When people imagine the Willamette Valley, it is usually the area between Salem and Portland. Typically they think of the location covering the mid-portion of the state, which encompasses most of the Willamette Valley AVA and its sub-appellations. Another area that offers the traveler many options of activities while discovering Oregon is the Mt. Hood Territory. Mt Hood Territory includes the cities of Lake Oswego, Canby, Oregon City, West Linn, Wilsonville and Villages of Mt. Hood. Let us take a tour through the area to discover its draw.
Lake Oswego has a newer feel to its landscape. Park your car and wander through the boutique shops and restaurants of this quaint, stylish town. With a strong arts community, you can experience the town through its Gallery Without Walls. Every year new sculptures are installed within the city, leading you on an art journey along the lakefront and throughout the town. The eclectic group of sculptures entices you to not miss one. Each year about 20 new sculptures appear as some are sold to local patrons.
While visiting Lake Oswego one must stop by Kyra’s Bakery. Find a haven for the gluten-free, an array of delicious pastries, cinnamon rolls, cupcakes and more. Multiple winner of Cupcake Wars, Krya Bussanich shows us that gluten-free baked goods do not have to be dry and tasteless. When you meet her, you can see that the energy she exudes goes directly into her bakery. There is a sparkle in her eyes that radiates to the sparkles on her cupcakes.
Find the home of Bob’s Red Mill, an employee-owned mill. If you are lucky during a mill tour, you will meet Bob Moore, and he might even entertain you with tunes on his upright piano. After the tour, head over to Bob’s Red Mill Restaurant and enjoy a sandwich or entree with grains created from one of their products. They do have gluten-free products for those with dietary restrictions.
Field and Vine
Offered year-round, Field and Vine offers farm to table dinners at local farms or wineries in the Willamette Valley. Typically, one dines under the stars except during winter months. The dinners feature local products and include the wines of a local Willamette Valley winery. It’s a fun way to discover the Willamette Valley’s food scene.
Alpacas at Marquam Hill Ranch is located in Molalla, Oregon. Owners, Jennifer, and Bill Cameron immerse you in Alpaca lore. There are two types of Alpacas: Huacaya, which produce a denser, softer sheep-like fiber and the Suri that produces silkier fibers. Alpacas come in a variety of colors. You will leave knowing more than you ever wanted to know about Alpacas.
Mt. Hood Territory Wine Tasting
One cannot go to the Willamette Valley without visiting a few wineries. Four wineries to consider: Beckham Estates: Andrew Beckham, a ceramics teacher, decided to go into winemaking, but he took it a step further by adding the art of amphora winemaking into his process. He makes his own amphorae and currently sells many of his vessels to other wineries. I would say Andrew is Oregon’s and perhaps the USA’s expert on making Amphora wine. All his wines are exceptional.
Christopher Bridge Wines
This family-owned property has been in the family since 1952. From cattle ranching to winemaking, Chris and Susanne Carlberg took over in 1993. Although the emphasis is on Pinot Noir, Chris brings in a breath of fresh air and florals to his wines by creating unusual wines with both German and Alsatian grapes grown on his property. Find interesting varieties such as Kerner, Ehrenfelser, Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt, Siegerrebe, and Grüner Veltliner.
Whiskey Hill Winery
A family affair that began with farming and grew into marketing Country Weddings. The setting is idyllic with magnificent views. As wine is essential for a wedding and located in Pinot Country; the wine of choice is Pinot Noir. Today they make Pinot Noir including a white version as well as other wines. One must try a French hybrid called Leon Millet.
Wooden Shoe Vineyards and Tulip Farm
Find a winery and tulip farm. In the spring, indulge in the Wooden Shoe’s floral beauty during their Tulip Fest. The wine tasting room has an eclectic variety of wines. From Albarino to Moscato in the whites to Pinot Noir, Marechal Foch, and Tempranillo in the reds. Try the Sweet Tempranillo. In addition, the Wooden Shoe grows hemp and has a line of hemp and CBD products.
Dining in the Mt. Hood Territory
One of the most popular restaurants, Allium in West Linn features Farm to Table cuisine. Combining new American with European Cuisine, the restaurant exemplifies Pacific Northwest cuisine meets French Bistro.
Accommodations in the Mt. Hood Territory
Most hotels in the Mt Hood area are large scale chains. Opting for something different with the quaint old-world charm of the area, one finds Sandes of Time Bed & Breakfast, a delight plus a welcomed stay. Located on the outskirts of Portland in the suburb of Milwaukie, the hospitality is superb, the rooms are comfy and the 2-course breakfast yummy. Al and Terry Sande make you feel right at home.
If nature or skiing is your thing, Mt. Hook Territory offers many things to do for the adventurer, including hikes, biking, kayaking, fishing, river rafting, and various winter sports. You too can discover the hidden gems that make Mt. Hood Territory a place to visit.