Put four Seattle travel bloggers in a van, add in a driver, some coffee, a crisp sunny fall day, point them south, and what do you get? An Oregon Road Trip! Andy and I were two of the travel bloggers who enjoyed seeing the Surf and Turf of Oregon on a press trip sponsored by the Central Oregon Visitors Association, Oregon Coast Visitors Association, Travel Oregon, and Evergreen Escapes. Our road tripping group met at the Seattle offices of Evergreen Escapes, loaded up our bio-fueled van, and headed south for five days on the road.
The trip featured two themes, allowing us a chance to see two different sides of Oregon – the surf along the coast and the turf in the central part of the state. And along the journey, except for a few remote areas where there was no cell coverage, we tweeted about our experiences using the Twitter hash tag #ORRoadTrip.
Here are a few of the highlights:
Our first stop was Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River, where we got to hang out with sea lions on the fishing docks, visited the Columbia Maritime Museum to learn about the history of the area, took a look at the Goonie’s house, went up in the Astoria Column, and had lunch at the Astoria Coffee House & Bistro before hitting the road once again. One of the features of a road trip is short stops for food and sightseeing and then back on the road to the next place. It’s not a travel style for everyone, but the relaxation and comfort that Evergreen Escapes provides makes for a value luxury road trip experience.
The next part of the journey let us enjoy the scenery along coastal Oregon, a much different landscape from the Washington coast. One thing that struck me was the variety of experiences to be found on the coast. There were great family options, places for a romantic weekend getaway, and more than a few spots that I imagined burrowing in for a week alone to get some serious writing done. Accommodations ran from beachside hotels (who doesn’t love a balcony right on the beach) to condo units overlooking the dunes, there was value luxury to be found on the Oregon coast. We only had a bit of time in Cannon Beach, Tillamook, Pacific City, Depot Bay, and Newport, I made plenty of notes and ideas about where I’d want to go back for an extended visit.
The trek over the hills to central Oregon was a winding, isolated bit of road marked with intermittent cell availability. The average traveler won’t find that a daunting prospect, and may actually welcome it, but for four travel bloggers it was a bit of withdrawal.
First up on our arrival in Bend was a little physical activity to work the kinks out of a morning spent on the road. And fortunately for us, our physical activity also involved a little liquid refreshment. We picked up a few other participants, hopped on a bar stool, and set off to discover the Bend Ale Trail on the CyclePub. It’s just like the name implies – you sit and pedal while drinking some of your favorite specialty brews. What’s not to like about that?!
Our time in Bend and the surrounding area was spent doing some of our very favorite value luxury activities – enjoying the culinary scene of an area. From family run restaurants with an attention to detail (like McKay Cottage in Bend and Jen’s Garden in Sisters), to the fine dining of Brasada Ranch, to spirit sampling at Bendistillery, there were ample value luxury opportunities to slake our thirst and sate our hunger.
The drive from Central Oregon back to Seattle is a long one, and our group broke it up with a stop in Portland. Well known for its burgeoning food scene, this was a logical final stop-off on the road trip. We learned about and tasted charcuterie, lapped up an ice cream cone, and then it was back to the van for the rest of the trip home.
Five days on the road, an abundance of food and drink, and the fun and bonding that occurs when you spend that much time with other people in very close quarters. This was an opportunity for Andy and I to explore an area of the country that we had never been to, and to learn about the value luxury experiences that central Oregon and the coast have to offer our readers.
We’ve published a few stories so far, and in keeping with our belief that we can keep buzz about a destination alive over a prolonged period of time, there will be more over the coming months. This list will be updated to include additional posts as they are published. In addition to the twitter hashtag while on the road, and our individual facebook entries, all published posts have been promoted via social media as well.
- Pacific Northwest Getaway: Astoria, Oregon
- Cheese & More at Tillamook Cheese Factory
- 11 Incredible Experiences on the Oregon Coast
- 11 Timeless Watchguards: Lighthouses of the Oregon Coast
- Beer Bohemia in Bend, Oregon
- Best Breweries in Bend, Oregon
- How to Do a Real Coffee Tasting (Cupping)
- Astoria photo stream on flickr
- Oregon Road Trip photo stream on flickr
Photo credit: All from the personal collection of Mary Jo Manzanares