Sep 282015

For our first wedding anniversary Michael and I decided to take a road trip to Crater Lake. It’s a must-see destination in Oregon and yet neither of us have ever been! Or if I’ve been, I was a kid and don’t remember. I booked a cute cabin at the Union Creek Resort; it was built in 1922 in the Rogue River National Forest and about a half hour drive from Crater Lake. They boasted having a lodge, rustic cabins, an old-fashioned country store, a cafe and an ice cream shop. You can see the map here: groundsmap.


We packed up the car, and Bella, and hit the road! We stopped in Eugene for lunch. We went to The Cannery, a cool and hip-looking gastropub in the cute little downtown area. I don’t know Eugene at all, I think I’ve just driven through it a few times, but it seemed like a cute town! And of course a popular place if you’re a football fan…


They had a fantastic tap list –and of course they had my beloved Boneyard beer on tap–which was a slight bummer since I couldn’t enjoy it. But I did get the next best thing– fish n’ chips! I hadn’t had them in ages and these were really, really good. They were small and the size and shape of chicken strips, which I kind of liked. The fries were pretty good too. Michael got the kale salad with chicken and avocado caesar dressing. His salad was fantastic! This place was great! I’d definitely go back if I was in Eugene.

After lunch we were back on the road and the drive was super pretty. We left the freeway and were on a highway right along the Rogue River. The roaring river, the trees starting to change colors, it was picturesque. The drive was a long one, nearly 5 hours total from Portland. We stopped a few times at rest stops for us (and Bella) and arrived at Union Creek around 4:30pm. It felt like we were in the middle of nowhere and we kind of were.

Here is our cabin:



Our cabin was tucked away from the rest, which was kind of nice. And while it was by the highway you couldn’t really hear noise. The cabin itself was small and very rustic but it was all we really needed. A bed, a mini kitchen, a bathroom, electricity and heat. It beats camping!


I’d packed a bunch of stuff for meals and that first night there we made taco salads for dinner and relaxed with some card games after the long drive.


Bella seemed super excited to explore! :)


Our cabin was right by the Rogue River. Here is the Rogue viewpoint:



Not too shabby, huh??

One of the downsides: There was NO internet, no cell service at all. Which really isn’t that big of a deal because you’re kind of there to enjoy nature, etc etc…but it was slightly inconvenient for practical things like weather. The temperature swing was kind of crazy–in the 30’s and low 40’s at night and early in the morning but getting up to the 70’s in the day time. It made it difficult to figure out how to dress for the day or for activities.

Our first full day there we went for an easy hike on the Union Trail which was right by our cabin.


It was COLD. It was probably around 9am. We’d already eaten breakfast and got dressed in layers and I wore a wool hat, gloves and my big winter jacket. We hiked out through the woods, didn’t see a single person on the trail, and ended up doing around 3.5 miles.


Back at the cabin we cleaned up and I packed picnic lunches. We had plans in Medford for the day (about an hour drive south) so we took lunch with us and stopped at Stewart Park along the way. We had our picnic lunches on the bench overlooking the lake.



And here is evidence of just how bad the drought has been:


Yikes! That’s really low. After that we drove into Medford, made a quick stop for provisions at Fred Meyer, and then met up with Michael’s childhood friend Chris and his wife Jenna. I hadn’t seen them since our wedding last year (they got married a month after us and I wasn’t able to go to that). It was so nice to see them and catch up! He works for the fish and wildlife and does fire-fighting during the fire season. She’s a fire ecologist (which sounded really fascinating).

We went to a winery called Kriselle Cellars at their recommendation. It had stunning views of the valley, hillsides, farms, vineyards and mountains off in the distance. We all sat outside on the deck while they did a wine tasting flight and I enjoyed my sparkling water. This was kind of the first time I was disappointed I couldn’t partake because of being pregnant. Leading up to this I hadn’t missed wine (or beer) at ALL during my pregnancy. Oh well. Only 6 more months to go and then I can taste this wine:



Haha! Michael bought a bottle of the Malbec just for me to have after the baby comes. :) It smelled amazing so I’m looking forward to that glass. It was such a nice afternoon. The sun was out, it was hot and Bella could hang out with us as they tasted wine.


After that Michael and I went and got dinner. It was the FIRST In-n-Out opening in Oregon!!! We’d read about it a few weeks ago (and the 4+ hour long lines) and we had to at least try. I mean, when are we EVER going to be in Medford again, right??


We got to the In-n-Out and there were people directing traffic. The lines looked crazy. They directed us into the adjacent mall parking lot where there were like 8 or 9 lines of cars (which one article said could hold 200-300 cars!!!). You couldn’t tell what was going on until you were stuck in the line and committed to it.


It kind of reminded me of the long lines to take the ferry in Washington! But, to be fair, the wait wasn’t TOO bad. From start to finish it was 50 minutes. That could have been a lot worse and they were super organized and the line moved pretty quickly. They took your order before you even got in the line to In-n-Out.


Finally! DINNER! I love me some In-n-Out! I’m not really a fast food fan and don’t eat it very often but this is one splurge I’m willing to make! Their burgers are so good!


We ate our dinner, happy, and then made the long drive back to the cabins! It was a good day. :)

Aug 262014

My besties planned my bachelorette party. I had no idea what they were planning. My maid of honor, Rachel, set up a private Facebook account for her and the other ladies involved to discuss and plan in secret. Even when the day finally came, I had NO idea what was planned other than it wasn’t going to be your typical party–doing shots, staying out all night, going to clubs, etc etc. I was a-okay with that. I am getting older and the idea of doing shots sounds awful and even more awful? Trying to stay awake until 2am! Gawd I’m old. I’m not a huge fan of surprises because I am such a control freak, but it was kind of nice not being involved in any of the planning and just anticipating the event. Rachel said it was going to be a “day of shit Lisa loves”.

I did a quick mini workout at the gym Saturday morning, had a small breakfast and Michael drove me downtown to meet up with friends. It was Rachel (maid of honor), the bridesmaids: Erika, Robyn and my cousin Anna, as well my friend Samantha who is doing a reading at the wedding. We all arrived and we got in the tour van for EverGreen Escapes. It was driven by Dylan, who was very fun and nice and a great tour guide! He asked if I wanted to know what the day itinerary was and I said no. It was kind of fun being surprised! We drove towards the Gorge and he told us some historical and ecological things about the area that I hadn’t known before, as well as some of the Native American legends surrounding the “origins” of landmarks. Then we came to our first stop.



It was a view point up by Vista House that I’ver never been to. We all hopped out and he took a few pictures for us then the girls decided it was time to deck me out with my outfit for the day. :)



Then we got back in the van and went by Vista House and then down the old highway to the Bridal Veil post office! Remember, the one I was going to mail my invitations from? It was so cute in person!




After seeing that Dylan drove us down a hidden road and we all got out in the middle of nowhere. It was weird and then he said that Sam had brought a bottle of champagne so she opened that up and he poured glasses for all of us and there were cookies too! Little macaroons. They were so tasty.




We hiked a little ways up a hidden path and then we were at the Bridal Veil Falls. I’m surprised Michael and I haven’t hiked this one before. It was really pretty and quiet.


After that we stopped by another waterfall along the highway and he said the next one was usually Multnomah Falls but we all said to skip it. We’ve all been there and done that and on a weekend in the summer? It’s a nightmare with no parking and too many people. As it was we sat in traffic for a bit trying to get through it all to get past the Falls! So instead he took us to Starvation Creek. Another hike I hadn’t known about!

It was lunch time so we drove to Hood River and stopped at this restaurant/deli. I don’t remember the name of it now but we got everything to go because it was so crowded and loud and Dylan drove us up to a viewpoint in the Fruit Loop. That was a much better idea! We sat outside in the sunshine and had like a picnic lunch, complete with a bottle of Pinot Grigio. There was a gorgeous view of Mount Hood behind us.



When we finished up lunch they asked me if I knew what were doing yet. I said it was probably wine tasting. :) I was right! Dylan drove us to the first winery, Wy’East. It’s in the “Fruit Loop” in Hood River and they have really nice wines. Michael and I have been there once before.



It turned out we had a private tasting and were seated on the patio underneath a big umbrella and vines of wine grapes. They brought out a snack plate of gouda cheese, crackers, toasted hazelnuts and salamis. We did the wine tasting and I really enjoyed all the wines we tried, even the Chardonnay (which I’m not really a fan of normally). I ended up buying a bottle of their Pinot Gris.




I was not a fan of the Port so I poured that into Robyn’s glass. :) We made it work sharing stuff we didn’t like. The patio was so nice and there was a cool breeze. The day was warming up but it was just wonderful drinking wine outside in the sunshine. There were even a few cute winery puppies! Here was one that apparently loved cheese and salami. :)



After Wy’East we went over to Cathedral Ridge, one of my favorites in the Gorge. I was a little worried because the weekends in the summer time are kind of a nightmare for wine tasting. Too crowded, too busy. But we were ushered to a back patio, shaded, for a private tasting!



There was one white wine, that I loved and almost bought a bottle of. The rest of the flight was red wines. This is what happens when you go wine tasting with my cousin Anna:



Usually when Michael and I go wine tasting together we split tastings. It’s more affordable AND I’m a lightweight so I don’t totally sloshed by sharing a tasting. But yeah, this day? I definitely got drunk!



After the wine tasting we had some time before we had to head back to Portland (I am glad we only went to two wineries). Some of the girls pitched in for a bottle of red and we all shared it while we sat on a couch near the gorgeous view.




It was such a gorgeous day! The weather was perfect, the wineries were gorgeous, the food was good. I had so much fun with my ladies and it was definitely something I needed after some of the UBER STRESS I’ve been dealing with lately. There was so much drama and stress and disappointment with a wedding vendor but I was able to completely forget about all that stuff and just enjoy my day. I was grateful I had such wonderful friends to help with that.



And I was grateful that my friends chose the PERFECT day for my bachelorette party. They know me so well. This was a memorable trip and something that I probably wouldn’t have thought of myself. It was out of the ordinary for a bachelorette party and I loved it! Our tour guide, Dylan, was also a rockstar. Great sense of humor, wasn’t freaked out about a bunch of cackling hens drinking a lot of wine. 😉 He drove us back to Portland and dropped us off at Rachel’s hotel downtown and gave us each a big hug and me a congratulations. What a great tour!

Sam had to take off and the rest of us ladies went up to Rachel’s room to freshen up before dinner. We walked a few blocks to Henry’s Tavern where we had reservations. It’s funny, we ran into two other bachelorette party groups. One of them asked to take a picture with me because part of their bachelorette scavenger hunt was to get a pic with another bride to be. 😉 Thank god I didn’t have to do any of that stuff!!! Hahaha!

I definitely did not need any more alcohol but I ended up getting a beer with dinner–Boneyard RPM. I saw my beloved Boneyard on the menu and just HAD to…! Thankfully we’d all been drinking a lot of water all day and I drank like 8 pints with dinner, too!



We all shared an order of Henry’s famous onion rings and I ordered their small burger with a side of Caesar Salad. LOVED their Caesar. It was just a bunch of romaine lettuce that they grilled, drizzled Caesar dressing on and then salted. It had a wonderful salty, smoky flavor.


Dessert was on the house! That was very nice of Henry’s Tavern. Even though I was SO STUFFED I couldn’t think about eating anything more, I ordered the chocolate brownie sundae. It had ice cream, whipped cream and salted caramel. Thankfully everyone helped me eat it!





After that we made a quick trip to the Spartacus store and then back to the hotel. Thankfully I was home and in bed by 10:30. No 3am here! I am really glad we didn’t do something traditional. It was a very long, very wonderful day and I could not wait to go to sleep. :)