SONIC is the largest chain of drive-in restaurants in America. With modest roots as a hamburger and root beer stand founded in 1953 in Shawnee, Okla., called Top Hat Drive-In, the name was changed to SONIC in 1959. The first drive-in to adopt the SONIC name is still serving customers in Stillwater, Okla. and today the chain
"Baker City's kinda big. It's got traffic lights," says Dave from the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center—traffic lights whose initial installation was funded thanks to a 1920s tax on the hotel's bordello services, which is another tale entirely. Baker City's population is just under 10,000, but the city boasts more than 100 buildings on the historic registry, which helped earn it a finalist position on Rand McNally and USA Today's Best of the Road "Most Beautiful Town" list.Tagging along for Historic Baker City's self-guided walking tour is an educational way to spot some of these distinguished domiciles up close, but for an even more authentic eastern Oregon outing, travelers can clip-clop through the streets in a horse-drawn carriage. Ron Colton, dressed in a white button-up oxford and a white cowboy hat, takes folks on leisurely equestrian rambles around town or romantic rides through flocks of wild cherubs. In a friendly country drawl with leather reins in hand, Ron points out where he saw lightning strike the cross right off the roof of the old Catholic hospital.
Beamers Hells Canyon Tours ferries passengers through the vacillating rapids of one of the deepest river gorges in North America. Along nearly 200 miles of majestic landscapes and American history, certified tour captains delve into detailed narratives on geological landmarks, Native American history, and how U.S. mail delivery developed from horseback to the modern-day jetpack. Wine-tasting and brunch cruises complement degustation with stunning scenes of mountain ranges, rivers, and rare glimpses of local wildlife foraging for food or preparing their tax-return forms, and fishing charters let anglers test their mettles against the river’s crafty steelhead, sturgeon, and bass.
Kestrel Vintners' two 80-acre vineyard sites furnish wines culled from a collection of dark, rich reds and crisp, fruity whites—all created and housed within the 15,000-square-foot winery ziggurat. Inside the tasting rooms, guests can sip on an evolving selection of six samplings, with offerings that may include the Lady in Red 9th Edition blend, juxtaposing dark, fruity flavors with rich spice and cedar, or the bright and citrusy 2009 Falcon Series sauvignon blanc. Drinkables are paired with a charcuterie plate, featuring a selection of cheese and cured meats arranged to resemble Italy's boot kicking a giant meatball. Visitors will take home two souvenir glasses to commemorate their grape-fueled adventure, and will receive 20% off any wines available for purchase at the time of their visit.