Newberg, Oregon: Population = 22,508, elevation = 175 feet, Average January low temp = 34º, Average July high temp = 79º, Average precipitation = 39.95”
We visited Portland last April and found a vibrant city with great food, culture, breweries, gardens, and parks. We also found narrow streets with a severe lack of parking and chronic congestion. This time around, we skipped over Portland in favor of a little town in the Willamette Valley. Our rental was perched on a high bluff overlooking the river and the view was cool, green, and quiet.
Newberg is not a large town, but we found lots of things to do to keep us occupied. There are, for instance, three breweries nearby that we investigated. Lots of wine tasting shops. There is a good selection of restaurants.
There is not a lot of old really architecture in Newberg, but there is a house that Herbert Hoover lived in, with his aunt and uncle. The Hoover – Minthorn House Museum preserves this bit of local history.
To get our architecture on, we had to go visit Salem, the capitol of Oregon. It was about a half hour drive through farm country. We saw vast fields of grapes, hops, hazelnut trees, and many other crops. Here and there we spotted dairy cattle. At one point we stopped at the Willamette Valley Cheese company and got more cheese samples to taste than humanly possible to consume.
The Capitol was the only one we have seen that has a flat top instead of a dome as its central feature. The interior is simple but elegant. Walls clad in marble and wood rise up to frame large murals. Bright new carpeting with state symbols brighten up the chambers.
The Willamette (rhymes with dammit) Valley is a huge wine-producing area; home to some of the world’s best pinot noir. Signs pointing to wineries were everywhere and most pointed to 3 or 4 at a time. Our hosts, Mary and Robert, are very knowledgable about wines and the local wineries. We spent a very pleasant Sunday with them, sampling the wares at three of the vineyards and enjoying the scenery.
We enjoyed our stay in Newberg. There is a small town America vibe that is very easy to get along with. The locals seemed nice and easy to talk to. The Valley is gorgeous, brimming with every kind of crop imaginable, trees soaring to great heights, the river sparkling in the midday sun. We loved finding patches of wild blackberries that are bigger and better than those found in supermarkets. It was a oood place to sip a pinot and gaze off into the summer.
Next up: Eugene, Oregon