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Willamette/Columbia River Gorge - Help with itinerary

Sarasota, Florida
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Willamette/Columbia River Gorge - Help with itinerary

We will be flying into Portland on a Friday at the end of June. We wanted to spend time in the Willamette Valley and Columbia River Gorge area for a few days before heading to Bend on Tuesday and ultimately Crater Lake. Any thoughts on how we should divide our time over the approx. 4-5 days and which area we should do first (Willamette or Gorge)? My spouse has very limited mobility so we won't be hiking in the Gorge area - but we would like to drive the scenic highway, get out and look around at key spots, and enjoy good food/beer. How much time should we plan to spend in the Gorge area? One day? 2 days? Where would be a good place to stay overnight? We also really wanted to make our base of operations for Willamette in McMinnville, as we want to go to the Evergreen Museum and the downtown seemed interesting, but our first choice hotel (Hotel Oregon) has very limited availability and may not be an option depending on when we check in. Anyone recommend any other nice places to stay that are close to dining/shops? My spouse unfortunately has difficulty climbing stairs, so it rules out many of the B&Bs and inns (and we were hoping to avoid character-less chain motels if at all possible). Or, is there another good town in the area with lots going in that's worth a stay? We would like to visit a couple of vineyards, but we are not exactly wine experts, so it's not the main focal point. Thanks

Oregon/Washington
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1. Re: Willamette/Columbia River Gorge - Help with itinerary

I would start with the Willamette Valley part of the trip first since the gorge can be crazy busy on the weekends.

Without knowing your budget, it is hard to make more specific suggestions for hotels. That said, The Allison in Newberg is very nice and has elevators, so your spouse would be ok there. Also, in Dundee there is the Inn at Red Hills that would work too. Even though we live down here, we have stayed here for a special event and really liked it so can personally vouch for it. I have not stayed at the Allison, but am a regular at the spa, which I highly recommend:) You might also look at the Chehalem Ridge B&B in Newberg. I go past there all the time and the setting is stunning!!! They do have a room for special needs, so you might call and see exactly what the setup is. Of all of these, The Inn at Red Hills is the closest to restaurants and a few tasting rooms. Downtown Dundee is pretty small:) There are over 200 wineries in the Willamette Valley alone, and most wineries are really laid back and so no worries about not being a wine expert;)

Downtown McMinnville is a place I really like. It is pretty small, but has a lot of interesting shops, restaurants and tasting rooms. Compact, so would be good for your spouse. The Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum is really good! There is an IMAX theater there as well.

After this area, I would head to the gorge. One day would be ample for you, IMO. If you can get a room (and one that would work for you) at the McMenamins Edgefield, I would do that. Otherwise I would opt for something in Hood River. I have not stayed at hotels there as we have a friend that lives there, so I can't make personal suggestions for that.

From Hood River, it is about 2 1/2 hours down to Bend.

Oregon
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2. Re: Willamette/Columbia River Gorge - Help with itinerary

No time at the Oregon coast??

Troutdale, Oregon
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for Hood River, Troutdale, Cascade Locks, The Dalles, Portland, Oregon
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3. Re: Willamette/Columbia River Gorge - Help with itinerary

Hi there.

It would depend on your spouses mobility problems but I think Edgefield would not be a good fit for you.It is a very large property and with back problems it is all I can do to make a quick visit there. (I do love it there though)

I would think a river view room at the Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River would be perfect. It is on the National Register of Historic Places but has a vintage elevator hand run by staff. Their rooms are wonderful and the beds very comfortable for me. Wonderful cook, eggs benny a breakfast special.. They have really reasonable rates. A little more expensive and without a restaurant is next door at the Columbia Cliffs Suites. They share a waterfall.. ;)

You could continue on to Bend as suggested. (there is a really nice winery in Hood River called Marchesi Vineyard. The owner is first generation Italian and can he make wine?? !! Very comfy tasting room The Hood River Area is a very well placed AVA or wine area. with views!!)

Close to Crater Lake you may like Grants Pass just to relax next to the Rogue River. I don't know if the Weasku Inn would suit but it sure is beautiful and riverside!

I tend to want views out the window to make up for the exhaustion my back causes on trips. That is why I mention these two in particular.

Best regards,

MrsO

Edited: 11 April 2014, 03:59
4. Re: Willamette/Columbia River Gorge - Help with itinerary

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Oregon
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5. Re: Willamette/Columbia River Gorge - Help with itinerary

Nice beaches in FL but no rugged coast line.

Oregon/Washington
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6. Re: Willamette/Columbia River Gorge - Help with itinerary

Phirl--I removed my post because I had it on the wrong one:) Yes, we have lived in FL too, lol.

Oregon Coast
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7. Re: Willamette/Columbia River Gorge - Help with itinerary

Phirl, they'll be going from Crater Lake to Bandon, then north along the coast to at least Newport. They have another thread going for that part :-)

Sarasota, Florida
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8. Re: Willamette/Columbia River Gorge - Help with itinerary

yes, we are headed to the coast for the second part of the trip and received lots of good advice for that leg. Thanks for the suggestions above. Any recommendations for other places to stay in McMinnville besides the Hotel Oregon?

Oregon/Washington
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9. Re: Willamette/Columbia River Gorge - Help with itinerary

Hotel Oregon is the only hotel right in the old downtown area. There are several usual chain hotels all around town though, along the lines of Best Western/Motel 6. Otherwise you are looking at B&B's. Off the top of my head a couple of those that are really close to that old downtown area are A Tuscan Estate, Steiger House and Baker St B&B. Baker House is the closest. but the other two are only a couple blocks from that downtown area. I have not stayed at those, so am not familiar with their accessibility so you might do a review or Google search or call them.

Sarasota, Florida
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10. Re: Willamette/Columbia River Gorge - Help with itinerary

Thanks!! The only accessible place with an opening was the Allison - looks incredible, but very pricy --we made a reservation, and are on a waiting list for the Hotel Oregon. BUT… we managed to get a reservation for an accessible room at the Edgefield for Monday night! Looks like a lot of fun. My spouse will have a mobility scooter, so should be OK getting around. My next question (I can start a different thread if you all prefer): At the very end of our trip, after a stay along the coast and in Astoria, we will be spending a few days in Portland. We'd like to use Marriott points. It looks like there are quite a few locations, including a new residence inn on 9th ave in pearl district, a courtyard city center on oak st, plus locations downtown on the waterfront and at s. broadway. There are also marriotts at river place, lloyd center and at the convention center. We've never been to Portland before and want to do all the touristy things (Pioneer Square, Powell's, Japanese Garden, Saturday market etc), plus we'd love to be near a good shopping area, brewpubs and restaurants. Again, we will have a mobility scooter, and a car rental (unless we return it before then.) Any recommendations for which Marriott we should try for? Thanks again!