Eola Hills Winery and Ainsworth State Park

Wine, waterfalls, and mouth-watering food were the highlights of our next part of the trip through Oregon, early September. Known for its pinot noir wines, Oregon is home to many wineries and we were happy overnight guests at Eola Hills Legacy Winery, near Salem. Next, we visited Columbia River Gorge and admired the impressive Multnomah Falls. Closer to Portland, we savored local Thai fare.

We were glad to return to Willamette Valley for an overnight stay at Eola Hills Cellars, as Harvest Hosts guests. The setting was perfect: a private spot to park our RV among the vines, a quick wine tasting, and the peace and quiet of a cool September night in the valley.

What started with one man’s passion, grew into a thriving business. Tom Huggins followed his dream and purchased a modest 35 acre plot not far from Salem, in Willamette Valley. Today, Eola Hills Wine Cellars is still locally and family owned and operated. Covering over 325 acres of land, the winery is one of Oregon’s largest wineries, offering local tastes and proudly representing Oregon wines.

Eola Hills Legacy Winery Salem OR

We arrived at Eola Hills Legacy Estate on a crisp early fall day and were guided to park our RV in a quiet and private spot between a pond, the woods, and the vines. First on the agenda was a wine tasting. One wine in particular got our attention and became our splurge purchase: the 2017 Reserve Wolf Hill 667 pinot noir. This full-bodied pinot delivered a deep and dark taste, which was intense yet smooth. I enjoyed the combination of fruit, spice, and smoke, so well balanced and satisfying on the palate.

Dinner was outdoors, followed by a walk through the property. We found a swing and had to give it a try – so much fun! Back at the RV, we sat outside and enjoyed a luminous sunset, showering the horizon with a soft yellow glow. When night time came, the moon peeked from behind moving clouds. A loud cry erupted from the woods: a coyote. His buddies replied from a few near-by spots, too close for comfort. Minutes later, the woods and vines became silent, and we turned in for the night.

In the morning, we stopped by Salem to visit with family before heading north to our next stop: Ainsworth State Park, in eastern Multnomah County, Oregon, near Cascade Locks. It is located in the Columbia River Gorge, adjacent to the Historic Columbia River Highway, the park is only about 30 minutes away from Portland. Dropping 620 feet, the Multnomah Falls are the tallest of the 77 waterfalls on Columbia River Gorge on the Oregon side. Visitors can take a closer look and even feel the cool spray of water from Benson Bridge spanning over the lower part of the falls. At the base, a lodge offers local cuisine and mementos.

Fall weather calls for warm comfort food and we lucked out when we found a mom-and-pop hole-in-the-wall place called Al’s Thai Place, Portland-side. A friendly hostess delivered steaming and aromatic chicken curry and Tom Kha, which we polished off happily – my mouth is watering even now….

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