Full On Food, Wine and Fun at Full On Oregon – Part 1

There are some things that you just have to do.  One of them is fly on planes.  When I received an invitation to attend this sponsored trip by Travel Oregon, that was one of the first things that came to mind.  Flying cross country.  Portland, Oregon is a long way from Atlanta, especially when traveling on the ten year anniversary of 9/11.  I have to admit that I almost did not go and what a mistake that would have been.

Mt. Hood from the plane

I had never traveled to the Northwest before.  I heard so many great things about the city of Portland and the state of Oregon.  I knew there was an incredible food culture and lots of great farms, talented chefs and fabulous wines…all the things I love to experience and write about on this site.  It was a perfect fit for what I do…so off I went.  Plane ride and all (thank you, Xanax!).  No Mr. Bunkycooks…no RV…no pup in tow.  Just me and a group of about 20 other food, wine and travel bloggers from around the United States and Canada.

If the folks at Travel Oregon had the goal of making us fall in love with this city, the surrounding area and the food, wine, beer and local artisans, they certainly succeeded with me!  I was quite taken with Portland and will definitely be back.  There is a certain vibrancy to Portland, an aura about it; the city is alive and the people that we met were genuine, supportive of each other and sincerely love what they do.  Think commune…I’m just sayin’.  😉

Yes, I got on that plane. Brad Kimmel took this picture of me while I was there!

There were so many activities and events, it would take me a week to write about each one in detail.  We were divided into groups for part of the time to allow us to experience different venues and parts of the state.  I know how much work goes into creating an event like this.  I just had my own culinary event in Louisville on a smaller scale and it takes thoughtful planning and lots of tedious coordinating, so thank you to everyone at Travel Oregon for putting together such an incredible experience.

Day 1

After arriving early afternoon the first day, I had some free time to stroll through the Pearl District before a Welcome Reception that evening.  I was then off for dinner at  St. Jack.  This restaurant serves rustic French cuisine in a lively little neighborhood in Southeast Portland.  My dining pals included a familiar face (Andrew), as well as some new friends, Janelle, Stacey, Cheryl, Leela, and Shannalee.  We all enjoyed the evening complete with a special cocktail, great food and some lovely Oregon wines.

Photo courtesy of Brian Kimmel

Day 2

After a much needed night’s sleep at the lovely Hotel DeLuxe and breakfast provided by two local artisans, Baker and Spice and Water Avenue Coffee, a group of us departed for a whole lotta wine drinking a very full day in the Willamette Valley!  Our guides for the day were Harry Peterson-Nedry of Chehalem and Charles Hull from the Oregon Wine Board.  Harry gave us some information on the origins of wine making in Oregon and the Willamette Valley.  He started operating a vineyard in the region in 1980.

Harry Peterson-Nedry of Chehalem

Our first stop was Sokol Blosser where we met family members of some of  the Oregon wine pioneers including Bethel Heights, Eyrie Vineyards and Ponzi.  We had a wine tasting of some very special vintages in a breathtaking setting overlooking the vineyards.

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