Archive for the ‘ Oregon ’ Category


A look at the awe-inspiring Crater Lake

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Crater Lake has to be one of the most beautiful lakes I’ve ever seen, it’s absolutely awe-inspiring.  Located in southern Oregon, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United Sates at nearly 2000 feet. Interestingly, there are no rivers flowing into or out of the lake, which is probably a contributing factor for it’s brilliant blue color and clarity.

I visited Crater Lake National Park during a beautiful Fall day, but after seeing pictures of the area covered in snow, I cannot wait to go in the winter someday…it’s a place of immeasurable beauty.

Click the following link to see more of my pictures of Crater Lake.  If you’ve been to Crater Lake National Park, post a comment below and let my readers and me know what you like most.  If you enjoyed this post and video, please share it with your friends and family.

Crater Lake Information:

GPS: 42° 53′ 48.91″N 122° 08′ 03.08″W
Map: Crater Lake Map
Fees: $10 for car and $5 for motorcycle (7 day pass)
Reservations: For lodge and campground, call: 1-888-774-2728
National Park Service: Website for Crater Lake National Park

Jacksonville Historic Cemetery

Friday, November 25th, 2011

While I was visiting Jacksonville, Oregon, I was told by several of the locals that I should check out the “cemetery.”  The first time I heard this I thought “a cemetery…what kind of tourist attraction is that?”  After hearing the cemetery endorsement a couple more times, I figured I should saunter up the hill above town to see what all the fuss was about.

As soon as I reached the top of the hill, the entrance to the historic cemetery, you could tell it was no ordinary resting place. First, the thirty acre cemetery was segmented into religious and fraternal clusters…denominations include: Jewish, Masonic, Catholic and Independent just to name a few. The largest section is the “City,” and within this cluster you’ll find a “Potter’s Field,” which is where they buried, Native Americans, Hawaiians, Chinese, African Americans and others who were probably considered “less desirable” at the time.

The first burial took place in 1859, with many of the gravestones being quite opulent and ornate. As you walk the cemetery grounds you may notice a few headstones that date earlier than 1859, those were from remains that were removed from other locations and reburied in the Jacksonville Cemetery.

Many of the pioneers buried in the cemetery are quite familiar today as they bear the names of streets and area communities. Others are recognized on historic homes or businesses, such as the McCully House, which is where I stayed.

The Jacksonville Historic Cemetery remains an active cemetery and is still very much a part of the city as it was back in the mid 19th century. The cemetery is registered as part of Jacksonville’s National Historic District status, as well as with the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries.

So, while I was initially skeptical about touring a cemetery, I was glad I did…it’s a wonderfully tranquil area located high above the city below offering vista views, walking trails, photo opps and a glimpse into the past.

Click the following link to see more of my pictures of the Jacksonville Cemetery.  If you’ve been to this historic cemetery, please leave a comment below for my readers and me. If you enjoyed this post and video, please click the “like” button below to share with friends and family. You can get more information (including tours) about the Jacksonville, OR Historic Cemetery by clicking here.

Oenophiles will enjoy HillCrest Vineyard

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

While I was visiting Roseburg, Oregon staying at the fabulous Thundering Waters Inn, the innkeepers (Jim and Christina) recommended a few things for me to do…tops on their list was a visit to HillCrest Vineyard for a tour and tasting—one of their favorite wineries in the area.

Jim and Christina were gracious enough to personally accompany me to HillCrest, where Dyson DeMara (the patriarch of the family business)   showed us around and shared some of their newest wines.  I’ve been to a number of wineries, from Sonoma, Napa to Yakima Valley, but I’ve never enjoyed the experience as much as I did at HillCrest.  Dyson is so knowledgeable about his craft, it gave me a whole new appreciation for wine making.  To produce quality wine requires a delicate balancing act between science, art and experience.  Listening to Dyson speak, to hear his passion for wine-making…it’s very inspirational.

HillCrest Vineyard is Oregon’s oldest winery and was the states first to product a Pinot Noir…which is now synonymous. The Umpqua Valley (Roseburg area) has become known as “the undiscovered wine region,” but I suspect with the quality wines being produced, that it won’t stay that way much longer.

Using the states oldest naturally farmed vineyards, we handcraft all of our wines without any employees. From planting our own vineyards, to bottling and the tasting room, only our family’s hands touch these wines… or as we like to say ‘family made, not family managed,‘” says Dyson DeMara – HillCrest Winemaker Extraordinaire.

During my time at the vineyard, Dyson was kind enough to take us into the heart of the operation…there we got to see how the wine is crafted, stored, aged to perfection, and then bottled and labeled. I’m always excited to learn how things are produced, and to get this level of personalized attention was a fun and unique experience.

The DeMara family does not sell their wine in stores, it’s only available at the vineyard in their tasting room.  And, they only produce around 1400 cases annually, so getting to taste it is certainly a treat.  If you visit the Roseburg area, be sure to check out the Thundering Waters Inn for your lodging needs…they serve up scrumptious appetizers paired perfectly with local wines, often from HillCrest Winery.

If you’re in the Umpqua Valley area (Roseburg) and enjoy wine…do yourself a favor and stop by HillCrest Vineyard for a truly enjoyable, educational and personal wine tasting experience. The tasting room is charming with its history and accolades adorning the walls. If you’re lucky, you might even get a glimpse of the first bottle of Pinot Noir ever produced in the state.

Click the following link to see a few of the pictures of HillCrest Vinyard I took.  If you enjoyed this post and video, please click the “like” button below and share with friends and family.  If you’ve ever been to HillCrest, please let my readers and me know what your experience was like.

Horseless carriages’ rally the Columbia River Highway

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

I was traveling along the beautifully historic Columbia River Highway, when all of a sudden I began to see an array of vintage automobiles traveling toward me.  Seeing a great opportunity to capture some unique video along a spectacular and historic stretch of highway, enticed me out of my truck.  While I was setting-up, I noticed some activity that made me realize this was an organized event of sorts.  I spoke with some representatives and learned that it was an annual rally with the folks from the Horseless Carriage Club of America (HCCA).

Decked out in period garb to coincide with their vintage automobiles, the rally participates were treated to a beautiful stretch of highway, with a number of waterfalls on one side, and the Columbia River on the other.  My understanding is that HCCA conducts an annual rally, each year in a different location.  The last time it was in the Portland area was some 26 years ago.

The Horseless Carriage Club of America is a non-profit organization for automobile antiquarians dedicated to preserving vintage automobiles.  Prerequisite to becoming a member is owning a restored 1932 or older historic automobile.

If you’ve driving along the Columbia River Highway, leave a comment below and let my readers and me know what you enjoy most.  If you enjoyed this post with video, please hit the “Like” button below.

A Look at the Southern Oregon Coastal Town of Port Orford

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

I found Port Orford, Oregon to be one of those preverbal, “diamond in the rough” destinations.  One does not typically expect such wonderful amenities from a smaller town, but this southern coastal community is not only worth a stop, it’s worth a stay.  With a vibrant art scene hosting over a dozen galleries, a number of quality restaurants and some outstanding accommodations, Port Orford would make any discerning traveler feel comfortable, and might I add…at home.  As a matter of fact, Port Orford laid claim to several Mike’s Road Trip Best of 2010” awards.

Small in stature (only a few square miles), but unexpectedly authentic and rich in character, Port Orford presents mountainous forests uniting with rugged coastline.  The Natural beauty will beckon your sense of discovery, you’ll find all kinds of nooks and crannies as you roam unbeaten paths. The sense of isolation with quality amenities is the perfect blend for those who desire a slower pace, coupled with tranquility.

Port Orford’s “claim to fame” if it were, is the fact that it’s the farthest westerly community (note: for those emailing me corrections, note that I said “community,” I realize that Cape Flattery is the farthest “point.”) in the contiguous U.S. and is the oldest town on the Oregon coast.  Additionally, a famous skirmish was fought at Battle Rock, an iconic area landmark.  A battle between Native Americans and soldiers in 1851 is how the landmark got its name and what signaled the start of the town. Battle Rock makes for a great hike and offers spectacular views of the coastline.

The Port of Port Orford is located in the heart of town—you’re actually able to drive down and park, which allows you to enjoy the views and the waves crashing against the jetty.  This natural harbor has one of only two “dolly docks” in the U.S., where boats are lifted in and out of the water by huge cranes.  Port Orford is a working fishing port and home to nearly thirty commercial vessels.  There is a small restaurant, seafood processing plant and gift shop to visit as well.

There are a number of not-to-be-missed attractions in and around Port Orford, here is a list of some of the things I did during my visit:

  • Heads State Park – This park has some spectacular trails that provide different vantage points high above the community and rugged coastline below, including views of Nellies Cove and various “heads (rock cropping off the coast)” in which the park derives its name. There is also a lifeboat museum to tour, however it was closed during my visit.
  • Wetlands Interpretive Walkway – The boardwalk through the area shows you how the wetlands filter water into nearby lakes.  This area is great for birdwatching.
  • Agate Beach – This is a wonderfully long stretch of sandy beach…great for flying a kite, romantic strolls or laying out on a warm summer day.
  • Cape Blanco Lighthouse- This park area is an awesome place to explore.  The lighthouse was built in 1870 and is located 256’ above sea level.   Unfortunately for me, the attraction was also closed during my visit, however there is still a lot to do and explore.

Dining Out in Port Orford…here are a few of the restaurants I enjoyed, all of which I would recommend:

  • RedFish is a contemporary, first-class restaurant serving up northwest coastal cuisine, with a distinctly French flair.  The views from RedFish are absolutely stunning (which pleasantly equal that of the cuisine), right in front of Battle Rock.
  • Paula’s Bistro is a Port Orford staple…it’s a lovely restaurant serving French food in a casual, but whimsical atmosphere.
  • Crazy Norwegians is also a local staple serving up quality casual food…their fish & chips are well known—as a connoisseur, I can attest that they are outstanding…not the best I’ve every had, but still very good. The Thai chicken salad is also quite good.

As far as local accommodations…from what I saw, there are several nice places to choose from.  I happened to stay at WildSpring Guest Habitat, which is simply outstanding and made my “Best of 2010” list for the most romantic B&B. Click here to read my full review and to see a video overview of the WildSpring Bed and Breakfast. For other area B&B’s, check out these lists: Oregon Bed and Breakfasts, Seaside, Oregon Bed and Breakfasts, Bed and Breakfasts, Seaside Oregon.

If you’d like to see more of my pictures of Port Orford, click here. If you are from, or have visited Port Orford, please post a comment below on things I may have missed. Lastly, find out what “the ONE thing” is about Port Orford.

A Tour of Cannon Beach, Oregon

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

One of the most trendy, coveted, coastal communities in the state of Oregon is Cannon Beach. The scenic beauty of the rock cropping monoliths on-and-offshore, including the famed “Haystack” rock, will make your beach strolls and photographs unlike none other.

Cannon Beach is nine miles wide and has the most pristine beach I’ve ever seen…in many areas, not even a sign of sea debris—just miles of smooth sandy beach…with the occasional dune. You can fly a kite, watch sea creatures in the tide-pools or just relax on the beach.

Cannon Beach was named for a cannon that was discovered on the beach from an old Navy schooner that wrecked while attempting to leave the Columbia River in the mid 1800s. However, the first recordings of the area date as far back as 1806 when William Clark, of the Lewis and Clark expedition set foot. As a matter of fact, there is a viewpoint called “Clark’s Point” which can be accessed by hiking a trail from Indian Beach in the Ecola State Park.

There is a vibrant art scene in Cannon Beach, with a number of wonderful galleries and culinary choices. And, the city is certainly setup for strolling; visitors will enjoy the quaint bookstores, shops and bistros.

The iconic symbol of Cannon Beach, Haystack Rock, is a diverse ecosystem and is a vital habitat for an abundance of seabirds—thus climbing and exploring are not allowed, however enjoyment can still be had at a distance.

For hikers, there are many trails to the water through the thick conifer forests of Ecola State Park. Ecola Point, near Ecola State Park, has a viewpoint and picnic area where you can see the panorama of Cannon Beach, Haystack Rock and the coastal range. This spectacular view is one of the most photographed on the Oregon coast. A two mile trail connects Ecola Point to the horseshoe-shaped Indian Beach, and a six mile trail leads to Tillamook Head (and yes, “Tillamook” is the name of the well known cheese…the factory is about an hour south of Cannon Beach).

There are a number of great restaurants to choose from while in Cannon Beach, one even made the Mike’s Road Trip Best of 2010 list, the EVOO Cooking School. If you want to treat yourself to an outstanding meal, you simple must try the EVOO Dinner Show, it’s unlike anything you’ve experienced before. I also had dinner at a really cool place with an eclectic menu called, “Sweet Basil’s Cafe,” I would definitely recommend it and they have pretty modest prices too.

If you’re looking for a place to stay while in Cannon Beach, there are a lot of great options, however few have a better location right on the beach than The Ocean Lodge, which is where I stayed. Here are a few others:B&B Inns, Seaside Oregon, Seaside OR, B&B’s. Bed and Breakfasts, Seaside OR

If you’d like to see more of my pictures of Cannon Beach, click here. If you are from Cannon Beach or have visited, please post a comment with some of your favorite activities and/or places. If you enjoyed this post with video, please hit the “like” button below and share with your friends and family.