Southern Oregon is always beautiful, but in mid-October it is glorious. The green forests are punctuated with reds, yellows, oranges and a pink/orange I have never seen before. All of this beauty is further enhanced by fluffy white clouds floating in a blue sky. The rivers, the ocean and forests are complemented with the most charming places to stay, boutique wineries, wholesome and delicious food and, to top it all off, the best artisan chocolate. Here are a few of my favorite things:
B & B’s run by independent owners have always been among my favorite places to stay. They make you feel part of the family, part of the history. C.H. Bailey House in Roseburg, Oregon is the picture-perfect B & B set in a Victorian farmhouse that was lovingly restored by owner/innkeeper Jay Couron and his wife Sherry, who live there with their young son and two happy dogs.. C. H. Bailey House is as peaceful as a meadow, yet you can indulge in adventures such as hiking to the nearby waterfall, white-river rafting, mountain biking, fly fishing or cross-county running.
We awakened to roosters crowing and bulls making strenuous sounds. Coffee and biscotti were already awaiting us on the hall credenza just outside the door of our elegantly appointed guestroom, as aromas from Sherry’s gourmet breakfast selections wafted up the stairs. We started with an amazing melon compote spiced with fresh ginger and cumin, followed by eggs from the hens in the yard baked in ramekins with local sausage and tomatoes. They also offered every-kid’s favorite (no matter their age): chocolate-filled French Toast. We had no need to eat again for a long time.
In the evening, guests were offered local wines to sip while sitting next to the fireplace or on the spacious porch; or while dressing to go out to dinner. If given advance notice, the Courons will be happy to prepare dinner at C.H. Bailey House.. The couple is in the process of making their property a wedding location. A 50-acre Christmas tree farm complete with an antique fire engine is next door. What more could you possibly want?
C.H. Bailey House Bed & Breakfast
121 Melton Road, Roseburg, Oregon 97470
Tel: 541-672-1500 or Toll-Free: 877-3BAILEY (877.322.4539)
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Another piece of Oregonian paradise can be found at the Loft by the Lighthouse on Charleston, Coos Bay. It offers direct access to the beach via private steps, and a splendid, almost touchable, view of the Cape Arago Lighthouse. Owner Jill Kearns is a perfect hostess, inviting guests into her charming art filled salon for conversation and wine. Fishing, surfing, kayaking, and beachcombing beckon. Dozing off to sleep to the sound of the surf is better than a lullaby. The fridge is stocked with healthy items for breakfast.
Loft by the Lighthouse
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Spinners Seafood, Steak & Chophouse overlooks Gold Beach. We dined on the Chef’s "Oregon Bounty" menu, a selection of quintessential Oregon fare including Wild Mushroom Mille Fleur (with Agness chanterelles, lobster mushrooms, and Oregon’s farmed shitake and oyster mushrooms in a puff pastry); Bartlett Pear Salad of ripe Oregon pears, gorgonzola, and hazelnuts over greens with a honey-lavender vinaigrette; Duck Breast Maple Leaf Farm featuring naturally raised duck, Hunter Creek huckleberry sauce, crisp potato fries; Fresh Oregon Ling Cod ( the first time I tried this delicious mild white fish), a locally line-caught filet, wrapped with bacon, and served with artichoke hearts and a fresh herb sauce. Fortunately, we saved room for dessert: Hunter Creek Huckleberry Supreme, local wild berries on lemon-glazed pound cake topped with Umqua Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.
Spinner’s Seafood, Steak & Chophouse
29430 Ellensburg Ave., Gold Beach, Oregon –
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It is easy to find a beverage to accompany the splendid food. Hillcrest Vineyard is Oregon’s oldest estate vineyard and winery. Established in 1961 the winery is owned and solely operated by the Dyson DeMara family. DeMara studied wine making all over the U.S. and Europe. Small lot wines are handcrafted from grapes grown on dry farmed hillside vineyard sites. Grapes are crushed and fermented in concrete tanks. Frommer’s called this wine the best wine in southern Oregon. Varieties include cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, zinfandel "Cuvee 1888", viognier, ice wine, Riesling, valdiguie and syrah.
Hillcrest Vineyard in Roseburg
Tel: 541- 673-3709
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Bridgeview Vineyards & Winery in Cave Junction is owned and operated by Lelo and Bob Kerivan. The property is as pretty as a resort, and is one of the largest wineries in Oregon. Bridgeview produces moderately priced Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, early Muscat, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, and Riesling; and is most famous for their "Blue Moon" line. The Kerivans’ focus on having fun while making wine was affirmed by Lelo who said, "If I saw this as work, I wouldn’t do it!"
Bridgeview Vineyards and Winery
4210 Holland Loop Road, Cave Junction, Oregon 97523
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Brandy Peak Distillery in Brookings, Oregon was founded by R.L. Nowlin, and is now owned and operated by his son David Nowlin. The elder Nowlin collected large old bottles and made many of the wood-fired pot stills — some that look like kinetic sculpture — to produce a drink that captures all of the natural flavors and aromas. Brandy Peak’s delicious brandies have been winning medals since the beginning including aged Pear Brandies made from 100% pure spirits from ripe Bartlett pears; Marc Brandies distilled from the pomace of varietal grapes; Grappa, a traditional grape brandy aged in French Limousin oak; and the lusciously sweet Blackberry Liqueur from wild, sun-ripened blackberries.
Brandy Peak Distillery
18526 Tetley Rd., Brookings, Oregon 97415
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Everyone likes a little something sweet at the end of a meal, and Southern Oregon produces divine chocolate, lovingly made by artisan chocolatiers. Carys of Oregon is famous for his unique soft-crunch English Toffee. Carys offers Milk Chocolate/Almond; Dark Chocolate/Almond; Dark Chocolate Espresso; Dark Chocolate/Hazelnut; Dark Chocolate Mango; Toffee Fingers and Trail Toffee. These toffees are soft on your teeth, and are some of the yummiest you are likely to find.
Cary’s of Oregon
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Rock ‘n’ Roll chocolatier Jeff Shepard makes goodies for the stars, Bob Dylan included.
His Lillie Belle Farms Handmade Chocolate was named, "Best of the West" by Sunset Magazine. Berries grown at Shepard’s USDA-Certified Oregon farm, in combination with what Mr. Shepard calls, "the world’s finest chocolate" are transformed into one-of-a-kind creations that look like jewels in display cases. There are more than 30 different flavors of caramels, truffles and bon bons. I bet you I could eat them all!
Lillie Belle Farms
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The only problem with Southern Oregon is running out of time to enjoy all its beauty and bounty.
Special Events & Information
-Fifth Annual Oregon Chocolate Festival hosted by the Ashland Springs Hotel,
March 6- 8, 2009 – www.AshlandSpringsHotel.com
-America’s Wild Rivers Coast, Art, Seafood & Wine Festival, Gold Beach, Oregon
May 16 & 17, 2009
-Gold Beach Chamber of Commerce – Tel: 541-247-0923