Looking for a weekend getaway that includes rustic scenery, friendly hospitality, and delicious wine? Head over to the Oregon wine region, which is a tranquil escape only a stone's throw from downtown Portland. The premiere wine region of Tualatin Valley has over 700 vineyards and is known for producing world-renowned Pinot Noirs among many other varieties.
Check out our favorite wineries and things to do in the region:
How to get there:
We took Alaska Airlines, which offers many direct routes to Portland. The best way to get to Tualatin Valley is via rental car or Uber. The drive is only 30 minutes from Portland.
When to Visit:
Late summer and early fall are great times to visit. During our trip in August, the grapes have color and are almost ready for harvest. Wine harvest season usually occurs in September through October.
One of the first wineries to put Oregon wine on the map is the Ponzi Winery, a beautiful estate overlooking 130 acres of vineyards. Winemaking at Ponzi is a family tradition that began in the 70's and continues as a family-run business by the Ponzi sisters. They have a true passion for their craft and the wine has even been served multiple times at White House State Dinners.
âVisit Ponzi: https://www.ponzivineyards.com
The vineyards at Ponzi are almost ready for harvest, set to occur around mid September this year. Be sure to try the Rose Pinot Noir - the perfect crisp summer wine.
Raptor Ridge Winery:
Located 500 feet atop a rustic view of mountains and valleys is Raptor Ridge Winery. This winery and tasting room offers family-like hospitality from the owners, husband and wife team Scott and Annie Shull. In fact, it is the only winery where were able to meet the owners, an experience that makes this wine region special.
The passion for winemaking grew from a hobby in the early 90s to the commercial winery that it is today. The vineyard has a close connection to the land, with hand-grown Pinot Noir sourced from a single vineyard.
We tasted a delicious flight of wine in the tasting room overlooking the vineyard. Be sure to try the Pinot Noir (a must!) and the GrÃ¼ner, a white wine variety that is grown by only a few winemakers in the US and usually found in Austria.
The vineyard offers tours and onsite yoga events - check the link for details:
Where to Eat:
Time to pair the wine with something tasty. Luckily, Cafe Murray Hill is located about 10 minutes from the wineries and offers a delicious brunch including banana pancakes.
Berry Picking Farms:
One of the best ways to complement your wine tasting adventure is to go berry picking in the local farms.
Hoffman Farm Store: http://www.hoffmanfarmsstore.com/
Where to Stay?
Check out these funky accommodations with AirBnB and don't forget to use our discount!
Have you been to the Oregon wine region of Tualatin Valley yet? Comment below on your favorite wineries and experiences in the region!
Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic and one of the most exciting cities to visit in Europe. The city was spared much of the destruction of 20th Century Europe, leaving the major historic Gothic and Baroque buildings intact. Many of Europe's finest cities such as Dresden were rebuilt, but here in Prague, you can see magnificent churches and impressive monuments in their original state.
We arrived via train from Berlin, a 3 hour ride (that turned out to be much longer). Luckily the Prague train station is centrally located in the historic town center, so we were able to walk to our hotel and all the destinations listed below. We spent a weekend in the city and discovered the top 5 beautiful sights to visit.
1. Old Town Square:
The square is the center of the historic Praque and features many notable architectural sights, including the Tyn church (below) dating back to the 14th Century. Additionally, you will find the world-famous Astronomical Clock, one of the world's oldest clocks. It is currently under construction to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Czechoslovakia (set to reopen at the end of October 2018).
2. Prague Castle - The largest castle complex in the world (at 70,000 square meters) is perched on a hilltop with panoramic views of the city. Be sure to take the "Free Walking Tour" to learn the history of this magnificent complex. If you arrive at noon, you will also be able the see the ceremonial changing of the guards.
Free Walking Tour:
One of the highlights of the Prague Castle is the St. Vitus Cathedral, a stunning Gothic Cathedral with a gold mosaic facade.
3. Charles Bridge - One of the oldest bridges in Europe built in 1357, this historic bridge is excellent for people watching and views of the city.
4. Lesser Tower - The tower is adjacent to the Charles Bridge and offers a bird's eye view of the city and the Prague Castle.
5. Prague Beer Tour -
Last, but certainly not least is the Prague Beer Tour. Prague prides itself on being one of the top beer destinations in the world. In fact, the world's first golden beer "Pilsener" was invented in a town called Pilsen in Czech Republic. There are many other varieties of beers found here in Prague and the best way to learn about the culture and tradition of this drink, as well as meet other locals and tourists is through the pub crawl.
"Nazdravi" - or Cheers!
We barely scratched the surface of things to do in Prague, but if you are here for a short time - be sure to check out these sights.
What are your favorite things to see in Prague?
I was not prepared for how dramatically beautiful Dresden is to visit. Dresden is considered the cultural jewel of Germany's Saxony region. The city center is a wonder world of baroque architecture, thought provoking museums, and scenic river landscapes. Best of all, it is easy to get to from Berlin and offers some of the most unique accommodations we have ever encountered.
Dresden Travel vlog:
Getting There from Berlin:
Dresden is about two and a half hours from Berlin - which makes it the perfect weekend trip. We arrived via Flixbus, which is a comfortable and affordable bus service.
Dresden has one of the most memorable hostels - the Lollis Homestay. The hostel has vintage DDR "ostalgie" decor, and our room even which featured a East Berlin TRABI station wagon-turned bed. The headlights served as the lighting for the room!
► ►Lollis Homestay: https://www.lollishome.de/en/
We were quite excited to stay in this awesome hostel:
Getting Around The City:
Once we arrived in the city, many of the attractions were either walkable or accessible via the city's excellent tram service.
We took the hop on hop off bus to explore the city's highlights.
The city center is alive with baroque architecture, including the iconic landmark Frauenkirche. This church was originally built in the 18th century and stood in ruins for decades following the war until it was rebuilt to its historic glory.
Pfunds Molkerei :
This shop is the perfect place to pick up souvenirs, including porcelain, soap, cheese, and chocolate. The interior of this shop has floor to ceiling embellishments and was featured as a filming location for the Grand Budapest Hotel.
Cruising the Elbe -
Dresden is situated on the Elbe, and a visit is not complete without a river cruise. The cruise takes you past some of the most stunning bridges, palaces, parks, and vineyards.
A visit to Dresden is not complete without learning the history. We visit the Military Museum, which has thought provoking exhibits on the events that shaped the city.
This 18th century baroque palace is a must see in Dresden. It was bombed during the war and was stunningly rebuilt to its pre-war state. The complex includes picturesque museums, fountains, and gardens.
We truly enjoyed our stay in Dresden. It was not only beautiful, but cultural and historic. What are your top places to see in Dresden? Comment below!
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We are two adventurous young professionals who turned our passion for travel into a blog to help others travel more.