WILLAMETTE VALLEY TRAVEL GUIDE

PLANNING

If you want to explore the northern or central Willamette Valley, the towns of Newberg, Dundee and Carlton are convenient places to stay. For trips farther south, McMinnville is the best home base.

 

WHERE TO EAT

Dundee Bistro Co-owned by the Ponzi winemaking family and executive chef Jason Stoller-Smith, the Dundee Bistro has been a staple of the area food scene since it opened in 2000. Like the laid-back dining room, the menu tends toward the casual: Think fish and chips or smoked salmon pasta with lemon, capers and cream. 100-A SW Seventh St, Dundee; 503-554-1650

Horse Radish Carlton has become one of the major hubs of wine country, in no small part because of the arrival of this wine bar-cum-deli. Opened just last year, this small-town eatery boasts an impressive case of artisanal cheeses and charcuterie, as well as frequent wine-tastings. 211 W Main St, Carlton; 503-852-6656

Joel Palmer House Since 1997, Oregon’s de facto Mushroom King, Jack Czarnecki, has prepared superb wine-country fare in the regal, 19th-century Joel Palmer House. Using wild mushrooms (and Oregon white truffles), Czarnecki infuses his menu with their earthy flavors, be it in his mushroom tarts or a loin of elk with chanterelles. 600 Ferry St, Dayton; 503-864-2995

Nick’s Italian Cafe When it opened in 1977, Nick’s became the hangout for local winemakers. This year, Nick Peirano’s daughter Carmen and her fiancé, Eric Ferguson, took over the kitchen, and the menu has since soared, offering everything from homemade pastas to house-cured meats. Locals go through Nick’s back door, where there’s a small bar and a pool table. 521 NE Third St, McMinnville; 503-434-4471

Painted Lady A mere piece of steelhead—slow-roasted, dusted with sea salt and served atop sautéed fennel and bacon—can elevate a diner’s relationship to food at this humble restaurant in the heart of Newberg. Set in a two-story Victorian, the dining room’s menu offers “refined modern American” cuisine made with local ingredients that have been prepared with a light hand. 201 S College St, Newberg; 503-538-3850

Tina’s Twelve bucks may seem steep for lunch in a town of 3,000 people, but one bite of Tina’s aromatic lamb stew with green lentils—or just about anything else on the menu—and you won’t question the price. A favorite haunt among winemakers and wine tourists, this bistro’s menu is as sophisticated as its clientèle. 760 Hwy 99W, Dundee; 503-538-8880

WHERE TO STAY

Abbey Road Farm Set on a working goat-farm just east of Carlton, the five bedrooms that make up this modern country inn are housed within three grain silos. Sure, it sounds odd, but the angular rooms—all with radiant-floor heat and soft wood tones&#*212;are sunny, spacious and inviting, and a home-cooked breakfast is served each morning. $195; 10501 NE Abbey Rd, Carlton; 503-852-6278

Black Walnut Inn By far the most opulent boutique hotel in the Willamette Valley’s wine country, this soaring Tuscan-style villa offers unparalleled warmth and comfort. Overstuffed leather couches and a roaring fireplace make the living room perfect for lounging, while the nine bedrooms have been decorated with modern art and European antiques. $295-495; 9600 NE Worden Hill Rd, Dundee; 866-429-4114

 

Brookside Inn Bruce and Susan Bandstra have transformed an old religious retreat in the woods, where alcohol was once strictly forbidden, into a cozy, nine-room wine country escape. One of the newest places to stay in the valley, the inn has clean, modern lines and sparse Craftsman charm. Homemade, fresh-out-of-the-oven scones are served each morning. $185-350; 8243 NE Abbey Rd, Carlton; 503-852-4433

Carlton Inn Bed & Breakfast Located right on Main St in Carlton, just steps away from more than a dozen tasting rooms, this four-bedroom inn offers not only convenience, but a friendly, affordable place to call home during your stay in wine country. For breakfast, expect homemade yogurt, granola and pastries, and a hot, savory entrée made from scratch every day by owners Heidi and Edward Yates. $125-175; 648 W Main St, Carlton; 503-852-7506

Lion’s Gate Inn Bed & Breakfast Just down the street from the Painted Lady, this 1905 Craftsman has been exquisitely restored as a four-bedroom inn with fir floors, exposed ceiling beams and lush bedding. Knowledgeable innkeeper Lauren Wylie will take care of every need and send you off with a hearty breakfast each morning. $150-200; 401 N Howard St, Newberg; 503-476-2211

Youngberg Hill Vineyards & Inn Offering what just might be the best view in wine country, this luxurious seven-room inn boasts a 360-degree vista of the Coast Range, Willamette Valley wine country and beyond. Only a 10-minute drive from McMinnville, Youngberg Hill’s porches, patios and cozy living rooms and bedrooms provide the perfect place to relax after a day spent sipping. $150-300; 10660 SW Youngberg Hill Rd, McMinnville; 503-472-2727