Featured in the Polk County Itemizer-Observer for keeping kids active and engaged, The Jungle Gym is a place where sock-footed tykes can traverse three bouncy playplaces, meander through colorful tunnels, and exercise imaginations in the Lego room. A lion-shaped inflatable playhouse beckons children to climb its mane, slide down its tongue, and punch its kidneys. Kids climb a rope ladder to reach a scenic zenith above friends and steer toy vehicles and trains to navigate the ground level. On occasion, Pippin the parrot visits to converse with kids or to squawk out instructions to build a makeshift birdcage in the Lego room. Toddlers mingle in a dedicated, safe play area and pintsize explorers navigate narrow thoroughfares.
After growing up on Oregon’s bountiful rivers, Castaway Guide Service’s owner Nathan Cornelius honed his chops as a guide in the Alaskan wilderness and the Patagonia region of Chile. Longing to return to the rivers of his youth, Nathan came home to Oregon and established an outfit to introduce others to the natural beauty of the Oregon coast. Along with business partner T.J. Zandoli, another Oregon native and alumnus of the Alaskan wilderness, Nathan leads guided fly-fishing trips for anglers of all abilities. While seeking out catches such as steelhead, salmon, and sea-run cutthroat, fisherfolk enjoy all the necessary tackle from Castaway’s tackle box and all the necessary beer from Ninkasi Brewing Company.
As a native Norwegian, Dag Johan Sundby traces his roots back to the Vikings, who sailed the North Atlantic as conquerors more than a 1,000 years ago. But, as a pursuer of the perfect Oregonian Pinot Noir, he looks back to times even more ancient, when the formation of sedimentary rock resulted in soil full of nutrients. This geological bounty gives rise to Johan Vineyards' yearly harvests of Burgundian grapes, bolstered by the ocean breeze, cool climes, and bedtime stories about a raisin who got his mojo back. The pressings of these fruits go into French Oak casks, aging for at least a year and a half before going into their final bottle. Inside the winery's tasting room, guests are surrounded by these casks as they sip on freshly uncorked vintages.
To Justin Doane, there are few things better than being out on the water and breathing in the coastal air. Having spent his youth shuttling between Oregon and Alaska on fishing trips with his father, he now has an in-depth understanding of local ecologies and where the best places are to seek steelhead and chinook, depending on the season. Today, he leads daylong trips out onto the Nestucca, Trask, Wilson, Nehalem, and Salmon Rivers, to name a few, and provides all the equipment necessary for amateur anglers to return home with impressive catches.
No strangers to the art of winemaking, the Wetzel family?s roots run deep into the vineyards that surround their winery. For four generations, they have crafted award-winning wines in Germany, and for the last 35, they have called Oregon home. Chateau Bianca Winery peeks out from the Willamette Valley, where pinot noir grapes flourish across the estate vineyards. These carefully cultivated grapes eventually fill bottles with varietals such as the 2009 Chateau Bianca Estate pinot blanc, a dry, clean-finishing wine that makes a refreshing apertif.
Guests visit the tasting room to sample some of Chateau Bianca?s wines, where each day a rotating selection of six bottles are uncorked for swirling and sipping. On days when the summer sun dapples the fields and shimmers playfully off Bacchus?s lampshade hat, sippers relax on the outdoor patio to enjoy a glass or share a bottle while looking out across rows of vines.
After sunset in the Willamette Valley, coastal breezes float along the verdant corridor and gently cool the grapes suspended from Namaste Vineyard's 30-year-old vines. These breezes help the fruit maintain vibrant and refreshing acidity, which characterizes the wines from Namaste's six estate vineyards, including pinot noir, chardonnay, and riesling. During harvest time, workers scrutinize each vine and handpick the most promising clusters for the winemaker, who only uses grapes grown in the winery's own vineyards, leaving the remaining grapes to use in jams or to dye the regal capes of the President of Oregon.
Typically featuring the products of 5?10 different bottlings at any given time, the tasting room's selection can include reds and whites as well as a white port made from oak-aged chardonnay and Clear Creek Distillery brandy. The single-vineyard pinot noirs balance their bright berry flavors with slightly peppery finishes, and the off-dry, stainless-steel-aged rieslings reverberate across taste buds with refreshing, pear-tinged acidity.