Let’s talk about where you like to golf. If rolling hills, blooming wildflowers, oak savannas, majestic mountain ranges, rivers, creek beds, and waterfalls are your forte, Willamette, Oregon is your new hotspot getaway.
Known as the turf where the “grass is always greener”, Willamette Valley grows more turf and forage grass than anywhere in the world. As proof, the leading agricultural crop of Willamette Valley is grass seed. Yes folks, this is the grass seed capital of the world. If you’ve ever sprinkled your lawn with grass seed, there’s a pretty good chance it came from this Oregon locale. With over 400k acres of grass seed produced annually in the state of Oregon, 360k of that comes from Willamette Valley.
With plenty of courses to choose from, The Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club is among the top of the list. With green fairways and perfectly manicured greens, this semi-private course is the perfect distance. Located in a remote spot, it’s about 35 minutes from Portland, it’s not the toughest course, but the greens are lightning-fast. The holes are fair and even if you’re off the fairway, you still have some options besides just getting back in play.
Langdon Farms is a premier golf course and event venue located just 15 miles south of downtown Portland. Rated highly, Oregon Live, one of Portland’s most recognized media brands, called Langdon Farms one of the top Oregon golf courses. Live jazz and delicious prime rib make this spot excellent for playdates. The grill and lounge at Langdon Farms Golf Club provide friendly staff and lively entertainment. Not the place for a quiet romantic evening, but for perfectly cooked prime rib and incredible local music, it delivers.
The distance is worth the wait and weighed out to Tokatee Golf course. The location is so amazing that the golf is almost secondary. It is worth the 45-minute drive from Eugene and any enthusiast won’t want to miss this gem. We can’t forget to mention the OGA Golf Course. Prep yourself for a good challenge with water, sand and trees. Well maintained by Oregon Golf Association, this course has excellent sized greens.
While you’re in Willamette Valley, checking out the vineyards is on your list of things to see. Officially an American Viticultural Area since 1983, Willamette Valley is recognized among the most premier wine-producing areas in the world. With its award-winning Pinot noir, it consistently earns top honors for other varieties such as Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Pinot blanc. With 554 wineries and 719 vineyards, the state of Oregon has 725 wineries. Read that again. Yes, that’s roughly two-thirds of the state’s 719 vineyards all in the Willamette Valley area.
If you want to end the day in wine country on a porch swing with a mountain view, or spend an evening in a renovated grain silo on an 82-acre farm, or atop of the wineries you just visited, each experience is ready in Willamette Valley.
An elevated wine country experience can be found at Willamette Valley Bed & Breakfast. With five suites all have a fireplace, two-person soaking tub, en-suite bath with heated floors (*squeal yes, HEATED floors), private deck, and a lux king bed. Start your day off with a four-course breakfast and visit many of the local wineries within a short ten-minute drive.
Situated on eight acres atop Chehalem Mountain, Chehalem Ridge B&B is a peaceful retreat with stunning views. Fireplaces, jetted tubs, private decks and expansive valley views make this gem a perfect getaway from your getaway.
A 15-acre vineyard in the Dundee Hills houses the Black Walnut. Panoramic views, well-manicured rooms and an attentive staff breath fresh life into your stay. With wines from the valley available, schedule a massage at the day-spa and wake up to an organic breakfast from local gardens and local purveyors.
Foodies get on board for Willamette Valley with adventurous chefs serving farm-to-table, sensible eats. Authentic French Bistro Maison has been located in the heart of downtown McMinnville (near the Valley) since 2003. With traditional bistro fare from cassoulet to coq au vin, you won’t want to miss this exquisite bistro in wine country.
Cooking revolves around wild mushrooms and truffles which are locally gathered by owners and friends at The Joel Palmer House. Featured in 1,000 Places to go Before You Die, this four-course includes Wild Mushroom Risotto, escargot, duck breast or filet mignon. Owners have always endeavored to obtain locally raised ingredients in cooking, and use many locally produced greens, herbs, and vegetables, many of which come from their culinary garden.
Rosmarino is Italy in the Willamette Valley: authentic northern Italian cuisine served by Dario & Sheena. Almost everything is handmade at Rosmarino.
The Willamette Valley is also a favored destination for whitewater rafting. If you are a beginner rafter you might want to take a lounge-like trip along the eastern side of the valley to North Santiam River which offers plenty of luscious scenery, crystal clear waters, and moderate whitewater action. If you are the more aggressively adventurous type, jump into a raft on the chilly and rapid waters of the McKenzie River splitting through the Willamette National Forest.
Notably, The Willamette meteorite is the largest meteorite ever found in the United States. It is 84 square feet and weighs 34,000 pounds. It was found in Oregon but is not on display in the Willamette Valley; it’s now housed at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
As always, there are many more gems to be discovered in the Willamette Valley Area. So go ahead, take the leap, pick up the phone and plan your getaway.
By Michelle Keller