By Don Clark, Nancy Keates and Andrea Petersen, The Wall Street Journal
RISMEDIA, Oct. 12, 2007-Quaint bed-and-breakfasts cluster near the nation’s vineyards. And in some places, you can actually sleep right next to the grapes. A number of wineries have opened inns on their properties, making it incredibly easy to catch a post-tasting nap.
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Oregon is famous for its Pinot Noirs, and this area is the place to find them; starting at about an hour’s drive from downtown Portland are more than 200 wineries (for information, check out www.willamettewines.com). Youngberg Hill Vineyards & Inn lies atop 19 acres of grapes and has seven luxurious, art-filled rooms with panoramic views of the valleys and mountains. You can taste Pinot Noir (by appointment) at the inn’s dining tables (rooms, including breakfast, from $149; Tel. 888-657-8668, www.youngberghill.com ). For fresh, primarily locally grown food, Tina’s in Dundee features rabbit in the fall and crab in the summer. Most wines come from just down the road. (Tel. 503-538-8880, www.tinasdundee.com ). Among the vines sits the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum home of the Howard Hughes monster called the Spruce Goose — the large wooden plane that flew only once. The museum, which has its own wine label and tasting room, also houses old bombers, a space capsule and rocket and IMAX movies like “Fighter Pilot” (www.sprucegoose.org).
The North Fork, Long Island, New York
Less than two hours from New York City, this spit of land is home to bucolic rural landscape, quaint towns and dozens of wineries. (See www.liwines.com for information.) Staying at the Shinn Estate Farmhouse in Mattituck is close to idyllic. It is a relaxed, chic four-room bed-and-breakfast on the scenic grounds of Shinn Estate Vineyards, a small winery that has been releasing excellent roses, Merlots and Sauvignon Blancs (among other varieties) for the past several years. The owners — husband-and-wife team David Page and Barbara Shinn — are deeply involved in all aspects of the operation.
Ms. Shinn often pours the wines in the tasting room, which is open daily, while Mr. Page cooks lavish breakfasts of, for example, slow-cooked eggs, homemade pork sausage and tomatoes from the garden. During harvest season, guests are encouraged to sample grapes right off the vines (rooms, including breakfast, from $225 in high season; Tel. 631-804-0367, www.shinnfarmhouse.com ). For a sophisticated Sunday brunch in Jamesport, the restaurant at the historic Jedediah Hawkins Inn features a three-course meal (with bellini or bloody mary): local striped bass with chorizo and littleneck clams or lobster rolls can be among the offerings (Tel. 631-722-2900, www.jedediahhawkinsinn.com ). On your way back to the city, stop at one of the farmer’s markets that dot Route 25 to load up on apples, local sweet corn and homemade pies — or to pick your own pumpkin.
Evading tour buses and tract homes isn’t always easy in Northern California’s wine country. A good place to try is Sonoma County, which has wineries of all sizes and sorts (www.sonomawine.com). Olivet Grange, a three-bedroom farmhouse about 15 minutes west of Santa Rosa, can sleep up to six and has a large kitchen for self-prepared meals (food isn’t included).
The owners are Simon and Kathleen Inman, who in 2000 filled the 10-acre property with Pinot Noir vines, and some Pinot Gris; Inman Family Wines, which in 2003 released its first vintage, offers tastings by appointment in nearby Windsor (Tel. 707-235-2071, www.olivetgrange.com ). For sustenance, head to Willi’s Wine Bar, a classy roadhouse northwest of downtown Santa Rosa, offering 32 small plates divided into Asian, locally grown, Mediterranean and French specialties (4404 Old Redwood Highway, Tel. 707-526-3096).
The area isn’t all about eating and drinking: It also has a wealth of outdoor activities. Check out Armstrong Redwoods State Park, where the tall timber tops 300 feet. Or try a 10-mile float down the Russian River ($58 at Burke’s Canoe Trips, www.burkescanoetrips.com ). Thrill seekers have a choice of hot-air balloon services in the area, including Up & Away Ballooning, which charges $215 per adult, including brunch ( www.up-away.com ).
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