Kim, Stephanie, Jaime and I have been friends since elementary school. Our last trip was 5 years ago this summer, so this was long overdue! We narrowed down our destination to 3 different places, and ultimately chose the Pacific Northwest for their wineries, scenic hikes, and mild summer temps. We decided to spend 2 nights in Willamette Valley and 1 night in Portland. We flew into Portland and grabbed our
pimpmobile black Chrysler 300 rental and a quick lunch at Panera. We were all surprised by the number of homeless camps along the highway. I’m not sure where the city is in the process of providing increased shelters, but it’s definitely a problem in certain areas. Before heading to Willamette Valley, we wanted to check out Multnomah Falls. At 629 feet, it’s the tallest waterfall in Oregon and is only 35 minutes from the airport. It’s apparently not as busy in the morning so that would be my recommendation because it was pretty crowded when we got there. The falls have two tiers that flow over basalt cliffs.
We then headed to our Airbnb in the small town of Carlton, Oregon. The hosts thought of everything and were super responsive. We loved their cute home!
We chose Carlton because although the population is just under 2,200 people, it is centrally located between McMinnville and Newberg. These 3 cities included highly rated restaurants and wineries that we knew we wanted to try. Unfortunately, a lot of restaurants are closed on Wednesdays in Carlton. We ended up having dinner at a small pub before heading back to the house to drink wine and watch the latest Handmaids Tale episode. Praise be.
The next day we filled up on breakfast at Community Plate in McMinnville before heading to the wineries for the day. I highly recommend them for super yummy pancakes, breakfast scrambles in wraps, and lattes!
Our first winery ended up being our favorite! Hazelfern Cellars in Newberg is a small, family owned and operated winery. Husband and wife Bryan and Laura make all of their own wine! We got to meet Laura before she headed off to her daughters’ school parade. They have one employee, Mez, who conducted our tasting. She was funny and genuine and so much fun. She told the best stories as we went through the tasting. We learned that they take their Hazelfern Spotify playlist almost as seriously as their wine and heard the story of how Toni Braxton got added to the playlist one night. Ha!
After Hazelfern, we headed to Soter Vineyards at the Mineral Springs Ranch in Carlton. It definitely had a sophisticated vibe but Evita, who conducted our tasting, gave it a warm and personal feel. She was knowledgeable and super sweet!
After leaving Soter, we made a quick stop at Carlton Bakery so we could grab a snack and pastry for the next day’s breakfast. Then our final winery was Anne Amie Vineyards in Carlton. We didn’t do a tasting and instead opted to have table service in the picnic area with a bottle of their Pinot Noir. Of the three wineries we visited, this one by far had the most beautiful grounds and view.
Dinner our second night was at Red Hills Kitchen in the Atticus Hotel in McMinnville. We ate on the patio at a table in the shade.
The next morning we said goodbye to our Carlton Airbnb and packed up the car to head to Silver Falls. We were able to see 7 of the 10 waterfalls at the park via the 5 mile Winter Falls Loop (also known as the Silver Falls Lower Loop). This loop had us take the Canyon and Winter Trails. It’s difficulty rating is moderate and although it was slick at times in tennis shoes, it’s mostly shaded which was great. Two of the prettiest falls of the hike: Double Falls and South Falls. Double Falls is the highest waterfall in the park at 178 feet in two drops. South Falls is the waterfall with the highest single drop, which plunges 177 feet over a basalt overhang. We loved the park and thought it was definitely worth the drive, but plan to get there EARLY! It felt empty when we got there, but the large parking lot was full by the time we left.
After hiking Silver Falls for 2.5 hours (the hike was 2 hours but we stopped for a lot of pics), we went to Rosmarino Osteria Italiana in Newberg for lunch. Space is limited and it is very highly rated, so I made sure we had reservations in advance. Rosmarino serves authentic northern Italian. I had the prosciutto & burrata salad, gnocchi carbonara, and homemade caramel gelato. All were insanely good! Dario, the Italian chef and owner, checked on us twice and was sure to say goodbye to us as we left. Best meal and best service!
Our Portland hotel was The Kimpton Hotel Vintage. It was modern and trendy and in a great location downtown.
After getting cleaned up, we walked to the Deschutes Brewery to put in our name. While we waited for a table, we had drinks at Vault Cocktail Lounge. The menu was full of fun, craft cocktails in a hip & moody space. I LOVED my drink and if we’d had time I definitely would’ve ordered another!
We had dinner at the Deschutes Brewery. I had low expectations for the food, but their crab roll was amazing! Then we made our way to the Green Room for drinks. I loved the aesthetics of Vault AND Green Room and would love to incorporate some of these moody, chic vibes into a future basement finish!
While the waitlist had a dozen people ahead of us for the Whiskey Library upstairs, we did get to take a peak and hear about the collection of 2000 bottles!
Before heading back to our hotel, we grabbed our last dessert of the trip. 1927 S’mores was next door to The Green Room & Whiskey Library. An entire shop devoted to s’mores is my idea of heaven!
- Community Plate (breakfast/lunch – McMinnville)
- Hazelfern Cellars (Newberg)
- Rosmarino Osteria Italiana (lunch/dinner – Newberg)
- Vault Cocktail Lounge (Portland)
- Multnomah Whiskey Library & Green Room (Portland)
One of my top tips for self-care would definitely be planning trips with lifelong besties who have been there for you through the questionable hairstyles and boyfriends, holding your hair back while laughing at you over the toilet! It doesn’t get any better.