Full On Food, Wine and Fun at Full On Oregon – Part 1
There are some things that you have to do to travel. One of them is to 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.
I had never traveled to the Pacific 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. It was a perfect fit for what I do…so off I went. Plane ride and all (thank you, Xanax!). No husband…no RV…no pup in tow. Just me and a group of about 20 other food, wine and travel writers and 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 and 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’. 😉
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.
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 of Eating Rules), 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 several lovely Oregon wines.
After a much needed night’s sleep at the beautiful 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.
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.
Looks like an amazing, awesome trip: well worth taking! WHAT a great thing!!!
Those people in the first picture make it look like MIGHTY serious business!
Wine making is serious business. Lots of great wines are out there along with tons of competition. They were all very interesting people with great stories. What a pleasure to be able to meet some of the first wine making families in Oregon.
How wonderful! I hope to get to Portland one of these days. But I am enjoying the season so much in Georgia right now, it is too beautiful here at the moment to imagine any other place better on earth. Maybe when that cold hits I will be sorry 😀
Yes, the weather is pretty awesome in Georgia. Unfortunately, the chillier temps are coming soon, but we can enjoy the perfect weather while it’s here!
Looks like huge fun! Food and pictures look amazing, Gwen!!
Yes, it was amazing. I miss it already!
Oh, man, I am so glad you finally went – it was so worth it – I am just sad that I couldn’t go with you! Looks absolutely stunning and I so would love to visit the region! What a fabulous place to discover and they really seem to be doing some fabulous things in food and wine in that part of the country. And you look just adorable! Miss you! xo
We would definitely have a great time in Oregon together. How could we not?! You need to come back to the States so we can make that trip! 🙂
Looks like an amazing trip!!
Gwen the photos presented here are beyond outstanding!! I especially love looking out the door…. Kinda like my life right now. Fab food and plenty of wine, I know you had a blast!
Thank you, Kathy. It was an incredible experience. I’m so glad I was able to attend and can’t wait to make a trip back to Oregon soon!
I came across Smith Bites poetic video of this trip – you were there, too! What an amazing experience! I’ve only been to Portland once years ago and I’d love to return on a food/wine sojourn such as this – their passion for food, wine, and the land is a wonderful thing.