Fall Day Trips: Hood to Coast

Autumn Leaves to Cranberry Cocktails: 5 Easy Day Trips to Make the Most of Fall

And most within spitting distance of Portland.

By Ramona DeNies September 13, 2016 Published in the October 2016 issue of Portland Monthly

Antique with Flo in Yamhill County

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Smack in the middle of Willamette Valley wine country, the 1912 Lafayette Schoolhouse Antique Mall is laden with riches of a different kind. We’re talking three stories’ worth of nostalgic signage, banker’s lamps, jadite nesting bowls, and—in the adjoining shop—endless armoires, piled precariously every which way. Mall cat Flo supervises your antiquing, which pairs nicely with a crisp Dundee Hills chardonnay. From Portland: 35 miles

Get Spooked in St. Helens

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Back in 1998, the small river town of St. Helens got ghouled in Disney’s goofy cult classic Halloweentown. Now the witches return for a month-long frightfest, replete with severed head tractor rides, a “little spooks parade,” haunted houses, and just the most frightful citywide decorations. As we noted at 2015’s inaugural Spirit of Halloweentown: “the CrossFit scarecrow conveniently located outside a gym is especially chilling. From Portland: 29 miles

Behold the Larchening of Silver Star Mountain

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At the end of rough-and-tumble Forest Road 4109 southeast of Yacolt, Washington, the trail up Silver Star Mountain offers an autumn bonfire of golden larches, flame-red vine maples, and honeyed field grass. The last leg of this four-mile out-and-back is a scramble, but from the summit, you’ve got one ocean of a view. (Yes, that’s really the Pacific.) From Portland: 40 miles

Tour the Bogs of Long Beach

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The water’s a lot calmer a few clicks north of Astoria (and its treacherous Columbia River Bar) up Highway 101. On soggy Long Beach Peninsula, Starvation Alley grows Washington’s only organic cranberries, all harvested in mid-October. Time a bog-spotting drive with the farm’s bimonthly Friday tours. Toast with cranberry cocktails at the Pickled Fish or Salt Hotel & Pub. (Nearby North Jetty Brewing also makes a seasonal Starvation Alley Weissbier.) From Portland: 116 miles

Forage for Mount Hood’s Most Elusive Treasure

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Lobsters, oysters, hedgehogs, chanterelles, even chicken of the woods; come early fall, all these edible mushrooms can be found, if you’re lucky, in the lower folds of Mount Hood. Where to start? Nab a ranger station permit, hit trails rich with downed wood—from Zigzag east to Elk Meadows—and maintain a keen eye. You may not fill your basket, but you’ll certainly feel more at one with the forest. From Portland: 40 miles and beyond

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