Willamette Wine Valley

A real old school trip…with my girl!


Killing it atop a sand dune at Sand Master Park.

Last week my girlfriend and I did a real old school road trip to the Willamette Wine Valley. We dined in the vineyard at Christopher Bridge Winery. We ate ourselves silly at Rye. We sampled brews at Ninkasi. We tasted wines at Route 5 NW Wine Bar and Oregon Wine L.A.B. We ogled a painstakingly handcrafted carousel in progress. And we stayed in digs at the Allison Inn & Spa that would make Beyonce swoon.


As much as we love that kind of excess, we also love getting outside, getting dirty, and adventuring like when we were kids. We hiked all over Silver Falls State Park, the mist of the waterfalls drenching us as we wandered. We meandered the forest at Magness Memorial Tree Farm, learning about all the flora and fauna along the way. We played with the baby goats and admired the majesty of the elk at Rosse Posse Elk Ranch and almost left with the cutest puppy ever. We learned how to sand board at Sand Master Park. I think I finally found my sport!

We also took one morning to cruise the Willamette River with our trusty guide, Brett Gallagher from Cascadia Expeditions, paddling us along the banks, telling us the tales of the wildlife residing there as the sun broke through the cloudy, Valley sky. It was glorious. I asked Gallagher why he thought more people don’t take the time for adventures like these. He said he wasn’t sure about the why not. But he knows for sure why they should. So, here they are!


Seven reasons to get your butt outside this summer.  


  • Nurture your inner explorer - Remember when you were a kid, when exploring and learning didn’t include “Googling” something? We interacted with our environment, rather than reading about it.  We ran and jumped and played. We got dirty. We made forts. We looked for buried treasure. We turned mundane tasks into magical journeys. 


So, when did we stop exploring? And why? When did stories of pirates and fairies and magical kingdoms, give way to bills and mortgages and 9-5 jobs? When we grew up, unfortunately. 


But this summer, forget being all grown up and take some time to find your inner Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn. The time to explore is now!


  • Challenge yourself – Pushing your body and mind to try new mental and physical challenges trains your brain to be open to new ideas, new discoveries, and new opportunities. 


You'll find yourself seeking fulfillment in the joy of simply exploring - rather than trying to relive old, worn out stories.  The next time you’re at a cocktail party, you’ll be chatting about your latest adventure, rather than playing another boring round of  “remember when…”


  • Be social – Sharing outdoor activities can be a great way to meet new people or connect with old friends.  Haven’t seen those old best friends since college? Plan a rafting or backpacking trip together and catch up.  




If you’re single or new to an area and don’t have any adventure minded friends, meetup groups are a great way to find people to explore with.


  • Inspiration – Buddha, Emerson, Mohammed, Jesus, Muir, Moses, Thoreau… Just a few of the people who inspire the masses to think about things in a new way.  What did they all have in common? They all spent extended periods of time in the wilderness.  Need I say more?


  • Stimulate your brain.  - Our brains are complicated. They’ve evolved over millions of years. Millions of years spent outside, in the wild. It’s no wonder they don’t want to be caged up in a cubicle all the time.  


Research shows that our brains just work better when we get outside regularly. A recent study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows outdoor adventures and specifically “green space” can conquer mental fatigue, boost cognitive functioning, and even help the brain enter a meditative state. 


Additionally, studies show that kids with ADHD were able to concentrate better after a 20 minute walk in a park rather than through city or neighborhood streets.  Clean the cobwebs out of your brain and head outside… Yes, pun intended.


  • Stay Active because “objects in motion tend to stay in motion” - That’s why the World Health Organization recommends that all adults, including seniors, do some form of exercise at least 30 minutes a day. 


Exercise can take many forms, and you don’t need to be a gym rat to benefit from movement. Exercise triggers the body to adapt, prompting it to do a better job the next time it is asked to perform. Sit still for too long and your body will adapt to that. Keep moving, and you’ll be ready to dominate those shuffleboard tournaments well into your 90’s.


  • Because it’s fun! - Smiles, laughs, shared experiences, increased fitness…outdoor adventures offer many things. But most of all, they provide us the kind of fun we all need and deserve. So much so that we burn up social media to show all of our friends just how much fun we’re having.  


Now is the time. Summer is here and your chance to live like a cover model for the REI catalog awaits.  Go get your butt outside and get your adventure on!  I’ll be looking forward to all your pics and epic tales of adventure.  


Happy exploring!


For help finding an activity, destination, gear, etc., you can contact Brett at Brett@cascadiaexpeditions.com or visit the Cascadia Expeditions website!

Edit ModuleEdit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Dallas Staycation

THE place to getaway to!

It’s a Sailor’s Life for Me: Sailing St. Martin

Make sure you do this at least once in your life!

Olivia Thanksgiving Cruise

My favorite way to vacation!

SĒR at The Hilton Anatole.

A Dallas Staycation with Spinalis to die for. Seriously.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Traveling Around the Block

I plan to take you on a virtual world tour and I hope you'll share your travel stories with me all along the way.

About This Blog

Photo Credit: Steph Grant www.stephgrantphotography.com

I've been very lucky to have the chance to travel all around the world. I've ridden a camel in Israel; been swimming with rays and sharks in Bora Bora; gone ATVing in Curacao' and gotten my dive certification in St Kitts. I've watched  the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets; talked to the most interesting people; stayed in the most outrageous places; and felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for every minute of it. I look forward to sharing all of my adventures with you, future and past, in hopes of inspiring you to take a leap or two of your own. I plan to take you on a virtual world tour and I hope you'll share your travel stories with me all along the way. 

Recent Posts




Atom Feed Subscribe to the Traveling Around the Block Feed »