Hi! I’m Tiffany Henness, a fitness coach and blogger who lives and runs in Yamhill County, Oregon. You might recognize me from this photo at 2015’s Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon.
I’m designating myself as your local guide, so you can make the most of your trip. Why? Because some of Yamhill County’s treasures are off the beaten path with no Yelp profile. I’d cry to find you eating at a chain fast food restaurant when we have some of the best farm-to-plate establishments in the universe!
For starters, you want to stay in or near McMinnville (aka Mac). Mac is just about an hour from Portland (so you can get those magic doughnuts you’ve heard about) and an hour from the beach (worth a trip). So if you want to expand your Oregon vacation with a morning or afternoon excursion, you can easily choose your own adventure with Mac as your homebase. However, there is plenty to do right here.
- Pick locally grown snacks.
To appreciate the fruit of the earth, sample Yamhill’s fresh fruits and vegetables. Places like Farmer John’s Produce or Bernard’s Farm have yummy U-Pick produce all summer long. There’s also Smith Berry Barn in Newberg and numerous farm fresh fruit stands along HWY 99 as you travel to the heart of Yamhill County. Also shop at Red Hills Market in Dundee and take home some local culinary gifts.
- Picnic at a vineyard.
Now that you’ve got your treats, take them with you as you go wine tasting. You’ll see at the start line of the race that Stoller Winery is ideal for tasting with a view. But that’s not the only vineyard around with an excellent outdoor space. Anne Amie Vineyards, Penner-Ash and Youngberg Hill have delicious spaces for a picnic, the last two with million dollar views of Mt. Hood & Mt. Jefferson on a clear day.
- Explore Oregon’s beauty.
Stretch your legs! Miller Woods has runnable forest trails (the outer loop is at least 3 miles) and it makes you feel like you’re out in the wild, yet you’re only 10 minutes from town. If you have kids or dogs, Champoeg State Park has trails, river access, an off leash dog zone, and is home to Oregon’s pioneer history. If you want a mountain top experience, Kings Mountain Trailhead is only one hour away in the Tillamook National Forest. Or head to the ocean at Lincoln City.
- Eat well.
Traveling well is 80% about good food. Of course the celebrated spots in Mac are breakfast at Community Plate or an intimate dinner at Thistle (reservations required). However, if you need some other options (Craving burgers? Need a cheaper meal to stay on budget?), allow me to direct you to these local favorites.
- Carlton Corners has the best burgers in the county. Yes, it looks like a gas station/convenience store. Trust me. This is where I’m going after the race as it’s about 3 blocks from the finish line.
- Tequila Grill in Mac. Not the indoor, sit-down restaurant. Stick with the grill on the outdoor patio. The carnitas is divine, the salsa bar on point, and the price is so good we never need an excuse to eat here.
- Pura Vida Cocina in downtown Mac has a creative and refreshing take on Latin American dishes featuring locally grown produce. If you’ve never had a fried avocado, put Pura Vida on your to-do list.
- Valley Commissary is another culinary treat for breakfast or lunch made from fresh, local ingredients, and it’s within walking distance of at least 5 tasting rooms.
While those are my top spots, here are a few other tasty tips: Sandwich Express has the best cinnamon rolls anywhere. Roth’s Market has the only good doughnuts in town. Cornerstone Coffee Roasters is perfect for sitting down and recharging as you sip your way through downtown Mac’s tasting rooms, but if coffee isn’t your thing, the Velvet Monkey tea house is where it’s at.