often as I would normally recommend. From Astoria, we continued south on Hwy 101 towards Seaside. As it was pouring rain when we arrived, we just did a quick drive through the city center so the LaRowe's could get a glimpse of the boardwalk and the carnivalesque atmosphere of the entertainment district (which is pretty much nonexistent this late in the year).

raindrops on fuschias
A few miles to the south is lovely Cannon Beach, which is a bit less enjoyable when it's raining. Actually, it's a great place to watch the winter storms roll in, IF you are curled up in a B&B next to a warm fireplace! Since that wasn't an option, we stopped at a local brewery for some liquid courage before we hit the beach, umbrellas in hand.

As it continued to rain steadily all afternoon, we decided to cancel our plans to drive all the way to Tillamook (where I intended to stop for the free tour of the cheese factory). Instead we drove to one of the scenic overlooks on Hwy 101 then turned east towards home.

there are thousands of acres of commercial timber land in northwestern Oregon
Of course, Greg & I had plotted to have dinner at a new brewery on the outskirts of Portland. Finding it via GPS was a bit tricky, but I thought the food & beers were delicious and well worth the effort!
Greg's Red Electric & my Bertha's Brown Ale (on nitro)
the seasonal burger at Sasquatch Brewery
Day 4 - Saturday, October 20th
The main thing we originally had planned for today was a trip to the Portland Farmers Market at PSU. The rain had subsided by mid-morning so we hopped in the car and headed downtown. Of course, Greg & I are unaccustomed to having to find parking so we didn't notice the pay station farther down the block. We were also distracted by some pretty roses and a Teddy Roosevelt statue in the South Park Blocks next to our parking spot. Thus the LaRowe's rental car received the gift of a $45 parking ticket while we were perusing the stalls at the market!

But at least the rain stayed away for an over an hour so we all had a chance to enjoy sampling the locally-made foods and shopping for edible souvenirs.

Linda couldn't resist the roasted Oregon hazelnuts
Wanting to take advantage of having a car, I suggested that we make the short drive to the northern tip of Oregon's wine country. It only takes about 30 minutes to get to Forest Grove and my friend Cindy Anderson, author of the Portland Happy Hour Guidebook and Oregon Wine Country Guidebook, helpfully suggested some of her favorite places in the area.
farmland and blue sky(!) in Forest Grove
Our first stop was David Hill Winery where each couple selected five wines to sample. Greg & I particularly liked the 2011 Pinot Gris, the 2009 Reserve Chardonnay, and the 2009 Winemaker Cuvee Pinot Noir.
It was well into mid-afternoon when we made our way to Urban Decanter in downtown Forest Grove. We enjoyed some nice sandwiches & salads before continuing on to the next winery.
The scenery around Montinore Estate was so beautiful, I had a tough time going inside for the wine tasting! But I was glad I did, because Greg & I picked five more wines to sample and discovered some more favorites: the 2009 Reserve Pinot Gris and the 2011 Borealis. Linda & Dave decided to sit this one out and relaxed in some cozy chairs by the fireplace.

Our final stop for the day was McMenamins Grand Lodge where the LaRowe's could watch UT football (Go Vols! Well, maybe next year!) and I could drink some good beer.
That's the end of this post. I will cover the remaining days soon... Again, the link to all of my photos from the LaRowe's visit is embedded in the title of this post.

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