KP and I make it a point to celebrate — or at the very least, acknowledge — milestones. We don’t let a birthday go by without some fanfare and the same is true for our wedding anniversary. Some years are more elaborate than others. Our first anniversary was marked with an amazing trip to the Napa Valley. But when year three snuck up on us, we were learning how to be parents with a three-month old plus a kitchen reno in progress. We still went out to dinner at our favorite neighborhood spot to celebrate.
Five years of marriage felt like a milestone worth celebrating in a memorable way! We talked about Italy, but it just didn’t seem realistic with a two-year-old. So we put that idea on the back burner and thought about places closer to home. Our honeymoon in St. Thomas was ah-mazing and repeatable, but when you live in Texas, the last place you want to go in mid-August is someplace hot — and someplace that is prone to hurricanes (the memory of cutting our honeymoon one day short thanks to Hurricane Earl was still too fresh). So we decided the Pacific Northwest would be the place to celebrate — Portland and the Willamette Valley in Oregon, to be exact.
I did a lot of research before booking our accommodations in the Willamette Valley. Maybe too much, as I tend to do. I’d only been there once before and I wasn’t sure which town we wanted to stay in or if we wanted to do a B & B or a hotel. The Black Walnut Inn & Vineyard in Dundee seemed perfect. Not a hotel but not a typical B & B, luxurious, unique and peaceful. It’s all of these things and then some.
The Black Walnut is nestled away from it all. We drove along a hilly road sandwiched between grape vineyards on either side, then up, up, up the tree-lined driveway which conjured images of “over the river and through the woods…” until we got to the top.
I knew this place was a good pick before we even parked the car.
Even though Italy didn’t make the cut, I felt like we had arrived at a European villa. It was just so picturesque. Well-manicured. Green. Quiet.
We booked the Vista room which is on the ground floor of the inn and on the end, so we only had one neighbor and three outside living spaces all to ourselves. The room was massive. It really felt like a home away from home.
Wine is what drew us to the Willamette Valley, but the inn kept pulling us back. I slept better than I have in a long time. Maybe the wine had a little something to do with that, but I think the inn gets some credit, too. It was pleasantly quiet and the beds had these amazing Jennifer Adams sheets (which I am anxious awaiting to come back in stock so I can order a set for home!). They were life-changing. Sleep-changing? Plus, with a view like this, it was impossible to feel anything but relaxed.
Our room was heavenly. The views were beyond picturesque. The oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (often warm) in the cookie jar in the living room tempted us daily (two or three times a day, in fact). Breakfast with a little dog at my feet made me feel like I was at home. The innkeepers were lovely — not overbearing but there with recommendations when we needed them. Bliss.
Oh, and the views…
This one is going to be hard to top!