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Feb 02, 2014
By John Gottberg Anderson • For The Bulletin
Travel Oregon. 1000 S.W. Broadway, Suite 2300, Portland; 503-275-9750, 800-962-3700, www.traveloregon.com
Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday this year. It is followed three days later by a national holiday, President’s Day — which means the day of romance will kick off a three-day weekend. No doubt, many couples will want to head out of town to celebrate their passion.
Where to go? From the Columbia Gorge to metropolitan Portland, down through the Willamette Valley to Southern Oregon, a slew of destinations — most of them within three hours’ drive of Bend — are pulling out all the stops for Valentine’s weekend visitors.
From spa treatments to wine tastings (with chocolates), from dance music to sweet strawberries (with champagne), lovers won’t find it hard to stir their ardor.
Here are suggestions for how and where to spend your Valentine’s holiday:
Wine and chocolate
Thirty wineries on both sides of the Columbia River are joining hands — or at least raising toasts — to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the Columbia Gorge Wine and Chocolate Weekend (Feb. 14-17). Many wineries are pouring new releases of reds, whites and dessert wines, with bottle discounts offered.
The Historic Sunshine Mill in The Dalles will offer wine and chocolate pairings and packages, with confections from the local Chocolate Lab as well as strawberries and angel-food cake. Hood River’s Cathedral Ridge Winery and Naked Winery will offer gourmet chocolates with their bold reds and customized wine flights, while the Phelps Creek Winery will serve a new sweet-wine flight that includes its own estate ice wine. The Gorge White House in Hood River will also be open for all four weekend days.
Cascade Cliffs Vineyard (Wishram) and COR Cellars (Lyle) promise an assortment of dark chocolates to pair with their red wines. The White Salmon Vineyard (Underwood), Syncline Wine Cellars (Lyle), the Jacob Williams Winery (Wishram) and the Waving Tree Winery (Maryhill) also plan to be open on all four weekend days.
For additional details and lodging options, contact www.columbiagorgewine.com.
One possible accommodation choice is the picturesque Skamania Lodge, located near Stevenson, Wash., almost opposite Cascade Locks.
At once luxurious and rustic, the celebrated spa hotel is offering three “Month of Romance” packages through February.
The Lover’s Retreat ($539) includes premier lodging, a couple’s massage, and a bouquet of tulips with a box of chocolate-covered cherries upon arrival. Two less-inclusive packages are called “A Night to Remember” ($264) and “Passionate Escape” ($224). (Rates do not include tax, gratuities or lodge fee.) Pianist Tom Grant and singer Shelly Rudolph will play a Friday night Valentine’s jazz and dance concert. Mimosa breakfasts-in-bed will be offered on Saturday and Sunday mornings, and the hotel restaurants will offer special dinner and cocktail menus.
The Waterleaf Spa also is offering several Valentine’s packages, including the “Four Hands and Two Hearts” couples massage ($330 for two) — an 80-minute, side-by-side aromatherapy massage with glasses of champagne. The “Be My Valentine” package ($340 per person) is a three-hour indulgence that includes an exfoliating sugar scrub, a massage and a facial, along with a long-stem rose and champagne. There’s also a “Sweet Red Rose” facial ($145) and a “Devil Made Me Do It” chocolate pedicure ($65) or manicure ($55).
Information: 866-399-7980 or www.skamania.com/valentines-day.
Sweethearts who want a little more privacy can consider a getaway to the Historic Balch Hotel in Dufur, 13 miles south of The Dalles and just off U.S. Highway 197. A red-brick landmark in this old farming town, the Balch has just 18 rooms, and its Valentine’s weekend special includes a romantic four-course dinner. Information: 541-467-2277 or www.balchhotel.com.
Each of downtown Portland’s Provenance Hotels group, which includes the popular Lucia, deLuxe and Governor properties, is offering its own romance package. Hotel deLuxe is serving up a twist on the old-fashioned date night and movie. Overnight guests will enjoy a three-course dinner for two at Gracie’s restaurant with a piano serenade of classic movie love songs. After dinner, they’ll enjoy chocolates and pinot noir as they snuggle up in their room with a DVD of the 1957 Cary Grant-Deborah Kerr movie “An Affair to Remember,” which also happens to be the name given to this package. Rates start at $249 plus tax. Reservations: 866-986-8085 or www.hoteldeluxe portland.com.
At chic Hotel Lucia, overnight guests may oversleep in newly renovated rooms with the “Morning After” package: They need not check out until 1 p.m. Priced from $329 per night, this package features plush bathrobes, a $30 credit for breakfast in bed, a bottle of chilled bubbly and freshly squeezed orange juice for mixing their own mimosas. Reservations: 866-986-8086 or www.hotellucia.com.
The “Tempting Turndown” package at the historic Governor Hotel will set the mood for romance with fresh rose petals on the bed, a chilled bottle of Prosecco and a late-night snack featuring fresh strawberries, whipped cream and gourmet chocolate sauce. Checkout isn’t until 2 p.m. the next day. The package is priced from $239. Reservations: 888-246-5631, www.gov ernorhotel.com.
At the Hotel Monaco, the “Even Cupid Is Blushing” package will allow couples to arrive in their rooms to find champagne on ice, rose petals on their bed, bath salts beside their tub, a feather boa and body-massage oil. Priced from $319. Reservations: 888-207-2201 or www.monaco-port land.com.
At the RiverPlace Hotel, Valentine’s guests are being encouraged to check all of their personal electronics devices — cellphones, laptop computers, iPods and the like — into a private safe to enable them to enjoy a “Romantic Revival” with their loved one. Lodging in the four-star hotel will include late checkout, chocolates and sparkling wine, and a private bath butler to draw an indulgent bath with special amenities. Priced from $454. Reservations: 888-869-3108 or www.riverplace hotel.com.
And then there’s the Vintage Plaza’s “Conceive and Receive” package. Romantic rooms come stocked not only with red wine and chocolates, but also with oysters, mood music, and a book entitled “How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby.” Parents who start a family during their stay will receive 25 percent off an annual return visit until the baby is 18 — “or 50 percent if you guess the correct sex of the baby,” according to the promotion. “No proof necessary, we trust you.” Priced from $399. Reservations: 800-263-2305 or www.vintageplaza.com.
For those willing to leave their rooms, the Oregon Symphony is presenting “A Storm Large Valentine” for two nights, 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 14 and 15, at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. The frequent Pink Martini collaborator has done some marvelous love ballads, including a stunning version of George Gershwin’s “Summertime.” For tickets, priced from $35 to $127: 503-228-1353, http://tickets.or symphony.org.
Portland is also home to a group of 10 small wineries that call themselves the Southeast Wine Collective. On the nights of Feb. 12, 14, 15 and 16, the winemakers will serve a Valentine’s dinner for two, featuring glass pours of obscure French wines and small-plate servings of baked Camembert cheese (with a hazelnut crust and pinot-poached cranberries) and flourless chocolate fudge cake a la mode.
On Thursday night, Feb. 13, the collective’s “February Supper Social” will be an interactive group dining experience, a raclette party featuring Old World and New World cheeses chosen by Steve Jones of Portland’s Cheese Bar. Reservations ($30) are required, but guests may casually drop by any time between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.
The Southeast Wine Collective is just off Southeast Division Street at 2425 S.E. 35th Place in Portland. For reservations: 503-208-2061 or www.sewinecollective.com.
Lovers of Oregon’s famed pinot noir wine know to head south from Portland into the upper Willamette Valley. At the luxurious Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg, a “Valentines and Vineyards” package includes a stay in a deluxe king fireplace room with a soaking tub; a bottle of pinot noir with gourmet chocolate on arrival; a gourmet four-course dinner in the hotel’s superb Jory restaurant; and use of spa facilities, including a swimming pool, sauna and steam room. Spa treatments are additional. Priced from $550. Reservations: 503-554-2525 or www.theallison.com.
At McMenamins’ Hotel Oregon in McMinnville, a “Sweethearts Package” (available now through Feb. 16) includes a room for two, dinner in the pub, a bottle of McMenamins’ own Edgefield sparkling wine (with keepsake flutes) and breakfast the next morning. Priced from $155. Reservations: 888-472-8427 or www.mcmenamins.com.
The spring flowers won’t be blooming yet, but Silverton’s Oregon Garden Resort is keeping things colorful with its own Valentine’s Day package. Not only does it include lodging, dinner and breakfast for two; it also offers garden admission, a bottle of local wine and two 50-minute massages in the resort’s own spa. Priced from $299. Reservations: 800-966-6490 or www.oregongardenresort.com.
Several of Eugene’s small hotels have specials of their own. The Excelsior Inn (541-342-6963, www.excelsiorinn.com) will present couples with roses, sparkling wine and chocolates, as well as a special dinner with live musical accompaniment. The acclaimed Campbell House Inn & Restaurant (541-343-1119 or www.campbellhouse.com) will present a five-course, prix-fixe dinner, by reservation, with optional wine pairings. The Oval Door Bed and Breakfast Inn (541-683-3160, www.ovaldoor.com) promises a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine or cider to any overnight guest on Feb. 14. And at the McKenzie Orchards Bed & Breakfast (541-515-8153, www.mkobb.com), the package includes a cooking lesson — along with lodging, dinner, breakfast, roses and chocolates.
It may be no coincidence that the annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival begins its 8½-month run in Ashland on Valentine’s night, Feb. 14, with a performance of Shakepeare’s tempestuous “The Tempest.” Two other plays — neither of them by the Bard himself — open on Feb. 15 and 16.
More to the point for couples, this is also the time of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce’s annual “Seasons of Romance” promotion, with special lodging packages offered by at least eight individual hotels and country inns in the state’s southernmost city.
Just one example is the romance package presented by the iconic Ashland Springs Hotel. In addition to lodging, parking and breakfast, guests are offered special treatment at the Waterstone Spa: a 30-minute soak for two, a steam and sauna session, and a relaxing foot treatment for two in a sun-lit solarium, served up with chocolates and sparkling cider. From $225. Reservations: 541-488-1700 or www.ashlandspringshotel.com.
Dinner isn’t included in the Ashland Springs package, but Valentine’s is a special night at the beautiful new Belle Fiore Estate and Winery, two miles east of the city. A professional ballet performance and an evening of classical music will accompany the three-course Friday night dinner, including a glass of the winery’s exclusive white blend. The price of $65 per person includes gratuity. Reservations: 541-552-4900 or www.bellefiorewine.com.
In nearby historic Jacksonville, Bybee’s Historic Inn on the Old Stage Road is offering a second night’s stay for half price to any guest checking in on Feb. 14. From $202.50 (for two nights) including a three-course breakfast; an extra $25 gets you a Valentine’s package of a bottle of champagne, chocolate-dipped strawberries and a single red rose. Reservations: 541-899-0106 or www.bybeeshistoric inn.com.
The Lodge at Riverside in Grants Pass offers a “Relax, Renew and Recharge” package that includes a night’s lodging with breakfast and a couples’ treatment at its spa, recently voted the best in Southern Oregon. This includes two 60-minute Swedish massages, foot soaks, aromatherapy, champagne and two day passes to the athletic club. From $265. Reservations: 877-955-0600 or www.thelodgeatriverside.com.
In Roseburg, Hokanson’s Bed & Breakfast, on the National Historic Register, is offering a Friday or Saturday night Valentine’s Day Weekend special. Innkeepers John and Vicky Hokanson will include dinner or breakfast for two, with a room, for $95, including a special gift of a bone china cup and saucer. Reservations: 541-672-2632 or www.hokansonsguest house.com.
The Umpqua Valley’s historic C.H. Bailey House Bed & Breakfast is welcoming guests with a “Valentine 2014 Special” that includes a 10 percent room-night discount and a complementary bottle of champagne — or, if you prefer, chocolate-covered strawberries — in the name of romance. From $135. Reservations: 541-672-1500 or www.chbaileyhouse.com.
Just outside of the Southern Oregon city, special wine-and-chocolate pairings are being offered both at the Abacela Winery and the Delfino Winery.
Finally, Valentine’s will be a big day at the Seven Feathers Hotel & Casino Resort in Canyonville: Country music superstar Leann Rimes will perform in concert at 9 p.m. Tickets priced at $40 and $55, may be reserved at 888-772-5425 or www.seven feathers.com.
— Reporter: firstname.lastname@example.org