Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sights to See: Grave Creek Covered Bridge, Sunny Valley, Oregon


It is claimed that the sun always shines in this beautiful valley. 

Grave Creek Covered Bridge  14 mi. N of Grants Pass, (at exit 71). This is one of the few covered bridges in Southern Oregon and is the only one that can be viewed from Highway 5 anywhere along the route.  Though it is closed to cars, you can walk across.  It was here, with puffy white cottonwood floating lazily in the air around me, that I chatted with several fellow Californians who shared a road-war story regarding some Oregonians they crossed paths with who disliked Californians.  Unfortunately, pockets of this prejudice still exist, but fortunately, they are becoming more rare.

More things to do along Oregon's Highway 5.

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

image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, June 24, 2013

Great Sleeps/Good Eats/Annual Events: McMenamins Hotel Oregon, McMinnville, Oregon

McMenamins Hotel Oregon  310 NE Evans St., 503.472.8427.  42 rooms.  Some shared baths.  Dating from 1905, this 4-story main street hotel is in the center of this small town’s action.  Beds are covered in chenille, and antique armoires serve as closets. 
          Dining options include the cozy McMenamins Pub on first floor, with two pool tables; the subterranean bistro-style Cellar Bar; and the open-air Rooftop Bar with a breathtaking 360-degree view of the region.
          A UFO Festival is held here annually in May.  Admission to most events is free.  Some of the most famous UFO images ever taken were captured here, in this usually tranquil town.  In 1950, farmers Evelyn and Paul Trent’s photos created a frenzy, and the national news media started referring to McMinnville as "Saucerville."

More things to do around McMinnville. 

More things to do along Oregon's Highway 5.


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

image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, June 21, 2013

Things to Do: Enchanted Forest, Turner, Oregon

Enchanted Forest  8462 Enchanted Way SE, 7 mi. S of Salem, (503) 371-4242.  Hours vary.  $10.50, 62+ & 3-12 $9.50; ride ticket 95c/each.  Built from the ground up by one family, this land of fantasy features gingerbread architecture and a forest filled with nursery rhyme and fairy tale settings.  A sheltered dirt trail leads through the forest setting to Alice's Wonderland, where visitors enter through a rabbit hole and exit through a maze; on to the Crooked House, where it is difficult to stand upright; and then on to the Old Lady's Shoe for a fast ride on a long, bumpy slide.  For a small additional charge, visitors may tour a haunted house and ride on bobsleds.  During the summer, live performances of fairy tales occur regularly in an outdoor theater located at the end of a fragrant wood-chip path. 

More things to do along Oregon's Highway 5.

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

image courtesy of attraction

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Great Sleeps: Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Mexico

Grand Velas Riviera Maya  U.S. 877-418-2963, Mexico 01-800-831-1165.  491 suites.  All-inclusive.  8 restaurants; 24-hour room service and minibars are included.  Located on a property encompassing 80 acres of protected mangroves, jungle, and cenotes (natural freshwater wells), this impressive resort features a long white sand beach.  With three separate and self-contained hotel areas, accommodation options are diverse—choose an exotic garden suite, an ocean-view suite, or an oceanfront suite with private plunge pool.    The main cafeteria restaurant offers a large variety of delicious options, including chilaquiles for breakfast.  The don’t-miss special restaurant is
Frida  Named for Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, this sleek spot offers Mexican fine-dining in a contemporary setting. The menu is upscale and fussy—perhaps a grilled flank fillet with roasted cactus leaves and a chipotle chili pepper stuffed with cheese, or duck tacos with anise and mole poblano.  Frida also offers a margarita menu, and a roving mixologist visits every table with a top-shelf tequila trolley. 

More things to do in the Riviera Maya.

More things to do in Mexico.


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

images c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers  

Monday, June 17, 2013

Things to Do: Shelton-McMurphey-Johnson House, Eugene, Oregon

Shelton-McMurphey-Johnson House  303 Willamette St., at 3rd/Pearl sts., 541-484-0808.  Tu-F 10am-1pm, Sat-Sun 1-4pm.  $6, kids $3.  Just a short walk down a woodsy road, this historical house is open for tours.  Built in 1888, when the railroad arrived and the town’s population began to boom, it sits at the base of a butte covered with pine and cedar trees and is Eugene’s only Queen Anne revival-style house.  It is built from local northwest woods and features 12-foot ceilings and embellished hardware throughout.  One past owner grew up in the nearby Campbell House.  Fund-raising seasonal high teas are scheduled for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Christmas and include live music and a tour of the house.  Hiking or driving on up to the top of Skinner Butte Park affords a panoramic view of the city. 

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

image courtesy of attraction

Friday, June 14, 2013

Great Sleeps: Fairmont Mayakoba, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Mexico

Fairmont Mayakoba  (800) 441-1414.  401 rooms; most are casitas; 34 on beach.  5 freshwater pools; 4 restaurants; full-service spa; 18-hole golf course; powdery white beach.  Mayas believe that if you lead a good life, you will become a crystal.  Be careful or you might turn into one here.  Canal boats and golf carts transport guests through this 47-acre jungle resort.  All rooms are beautifully decorated and have deep soaking tubs and private terraces.  The spectacular clean-lined spa has a signature coconut-orange fragrance, sells a line of mineral make-up that doesn’t melt, and provides a fitness room with ergonomic Italian equipment.  It’s a good idea to take time to observe the colonies of rare stingless Melipona bees, and I’m glad I didn’t miss a beer tasting (this is the only Riviera Maya hotel that offers this).  I had the pleasure of experiencing a beer tasting/food pairing led by Luis Garces, a certified beer server (as a sommelier is to wine) from Veracruz who speaks flawless English.  We tasted Calavera brand beers distinguished by a skull logo and produced in Mexico state near Mexico City.  Made for Mexicans by Mexicans, only the hops are imported.  My favorite was a Dubbel that originally, long ago, was made by monks in abbeys.  The brew is dark, tastes of prunes and chocolate, and was deliciously paired with a blue-corn sope stuffed with pork and plum sauce.

More things to do in the Riviera Maya.

More things to do in Mexico.


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

images c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers  

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Good Eats: Rischart Cafe am Marienplatz, Munich, Germany

Rischart Cafe am Marienplatz  Marienplatz 18, 089/231 700 310.  In addition to this popular location, this bakery has branches all over town and at the train station.  Inexpensive and delicious sandwiches and pastries are the big draw.  Informal seating is available both inside and out on the plaza, but many people take it away. 

More things to do in Munich.

More things to do in Germany.

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

image courtesy of cafe

Monday, June 10, 2013

Great Sleeps: Village Green Resort, Cottage Grove, Oregon

Village Green Resort  725 Row River Rd., 800-343-7666, 541-942-2491.  70 rooms.  Full breakfast.  Heated pool & hot tub open year-round.  Pets ok in some rooms.  Located just off of I-5, this gem of a motel features old-time one-story wings that vaguely resemble barns, and it boasts the added convenience to car travelers of a parking space right in front of your room.  Loving attention is given to 14 acres of gardens by a master gardener and four assistants.  Accented with garden art and water features, a labyrinth, and a miniature covered bridge, the garden includes a Widow’s Walk with dark purple/black flowers.  A large enclosed pool and hot tub area is landscaped like a “palm prairie,” with bananas and tropical plants.  My deluxe room had a nicely coordinated décor that included a handmade pillow crewel-embroidered with flowers and bees and a bed with an ivy print dust ruffle and fluffy light green comforter.  My favorite thing about my room was the private patio and garden.  A complimentary full buffet breakfast is served in the restaurant, which operates just off the lobby and has plenty of comfy booths.  An accomplished chef makes dinner there also a worthwhile option, and an adjacent lounge presents free live entertainment every evening.  Chimney swifts nest in an old chimney on the property from March until late summer, returning at dusk and forming a swirling spiral as they descend into a tall, narrow chimney.  It sounds almost as exciting as watching Mexican free-tailed bats fly out of the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin at dusk, but it didn’t happen the night I patiently waited.  The hotel staff was surprised to hear it didn’t happen--guess we’ll just have to return ourselves and give it one more try.  Gardening workshops, plant sales, and tours are scheduled.

More things to do along Oregon's Highway 5.

More things to do in Oregon.    

More gardens around the world.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.   
image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Friday, June 7, 2013

Sights to See: Zurich, Switzerland

This year marks the 10th anniversary of San Francisco and Zürich being sister cities, and Zürich invites everyone to come visit and help them celebrate.  Zürich offers two thousand years of history and culture, plus culinary delights in open-air restaurants (my favorite is the Bauschanzli beer garden where you select and cook your own sausages).  The locals jump in the Lake Zürich water for a swim during their lunch break, then go back to work.  You can join them, but you won't have to go back to work.  Or you can bike along the River Limmat.  Right now you can participate in the Zurich Getaway contest to win a trip for two from SF to Zurich on fabulous SWISS International Air Lines (this is the airline that has a special place in my heart for handing out delicious Swiss milk chocolate as a snack!).  Sightseeing and three nights in a five-star hotel included.  Check it out. 

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

image courtesy of Zurich Tourism


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Great Sleeps: The Campbell House Inn, Eugene, Oregon

The Campbell House Inn  252 Pearl St., (800) 264-2519, (541) 343-1119.  Prime lodging is provided here by one of the poshest B&B’s I’ve ever had the pleaseure of spening the night in.  Situated on an incline in the historic Skinner’s Butte district, just above the town’s recently renovated old-fashioned train station, the house has gables galore and is surrounded by lush gardens.  Built in 1892, it opened as a B&B in 1993.  Guests can stay in either the main house or in a more private carriage house.  Both venues offer rooms richly-decorated with sumptuous fabrics.  My cozy room in the carriage house featured a busy decor with gorgeous yellow floral fabric set against dark rusty-red walls—a very feminine yet masculine atmosphere.  It was appointed with a high bed requiring a stool to reach and had every convenience, including a switch to flip for music.  The 5th Street Public Market and the downtown Hult Center for the Performing Arts are within easy walking distance, and a riverside jogging-bike path is minutes away.  All this plus an included afternoon tea in the inn’s cozy parlor (think chocolate chip cookies and a large selection of teas) and a full breakfast, too.  Teas celebrating Secretary’s Day and Mother’s Day are usually scheduled in April and May and require reservations.  In December, carolers in period dress greet guests arriving for holiday teas cheduled throughout the month.  These three-course Victorian-style teas feature frozen mousse, scones, sandwiches, tiny desserts, and chocolate treats.

Some travel articles to inspire and help you plan spectacular getaways.

image courtesy of inn

Monday, June 3, 2013

Good Eats: K & R Drive Inn, Rice Hill/Oakland, Oregon

K & R Drive Inn  201 John Long Rd., on W side of freeway, in Oakland, about 40 miles south of Eugene, (541) 849-2570.  The Umpqua Valley is famous for its well-fed cows delivering rich, rich milk that is known to make the best ice cream.  And the best place to enjoy that local ice cream is here, where the area’s famous Umpqua ice cream comes in 35 flavors.  It is definitely one of life’s best simple pleasures.  A one-scoop baby cone goes for $2.50, a small 6- to 7-ounce two-scoop cone for $3.50, and a large 16-ounce six-scoop cone for $6.50.  Hamburgers and fries are also available.  Unfortunately, no restrooms are provided and seating is outside only.

More ice cream. 

More things to do in Oregon.

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

image courtesy of restaurant