Blog post by Richard Edwards

Why Oregon? First Impressions

Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach

Since recently returning from Oregon, a complete convert to what is now one of my favourite US states, I was intrigued how many others have Oregon on their list of places to visit. Why should that be a surprise, it has everything from skiing on Mount Hound to surfing at Canon Beach.

People’s interest in Oregon appears to originate from a variety of sources. Some have watched repeats on UK TV of the American reality show The ‘Axe Men’ and believe the whole state is covered in Redwoods, Douglas Firs and Ponderosa Pines. Others work in the retail industry and know that both Nike and Columbia have their headquarters close to Portland and reckon there must be a really good reason for this! Whatever the source, and without exception, everyone wants to know more!

Couple of fat bikers watching paraglider launch off snad dune with views of snady beaches
The beachs in Oregon are all open to the public. You can even camp, remembering the tides though!

A quick Google search on ‘The State of Oregon’ offers the following description. “Oregon is a coastal U.S. state in the Pacific Northwest known for its diverse landscape of forests, mountains, farms and beaches. The city of Portland is famed for its quirky, avant-garde culture and is home to iconic coffee shops, boutiques, farm-to-table restaurants and microbreweries.” I think that brief description would spark most people’s interest. I should also confirm, just for the record, that Oregon is surrounded by four states, Washington to the north, Idaho to the east, and Nevada and California to the south. It also holds Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the US; Mount Hood and the Columbia River Gorge. That’s not to mention the four remaining “Seven Wonders”; the Painted Hills, Smith Rock, The Wallowas and the Oregon coast.

Smith's Rock near Bend, Oregon.
Smith’s Rock near Bend. Apparently the second most poular climbing spot in the US after Yosemite

I would also add to the list of ‘Why Oregon?’ that Oregon is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. It is possible to ski on Mount Hood in the morning and surf in the Pacific that afternoon. Of course, you don’t have to zigzag across the state to achieve a full repertoire of experiences. You could stay in Bend, a really funky town located three and a half hours drive south east of Portland. There you can cycle, hike, climb, paddle board and white water rafting. In fact, when we first arrived at almost every junction there was someone on a bike, in a kayak, hanging from a rock or galloping around a rodeo track!

Oregon, lends itself to a road trip

Oregon naturally lends itself to a road trip and offers an eclectic range of accommodation from small intimate ranches to funky beach hotels with racks in the rooms for storing your surf board and bike. There are haunted Victorian hotels where all that was missing is the sound of out of tune melodies emanating from an old stand up piano, the clinking of coins as gentleman throw in their poker bets and John Wayne propping up the bar with cold beer in one hand and the other resting on the handle of a six shooter! Elsewhere you can stay in a cabin in a resort, where everything is on hand from freshly made cookies at check in to having a stand-up paddleboard lesson, or in pods stuck half way up a tree.   

The stained glass ceiling at the Geiser Grand Hotel. Baker City

So why should you consider Oregon? I love that all beaches are all open to the public, unlike California where most beaches are privately owned. I love the variety of landscapes . One minute you can be in a high desert, the next lush green farmland and then a golden beach. I’m also envious of the full range of activities available from surfing to skiing available conveniently close together. I love the hipster lifestyle, the myriad of local breweries producing sometimes seriously strong beer and the artisan food culture that doesn’t always require a slab of cheese on every dish! I like the contrast between vibrant trendy cities and the calm creativity of old crafts such as saddle and boot making in towns like Pendleton. I just like Oregon… a lot!

Person sitting admiring the view of the Painted Hills, Oregon
The Painted Hills

So, if you are asking yourself whether the time has come for a #tripofalifetime then I can guarantee that Oregon is definitely worth considering!