Welcome to Oregon…a Wonderland!
Oregon is a special place. Made up of seven diverse regions, Oregon has miles of Pacific Ocean beaches and sand dunes, snow-capped Cascade Mountains, fertile farm valleys, waterfalls (Wikipedia says there are at least 238), high desert, crystal blue Crater Lake (the deepest lake in the U.S.) and almost everything in between. You can hike, bike, wave surf, windsurf, ski, raft whitewater, rock climb, fish, golf, enjoy some of the best wines in the world, and indulge in top-notch craft brewed beers. And don’t forget the savory Pacific Northwest cuisine. Oregon is affectionately known as the “Pacific Wonderland” and after visiting you will understand why.
Plan to spend some time enjoying this wonderland when you attend the 2017 Towry/Towery Family Reunion. Plan your trip to Portland and the rest of the state by clicking on the highlighted links below.
The Travel Oregon website has everything you need to plan your visit to Oregon, including a great visitors guide. You may download a digital version of the guide or order a print version.
Attractions - While at the reunion, spend some time enjoying Portland, the City of Roses. Travel Portland has what you need to plan your stay in Portland. Visit their website or order a printed copy of the Travel Portland guide by clicking here.
Washington Park is Portland’s “people’s park”, filled with a museum, zoo, forests, gardens and hiking trails. Washington Park includes the Oregon Zoo, the International Rose Test Garden, the World Forestry Center, Hoyt Arboretum and the Portland Japanese Garden.
Lan Su Chinese Garden, built by Chinese artisans from Portland’s sister city, Suzhou, China, is one of the most authentic Chinese gardens outside of China and is an oasis of tranquility in an energetic city.
Built in 1914 by one of Portland’s influential families, Pittock Mansion provides a glimpse into Portland’s history as well as a unique and expansive view of the city in a park-like setting.
Portland’s museums provide something for everyone. Visit the Portland Art Museum, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) or the Oregon Historical Society Museum. If you are interested in learning about the Oregon Trail and the spirit of the early pioneers who settled the West, travel a short distance south of Portland to Oregon City and visit the End of the Trail Interpretative Center.
Portland is home to bibliophile heaven. Powell’s City of Books occupies a full city block and contains over one million books…and it isn’t one of those dusty, musty bookstores. It made Time Magazine’s 10 Things to Do In Portland list.
Portland Saturday Market, an open-air arts and crafts marketplace for 350+ artisans, happens every Saturday and Sunday. Here you will find something unique to remember your visit to Portland.
Food and Beverage Scene - A visit to Portland would not be complete without enjoying Portland’s unique food and beverages.
Portland, known to some as “Beertown”, has over 75 microbreweries and the number is growing. USA Today’s 10 Best provides a list of their top picks of the Portland brew scene. You can also learn more about the local breweries and their locations at the PortlandBeer.org website.
Portlanders love food carts. There are over 600 carts around town with some of the best food around. Often you will find carts in a “pod”, or grouping, making it easy and fun to switch up the variety for your meal. Travel Portland provides a good overview of the variety and locations of Portland’s food carts.
If you are a foodie, here is a review of the Portland food scene from the Washington Post’s “The Search for America’s Best Food Cities.” (Portland ranked first!) The Oregonian newspaper also provides their picks of restaurants around town. And the Oregon Wine Board annually presents their A-List Award restaurants, including a number in Portland, that display enthusiasm for Oregon wine and a deep appreciation of the diverse regions, varietals and producers of Oregon.
Yes, Portlanders love donuts. Voodoo Donuts is the most commercially known of the Portland donut purveyors…and a visit to Voodoo it is something to experience. However, don’t overlook the other great Portland donut shops that offer savory, less commercial creations. Read more here about where to go for a great donut…or two…or a dozen. Yum!
Getting Around in Portland - Travel Portland and US News provide tips on how to get around in Portland. Portland has many options, including light rail, bus system, and streetcars, in addition to car rentals and taxis. Many Portlanders bike so be aware of a higher than “normal” number of bicyclists sharing the road with you if you are driving in Portland.
Things to See and Do in the Neighboring Areas and Beyond
For each of the areas below, be sure to map them on your smartphone GPS or visit the website for information about travel times and distance from Portland.
Oregon’s wines are some of the very best in the world. The Oregon Wine website will help you select a tour route to experience Oregon wine country. If you aren’t a wine drinker, come along anyway. You will see some of the most beautiful countryside in the U.S. and meet some great Oregonians who love what they do. Download the digital version of the tour guide or order a printed guide by clicking here.
While in the wine country region southwest of Portland, visit the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville. It is home to the Spruce Goose, the largest aircraft ever constructed and built entirely of wood.
Mt. Hood, Oregon’s highest peak, is located about 50 miles east-southeast of Portland. “Hood”, as locals refer to it, is home to historic Timberline Lodge. Built between 1936 and 1937 by local artisans and workers as a WPA project, Timberline Lodge hosts some of the only year-round skiing anywhere. Constructed out of stone and wood from the surrounding forest, the lodge’s design mirrors the lines of the mountain. It’s also a great place to enjoy your favorite beverage and marvel at the massive peak just outside the window.
Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area, Oregon’s National Scenic Area, is just a short drive east of Portland on Interstate-84. Along the way, visit majestic Multnomah Falls, at 620 feet, one of the 78 waterfalls on the Oregon side of the Gorge. Go to Crown Point’s Vista House to take in a breathtaking view of the Gorge and the Columbia River. Or drive the Historic Columbia River Highway, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016.
At Fort Vancouver, across the Columbia River from Portland in present-day Vancouver, Washington, visitors can experience what life was like in a 19th-century fur-trading outpost Head west and get a real sense of what the Corps of Discovery experienced when they arrived at the Pacific Ocean when you visit Lewis & Clark National and State Historical Parks and Fort Clatsop. This was the last encampment of the Corps of Discovery before they began their return trip east to St. Louis in 1806.
Where were you on May 18, 1980? Thirty-six years ago on this date one of the most significant geologic events of the 20th century took place just up the road from Portland - the volcanic eruption of Mt. St. Helens. Located in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Southern Washington, Mt. St. Helens’ three visitors’ centers tell the story of the destruction and rebirth of this scenic area. The most accessible center from Portland is the Washington State Parks Mt. St. Helens Visitors Center. Weyerhaeuser operates the Weyerhaeuser Forest Learning Center, which is in the blast zone and the Johnson Ridge Observatory is in the heart of the blast zone with a great view of the mountain.
Oregon lays claim to the deepest lake in the U.S., Crater Lake. Created by a volcanic eruption 42 times greater than the one of Mt. St. Helens, Crater Lake is 5 by 6 miles across and 1,949 ft. deep. The lake has no inlets or tributaries, so it holds some of the purest (and bluest) water in the world.
A trip to Oregon would be incomplete without visiting Central Oregon and exploring the land of lava. Visit Smith Rock (a rock climbing mecca…or you can hike or stroll along trails in this amazing place), catch steelhead and trout on the Deschutes River, and end the day in Bend for good food and beverage.
Come to the Towry/Towery Family Reunion in June 2017 and stay awhile in Oregon. You won’t regret it!