10 Cool and Unusual Things to Do in Oregon in 2018

 

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  • The Sloth Center. Having a bad day? The Sloth Center is the cure. With small, guided tours, you can spend quality time with these wonderful animals, holding them and interacting without barriers.
  • Thor’s Well. This formation makes it appear like Thor himself is draining the sea. The hole is about 20 feet deep – but its aggressive water and dramatic surroundings make it seem bottomless and otherworldly. It is dangerous, so don’t mess around with the gods during storms or high tide.
  • Bagby Hot Springs. After a mellow 1.4 mile hike through gorgeous old-growth forest, Bagby Hot Springs visitors are rewarded with water naturally heated to 136℉. Some like it hot – or you can mix cool spring water in for the perfect soak.
  • The Enchanted Forest. Pure delight; this woodsy amusement park is filled with fairy-tale based attractions and plenty of games and shows. If you find yourself on Interstate 5, turn off and enjoy!
  • Painted Hills. Who painted these rocks? They are illuminated with bands of black, red, and grey. The desert landscape contrasts with Oregon’s otherwise lush look. The geography of the state is truly stunning: the same land that gives us deserts provides the perfect conditions to cultivate world class Oregon wines.
  • Octopus Tree. This 250-300 year old monster has a 50 foot base and numerous smaller trucks spread like tentacles up to the sky. A remarkable sight to behold.
  • The Hat Museum. They’re “bonkers for hats”! You can see styles from every age — but the house itself is a marvel. Look for Alice and the Mad Hatter; they might just live in this kooky museum.
  • Prehistoric Gardens. Forget Jurassic Park; here you can see giant dinos (statues!) roaming around the rainforest. Do not forget your camera.
  • Kidd’s Toy Museum. Let your inner “Kidd” out to play. This museum houses tens of thousands of antique toys. The detailing and craftsmanship are incredible. They don’t make ‘em like they used to!
  • Airplane Home in the Woods. Bruce Campbell takes his recycling very seriously. He’s turned a Boeing 727 into a home. Schedule a visit to see his kitschy decor, filled with hatches, latches, and much more. You could say his home is pretty “plane,” but we call it eccentric!

 


Oregon is filled with interesting and unique attractions; make sure to top off your day with delicious Willamette Valley wines and raise a toast of all that is weird and wonderful about our state!

Did You Know These 5 Things About the Oregon Trail?

Fantastic Oregon wine is not this region’s only claim to fame. The Oregon Trail was, of course, the “Gateway to the West” — and, if you’re the right age, a thrilling computer game! But the legendary route holds some surprises, even nearly two centuries later. Did you know:

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  • The Oregon Trail meandered. This wasn’t an interstate! The original route led pioneers through Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, and Oregon. But as people trekked through the frontier, they spanned out to hunt or find land to graze their animals. Some also went “off road” to cut new trails.
  • Pioneers used “prairie schooners.” Most people think of the famed Conestoga wagon when they imagine the Oregon Trail. But these beasts were more like the 18-wheelers of today. They could carry in excess of 6 tons of freight. For faster (and we use that term loosely) travel, pioneers opted for the smaller “schooner,” which could cover 15-20 miles a day.
  • Not the bacon! Money-grubbing opportunists often conned pioneers into over-buying for the 5 month trek. As a result, they had to offload supplies en route. Legend has it that during the Gold Rush, pioneers left behind 20,000 pounds of bacon. The horror!
  • Disease was the enemy. Disease killed far more people (20,000) than attacks by Native Americans (about 400). “Indians” were far more likely to be allies on the journey, not adversaries.
  • The Oregon Trail left an indelible mark. Literally and figuratively. The importance of this route on American history cannot be over-emphasized. Pioneers made their mark – you can still see the ruts from the wagons in all six states.

Pioneers embody the bold spirit of the United States; they struck out, searching for better lives. This thirst for adventure and improvement drives us today.

And if you’re still sad about all that wasted bacon, serve up scrumptious bacon-and goat-cheese stuffed mushrooms with a glass of bold Rainstorm Pinot Noir. Ok, maybe it’s not what the settlers would have eaten, but we think they’d pull up a feed bag and dig in with us!

10 Animals You Can Expect to See in the Pacific Northwest

Behold the wonder that is the Pacific Northwest. Not only is the climate and topography ideal for growing delicious, dynamic Rainstorm wines, but it also makes the region an advantageous home to a variety of animals. While you’re out and about, be prepared to encounter these wild residents:

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  • Burrowing Owl. These wise old owls, weighing in at just 6 ounces, make their home in burrows dug by squirrels and other critters. Each nest houses a breeding pair who produce 7-10 owlets. Pocket-sized cuteness!

 

  • Sea Otter. Always a crowd-pleaser, these furry water-dwellers are a “keystone species.” They have a significant impact on the ecosystem and many other species depend on them for survival.

 

  • Gray Fox. These foxy creatures are actually quite shy. Keep your eyes open and you may spot one while it’s foraging for food – which can be anything from fruit and nuts to grasshoppers and carrion.

 

  • Bald Eagle. If you’re around large bodies of water, look out for these majestic hunters. When you see the signature white head and tail, you know it’s a mature eagle.

 

  • Black Bear. Solitary black bears prefer to roam wide tracts of wooded land as they “hunt” for fruits, nuts, berries, and small game. They mate in summer, so be wary; males can be aggressive. Best to stay well away!

 

  • Gray Wolf. Gray wolves form tight packs, and these families can survive and thrive virtually anywhere. The Pacific Northwest is hospitable in that it provides a diet of hoofed animals and plenty of space to roam.

 

  • Cougar. Count yourself lucky if you see one of these big cats; they prefer to avoid people – and each other! Quite solitary, their beauty is unparalleled.

 

  • Beaver. The general contractor of the wild, beavers are Oregon’s state animal. The largest member of the rodent family, they create important habitats for themselves and other animals.

 

  • Roosevelt Elk. Named after a famous Teddy, this subspecies has the longest antlers of any elk. There are over 5000 in the biggest unmanaged herd, located in Washington.

 

  • Sasquatch. Just a myth, a legend, a tall tale? Or perhaps Bigfoot is real. There are a lot of wild acres in the Pacific Northwest…. Maybe he’s hiding out there with the cougars!  Well, you may not be able to find the Sasquatch, but you can certainly find terrific Pacific Northwest wines to liven up your dinner conversation

Who is your favorite PNW native?