Vacations

Christmas at the Beach

Over the weekend our family had a nice little getaway. My family is pretty big (on my mom’s side) and we used to do a summer camp out party and then a Christmas party every year. This year my cousin Di organized and coordinated a fantastic new Christmas party!

She found a giant house on the beach in Rockaway, OR. It was a giant house, big enough for the majority of people to stay there. I think there was something like 4 or 5 bedrooms (several rooms had bunk beds) so tons of people could sleep there.

We decided to rent a house in Rockaway with my parents. Our house that we rented was on the north side of town, the other house was south but it was literally 7 minutes to drive to the party, so no big deal.

You can see pictures of the vacation house we rented on my Instagram. It was really cute! It was big with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, the garage was converted to another bedroom/playroom. There was a fenced yard for Bella (fabulous) with a fire pit and picnic bench. The decor was super cute and kind of modern/retro. Check out the photos I took.

Plus, there was a GIANT closet stuffed full of toys for kids of any ages! Logan had SO much fun playing with the toys. What a great surprise!

Our house was one block from the beach, too! We had easy access to the beach. The weather was perfect this week–sunny and not windy and fairly warm. It was in the 30’s in the mornings, though!

We all arrived at the house Friday afternoon and then went for a walk on the beach. It was gorgeous and we basically had the beach all to ourselves.

After Logan went to bed, my Dad and Michael went to pick up pizza and Caesar salad for dinner and the four of us had pizza (Michael and I had beer from Buoy) and we played card games. It was so much fun!

Saturday morning my parents played with Logan and Michael and I went for a run. It was a very cool, cold morning but the sun was out and we warmed up pretty quickly. The sun felt nice! We ran around the neighborhood and by the beach. I ended up running around 2.75 miles. Then while Michael was making his famous mac n’ cheese for the potluck, my dad and I went for a long walk on the beach while Logan napped.

Bella was LOVING the beach! I have some cute videos on my Instagram if you want to see.

After lunch on Saturday we packed up the stuff we needed for the party and went down to the party house.

Here is a video of the BIG house everyone else was staying in! It was huge and right on the beach! It had a hot tub and a fabulous view. Lots of room for a big group.

How nice is that deck?! What a cool place to stay in the summer time. The party was fun. My cousin brought her 14 month old twins so Logan had a BLAST playing with his little cousins! It was so cute!

Logan is all about giving high-5’s and fist bumps. 😀

Logan did so good. There were a LOT of people (30? ish?) and he was a bit shy and unsure at first but he warmed up and had so much fun. It was so cool to see him spending time with family we don’t get to see often.

How cute (and hilarious) is the below photo?! HAHA

There was a potluck dinner. After dinner my dad and I took Logan back to the house we rented because he was fading fast. My dad stayed with the baby and I went back to the party for the white elephant gift exchange.

This is the gift I brought for the gift exchange. 😀

Have to say, the sweater might be the best gift!

Then a bunch of us went down to the beach for a bonfire. Nothing better than that!

The next morning we had breakfast and packed and then went for one last walk on the empty beach.

I didn’t want to leave. I love the beach. We checked out of the house and headed home. Rockaway is about 2 hours from Portland. Logan slept for a good chunk of it, which was nice.

Home to unpack and I went swimming. It was a great weekend!

Your Oregon Wine Tasting Guide

I was talking to someone online recently who said they were going to visit Oregon soon and wanted some suggestions on things to do/see and wineries that are a must-try. I gave her a few of my favorites and then got to thinking, I should do a post about some of the best places!

If you are planning on visiting Portland and want to go wine tasting (some of the best in the west!), this post is for you! Also, check out this old post I did about Portland must-see places.

There are a few places in Oregon that have great wine tasting. First up:

Hood River/The Gorge

The great thing about going wine tasting in The Gorge is that you can plan a weekend getaway and stay in this picturesque area of Oregon, or you can easily do a day-trip. Plus there is so much to do! Sightseeing, hiking, windsurfing, biking…you can find all sorts of things to do. Here is a list of the wineries in the area. These are my favorites that I always recommend to people:

Cathedral Ridge

We almost always hit Cathedral Ridge when we are visiting Hood River. It’s one of our favorites. We had a membership there for a little over a year, too.

The wines are nice. We usually focus on the reds here. The whites are hit-or-miss. Lately I’ve been really liking their chardonnay (which I usually don’t like!) so grab a bottle of that if you visit!

The nice thing about Cathedral Ridge is the little yard area. There are tables and benches with views of the vineyards and Mount Hood. It’s a really nice place to just hang out and if you had kids, let them run around in the yard and play.

Marchesi Vineyards

I have mixed feelings about Marchesi. I absolutely LOVE their wines. Most vineyard on this list are places where I enjoy 80-90% of their wines but there are always a few varieties that I’m not a fan of. But with Marchesi I’ve never done a tasting and disliked one of their wines. The tasting room is really nice and there are little private alcoves where you can lounge and have snacks (bread, crackers, cheese and salami) and do a tasting, or you can sit outside at one of the tables. They also have heat lamps outside for colder days.

The downside? The last few times I was there I had a not-so-great experience with someone who worked there and that was a bummer. Good customer service keeps me coming back…but the customer service wasn’t great. Which sucked because we were hoping to become members (and we ended up getting a membership at Cathedral Ridge instead because of the bad experience). I need to go back and give it another try. Hopefully it was just a fluke. This place can also get very crowded, FYI.

Wy’East

The tasting room is really big and open. But there is also a large patio area with tables, covered bistro tables and benches. It’s overlooking the gardens and vineyards. It’s really pretty and relaxing and a nice place to relax and enjoy a sunny day.

They have nice wines here–I tend to prefer their whites to their reds.

Syncline

I LOVE this place! It’s my new favorite winery in the Gorge. The wines are excellent–we both loved all of them! What really makes this place special? The grounds! They have a bunch of covered tables and Adirondack chairs all around for people to lounge. There were a bunch of hammocks, pretty gardens, and cornhole. It was such a cool, fun vibe and someplace I just wanted to hang out at. I really recommend this little gem. FYI – it’s on the Washington side of the Gorge (about 15 minutes from Hood River).

Phelps Creek

This is a nice little place in Hood River. You drive in the countryside, up and down rolling country roads, and when you get to the golf course, you’re there. I’ve always had a good experience at Phelps Creek–the people running the tasting room are really nice, fun, and knowledgeable.

Last time I was there we bought their Cuvee Pinot Noir and their small batch Chardonnay (steel barrel). They were both delicious.

Runner-up: Maryhill

Maryhill is a great place. I’ve been there for concerts and wine tasting. It’s in a gorgeous part of the Gorge (Washington side) with amazing views of the water, the desert, and vineyards. The good: the wine is great, the tasting room is huge, the patio and garden area is gorgeous and perfect for a picnic lunch. The bad: it is SUPER popular and ALWAYS very crowded. That can be frustrating and not the best experience. As a result, it’s been a few years since I’ve been.

If you head out to Maryhill, stop at the Stonehenge . Also, there are lots of hiking opportunities on the drive out there.

SkipThe Naked Winery (the wines aren’t very good, it’s just a gimmick); The Gorge White House (very cute, fun place to hang out, see the gardens and get food from the food cart but skip the wine).

McMinnville

Sokol Blosser

This might be my new favorite winery. I loved it so much we decided to become members and cancel Cathedral Ridge–nothing against Cathedral Ridge, but Sokol Blosser blew it out of the water in my opinion!

Some friends are members and recently invited us to join them for a mini day trip down to Dundee, Oregon (about 1 hour south of Portland). They are members and that meant free wine tasting for us!

Sokol Blosser has been on my list of places I wanted to check out, for a long time, and finally we made it. The drive was pretty and the grounds were gorgeous. There were tons of outdoor areas to do tastings or having picnics. There was a giant tasting room upstairs and then downstairs there was a Cellar Lounge for members, plus more outdoor picnic areas.

We sat downstairs in the lounge for our tasting. It was comfortable and gorgeous and the architecture was worth a visit in itself. The wines? Outstanding. Plus they have different price points so no one is excluded. The Sokol Blosser Evolution line is cheaper, but still delicious, and I think you can even buy it at Costco. So check it out!

Brooks

We went here for my cousin’s bachelorette Party and I’m itching to return! What a cool tasting room! It’s out in farm country south of Portland. The tasting room is huge, there are couches and chairs inside to lounge at while you taste. There is also a big private room with a huge table where you can do private tastings if you are in a big group. I guess there’s also a downstairs area, but I didn’t see that. The deck area was fantastic. They had heat lamps and tons of blankets (we were there in February). The views were nice, it was peaceful and relaxing.

The wines are excellent and the service was top-notch. I’d go back there in a heartbeat.

 

Other

Kriselle – Medford, Oregon

I wanted to include this one because we really liked the grounds and if you are in the area, check it out! I was pregnant at the time, so didn’t get the opportunity to taste the wines, but Michael liked the reds a lot and we bought a few bottles for gifts.

The outdoor tasting area was spectacular. There were views of the hills, countryside, mountains in the distance, vineyards and animals. The tasting room was huge, the patio outside was huge and had lots of tables and places to hang out. They also had a giant pizza oven (sadly it wasn’t open when we were there!).

If you are noticing a theme, I tend to love the wineries that have excellent outdoor lounge areas. 🙂

Cheers!