Traveling to Oregon

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The Oregon Tale: Traveling the State
By Jennifer Jordan
Oregon is a place that isn’t known for vacations: it’s not a large tourist attraction or an ideal spring break destination. It, quite simply, isn’t famous. Because of this, it’s one of the most modest of regions. If someone were to ask Oregon if it was a nice state, in its own humble manner it would probably answer, “Well, I’m definitely top 50.”
Despite not being known as a hot spot, Oregon is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Not only does it possess the naturalness of the Northwest – the land is paved with a tapestry of greens and browns – but it also maintains a sense of freshness, as if God is endlessly spraying it with Febreze. A place that quite simply has it all, Oregon is filled with mountains, valleys, rivers, lakes, plains, and even an ocean.
There are few places in Oregon where you won’t find beauty with the exception of the far eastern plains (Oregonians naturally refer to this area as “Idaho”). The state itself is filled with limitless majesty and endless things to do. The following is a list that will merely get you started.
The Enchanted Forest – Just outside of Salem, the Enchanted Forest is one of the most unique amusement parks of all time. In an era where parks are trying to obtain the highest roller coaster or the fastest ride, The Enchanted Forest has stayed true to its roots.
Located in an actual forest, this amusement park is perhaps one of the only ones around that is geared toward younger children: teenagers need not apply. It contains rides and attractions based on fantasy and storybook characters. Among some of the themes featured are Alice in Wonderland, Mother Goose, Humpty Dumpty, the Old Lady who Lived in the Shoe, and Hansel and Gretel. For kids who are a little older, there are also bobsled rides, a haunted house, bumper cars, and water rides.
The Oregon Coast – The Oregon coast isn’t a place where you will find a slug of college party kids or girls aspiring to go wild; instead, this coast isn’t your typical coast. In lieu of beach volleyball and bikinis, this coast has bonfires and clam chowder. The waters are often cold, too cold for swimming on most occasions, and people are just as likely to wear a winter coat as they are a tank top.
Because it is free of the typical coastal behavior, this coast evokes a sense of calmness and sereneness that other beaches can not possess. Going here for twenty minutes makes you feel as if your troubles could drift away, possibly carried off by a hungry seagull who mistook your worries for a piece of bread.
Oregon’s coast stretches for almost 400 miles, from Astoria (oh yes people, home of theGoonies) to Brookings. This vastness provides people with several things to do. From looking at lighthouses to shopping in boutiques, from whale watching to deep sea fishing, the Oregon coast is perfect for those with eclectic tastes. People may find enjoyment taking a scenic drive or staying at a beachfront hotel. Others may find certain attractions – such as the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area and the Sea Lion Caves in Florence – more appealing. No matter what you find to do, you’ll find that the Oregon Coast is a sure, or shore, bet.
Mt. Hood – Mt. Hood might not be the Alps or the Rocky Mountains, but you probably won’t mind. Home to four ski areas – including the only ski area in North America that is open year round – Mt. Hood is filled with volcanic slopes, valleys, and rivers. Perhaps the furthest thing from skiing, fruit growing is also something this region is famous for. From grapes to apples, from blueberries to pears and apricots, the only thing you can’t grow here is bored.
After a day on the slopes or a day of harvest, many travelers find their experience continues at the Columbia River Gorge, right nearby. This is arguably one of the most magnificent places in the nation: it’s as if verses of America the Beautiful were written with this gorge in mind. Containing Multnomah Falls, one of the 77 waterfalls in the area, visitors here can‘t help but ask, “Niagara who?” Six hundred and twenty feet high, there are only three other waterfalls in the country that are higher.
The Willamette Valley – For people who like wine, otherwise known as people who are breathing, the Willamette Valley is a great place to visit. Located roughly 100 miles south of Portland, this valley is filled with rolling green hills, country lanes, and covered bridges. It reminds people of a simpler time of life, when neighbors said hello, people helped each other, and farmers’ markets existed instead of Wal-Mart’s.
Three quarters of Oregon’s wine comes from the Willamette Valley: this is a valley known not only for some of the best Oregonian wine, but some of the best wine everywhere. Over 200 wineries are located here, waiting to offer the thirsty traveler a little taste of Oregon in the form of Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Pinot Gris.
The Shakespeare FestivalWhere art thou Good Theater? Tis in Oregon The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, located in Southern Oregon, is one of the oldest and largest not-for-profit theaters in the country. Tony Award-winning, this festival operates on an eight and a half month basis, producing eleven shows at a time in three theaters. Annually, this theater is home to over 780 performances and 360,000 patrons. For those who like literature, there is no better place to see Shakespeare’s words come to life.
Oregon is one of the best places to go for a laidback, unique vacation. It offers people a chance to experience a variety of things in an eclectic environment. Simply put, it is an Oregon trail of fun.