Plaguecation

Well, we got fucked on our Hawaiian trip this year.

The lockdown over Covid-19 meant that we couldn’t travel to the islands. Hawaiian air gave us credit for the flight, so we can use our tickets for an upcoming trip, but we booked our stay through AirBNB. Both AirBNB and our Travel insurance aren’t allowing a refund for the trip – even though the State of Hawaii is telling tourists not to fly there – and those that do are on 2 week quarantine. Needless to say, we are trying to claw back our money from AirBNB but we will probably lose what we paid, and for the *stunning* place we booked that is a few grand down the hole.

Fuckers.

We also can’t take the full time right now with our work, so we are doing a short road trip to Oregon instead. Honestly, I’ve been working from home since early March – and haven’t been out much at all. I seriously had a near panic attack walking into the mall a few days ago. Yeah, I’m totally mentally stable.

We also have a new dog. Oscar the Wiener Dog died at the beginning of the year, and we’ve adopted a Rescue dog. She’s a Korean street dog saved from a dog meat farm. Seriously. We have Korean immigration papers and everything. Her name is Winter and she’s a great dog, but still young and since we weren’t flying we thought it would be best to just bring her along. Not everywhere is dog-friendly, but after some searching we found a good sounding resort in Oregon. The Oregon Garden Resort.

The resort is close to Salem, Oregon. It’s inland a bit, and surrounded by wineries. it’ sin the town of Silverton, which is a little river town with Victorian architecture, plus there’s a Frank Lloyd Wright house on the property. So we booked 5 days. It was only a 3.5 hour drive, which after all the road trips we’ve taken is a breeze. Also joining us is Sasha’s boyfriend. so this is the first vacation we’ve taken as a group of four. My how times change.

Aside from a few big rain bursts, the drive down was uneventful. Winter is great travelling by car. She likes to look out the window for a bit. Then she goes and sees if she can sneak into any of the road snacks before just passing our on the center armrest. We took Oscar for road trips in the past, but he never was happy about it. Although Oscar did get to stay at the original Disneyland Kennel on one of our trips. That’s gone now but it was a pretty cool memory.

The drive is pretty much a straight shot down I-5, then we cut across towards the valley after Portland. The back roads of Oregon are beautiful. I like driving through farmland, we did the same on our Scotland trip last year. After being at home for so long it was a treat just to see some new scenery. It was a mix of Berry farms, Horse pastures, and vineyards, spotted with a few abandoned barns and farmhouses. It wasn’t long until we rolled into Silverton.

Silverton looked a lot like the small towns of the Scottish and English countryside. Short, brick Victorian buildings lining the main street, and a river that split the town with Cafes along the banks. We didn’t stop but were looking forward to coming back for a walk later. We went straight through town towards Oregon Garden Resort. The neighborhood adjoining the downtown had wonderfully restored Victorian homes as well. This place could be a movie set.

Just a few blocks later we pulled into the entrance of the Oregon Garden. It’s a big facility, and includes the garden grounds, The garden Inn (where we are staying) and also the Gordon House – designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. I’m really hoping we can get a tour of the Gordon house. I’m a big Frank Lloyd Wright fan, and this is the only one of his houses in Oregon – it was apparently moved from it’s original location and restored on site here. I took a peek at it as we drove past – it’s traditional Usonian, and looks to be restored wonderfully. That should be exciting.

We drove past the garden entrance, and went around to the Inn. It’s a really nice place. The Inn sits at the top of the garden, and the rooms are around the area in smaller buildings, about 5 rooms per building. It was still strange being this far out of the house, we did a small drive a week or so ago, but now with things opening up its strange to be among people again. This isn’t a busy resort, but we masked up whenever someone came by.

Our rooms were nice, lots of space, and we have a back door and patio so I can take Winter out for a walk easily when she needs it. She’s still a puppy, so that’s pretty frequent. Once we unpacked we took a short walk into the gardens, and around the property. The Oregon Garden is a Tourist spot and resort, similar to the Butchart Gardens in Victoria. We just walked through the corner of the garden but they are setup with multiple areas and scenes across the property. Its a huge garden overall so we only went through the “Living Forest” and central farm areas. That was good for stretching our legs, and we went back to the main clubhouse afterwards for a snack and a drink. Driving isn’t really tiring, but once we started to relax, you could feel everything from the mast few weeks catch up at once. We went back to the room and passed out.

Later that evening, we went back into the downtown of Silverton. it’s just a few minutes from the resort, and is one riverfront street. Each building has a historical marker, some going back to the late 1800’s. The river cuts through town, and each building on the riverfront has a patio that overhangs the river. The Town Hall is built into the old Power building, which is an Art Deco municipal building – right next to an Art Deco gas station that is now a flower shop. There’s actually a lot of constriction, with so many Wineries and Breweries in Oregon now, this place is becoming a nice crossroads to stop at.

We went into the Wine Bar on the riverside. Our plan was just to grab an appetizer and a glass of wine and relax. That turned into Two glasses, a few more appetizers, and then some main dishes. The food was amazing. The owner came out after a bit and we started chatting with him about the town. He moved here from Portland, and loved the area. The server was his partner in the business, and they were turning the front of the wine bar into a wine shop. Part of that was a Covid response for the business. It makes sense since you just can’t seat so many people right now. They gave us some great ideas of areas to see while we were here – specifically the Silver Falls hike that was nearby.

We ended up closing the place out. You don’t always run into great people on your first day in a new place, but we sure did and this was a fantastic evening and a good start to the trip.