Your favorite candle, body lotion and essential oils may all have one ingredient in common: lavender. For some, the herb is not just the scent of summer, but the scent of life. Follow the smell of lavender to the Tualatin Valley. For true lavender lovers, a garden pot or sprig of lavender simply won’t do. No, you need to be awash in the fields upon fields of purple splendor. The Oregon Lavender Tour is the perfect excuse to do just that close to Portland.
Happening July 8-9, the Oregon Lavender Tour is a celebration of all things lavender at 22 Oregon farms. Lavender is meant to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace, which is exactly what our weekend getaway guide allows you to do.
Saturday, July 8
Before the morning chill burns off, warm yourself with a lavender latte from Symposium Coffee. With latte in hand, walk down the street toward Cannery Square for the charming Sherwood Saturday Market.
From Sherwood, drive the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route toward Mountainside Lavender Farm. The farm’s 20-plus varieties of lavender show the deep range of this mighty herb. If you love to rub essential oils on your wrists (heaven!), then be sure to make time for the distillation demonstration.
Travel from one favorite color to another with a wine tasting at Ruby Vineyard. Co-owner, Flora, came up with the apt name for the winery because the vineyards and the wine that they make are absolute gems.
On your way to lunch, do not pass by the South Store Café, mistaking it for a historic home. Built in 1903 as a general store and meeting hall, the building is now a community favorite for hearty and soulful lunch offerings. The house-made pastries do sometimes incorporate local lavender.
Even your hotel accommodations are tinged with lavender magic this weekend. The McMenamins Grand Lodge has the “Lavender Lady” painted on the wall, but some say her spirit dances through the halls at night with whiffs of lavender to prove it. Dab some lavender on your temples before dipping into the lodge’s soaking pool for a truly restorative soak.
Sunday, July 9
Continue along the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route, taking in the happy sightings of panels from the Tualatin Valley’s Quilt Barn Trail until you reach Jackson School Lavender. The farm’s namesake comes from the Jackson Schoolhouse, which dates to 1865. Today, Jackson School Lavender combines two great Oregon loves, lavender and Marionberries, into its jams, honey and cookies.
For more Oregon history that is interwoven into the region’s food culture, pay a visit to Helvetia Winery. Owner Jon Platt shares a passion not only for winemaking, but for the history of the land on which his vines grow.
Creative hands will find their next project at Helvetia Lavender Farm. The farm will host lavender wreath and wand-making tutorials. The hardest part is choosing which of the 60 varieties of lavender there you want to use.
To settle your lavender buzz before heading home, treat yourself to hearty fare from the nearby ABV Public House—the green chili burger and wild boar sausage are two house favorites.