We recently did an Oregon Exploration with a trip from Seattle through Western Oregon. If you’re a history buff, you’ll love this! Our first stop in Oregon City was as historic as I had hoped, and I loved the museums, the river, churches, and yes, breweries too. I just finished the book Bell on the River, written by a nun originally from Canada near the East coast to join/start a mission. She and others persevered to Vancouver, WA in the early-mid 1800’s via boat & land, through the Panama Canal -before it was there- on this journey to the Pacific Northwest. There are only tidbits of information actually about the Pacific Northwest in the book, but enough to get me to Oregon City myself.
Before Washington and Oregon were states, the North half of the Oregon Territory was primarily occupied by Native Americans and Great Britain. The British, now Canadians, along with Spain, Russia and others, mainly used the land to trap for furs. The United States joined in, and the British and then-called Americans traded with the Native Americans, acquiring furs from them by trading clothes, jewelry, guns, housewares and more.
In 1846 the United States and Great Britain determined the national border would be on the 49th parallel, following the already established northern border for the central and eastern portion of the United States. The U.S. to ‘lock in’ and hold the land, offered free land to any emigrant in the U.S. who would travel to, and live in, what is now Washington and Oregon. This was to help preserve the national boundary line. Great Britain wanted the border on the Columbia River, where Portland is. Thus, the Oregon Trail and the West was born, and the beginning of Oregon Exploration. Please refer to history books for more information and details.
Back to our Oregon Exploration story!
Our tour in March, 2017, continued from Oregon City down to Salem Oregon. We spent the first night of our 5 day journey in Salem, a wonderful city. It was a very clean city with lots of beautiful historic buildings and lots of places to eat and shop. We stayed in the Grand Hotel Salem; it was grand indeed and in the center of town. Go see the historic district while you’re there.
We continued on to Ashland, via Jacksonville. Jacksonville had a unique life of its own. If you like history about the West, You must go there! Jacksonville is definitely a place to visit. Old historic buildings, a brief tour of the city and a lot about the past are for you to find. The individual shops and restaurants are fairly priced and have a wonder selection of foods and goods. I was delighted at what I found in the garden shop, and the food in the Mexican restaurant delicious. I was tempted, though, at the Italian restaurant, the ambiance is fantastically historic, and the smells enticing. The town has the Britt Festival, a music venue that sounds quite similar to that in Chateau Saint Michelle Winery, in Woodinville, WA.
Ashland was our next overnight stay, and the Ashland Springs Hotel in downtown was as historic and beautiful as ever. If being in the heart of things is important, you should stay here. Only a block from the
Shakespeare Festival, it was a great place to stay with a beautiful lobby and restaurant. There were many bed and breakfasts in town too. If you want to be out of town, then stay at the Ashland Hills Hotel, a retro-modern hotel with lots of amenities including pool and hot tub. Only 10 minutes away. A flashback to the ‘70s for some of us, it was updated, yet still funky and fun, with very comfortable beds! The city of Ashland itself is a Foody city, and boy did we indulge! All types of menu items, all types of atmospheres, it was a culinary sensation.
Next we headed to the coast, to Coos Bay, where we stayed at the Mill Casino. It’s right next to a lumber mill, and faces East on Coos Bay. The mill was never heard, but it sure smelled good as we drove by. My room was the largest I have ever stayed in, a suite in fact, with lots of windows looking out at the bay. The clear glass walk-in shower and jetted hot tub made the bathroom huge, and really got the ‘relax’ into this trip. A couple of tug boats went by for our viewing pleasure. Go try the beach, too, for more adventure.
Then to Portland. What a hoot. Staying at the McMenamins Crystal Hotel was an ideal location in downtown. My room was $125 per night, which was a room that shared the bathroom with other rooms. You can get rooms with bath, too. The basement had a 20 foot soaking tub, and the restaurant we had breakfast in (same building) was delicious. A little noisy, but for the price, a good stay. We walked through town all evening feeling safe and enjoyed the wonderful old buildings and architecture. The amount of restaurants full of patrons was surprising, and rivals Seattle. Does anyone eat at home anymore?
The last day was a straight shot back to Seattle.
Our company offers many regional tours across the Pacific northwest like this Oregon Exploration tour. Primarily Washington and Oregon, we also have a tour to visit Volcano’s in all 3 NW states, so includes Idaho. If interested in learning more, visit our website http://cherylsnorthwesttours.com. Most of our tours are priced as private tours, but we do have several seasonal tours to festivals, mountains, the ocean and more that you can join in on at a lower price. See our Seasonal Tours page.
Mount Saint Helens Cave is very worth the time to visit, and we’ve developed a new tour that covers a LOT around Mount Saint Helens with several different view points. Let me share with you what we are doing!
We begin with a visit to Ape Cave, the Mount Saint Helens Cave formed by a gas bubble that flowed into the earth below the mountain approximately 1900 years ago. Using flashlights and lanterns, we walk into the cavern and down into the earth, for approximately 30 minutes one way. The cave gets smaller as you go, and when it is too small to go any further, we turn around and returned to the place we entered.
Next we go to the Trail of Two Forests. A boardwalk over a fantastic historic lava flow site, you see what is left of volcanic flow that covered living trees and earth. The trees died and burned up, leaving the lava there, looking like a cement chimney it their place. Hard to discribe, you need to see to appreciate. New growth of mosses and trees are starting the next generation and new forest.
Turning East and North, we go the longer way back -and more scenic- and you see Mount Saint Helens from the back side of the 1980 eruption; you see the whole mountain, as if nothing has happened. What a sight it is, with glaciers and emence beauty.
A full, long day, it is worth the time to see these mountain scenes and sights via our Mount Saint Helens Cave Tour. You definitely can’t see this from visiting the National Monument of Johnson Ridge.
We hope you’ll come with us, it’s a super interesting, Northwest experience you’ll always remember.
Book your tour with us at www.cherylsnwtours.com.