OREGON: Feast On!

Autumn Festival Showcases Oregon’s Bounty with Mountain, Farm and City Delights

By Deston Nokes

Whether foraging for chanterelles, plucking huckleberries, quaffing expertly crafted ales or getting one’s teeth stuck on a candied apple, visitors to Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory glorious autumn festival, Feast On! (www.mthoodterritory.com/feaston) can indulge in a cornucopia of incredible delights.

One lucky little boy enjoys a carmel apple. (Photo courtesty of Mt. Hood.)

The Feast On! campaign, which continues until Nov. 30, offers special events and menus urging locals (and lucky visitors) to try new wines, relax in lodges and resorts, enjoy local produce, order distinctive dinners in fine eateries and visit the region’s harvest festivals.

At the Feast On! website (www.mthoodterritory.com/feaston), users can surf specials in lodging, dining, festivals, wineries and brewery categories. One important reason to check out the website first is to sign up for one of the promotion’s three, $500 getaways to a delicious Mt. Hood Territory destination. Just view the three “Flavor Trip” videos, answer the related questions, and sign up.

Running through the corn fields. (Photo courtesy of Mt. Hood.)

The site will guide guests to the best places to sink their teeth into crisp apples, hand-crafted cheeses, roasted hazelnuts, small-batch chocolates, locally raised lamb, elk and beef, and wash it all down with award-winning wines.

A quick way to get into the harvest mood is to celebrate fall on a tulip farm at the Wooden Shoe Pumpkin Festival (http://www.woodenshoe.com/pumpkin-fest) in Woodburn.
Running until Halloween, the Wooden Shoe Pumpkin Festival features family-friendly events such as a five-acre corn maze, a cannon that shoots pumpkins through the air with a cannon, ducky races, horse swings, paintball gallery and a farmer’s market. It wouldn’t be a real festival without an impressive selection of Oregon wines, Oregon craft brews and succulent local treats at the food court.

What a view! (Courtesy of Mt. Hood.)

Not every Feast On! destination is a rustic adventure. Culinary aficionados will be sated by the upscale menus found in Allium (www.alliumoregon.com) in West Linn; or by dining at Scratch (www.scratchfoodsllc.com/) or Olive & Grape (www.theoliveandthegrape.net/) in tony Lake Oswego.

Part of the thrill of exploring the Mt. Hood Territory is to get up the mountain itself. Resort at the Mountain (www.theresort.com), located in the shadow of Mt. Hood in Welches, Ore., is the perfect getaway to play golf, enjoy the spa, and forage for mushrooms and berries. The property is gleaming after undergoing a total facelift in 2009. Its 160 rooms and bathrooms and are fully renovated, and the resort put in a full-service spa, refurbished golf courses, and upgraded public spaces. It also has 18,000 square feet of upgraded meetings space, and a new restaurant, Altitude. For those seeking adventure, there’s year-round skiing up the road at Timberline, fly fishing, tennis, croquet, bocce ball, and even a natural grass, 18-hole miniature golf course.

At the top of the mountain road, Timberline Lodge (www.timberlinelodge.com) provides incomparable views, fine dining and year-round skiing. With 1.9 million visitors a year, Timberline Lodge is second only to Multnomah Falls as Oregon’s most visited site. A recent survey also named the lodge as the state’s most romantic destination. This is a mountain cabin on a grand scale: decidedly rustic, warm and cozy beyond measure.

For those seeking a truly singular wine-and-dine experience should sign up for a Winemakers Dinner Series (www.timberlinelodge.com/winemakers-dinner-series/), located at the historic Silcox Hut at Timberline Lodge. Once a month, Executive Chef Jason Stoller Smith and visiting winemakers will provide new sips and six-course delectable dining in a very unique setting on the south slope of Mount Hood. Space is limited to 24 guests for each intimate evening. Price is $200 per guest. Call 503-272-3251 for reservations.

Upcoming 2010-11 monthly dinners will feature the region’s finest winemakers:

Nov. 18: Ponzi (Maria Ponzi)

Dec. 16: R. Stuart and Co. (Rob Stuart)

Jan. 20: Domaine Drouhin Oregon (Arron Bell)

Feb. 24: Bergstrom (Josh Bergstrom)

March 24: Lange (Jesse Lange)

April 21: Chehalem (Harry Peterson Nedry)

Many of the region’s lodging facilities offer special packages (http://www.mthoodterritory.com/deals/) that include accommodations, dining and attractions. They can be found on the Feast On! website, or call 800-424-3002 and request a lodging specials guide.

Deston Nokes wrote a new iPhone app: PORTLAND ESSENTIALS. It highlights the best things to see, do and eat in Portland. With 259 entries and more than 2,057photos, it’s a delicious resource for those who live here, and for those coming to visit. Entries are listed by category and each links to a Web site and phone number. It includes cost and operating-hour information. Best of all, each has its own GPS to guide you right to the door. This new application is for sale on iTunes for only $2.99.