With Toni Svensson, of STA Travel, London
Although it resides just above California on America’s north-west coast, Oregon is a lot sparser and less well-known than its neighbour here’s what Toni discovered on his fam trip there:
GETTING THERE: Fifteen hours, two in-flight meals and three movies later I arrived in Portland, Oregon, ready to take on my great adventure. Delta and KLM offer daily flights to Portland PDX from Heathrow from £499.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Our first two days were spent in Portland and I was amazed by how friendly the ‘Portlanders’ are and how clean their city is. For its relatively young age, it has a lot to see and seems to be a city at the forefront of the sustainability revolution – not the US I imagined! For example, when we went to eat we discovered the restaurants all serve fresh, local and sustainable food too.
ATTRACTIONS: During our time based in Portland we visited a couple of vineyards for some wine tasting. It’s extraordinary how, in a relatively difficult climate, they manage to produce such fine wines. I was also pleased that we managed to fit in some welcome tax-free shopping for my girlfriend.
HIGHLIGHT: After Portland we headed round the Bend – or rather to Bend, an awesome little town. With the white stuff dumping like there was no tomorrow we got our gear and headed up the mountain. Kristine from The Central Oregon Visitors Association showed us all the cool runs and quirky off-piste short cuts. It’s not possible to put words to my experience of this mountain, however, if there is such a thing as heaven I’m pretty sure it’s like Mount Bachelor. No wait, it's Oregon! As well as skiing and boarding, there is snowshoeing and dog-sledding. Ski Bowl’s night skiing is famous – and great fun – too.
SCENIC SIGHTS: After Bend, we drove north to Mount Hood, another excellent drive along a stunning scenic route. We stopped at Smith Rock State Park for some lunch and had a little wander amongst the deep river canyons to soak up the sun and the gorgeous views that somehow seem to follow you wherever you go in Oregon. The snowboarding experience on Mount Hood was certainly equal in quality to Bachelor.On our epic journey back to Portland We stopped at Hood River, a cute little town where we came across the mighty Columbia River. This town is known for its constant wind, making it an ideal place for wind and kite surfers, as well as fishing, white-water rafting and mountain biking. However, I decided to have a coffee instead! Our last stop was at the great Multnomah Falls, the USA’s second highest, it looked like it was taken out of a fantasy film.
It’s not every day you fall head over heels in love, but when I boarded our Delta flight back to the UK I knew I had found somewhere that will always be close to my heart. Oregon is the ideal recommendation for any client wanting stunning nature or adrenaline-fuelled adventures. However, it’s equally ideal for someone who just wants to relax and put their feet up in front of the open fire with a nice cup of tea and a good book. I think Oregon is the perfect place for our student and youth market, and I’m certain that with the right tools and support we’ll be able to put Oregon where it belongs, on everyone’s wish list!
• The dog-sledding experience at Mount Bachelor
• The Japanese garden in Portland
• The scenery along the Columbia River Highway, past the Multnomah Falls and Columbia River Gorge