STATEWIDE • COAST • INLAND
— Tax-free — Oregon is one of five states that doesn’t have a sales tax. This may or may not be a boon to residents, but it’s definitely nice for visitors.
— Pendleton products — For folks who like Pendleton products, Oregon is definitely the place to go, not only because of the tax break, but also because the company began in the state and is so closely associated with it. There are several types of Pendleton stores — retail, outlet and mill — but there doesn’t seem to be a discernable pattern as to what type of store sells what type of product. Some stores stock only finished blankets, clothing and gift items; others sell the cloth, and still others (not many) have scraps that are perfect for quilts or small pieces of handiwork. Check before you go to make sure that you’re going to a place where you’re likely to find what you’re looking for.
— Cruising — One of the best, or at least easiest, ways to glimpse Oregon’s diverse regions is via an eight-day paddlewheel river cruise along the Snake and Columbia Rivers. American Cruise Line’s Queen of the West traverses the state from east to west (or the reverse) as it goes through rural areas that get less than thirteen inches of rain a year as well as coastal cities that average three times that much.
— Lewis and Clark — Interested in knowing more about the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery Expedition? If so, take a multi-day trip along the Columbia with one of the small-cruise companies that feature guest lecturer Todd Weber. Weber is more than a historian; he’s also a performer who enlivens his presentations by wearing period-appropriate clothing and telling stories about a host of fascinating artifacts. His presentations are highly educational and completely enthralling. We can’t recommend them highly enough. www.ilivehistory.com
— Food trucks — Portland has approximately 500 food trucks, most of which are arranged in pods throughout the city. They’re fun and reasonably-priced, but beware. Many are closed evenings and weekends.
— Deli Deal — For quick and delish fast food, Flying Elephants Deli (several locations) is the place to go.. The recipe for their best-selling tomato-orange soup is on their tomato-orange soup is so good that we found the recipe on their website and have made it a staple in our home. Hint: If you go in half hour before closing, many of their pre-made sandwiches are half price. www.elephantsdeli.com
— Weird and Wonderful — The Voodoo Doughnut Store is across the street from a huge sign that proclaims “Keep Portland Weird,” and the folks at Voodoos do their best to oblige. While some of the doughnuts are normally-named (Neapolitan, Sprinkle and Double Chocolate), others are more creatively crafted (Dirty Snowballs, Old Dirty Bastard, and Memphis Mafia).
As for the Tex-Ass Challenge, it’s the equal of six regular size doughnuts , but if you can eat it in 80 seconds or less you get your money back. (Note: The word “regular” equals “gargantuan” in Voodoo language.) www.voodoodoughnut.com
— Tillamook Cheese Factory — Go hungry when you visit the Tillamook Cheese factory, which gets more than one million visitors a year. The free, self-guided tour ends with help-yourself samples of cheese and, if that isn’t enough to quench your appetite, the ice cream counter features more than two dozen flavors of ice cream. By restricting yourself to the ones that feature Oregon fruits such black cherries, blueberries and strawberries, you can even banish calorie-guilt. Just chalk it up to researching the state’s agricultural bounty. www.tillamook.com
— Barn Quilts — Drop by the Tillamook Visitor Center for a brochure on the area’s barn quilt trail. It will lead you on a fascinating drive along rural roads where you’ll discover old barns decorated with brightly-painted “quilt squares.” Delightful.
— Featured Special — Go to the “Featured Special” section on this website to read our article titled “The Barn Quilt Story.” You’ll find info and photos about barn quilts in Oregon as well as in several other states.
Note: If you plan to visit Pendleton during a weekend, check first to make sure that the places you want to visit are open. Many aren’t.
— Tour the Underground — An absolutely fascinating glimpse of Pendleton’s old red-light district — an area filled with Chinese laundries and gambling under the streets and brothels above them. For those who like cultural history, including racy-but-sad stories, this is a must-see. www.pendletonundergroundtours.org/main/ Call weekdays at (541)276-0730.
— Smell the leather — If you’re in the market for custom handmade western saddles or other fine leather goods — or even if you just like the smell of leather — you’ll love Pendleton, which has two outstanding leather shops. Severe Brothers Saddlery, started by Duff Sever who, along with his brother Bill, has saddles in the Smithsonian, and Hamley Western Store, where most days you can peek into the saddle shop and see craftspersons at work, and Severe Brothers Saddlery, started by Duff Sever who, along with his brother Bill, has saddles in the Smithsonian. Severe Brothers is closed weekends. www.severebrothers.com; www.hamleyco.com
— Visit the Mill — A free tour lets folks see how Pendleton products are made. Often closed weekends. www.pendleton-usa.com