2023 marked an important turning point for tourism in Italy’s art cities. According to the Centre for Tourism Studies in Florence, the year ended with a return to pre-Covid levels, recording 445.3 million stays in accommodation facilities, an increase of 8.1 percent compared to 2022. The hotel segment saw significant growth of 9.3%, while the non-hotel segment experienced a more gradual recovery.

Italian art cities recorded an online accommodation booking rate of 38.9 percent, ranking first in the European Union, ahead of countries such as Greece, France and Spain, and welcoming tourists mainly from the United States and the United Kingdom.

Ten must-visit art cities

Italy’s art cities continue to be a favorite destination for travelers from all over the world. Not only do they preserve centuries of history and art, but they can also be easily accessed thanks to the rail connections offered by Trenitalia. So what are the ten unmissable art cities? We discover them together with True Italian Experience, a hub offering travel experiences designed to capture Italy’s most authentic essence.

World-renowned as the city of Romeo and Juliet, Verona offers a romantic atmosphere framed by medieval and Renaissance architecture. Its Roman amphitheater, the Arena, still hosts internationally renowned opera performances, attracting music fans from all over the world.

The fashion and design capital, Milan is a dynamic, modern city that is also rich in history and art. Milan Cathedral, with its impressive Gothic spires, and Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’, conserved in the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, are just some of the treasures on offer in this metropolis.

In addition to its famous Leaning Tower, Pisa boasts the extraordinary Piazza dei Miracoli, home to the Baptistery and the Cathedral, splendid examples of Romanesque architecture. It is also a vibrant university city with a history intertwined with scientific and cultural progress.

With its unforgettable waterfront and bustling atmosphere, Naples is a treasure trove of art, history and gastronomy. The city is a crossroads of civilizations that has left a legacy of historical monuments, such as the Castel dell’Ovo and the National Archaeological Museum, which houses some of the world’s most important collections of ancient art.

Unique in the world, Venice is famous for its picturesque canals, gondolas and extraordinary architecture. St Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace testify to the Venetian Republic’s glorious past, while the Lido offers some tranquillity with a sea view.

The birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is an open-air museum with masterpieces by artists such as Michelangelo, Leonardo and Botticelli. The magnificent Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, with its Brunelleschi dome, dominates the skyline, while the Uffizi Gallery houses some of the world’s most famous works of art.

Once a powerful maritime republic, Genoa preserves incredible heritage in its maze of alleyways. The historical centre is one of the largest in Europe, culminating in splendid Renaissance buildings along the ‘Strade Nuove’, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Siena is world-famous for its ‘Palio’, a horse race held in the Piazza del Campo, the city’s shell-shaped heart. This Tuscan city is renowned for its medieval architecture, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, and the Palazzo Pubblico, which houses the Museo Civico with works of art from the 14th and 15th centuries.

Turin, the elegant capital of Piedmont, is a mix of Baroque architecture, Art Nouveau and modernism. It is home to the Egyptian Museum, one of the most important in the world. The Royal Palace and the Mole Antonelliana, the city’s symbol, are other iconic landmarks that tell the story of Turin’s political and cultural importance in Italy.

The capital of Italy is truly a stage for living history. From its ancient monuments such as the Colosseum and the Pantheon to its Baroque squares and the works in the Vatican, Rome offers a journey through different eras, making it one of the world’s most fascinating cities.

Extensive connections to art cities by train

Italy’s art cities are not only known for their beauty and cultural richness, but also for often being chaotic and busy. Getting around by car is complicated, and finding a parking space can be a challenge. This is why tourists increasingly choose to travel by public transport, and to reach Italian cities by train. This is a convenient and fast solution thanks to the extensive network of connections offered by Trenitalia, True Italian Experience’s main partner.

Convenience and sustainability are also combined with affordability thanks to various promotions intended to make train travel even more accessible: the most attractive offers include the Trenitalia pass for foreign citizens wishing to visit Italy on board Frecce, FrecciaLink, Intercity, Intercity Notte and EuroCity Italia-Svizzera on Italy’s domestic routes, and Italia in Tour, a perfect option for those who want to explore different cities in a short time frame, enjoying unlimited travel for 3 or 5 consecutive days on all Trenitalia’s Regionale trains.

Constantly alert to the evolution of tourism and to travelers’ needs, the Passenger Business Unit of the Italian State Railways Group therefore continues to be a point of reference for those wishing to discover art cities in a comfortable and sustainable way. This is also the mission of True Italian Experience, whose main partner is Trenitalia.


Ponderosa Garage Doors Who said your garage door has to look boring😏😏 Contact Ponderosa Garage Doors today and see what they can do for you. They also give back to the community. Plus, their team has a special! Just mention “Camas Athletics” when you place your order and the team at Ponderosa will donate 5% of the order to Camas Athletics Boosters Club, and it’s a good idea to have your garage doors inspected. Call 360.684.1933. They have a $100 coupon, too. Learn all about it.

“Jurassic Park” movie fans are coming from all over the country to experience the Jurassic Retreat in Washougal, WA. Since its opening two years ago, guests are turning back time to 65 million years ago when dinosaurs ruled the world. This charming getaway, nestled in the Cascade mountains, isn’t far from the Columbia River, and is only a 25-minute drive from Portland International Airport, with access to many local amenities and sites. 

Guests that visit this prehistoric haven are greeted by a life-size T-rex, and his friends — a brachiosaurus, velociraptor, and triceratops companions — who stand watch over this 4-bedroom, 2,100 square foot vacation residence that’s filled with artifacts and decorations that take you back to the “Jurassic Park” movies while boasting modern conveniences, like WiFi, a giant smart TV, a hot tub, and a state-of-the-art kitchen in a comfortable ambiance. 

Featured on The Drew Barrymore Show, the Jurassic Retreat stands as one of America’s most unique getaway destinations. The Jurassic Retreat hosts a curated collection of authentic movie industry props, that immerse you in the heart of the prehistoric world. 

It’s a great place to host a party, a holiday event, a family reunion, a graduation, wedding, or to simply get away. It can accommodate up to 12 guests. 

Some of the retreat’s features include:

  • Bedroom 1: Queen Bed
  • Bedroom 2: Queen Bed
  • Bedroom 3: Twin/Full Bunk Bed with Twin Trundle Bed
  • Bedroom 4: Twin/Twin Bunk Bed with Twin Trundle Bed
  • Private hot tub, a retreat within a retreat.
  • Immerse yourself in cinematic splendor with a 75″ Smart TV and the entire collection of Jurassic Park movies.
  • Seamless flow of the open-concept interior, inviting shared moments and cherished memories.
  • Fully equipped kitchen w/ cooking basics, Keurig coffee maker, microwave, full service setup for 12.
  • Propane bbq with an outdoor picnic table to enjoy your culinary fare.
  • Bring your fur babies along – pets are allowed, free of charge.

Guest reviews:

“If you’ve read the description, and any of the other reviews, you probably don’t need to look at this review. Jurassic Retreat is definitely a very unique property and promised a unique experience and definitely delivered. Beautiful home In the woods with life-size dinosaurs, what more can you ask for. The youngsters had an experience they will never forget.If you’ve read the description, and any of the other reviews, you probably don’t need to look at this review. Jurassic Retreat is definitely a very unique property and promised a unique experience and definitely delivered. Beautiful home In the woods with life-size dinosaurs, what more can you ask for. The youngsters had an experience they will never forget,” said David, from Hot Springs, Arkansas. 

“We had such a wonderful stay. Our 3 kids absolutely loved their time here. It was clean , relaxing and had everything we needed plus some. Cottonwood Beach is about a 20 minute drive, it is a nice place we stumbled upon for the kids to play in the water and sand. Hot tub, games, movies , toys , fresh air, & DINOS . Definitely memorable for the entire family,” said Jessika, Great Falls, Montana.

The retreat is owned by Investor Residences, a premier vacation rental company with a portfolio of more than 80 properties.

To book your stay, visit https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/848357161561531844?source_impression_id=p3_1702066380_%2F69N5hnKipEOOM1r or call Jenn Meyers at 808.987.7219.


If you are planning a trip this holiday season, one of the best gifts you can give yourself is to plan well ahead of time. Whether you’re going to visit family at their home or planning a holiday vacation, treat it like the trip of a lifetime. After all, it’s the holidays. So, you want it to be special and, hopefully, stress-free. This means to plan, budget, and plan some more. Here are five tips to follow when traveling this holiday season.

Study Your Destination

Know as much as you can about your destination before you arrive. Use Google Maps to look up where you’re going. Determine the distance between the airport, if you’re flying, and the destination.

Find restaurants and other sites of interest near the hotel or wherever you’ll be staying. Mapping out your stay will help ensure you’ll fit in all the items on your itinerary. Plus, it will make it easier to create and stick to a budget.

Know the weather and, as best as you can, the places you’ll be visiting so that you pack appropriately. Also, be aware of any local customs that require different clothing than what you’re used to wearing.

Next, plan for an emergency by learning which hospitals are in the area, including those with trauma centers. It’s a good idea to take medical information with you, beyond what you might already carry in your wallet, especially if you have a chronic illness, such as diabetes.

Make Lists

One of the biggest mistakes people make when packing is trying to get everything ready without writing up a list first. To-do lists make travel plans so much easier.

Make a list of what to pack, everything you need to do before you leave, and the itinerary for when you arrive. Be sure to keep in mind the items you use every day because whatever you don’t have to think about are the very things you’re most likely to forget.

Next, make a pre-travel list. Include pet, plant, and house sitters, any necessary prescriptions to be filled, travel insurance, upcoming bills so that they’re paid on time, and checking luggage for damage.

Then, make an itinerary for the trip itself. Be sure to do whatever it is you want to do while you’re there.

Be Flexible, but Organized

Be flexible with your plans but stay on top of things.

If you can, work your schedule so that you can leave a few days before the holiday. This way you may be able to avoid the busiest travel days. If you’re driving, plan your trip so that you will avoid the worst of the traffic.

If you’re driving to your destination, have your car inspected. You don’t want to have car problems while traveling. Also, apply for a driver’s permit if you need to drive in another country.

As you prepare for the trip, periodically double-check everything: dates, times, arrivals, departures, etc.

Save Yourself Time

Save time where you can. This includes packing as lightly as possible while taking everything you will need. This uses less luggage.

Book what you can in advance, such as the flight, airport parking, and rental car. If you know the restaurants where you plan to eat, go ahead and make reservations. If you know ahead of time events you want to attend, see if you can buy tickets online.

Mail the presents before you go unless you’re driving to your destination. This way you won’t have to worry about losing your luggage or passing through security, assuming you have your packages wrapped. If that’s not an option, put small gifts in your carry-on bags.

Make Alternate Plans, Just in Case

You never know. Sometimes life gets in the way of the best-made plans. Maybe you’ll need to cancel a flight and drive to your destination. Maybe your transportation doesn’t show up, or the hotel makes a mistake with your reservations. Be prepared for the unexpected with a plan B, just in case. Whatever happens, go with the flow and enjoy yourself. It’s the holidays.

By: Katherine Robinson, a writer for Edmunds

There’s a new way to experience the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, thanks to The Society Hotel Bingen. Offering a refined, off-the-beaten-trail experience, the multifaceted campus – which occupies 2.6 acres – features a variety of lodging options for different kinds of travelers, plus a spa, café, underground sanctuary, and indoor and outdoor community gathering spaces. It welcomed its first guests over Memorial Day weekend, and reservations can be made by visiting thesocietyhotel.com/bingen.

“The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is one of the country’s natural gems, and we created The Society Hotel Bingen to be both a basecamp for exploring the region, plus a relaxing escape for those who want to rest, relax and recharge without leaving the property,” said Jessie Burke, one of the owners of The Society Hotel. The Bingen property is the second location for The Society Hotel.

Like they did with the original Society Hotel in Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown neighborhood, the team restored, renovated and revitalized a historic property, melding modern comfort with historical preservation. 

Anchoring the renovated retreat is the 80-year-old Bingen Schoolhouse, which was originally constructed 1908, and was rebuilt in 1937 by the Civilian Conservation Corps after a fire in 1933. Melding modern comfort with historical preservation, the schoolhouse hotel was designed to retain most of its original feel, with a library in the reception area, lockers in the hallway, hotel rooms reflecting school subjects, and the refurbished gym open to guest use.  


The Society Hotel Bingen bridges the gap between hotel and hostel by offering both cozy private standard rooms and bunk room accommodations in the main schoolhouse building, along with a cabin ring with 20 units.

For guests seeking the full hotel experience while still capturing that sense of community found in old-world lodging houses, the 10 private standard rooms make ideal accommodations.

Rooms feature a queen and king bed option and include a refurbished school and vanity, and a shared bath one might expect to find in a European boarding house. (Rates: $65-$133)

Also located in the schoolhouse, the two 24-bed bunk rooms with custom, built-in triple bunks are a great option for travelers on a budget, or groups. Each bunk includes a privacy curtain, luxury twin-size mattress, power outlet, storage cubby and reading light. (Rates: $25-$52)

An interior at The Society Bingen.

Surrounding the spa in the center of the property is the cabin ring. Each attached cabin is a miniature home for travelers, families, and professionals who want a more traditional room with more space, more views and the privacy of their own bath. Cabins include complimentary spa access, kitchenette, indoor lounge area, and outdoor seating area with table and hammock. The one- and two-bedroom cabin options include one king bed, two queens or ADA-accessible queen plus bunk beds. (Rates: $180-$316)

The three accommodation options are perfect for the variety of travelers who are drawn to the Gorge for its incredible diversity of activities in a stunning setting – from hiking, cycling, and whitewater rafting and other watersports, to wine, beer and cider tasting, to exploring the famous Hood River County Fruit Loop and nearby Mount Hood and Mount Adams.


Warm and welcoming community spaces are also a signature of The Society Hotel, and the new property features numerous gathering places for groups. In the schoolhouse, The Library Café & Bar provides a bright and airy space with ample seating and serves regional coffees, teas and pastries and light fare such as salads, sandwiches and bowls, as well as cocktails, beer and wine. The hallowed, restored School Gymnasium & Gameroom serves as a multipurpose room for everything from shooting hoops to corporate meetings.

In the center of the property, the Spa & Bathhouse features a saltwater soaking pool, sauna, hot tub and cold plunge, as well as massage rooms and a Spa Café. Guests staying in the cabin ring have full access to the spa, while guests staying in the schoolhouse and bunk rooms can access it for a day fee. Passes for non-guests are $20 for 2 hours; passes for standard or bunk room guests are $10 per day.)

Literally tucked in the corner of the property, The Sanctuary is a unique subterranean building that can be reserved for retreats or other groups of travelers for yoga, team-building activities, family gatherings, etc. It’s flooded with natural light through a roof cupola and south-facing glass doors from the courtyard entry.

The property is located close to the Bingen-White Salmon Amtrak Station at Highway 14 and Walnut Street. Service from Portland is $14 and takes about 90 minutes.

For accommodation pricing and further details, visit thesocietyhotel.com/bingen/.

The Society Bingen
The hotel complex in Bingen.

About The Society Hotel

The Society Hotel is a collection of experience-focused boutique hotels built within unique reclaimed buildings. The design-focused minimalist aesthetic, authentic staff and one-of-a-kind amenities have made the hotels a celebrated destination for travelers from all over the world.  The hotels offer social spaces that encourage worldly and adventurous travelers to convene, connect and collaborate. The original Society Hotel opened in fall 2015 in Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown, and the second Society Hotel opened in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area in Bingen, Wash., in May 2019. For more information, visit www.thesocietyhotel.com.

With world-class fruit blossom displays and wildflower hikes, Hood River always welcomes spring with open arms. Here are the top three ways for visitors to fully immerse themselves in the splendor:

1. Explore the Hood River County Fruit Loop, the epicenter of Hood River’s blossom bonanza. Just driving along this 35-mile self-guided route, past acres upon acres of cherry and apple blossoms, is a feast for the eyes. Starting in early April, the cherry, apple and pear trees in the Hood River Valley welcome spring’s return by releasing vibrant pink and white flowers. They start in the lower elevations and, like a domino effect, move up the valley creating a patchwork of color.

The Fruit Loop experience is enhanced exponentially by stopping at one or more of the many orchards for cider, jam, fresh-baked goods and other farm-made goodies, or visiting the cideries, where you can sample hard ciders made with local fruit. During Blossom Time, which takes place throughout April, various Fruit Loop stops hold special events, from family-friendly farm events and craft shows to wine tastings and culinary specials. The centerpiece for Blossom Time is the Hood River Hard-Pressed Cider Fest (April 20, 2019), which brings together 29 local and regional cideries and more than 50 hard ciders on tap for one spectacular, cider-infused afternoon. (See below for more information on this year’s festival.)
Photo credit: Bear Boot Productions

Hood River
Photo credit: Bear Boot Productions

2. Hike among the wildflowers. The Columbia River Gorge Natural Scenic Area is known for its amazing wildflower displays. The Mosier Plateau Trail, located just five miles east of Hood River in the town of Mosier, offers more than 30 different flower species. This 3.5-mile loop follows Mosier Creek through Pocket Park and ends on Mosier Plateau, which is owned by Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust. More wildflower hike ideas are here.

Hood River
Enjoying spring weather. Photo credit: Peter Marbach.

3. Pair blossom viewing with wine tasting. Hood River’s numerous wineries are the perfect place to relax and take in the blossomy views during the spring. Stave & Stone’s new tasting room, tucked high up in the Hood River Valley, is one such perfect place to do so.
Photo credit: MountNbarreL

Hood River
Enjoying a Spring day. Photo credit: MountNbarreL

Hood River Hard-Pressed Cider Fest

On April 20, 2019, Hood River will again be the epicenter for the region’s hard cider scene, thanks to the sixth annual Hood River Hard-Pressed Cider Fest. The 2019 festival – which appropriately takes place at a fruit-packing house in the heart of Hood River Valley, surrounded by fruit orchards in bloom – features 29 local and regional cideries, including five that are new to the festival. The 2019 cidery lineup is at hoodriver.org/cider-fest/.

The participating cideries will be sampling more than 50 original ciders that showcase the wide variety of styles coming out of the Pacific Northwest’s cider scene. To add to the festivities, there’s live music all day, plus local food carts.

Families and those with ‘fur babies’ should take note: New for 2019 is an expanded interactive kids’ zone, hosted by Our Children’s Place Academy, with games, crafts and cider-centered projects, plus a new “dog parking” service, thanks to Kind Animal Services. The latter is by reservation only; space is limited, and there is an hourly fee. For reservations, email [email protected]. (Note that dogs are not allowed within the event area.)

For online tickets, go to hoodriver.org/cider-fest/.

For those looking for a Hallmark Card-perfect holiday experience, you need to look no further—and go no farther—than Hood River. The picture-perfect historic downtown is alight with holiday spirit, and with snow-capped mountains as a backdrop and warm cafés and restaurants for refueling, there’s no more picturesque place to get into the holiday spirit.

Throughout the month, visitors can enjoy stress-free shopping in Hood River’s historic downtown, where there’s something for everyone on their list, and support small businesses at the same time. (You won’t get views of Mount Adams and Mount Hood while shopping in a mall or from your couch!)

To help make holiday shopping stress-free, the City of Hood River will host free metered parking from December 10-25 (Sunday parking is always free!). For zero driving stress, those coming from the Portland area can leave the car at home as the Columbia Gorge Express bus service is continuing through winter, with a new Hood River stop location right in front of Full Sail Brewing! Check the Columbia Gorge Express website for the winter schedule, which begins on December 3.

Shoppers can reward themselves with handcrafted drinks from one of Hood River’s breweries or cideries, enjoy a meal that’s locally inspired, and then spend the night in a historic hotel, cozy bed-and-breakfast, or riverside lodge.

Eastern Gorge, OR — When the original Columbia River Highway (CRH) was built through this area in 1921, it was necessary to build two tunnels to get through a high rock point. These tunnels and the nearby cliffs were a troublesome spot on the CRH: rockfalls were common and accidents happened all too frequently. A new road was completed in 1954 near water level and the tunnels were abandoned. They were soon filled with rock rubble and forgotten.

A trip to the west portal in the early ’90s found the road near the tunnels completely buried in fallen rock, with trees growing in the roadway. Only a quarter of a damaged tunnel portal was visible. In 1995, work was begun to reopen the tunnels for tourist use. This involved the removal of the rubble, rebuilding and resurfacing the road. The area opened to tourist use in 2000. Today, the old highway is known as the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail (HCRHT).

From the parking area, the path begins along the shoulder of Rock Creek Road, joining the old road about 0.2 miles down the hill. Walk through the gate and onto the old highway. The first part of the hike is through a large rock field, spotted with pine trees. The trail comes to the edge of the Gorge and turns west. Here, you’ll walk past stone guardrails and look down on Eighteen Mile Island. About a half mile from Rock Creek Road, a new stone-walled lookout has been built over the Columbia River. The grassy area around this lookout is a great place to see balsamroot and other wildflowers in April and May. Just past the lookout is the east portal of the east tunnel.



You’ll find milepost 72 inside the tunnel as well as carved graffiti from 1921, detailing the names of people that were trapped in the tunnel during a snowstorm. There are side passages leading to windows known as adits. West of the tunnels is a 700 foot structure designed to catch rocks falling from above. Beyond the tunnels, the trail continues another 4 miles to the Mark Hatfield West Trailhead, near Hood River.

Abandoned in 1954 with the construction of Interstate 84, these tunnels were filled in with rock and the road right-of-ways were reverted back to private owners. As Gorge legislation was being considered, thoughts of reconnecting the entire old highway gained momentum and the idea made its way into the National Scenic Area Act. Reconnecting the highway between Hood River and Mosier meant re-purchasing right-of-ways, closing several gravel pits and digging out and refurbishing the two tunnels. The highway and tunnels were finally reopened in 2000 as a result of hard work and generosity on federal, state, county and private levels. Consider biking this paved, 14-mile out-and-back (round-trip distance) section of the highway from Hood River to Mosier.

From gorgefriends

San Juan, Puerto Rico — Camas mural artist, Allan Jeffs, has just completed a monthlong series of major projects in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. He was hired to create six murals at multiple locations, and is now back in Mill Town taking some off to rejuvenate.

He painted three murals at an Old San Juan restaurant, called El Punto Café, which represented various aspects and history of the island, and Valparaiso, this article’s featured image, is a landscape mural of Chile.

Following that project he traveled to Aibonito, and painted two murals — one at a mountain top Italian restaurant, called Fiore — and the other at a private home owned by Peter Matina. At Fiore, he painted a large 15-foot wide pheasant, which symbolizes elegance to Fiore’s owner.

He the left the mountains, and returned to Old San Juan to paint one mural, and a little painting at the residence of Dr. German Ramirez.

“I love it when the clients are pleased with my work,” said Jeffs. “That’s the most important thing.”

His days were long, often spending 10-14 hours creating the murals while on his feet.

Call 360.696.9877

“I’m really tired,” said Jeffs. “My body hurts. I’ve been home for five days now, and my hands still hurt. I was on my feet all day long, and one day I walked 18,000 steps in the same wall. I’m satisfied with the work.

The clients knew what they wanted, but Jeffs had creative license to create each masterpiece using his talent and imagination. He spent time designing each mural, and each result is almost identical to the original specifications.

He said even though Puerto Rico was severely damaged by last year’s hurricane, he sees many signs of recovery.

“After the hurricane, they are starting to recover,” said Jeffs. “It was horrible there for many months, but nature is coming back, and people are rebuilding their community, and they are preparing for the next hurricane by improving the electrical grid, and using alternative sources of energy, such as solar. They’re getting prepared.

“I saw a lot of progress. There are a lot of people creating art and fashion. The restaurants are getting better and better. Electricity is there full-time in most of the country, but there are still some areas struggling with electrical problems. Puerto Rico has a lot of problems, but they are starting to become better than before. It’s something that you feel. Schools are in session. I think it’s better than what you hear in the news, but they do have a lot of problems with government. I was surprised because everything is getting better, and there are a lot of possibilities there.”

He said the rain forest was severely harmed, and many areas have been closed, and are now starting to open up.

“It’s a great place again for tourism,” said Jeffs. “The prices are very low for airfare to San Juan. It’s hot, it’s a Caribbean island, but it’s a great time to travel there.”

To learn more, go www.AllanJeffs.com

Photo Gallery


Abbey Road Farm Open House September 29th & 30th in Willamette Valley Wine Country

Weekend Festivities Include Music, Artisan Fair, Food Trucks, Wine Tastings, and Cornhole Tournament

September 4, 2018 – Carlton, OR – Abbey Road Farm, newly-revitalized in the heart of Oregon wine country, will hold its first open house “Silobration” at the end of September. Named for the refurbished grain silos that house the bed-and-breakfast lodging, the Silobration is intended to re-introduce the community to the farm, thank supportive vendors and friends, and celebrate the beginning of the grape harvest. Entry to the weekend-long event is free and open to all ages, taking place from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, September 29th and Sunday, September 30th.

Local restaurateurs Sandi and Daniel Wilkens, owners of Quaintrelle in Portland and Hanko’s Sports Bar & Grill in Lake Oswego, purchased the property in October 2017 and immediately began improvements to the 82-acre farm to turn it into an all-encompassing agritourism destination. Today, Abbey Road Farm boasts one of the most unique lodging opportunities in the area, offering five silo guest suites, and a three-bedroom guest ranch house. The property’s vegetable garden and chicken coop provide fresh ingredients for gourmet breakfasts. Sweeping lawns provide breathtaking views and a gathering space for up to 200 people. Abbey Road Farm’s permanent residents are available to greet guests: mini donkeys, chickens, mini goats, ducks, llamas and alpacas. The facility offers a variety of lawn games including horse shoes, cornhole, croquet and giant Jenga. With close proximity to some of Willamette Valley’s premier wineries, hiking and biking trails, horseback riding, Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey, and Agrivino Fine Dining Event Center, there is no shortage of activities, wining and dining.

The Silobration will include a mix of food, beverages and fun for all ages with 28 artisan vendors and four wine tasting stations featuring wines from Marshall Davis Wines, Suzor Wines, and Abbey Road Wines.


An amazing entrance.

Saturday, September 29
Artisan Fair, Food Trucks, Wine Tasting: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Cornhole Tournament: 11:00 a.m.    


Letters & Dust Chalkboard Lettering Class, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Alice’s Table Flower Arranging, 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Ukalaliens Workshop, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.


The Old Yellers, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Kenneth West Music, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
The Big North Duo, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, September 30
Artisan Fair, Food Trucks, Wine Tasting: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


Olivia Grace Paper Sign Painting Class, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Sprinkles of Joy Cookie Decorating, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.


Jeff Ward, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Wanderlodge, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Mood Swings, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

All food and beverage will be available for purchase.  To register and purchase classes, or enter the cornhole tournament, sign up at http://abbeyroadfarm.com/silo-brationnw.html.

About Abbey Road Farm

Located at 10501 NE Abbey Road in Carlton, OR, Abbey Road Farm is a destination in the heart of the Willamette Valley wine country offering lodging, gathering spaces, Agrivino restaurant and a working farm. To reserve a stay or for more information, please visit www.abbeyroadfarm.com or call (503) 852-6278.

Hood River, OR — 2018 marks the 25th anniversary of the Hood River County Fruit Loop – the popular 35-mile scenic drive that provides the ultimate self-guided tour of the area’s acclaimed agritourism, with numbered stops at farm stands, u-pick farms, wineries, cideries, and lavender farms. New for 2018: Updated number signs that makes finding each stop even easier!

To get there from the Portland Metro area, take I-84 Exit 64 and head up Hwy 35 towards Mt. Hood. To get a feel for the variety of agriculture that defines Hood River Valley, stop at Panorama Point where you’ll also have a view of Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams on a clear day.

We recommend you stop at all the locations on the Fruit Loop map, but here are some suggestions to help get you started: The Gorge White House is a working pear orchard that offers wine tasting from most all of the Gorge region wines. Here you can also sample and purchase local fruit, u-pick berries, and u-pick flowers.

Fruit Loop Fun Facts:

  • Started in 1993 with 19 stops
  • Of the original members, four are still on the Fruit Loop today: Kiyokawa Family Orchards, Mt. View Orchards, Smiley’s Red Barn, The Farm Place (formerly Rasmussen Farms)
  • Current number of stops: 28
  • In addition to the self-guided driving tour from April through November, the Hood River County Fruit Loop also offers annual special events, including Cherry Days (June), Lavender DAZE Festival (June), Summer Fruit Celebration (August), Gravenstein Apple Days (September) and Pumpkin Patches (October).
  • Things you can do on the Fruit Loop: Pick (fruit, flowers, pumpkins), sample (fruit, cider, jellies, pies, and more!), sip (cider & wine), pet (baby goats, bunnies), swing (Draper Girls Family Farm), picnic, photograph (orchards in bloom, Mount Hood & Adams, fruit galore), fill (growlers of cider, stomachs), relax, recharge.

More food for thought:

  • The lavender farms offer u-pick lavender starting at the end of June, all the way through October.
  • The upper valley offers berries in July and August, and Heirloom Apples and Pears in the fall.
  • The Fruit Loop is beautiful year round, but be sure to visit during the April Blossom Fest time to see acres of orchards in bloom, and the Fall harvest when the fruit is piled high in the bins.

The Fruit Loop is also famous for its many festivals. Get all the details here: http://hoodriverfruitloop.com/