Guest: Valerie Estelle Rogers
V. Estelle Travel ~ Website: vestelletravel.com
The unexpected Covid-19 has halted all travel as we know it… temporarily. Mandatory stay-at-home days have turned into weeks, and while we are stationary in our back yards, in our living rooms, in our immediate neighborhoods, we are not stationary in our thoughts. Perhaps because we can’t have it just now, future travel is on everyone’s mind. When will we board a plane again, take that meandering road trip, or wiggle our toes on sandy beaches?
We miss you as much as you miss us.
For the dreamers and planners, and you know who you are, here are some highlights of the Highway 26 corridor to note for your next anticipated OPI vacation on the Oregon Coast.
From Portland to OPI’s ten properties nestled between Lincoln City and Waldport, there are several different driving routes to reach these sunset destinations. I challenge you to consider choosing this scenic route from Portland (via Highway 26 to Highway 6) which eventually drops onto Highway 101, the coast highway, at Tillamook. From Tillamook to Lincoln City, the drive is just over 40 miles of gorgeous coastal towns, peeking ocean views, and scenic look-outs.
The 26 corridor is mere minutes from downtown Portland, a short drive from Portland International Airport, and is worthy of attention. Check out these six highlights for an added day of fun or a quick stop to-or-from your vacation: Nak Won Korean, Vertigo Brewing, Pumpkin Ridge Zip Line Tours, Swagat Indian Cuisine, McMenamins Grand Lodge, SakéOne.
Nak Won has a following, a big one. Offering authentic and delicious Korean food in a casual atmosphere since 2001. Nak Won serves iconic dishes like bibimbap, seafood pancakes, and kimchi stew. In a dining room that seats 60 people, prepare to wait a short while because the secret of Nak Won is out, diners love it!
4600 SW Watson Ave, Beaverton, OR 97005
Tucked back and hidden in the perfect industrial area among neighboring warehouse businesses, Vertigo Brewery tasting room is a hot spot for locals who want to swing by and sip on a pint while snacking on the featured food-truck offerings. Or, if it’s game day, catching a sporting event on TV with friends. Dogs are welcome always, and kids are welcome when a food truck is present. The brewery produces just under 20 beer varietals from NW IPA’s, barrel-aged seasonals, to fruit beer. Popular choices are Razz Wheat and Friar Mike’s IPA. Vertical Brewing has been a strong contender on the Portland brew scene since it opened in 2008. In 2012 after some renovations to the warehouse, they added some counter seating and tables and opened the taproom. And, as always, the refrigerators are always stocked with beer ready to go.
8130 NE Nicholas Ct, Suites D6, D7, Hillsboro, OR 97124
Scared of heights, no problem! Pumpkin Ridge Zip Tours equips all of their riders with safety gear, belts, carabiners, and helmets for a day of adventure. If ziplining is on your bucket list, consider an afternoon spent with professional guides walking you through the lush Oregon forest, encouraging you to take the big step off the platform and zoom across treetops toward your next exhilarating zip. The platforms range in height from 15 -120 feet, but don’t worry, you will stay safely connected to cables at all times. Join in with a group or bring your own. Pumpkin Ridge Zip Tours allows children age 8-12 to participate when accompanied by adults. Family reunion? This just might be the perfect place to bring those crazy aunts and uncles.
22616 NW Pumpkin Ridge Rd, North Plains, OR, 97133
Swagat Indian Cuisine has three locations to choose from in Portland. Just off of Highway 26 in the Orenco Station area, this Hillsboro location is thriving. Swagat features traditional Indian cuisine such as Gobi, Korma, and Masalas. Speaking from experience, I personally can never have enough garlic nan, which ends up as a perfect bread to soak up the tasty plate sauces. In the words of another patron, “Who doesn’t love Gulab jamun? Right…A soft dough, lightly fried and soaked in syrup!”
1340 NE Orenco Station Pkwy, Hillsboro, OR 97124
If you thought you knew sake, you may be surprised. Yes, it’s rice, koji, yeast, and water, but it’s oh, soo much more. Much like wine, fermentation and pressing are involved, and much like beer, aroma, flavor, color, and clarity are important, but sake stands alone. Sakéis in its own category of hard beverages. Unsolve the mystery of how it is made by taking a tour at SakéOne in Forest Grove. Be prepared to wear (provided) slips over your shoes to keep the control rooms sanitized, and here is a quick spoiler alert, you will discover the sauna-like room that is part of the process, and you just might find yourself a little jealous of the rice.
820 Elm St., Forest Grove, OR, 97116
Craving pub fare? How about a juicy burger with swiss cheese and grilled mushrooms, or a basket of hot cajun tater tots ready to dip into blue cheese dressing. Perhaps a nice game of pool or a soak in the soaking pool calls to you. McMenamins Grand Lodge is part of a large chain of restaurants and historic-buildings-turned-into-hotels. The Grand Lodge was originally opened in 1922 “for the aged and infirm, and the poor and distressed worthy Master Masons, their widows and orphans . . .” Skip ahead through several more owners and a raging storm that blew a roof off, the Grand Lodge opened as a McMenamins property in 2000. This is a great place to stop off for a rest or happy hour. In addition to the restaurant, spa, and soaking pool, there is a movie theater, a park-like setting for ample lawn activities, six bars, and strategically places fire pits for warm summer evenings.
3505 Pacific Ave, Forest Grove, OR, 97116
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