Fun Fall Activities...In Oregon.
It’s here. Every basic chicks favorite season! - I’m kidding! I’m totally that basic chick! The start of Fall means my favorite time of year is quickly approaching. That’s right - MY birthday! By far my favorite holiday. It’s November 29th. Just in case you want to send me a b-day present. ;)
Aaaanyways. Like I was saying. If you are anything like me, you are prepared for those pumpkin-spiced-lattes, cozy sweaters, cuddling by the fire, and pulling out your boots. The leaves are starting to change, the air has that autumn crisp sensation to it, and it’s almost as if you can smell it-
Fall. Is. HERE.
For a Miami, FL native, growing up, I only dreamed of experiencing a change in season. If you haven’t experienced an Oregon Fall, you need to stop what you are doing and come visit. It is breathtaking! This means, the views are where you want to go.
1 The Pumpkin Patch
When my sweet friend, Hannah, asked if I wanted to go to a pumpkin patch, I, of course, immediately responded with, “YES!”, and also suggested that we invite our friend Alexandra along as well! Now, when Hannah said pumpkin patch, I imagined a large farm with an immense amount of pumpkins, but what I didn’t expect was EVERYTHING else that The Pumpkin Patch (Sauvie Island) actually had!
As you pull up, on the long country road that is NW Gilihan Rd, even if you’ve never been to The Pumpkin Patch before, you know you are coming up on it. You enter through the big gates, park your car, and that feeling in the pit of your stomach that you used to have at your county fairs as a kid begins to come back. The smell of Elephant Ears in the air, corn on the cob, candied apples, farm life, and the life-size-flower-patch fill your nostrils, and that’s when you know - this was going to be an amazing afternoon!
As Alexandra and I waited for Hannah to get there, we couldn’t wait to check everything out! We of course went straight for the food! SO many choices! But we knew what we had to do! Corn on the cob, of course. Oh! But, wait. Hannah isn’t here yet. What if she’s hungry? We can’t do that! We have to wait. (Later, when Hannah arrived, she informed us she wasn’t hungry so we ended up eating without her anyway!). We headed over to the barn to pet some very deserving animals. In the barn were the cutest little black piglets, a Dalmatian llama, as I liked to call him, with a snuggle tooth, two peacocks, ducks, and some very fancy chickens! Now, I probably wasn’t supposed to do this, but I figured, “I’m a barn girl. I know what I’m doing.” So I proceeded to just lay on the floor where I could reach the piglets, of which three came running over to my out reached hand to get some belly rubs where they proceeded to fall asleep under my fingertips. Once I had put all the piglets to sleep, I moved over to Mr. Llama - his name is actually Cookie. He was a little more elusive though. Similar to all of the men in my life. It must be a pattern.
FINALLY! Hannah arrived! I’m kidding, she wasn’t that late. But Alexandra and I were so excited! Now to decide: what do we do first? The maze? Or the hay ride?! (And just so everyone knows, Alexandra squealed when she saw the hay ride and squeezed my arm, and said, “Please tell me we are going to go on that?”) But first, the maze!
Every year they change the design of the maze. So for instance, in 2019, it was Big Foot. I’ve only seen corn mazes in movies, and things never end well. But, it was sunny out, and aside from my fear of possibly feeling claustrophobic, I was excited to go on this adventure with my friends! They have different activities you can choose from. We chose the Halloween Themed Trivia questions. Depending on what our answers were at the designated stops, determined which direction we went in. We only did the first half, but I’m excited to go back and do the entire Maze!
From there, we decided it was time to check out THE Pumpkin Patch, which meant it was time for Alexandra’s favorite part! The hay ride! We climbed aboard, and we were off!
Down the farm to the most gorgeous pumpkin patch I’ve ever seen. I’ve never seen a pumpkin on an actual vine. It was pretty crazy to see. And it was so much fun watching everyone with their kids and the look of magic mysticism in their little eyes. Ahhh to be an innocent child again and not understand anything that’s going on right now!
We finished our afternoon with an Elephant ear, Alexandra shopped at their market, Hannah found the perfect pumpkins, and I made sure to get some candied apples.
2 Wine, Waterfalls, and More Wine
Wine tasting in Oregon can be extremely daunting. It’s a bit of a drive, and Uber rides can get pretty expensive - especially if you are Ubering on your own. And unless you plan on tasting and spitting, you obviously shouldn’t drive. You know that right? You do? Ok. Good! Also, there are so many vineyards, it's hard to choose which ones to go to.
My first year in Oregon, two of my best friends came to visit me; Cherese and Alexa. In a panic, I started researching the the best activities we could do. Through my digging, I found Evergreen Escapes! I chose the Columbia Gorge Waterfalls & Wine tour. They picked us up from my apartment, and off we went on the tour. We explored everything from Chanticlear Point, to Latourell Falls, to the Columbia Gorge Waterfall, Wy’East Vineyards, and my personal favorite, Cathedral Ridge Winery - the views here are out of this world! My favorite part about this tour was the fact that the hardest part was booking it - and that was easy. Then we just hopped on the bus at the designated time, and we were taken care of like school children being herded onto a bus for a field trip. We just got to sit back and enjoy the ride. And, my personal favorite, drink allll the wine.
3 1000 Acres Park (Sandy River Delta)
You didn’t think I could finish this post without including at least one of Bailey’s adventures, now, did you? I didn’t think so. This story features Bailey with his best bud Baylor! (Alexandra's pup).
While I would say 1000 Acres is a year-round activity, the path that Alexandra and I usually take is out in the middle of nowhere with absolutely no shade (for the majority of the trail), so in my opinion, there’s no better time to go than the Fall! The crisp air gives you the nice relief you need from the sun, and the water is still warm enough that your pup won’t mind a refreshing dip.
For those of you who haven’t experienced it yet, 1000 Acres is located about 25 minutes from Portland Metro in Troutdale. This is the largest off-leash park in the area and is also open to mountain bikers and horses. There’s approximately 1,400 acres of open field, sprinkled with some trails, two rivers (the Columbia and the Sandy), and some blackberry bushes.
Everyone you meet at 1000 Acres either has a dog or loves dogs. The dogs run free and play and fetch and absolutely bring everyone together. Bailey has made many friends here and begs me to take him every day.
4 The Japanese Garden
I have yet to explore the Japanese Garden this year, but if you want the most serene, colorful, and awe-inspiring morning/afternoon, go here. I love walking the trail and seeing all the gorgeous colors of the leaves. It's as if you are walking through a rainbow.
At the top of the hill, you'll find the Cultural Village which was designed by architect Kengo Kuma. This is where you will find art, seasonal activities, performances, and all things Japanese culture to dive into.
When you have finished walking through the garden, I encourage you to have Lunch at Unami Cafe on your way out. While you are there, you may even forget you are in Portland!
In conclusion, Oregon, I love you. I hope you love me too.