Cheese tourism: The Oregon Cheese Trail
Oregon is known for having one of the hippest cities and some of the most beautiful shoreline in the U.S. But did you know it also produces some of the best cheese in the country? Follow the Oregon Cheese Trail to taste a variety of award-winning artisan cheeses, and use it as a springboard to see the rest of the state!
What to do
There are creameries and dairies throughout the state, and the Oregon Cheese Guild makes them easy to find. Their map of the cheese trail gives information on each of the stops, with links to the websites.
Here are a few you might consider:
Try some of Briar Rose’s award-winning cheese at their farm store and tasting room, open on Fridays and Saturdays. Their feta cheese is featured at the top of this blog post.
Tillamook Country Creamery offers self-guided tours of the cheese factory with plenty of samples, and you can round out your trip with a meal in the café or a scoop of their delicious Tillamook ice cream.
Willamette Cheese Co. offers hand-crafted artisan cheese at its tasting room (photo above) just north of Salem.
If you make a jaunt to the south of the state, don’t miss Rogue Creamery for its education room, cheese shop, and dairy farm.
Beyond cheese, Oregon has more than its share of great things to do. Carve out some time to visit its beautiful coast, or Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the U.S. See a play at the Oregon Shakespeare festival in Ashland. And if you love wine and great hiking, spend a few nights in the Willamette Valley region where you can visit some of its 250 wineries.
Since you’re likely travelling through Portland, why not spend a night or two in the city? Powell’s Bookstore is one of the largest and best-loved independents in the U.S. Sample food from one (or a few) of Portland’s world-famous food trucks, then walk, hike or cycle it off along one of the city’s many paths. And don’t miss the Cheese Bar – whether you eat in or pick up food for a picnic, this cafe offers the best of local food, wine, and beer.
How to get there
Air Canada offers direct flights from Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto to Portland, Oregon. Once you arrive in Portland, you’ll want to rent a car to visit the dairies and vineyards, and explore the rest of the state.
Where to stay
Youngberg Hill Inn (pictured above) is the perfect place to explore the cheese and wine of the Willamette Valley, since it’s a 20-minute drive to more than 100 wineries.
Explore charming McMinnville and visit nearby vineyards at A’Tuscan Estate. Decorated in Colonial style, it’s a short stroll to the historical downtown district with great shops and restaurants.
Newport’s Ocean House B&B boasts stunning ocean views from outdoor decks and room windows. Walk on miles of sandy beach during the day, and enjoy the B&B’s wood-burning fire pit in the evening.
Depoe Bay is the whale-watching capital of Oregon. Book a room at Pana Sea Ah for proximity to whale tours and a variety of outdoor activities. (See coastline view, above.)
Begin or end your trip in Oregon at the Lion and Rose guest house. Located in Portland’s Irvington Historic District, this Victorian mansion (pictured below) has eight guest rooms and a lovely wrap-around porch.
Beth Pollock is a freelance writer and editor, who particularly enjoys writing about her twin passions of food and travel. She works as writer and content provider for Restaurants Canada, and has written articles for MENU magazine and several travel industry websites. She is also the author of three books for children.
Given its great hiking, natural beauty, and delicious food, Oregon is at the top of her wish list for American destinations.
Interested in reading more of what Beth has written? Check out her blog, Of Muses and Meringues.
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