There is no shortage of picturesque views in the Pacific Northwest, it’s true, but the variety of places within a few hours’ driving distance from my home still never ceases to amaze me. This photograph is taken on a hill in the Willamette Valley in Forest Grove, OR. The Portland metro area is one of our regular holiday break destinations to spend time with family and friends. After driving on I-5 for a few solid hours, it’s a pleasant change of pace when the buildings give way to the patchwork of farmland in vivid yellows, reds and greens.
Rainboots, real “wellies,” are a must here and there isn’t an umbrella in sight. The people are friendly and welcoming, and you might even meet a social dog or goat on the road.
One of my favorite stops is Willamette Valley Vineyards at Tualatin Estates. Walking the boundary lines with the locals, sometimes we run into the owners or overseers of the vineyard and they let us taste the different varieties of grapes (Pinot Noir, Muscat, Reisling, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, and Gewürztraminer) if the harvest season is through. A visit to their tasting room has become one of my favorite grown up post-Thanksgiving traditions. I’ve always been taught that when in doubt ordering a local wine, ask for an Oregon Pinot Noir . Maybe with a few more visits I’ll have the vocabulary to tell you exactly why. ~Julia