Monday, October 2, 2017

A Country Drive:
Northern Willamette Valley, OR

Northern Willamette Valley

On the last day of September, I went for a Sunday drive on a Saturday afternoon in the Northern Willamette Valley. The occasion was to ring in October, which was kind of a relief after a summer dominated by forest fires and smoky air.

My first stop was the small town of Dayton, Oregon, where I lunched at the Block House CafĂ©, located in a renovated 1886 First Baptist Church. The warm brick entrance is inviting, and inside it's spacious with high ceilings. Thankfully, it's not over-decorated, so you can get a feel for the original building. The food’s not bad, either.

Block House Cafe, Dayton Oregon

I polished off my lunch, then headed across the street to Courthouse Square Park to check out one of the town’s main attractions – Fort Yamhill – an actual military fort dating back to 1856, relocated to Dayton by a prominent citizen in the name of historic preservation. History buffs (and anyone who played “fort” as kid) would greatly appreciate this rustic and sturdy structure that’s steeped in Oregon history.

Fort Yamhill, Dayton, Oregon

After admiring the fort, I jumped back into my trusty 1998 Subaru Forester and cruised a few Yamhill County back roads. The rain clouds were parting, the sun was starting to shine, and what started out as a drizzly day was shaping up to be a lovely fall afternoon.

And...I have a big, mean, jet black, jacked-up truck with “big wheels” that was bearing down on me to thank for the photo at the very top and below, since he pretty much forced me off the road to let him pass. But as luck would have it, my unplanned stop was in a beautiful spot with great light, pastoral fields, plus a well-worn barn. What could be more picturesque?

Northern Willamette Valley

On the way home, it was still so pretty out, I felt compelled to make one last stop to savor the day, so I hit Elk Cove Vineyards. Tasting good wine in a scenic spot just seemed like the right thing to do. It was – Elk Cove Vineyards is quite beautiful, and I left with two bottles in hand and happily headed back to Portland.

Elk Cove Vineyards