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>> rolling vineyards
The Willamette River flows for more than 150 miles from south of Eugene to the Columbia River at Portland. The river snakes gently in its valley between Oregon’s two major mountain ranges, the Cascades to the east and the Coast Range to the west, resulting in a mild climate and particularly rich soils that drew Oregon’s earliest settlers to put down roots here.
There are so many reasons to spend a long weekend in Oregon’s lush Willamette Valley, and the 300 or so wineries are a good many of those reasons. Tasty locally-crafted wines like pinot noir, pinot gris, and pinot blanc are one big reason. This is, after all, wine country. It’s also the state’s bread basket, producing everything from hazelnuts to fresh fruit on orchards and real working farms. Hiking in the nearby Coast Range, and great birdwatching are a few more reasons. Don’t forget the charming towns that dot this pastoral valley of green– some big like Salem (the state capital) and some small like Brownsville, with quaint downtowns and wonderful accommodations to stay the night in.