Go wine-free in Wine Country? Are you crazy?
For wine drinkers, there is nothing like a trip to wine country. Beautiful landscapes, fresh air, amazing wines, interesting shops, great food, comfy B&Bs, and romance are all tied up in one destination. So why go wine-free in wine country? Maybe you are traveling with kids. Perhaps you have health concerns or are pregnant. Some people have religious beliefs against drinking alcohol and some just plain don’t drink. For me, a guy in his late forties who loves wine, it’s because after sampling thirty wines from six wineries in two days (at Best Bottle we call this “wineboarding”) my body needs a break. Here is my mix and match short-list of activities for a wine-free day in Oregon’s wine country.
Home of Howard Hughes’ “Spruce goose”, the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum has a campus full of exhibits and activities for the entire family. With several dozen historical aircraft and spacecraft, science exhibits, two cafes, a movie theater, nature trails, picnic area, a small chapel, indoor play areas for kids, and a water park with a water-slide made out of a Boeing 747 it can easily fill an entire day. All facilities are Accessible. Admission is $27 for adults, $24 for senior, $19 for kids 6+. Age 5 and under admitted free.
Hours – 9am – 5pm Daily; Closed Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
Physical Address: 500 Northeast Captain Michael King Smith Way, McMinnville, OR 97128
Phone: (503) 434-4180
The oldest art gallery in the state of Oregon, the Lawrence Gallery represents the Northwest’s finest artists and is a showcase for original paintings, indoor and outdoor sculpture, jewelry and glass. It’s a place where artists and patrons can meet and mix and draw on Gary and Signe Lawrence’s expertise in acquiring and selling fine art. And for visitors that aren’t there to buy or sell, they also host special exhibits with works of classic masters including Picasso, Chagall, Salvador Dali, and others. Free admission.
Hours – 11am – 5pm Thursday-Monday; Tuesday-Wednesday by appointment only. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.
Physical Address: 19700 SW Highway 18, McMinnville, OR 97128
Throughout the school year sports fans will enjoy the opportunity to see top notch college athletes in action. The Linfield Wildcats compete in all men’s, women’s, team, and individual sports so you can count on there being a game, meet or match on at least one day during your visit. And since Linfield has won several National and Conference Championships there is a good chance of catching a playoff game! Check their website for schedules. Admission price varies.
Physical Address: 900 SE Baker St, McMinnville, OR 97128
Phone for tickets: 503-883-2421
I can’t say enough good things about Red Hills Market. It is a meeting hub for local farmers, chefs and winemakers and is my go-to eatery in Dundee. The artisan menu is full of tasty selections from wood-fired pizza to Chef Jody’s special open-faced roast beef sandwich with seared onions and feta cheese. With locally sourced meats, cheeses, and produce, Stumptown Coffee, and a comfy outdoor seating area this is the perfect place to enjoy a sit-down meal or grab a picnic lunch to take with. Admission free.
Hours – 7am – 8pm Daily
Physical Address: 155 SW 7th St, Dundee, OR, 97115
The small town of Lafayette is a great place to stop and shop for antiques, curios and curiosities. The Lafayette Schoolhouse Antique Mall is a three-story galleria featuring over 100 dealers and an adjacent gymnasium with antique oak, pine and mahogany furniture. It can take 2 to 3 hours to explore the entire building so be sure to eat before you go. Admission free.
Hours – 10am – 5pm Daily
Physical Address: 748 3rd St, Lafayette, OR 97127
Champoeg is a long-gone pioneer town with a museum, picnic area, campsites, cabins, yurts & pet-friendly hiking trails. You can explore the free historical exhibits, visit the Champoeg Store, watch a movie about Beavers, stroll through the historic 1860’s Kitchen Garden and tour the wheat threshing Manson Barn. Check the events calendar for special occasions like Frisbee Golf Tournaments, the Annual Barn Dance, Skills and Trades day, and Free Fishing Weekend where Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife offers visitors a full weekend to fish without a license (this year it is June 2 & 3). Day Use Parking $5, Tent Camping, Cabin, Yurt, and RV fees from $19 to $102.
Hours – 9 am to 5 pm Daily
Physical Address: 8239 Champoeg Rd NE, St Paul, OR 97137
Phone: Park 503-678-1251; Info 1-800-551-6949
If you are a fan of chocolate, you won’t want to miss the Brigittine Monks Gourmet Confections. Hidden away outside of Amity, down a mile-long gravel road, you’ll find the 45-acre Our Lady of Consolation Priory where the monks make five different flavors of fudge – chocolate royale with and without nuts, chocolate amaretto, pecan praline royale and chocolate cherry nut royale. They also hand-roll various flavors of truffles at certain times of the year. You’ll have the best luck getting them between October and April. It is a good idea to call ahead to find out the latest schedule. Admission free.
Hours – 9am to 5pm Monday through Saturday; 1pm – 5pm Sunday.
Physical Address: 23300 Walker Lane, Amity, OR 97101
Phone: 503- 835-8080