Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Good Eats: King Estate winery, Eugene, Oregon

Reached by a drive through scenic farmland, this gated hilltop French-style chateau is approached via a spectacular uphill drive past grounds planted with Mirabelle plum trees and grape vines. The area is reminiscent of England’s Lake Country to such an extent that if I were dropped here blindfolded and asked where I was, I would reply, “On Beatrix Potter’s farm.” The winery uses organic and sustainable farming, has published several wine varietal cookbooks, and is well-known for its Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir—both of which may be tasted at no fee.

The Restaurant and Wine Bar at King Estate (541-685-5189. L-D daily, Sat-SunBr; $-$$. Reservations required for indoor seating; outdoor seating is first-come, first-served.) menu incorporates estate and locally grown organic ingredients that complement King Estate wines. In good weather, the expansive outdoor patio, with its views of the surrounding forested hills dotted with small farms, is the venue of choice, though the interior is stellar, too, and features a cozy fireplace. Appetizers might include Oregon Dungeness crab cakes or a plate of Pacific Northwest artisan cheeses, while lunch choices might be an excellent burger with pommes frites and housemade ketchup, a very tasty sandwich of pulled pork that has simmered in barbecue sauce for hours, or a refined grilled hanger steak with crispy fingerling potatoes. Well-priced wine flights are the perfect accompaniment.

King Estate winery 80854 Territorial Rd, SW of town, 800-884-4441, 541-942-9874. Tasting daily 11-5; tours on the hour, noon-5pm.

image c2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sights to See: Cascades Raptor Center, Eugene, Oregon

Located on the outskirts of town in a bucolic rural area at the eastern base of Spencer Butte, this 3-acre site is home to a collection of rustic, well-maintained enclosures set along gravel trails dotted with tall trees (there are some hilly spots). The cages hold permanent unreleasable birds of prey—including eagles, vultures, and owls. The focus is on northwest birds that are found at some time of year in Oregon. In fact, this facility has the most diverse collection of native raptors on the West Coast (it currently has 60 permanent resident birds of 33 species). A hospital area is off limits. More than 200 birds are received here each year, and it costs around $35,000 per year for food, so donations are always welcome. Informative handler talks and demonstrations take place in an open-air pavilion, and demonstrations are presented regularly in another enclosure.

Just across the street, the Ridgeline Trail offers both hiking and mountain biking.

Cascades Raptor Center 32275 Fox Hollow Rd., (541) 485-1320. 10 Tu-Sun 10-6, Apr-Oct; handler talks, Sat & Sun at 12 & 2 p.m. $7, teens/seniors $6, under 12-$4. 

image c2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, September 24, 2010

Things to Do: Canby Ferry, Canby, Oregon

This is one of only three operating car ferries left in Oregon. From Canby, the ferry has crossed the Willamette River to Wilsonville since 1914. To experience it, in Canby take a left on Holly and follow the signs several miles out to the electrical-powered car ferry (the historic cable-drawn M. J. Lee was replaced by a new ferry in 1996). The updated ferry holds only six cars at a time, so sometimes there is a short wait (it only takes a few minutes to cross the river). On the other side, continue driving on the scenic country road until you reach Highway 205, then head back to I-5. From here it is only about 10 miles into Portland.

Canby Ferry  Holly St./Mountain Rd., on Hwy. 99E, (503) 650-3030. Daily 6:45-9:15. $2/car.

More things to do in Canby.

More things to do in Oregon. 

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways. 

image c2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sights to See: Swan Island Dahlias, Canby, Oregon

Family owned since 1927, this is America's largest dahlia grower. New and exclusive varieties are hybridized each year at this farm, which currently grows over 40 acres and features more than 350 varieties of dahlias. You won't find a better selection of dahlia bulbs (tubers) anywhere. Picnic tables.

An annual Dahlia Festival is held in late August.

Swan Island Dahlias  995 NW 22nd Ave., (800) 410-6540, (503) 266-7711. 10 M-Sat 9-4:30, Sun 10-3, Aug-Sept only.

More things to do in Canby.

More things to do in Oregon.

image c2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Things to Do: Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

Two German brothers got a little carried away with their train set and now have an amazing computer-controlled layout with more than 800 trains in Hamburg, Germany.  It is the largest model railroad in the world. 

More things to do in Germany.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan trips. 


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Things to Do: Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany

One of the things I discovered as I prepared for my visit to Oktoberfest this year is that a lot of important planning information doesn't seem to surface until it is too late. For instance, you really must make lodging arrangements in Munich about three months in advance. I just yesterday--Oktoberfest begins this Saturday, October 18--came across two articles that are very helpful, but a little late, in preparing for this ultimate festival:

http://www.frommers.com/slideshow/?p=1&group=348&cat_cd=ARTCULTURE#slide

http://www.guidegecko.com/oktoberfest

Mark your calendar to return to my blog next July, when I plan to post the information I collect first-hand next month (I'm attending on the last day this year, October 4).

More Oktoberfest. 

More things to do in Munich.

More things to do in Germany.

More annual events around the world.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.   

Photo by das kine/Flickr.com

Monday, September 13, 2010

Great Sleeps: The Portland Hotel, London, England

This beautifully restored Georgian townhouse has large rooms—some with high ceilings and decorative molding, and some in the back with large windows overlooking the Duke of Bedford’s former garden (it is a backyard running the length of Bedford Place and shared with Montague Street). The sophisticated decor falls somewhere between contemporary style and old-fashioned English chintz. I liked the “fitted kitchenette” in a closet, and most especially its tea cabinet equipped with a hot water kettle and tea bags. Our dramatic oversized bathroom had the same tall ceiling as the bedroom plus another window looking out to the yard, a large soaking tub and shower, and a shiny black marble floor in which I could actually see my reflection. Breakfast is taken a few doors down the street in a sister hotel, The Clarendon. Guests can relax with a drink in the bar lounge there, too, or just sit in a private back garden.
The Portland Hotel  31-32 Bedford Place, in Bloomsbury, +44 (0) 20 7580 7088. 18 rooms. Weekend rates include continental breakfast.

More London hotels. 

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.  

image courtesy of hotel

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Misc: picture-perfect Paris


This very high-resolution panoramic image of Paris is so sharp that you could print a 20,000-square-foot poster and still not see any pixels!

http://www.paris-26-gigapixels.com/index-en.html

More photograph collections.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan trips.