Wining and Dining in the Oregon Countryside - The Black Walnut Inn
With my girlfriend’s birthday on the horizon, I was eager to plan a romantic but fun getaway weekend that would provide respite from our hectic life in Portland.
Oregon is chock full of things to do, so there was no shortage of options. A friend suggested a visit to Oregon’s wine region. My research suggested that while not as famous as its “Nappy” southern neighbor, Oregon Wine Country promised to be quite spectacular.
Room With A View
Relatively new to Oregon, this was my first trip to wine country. I wanted to stay somewhere small enough to be able to have wine one-on-one conversations instead of sitting in a Wine 101 auditorium. I also wanted our destination to be touristy enough for it to be ok if I wasn’t completely familiar with all the vino vocabulary.
The Black Walnut Inn provided the perfect escape. A charming bed and breakfast on 42-acres in the Dundee Hills of the Willamette Valley, visitors are welcomed by a lovely couple, owners Karen and Neal Utz. They have nine beautiful European villa-style suites that overlook their own vineyard and the scenic Oregon countryside. Well located in the midst of many wineries, it is a perfect home base for wine tasting and a romantic destination to spend time with someone you care about.
Food for thought
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day whether you plan on gallivanting around the valley or enjoying the wonderful views from your suite. The
Black Walnut Inn provides a delicious way to start each day offering a seasonal menu that changes each day. Every item is made from scratch, with local ingredients. Karen is a talented chef and can accommodate any dietary needs.
For dinner, there are many restaurants of all price ranges and Karen was very helpful as we sorted through the options. We ended up in a little French restaurant - Recipe, A Neighborhood Kitchen. We came in near closing time so we were the only table in the whole place and they took very good care of us. Dinner was delightful with fabulous food, service, and, of course, wine. There are a few bars in the area for those looking to burn the candle at both ends but we opted for a bottle of the Inn’s Pinot Noir and a little star gazing from our suite’s balcony.
Make Time For
If you are looking to add a little adventure in between diagnosing the character of your wine and debating whether you can sense the peppermint in the valley’s famous Pinot Noirs, you can take the Wine Bike Tours. New bike paths are being added to the area and creating a safe and fun way to experience all that wine country has to offer.
There are many things to do in the area and while many of them do involve wine, for those looking to take a break, there are many nearby hikes and Karen and Neal would be happy to share with you their personal favorites.
The Inns’ perfection location offers access to more than 100 wineries within a 20-mile radius. At the same time, you are only 45 minutes from Portland and from the Oregon coast.
What made it special
There are many beautiful places to stay in the Northwest, but what made our experience truly unforgettable was the service and attention to detail provided by innkeepers Karen and Neal Utz. They take care of their guests and their property with the utmost enthusiasm. They have found the perfect balance of letting their impressive property and suites speak for themselves while injecting their own personalities into the experience enough to make sure every moment is enjoyed and accounted for.
In short, the Black Walnut Inn & Vineyard is a fabulous way to experience Oregon Wine Country and enjoy a weekend of elegance and excellence with someone special.
Getting to the Black Walnut Inn is a very easy 45-minute drive from downtown Portland and an hour from the airport.
Rooms in the summertime book weeks in advance, so reserve early. Still, cancellations do happen, so don’t hesitate to give a call if you are a spur of the moment vacationer.
9600 NE Worden Hill Road
Dundee, OR, 97115