A Road Trip to Oregon’s Wine Region & A Birthday Celebration

Today on Weekend Meanderings our road trip to Oregon’s wine region and Jim’s mom’s 90th birthday celebration.

Happy weekend, friends!

It’s Saturday and I’m joining Kim and Elizabeth for Weekend Meanderings.

Our weekly roundup of inspiration and goings on.

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Autumn candle next to blue and white vase of roses on kitchen island.

Labor Day’s behind us and I’m ready to talk about fall.

That said, there will be no pumpkins at Snowberry until October 1st.

It’s a hard and fast rule.

Candles are another matter.

My Hood Canal Candle Co. Autumn & Pumpkin Caramel Butter candles are out in full force.

I’m loving the new gold pots, but they still come in amber glass jars too.

I used the fireplace for the first time.

Coffee table tray with autumn candle in front of fire.

Too soon?

We took a road trip to Oregon over Labor Day weekend.

To celebrate Jim’s mom’s 90th birthday with his family.

Family photo outside Resonance Wines in Oregon.

Pippa and Maggie came along too.


Over Labor Day weekend we took to the road (the well-traveled I-5) and headed to Oregon’s wine region to celebrate Jim’s mom Ruth’s 90th birthday. Jim’s mom, and the rest of his family, live in and around the Portland area. We’re pretty savvy road trippers after our adventures on Fidalgo Island (lot’s of trips back to California with our two small dogs). We couldn’t find a dog sitter over Labor Day weekend so Pippa and Maggie came along. It’s a nine hour drive and with pit stops and meal breaks it took about 11 hours.

Two dogs in car seat on road trip.

Not sure why they’re in the same car seat!

There are many cool places to stop along the way (Lake Shasta and the Shasta Caverns) but this wasn’t a leisurely drive and we had the dogs. That said we did make a couple of longer stops in Ashland and Eugene, Oregon. We also stopped for lunch in Weed, California … but we’ll gloss right over that.

Weed, California road sign.

Ashland is the location of Oregon’s Shakespeare Festival, and home to Southern Oregon University. We took the dogs for a walk around the pretty campus.

Southern Oregon University.

In our Fidalgo Island to California days, we made it a two-day road trip and stayed overnight at Ashland’s Lithia Springs Resort which I highly recommend. We miss it and did drive by during our stop in Ashland. It’s a little outside of downtown. If you want to be in the midst of the downtown action the historic Ashland Springs Hotel is the place to stay.

Lithia Springs Resort in Ashland, Oregon.

Lithia Springs Resort

Eugene is also a good stopping point. The University of Oregon is beautiful and, of course, their sports facilities are world class. As you’d expect there are many great restaurants and breweries downtown … and a beautiful Whole Foods.

The biggest road trip challenge for me is food. As in how not to (over) indulge in fast-food. My game plan generally is to pack an ice chest full of food for the trip there, and succumb to fast-food on the way back. It’s very hard to go into a proper restaurant when traveling with dogs. We don’t feel comfortable leaving them in the car … unless we can see them and the temperature is mild. Most of our road trips have been in very hot or very cold conditions. Our favorite road trip meal to pack is Nancy Fuller’s Farro Salad and Honey Glazed Ham & Brie Sandwiches. And, of course, plenty of Tejava. I need a little hit of chocolate after meals so I pack Ocho Dark Chocolate and Coconut Minis. If I’m really well organized I bake chocolate chip cookies. And, of course, we pack lots of water and ice. That said, this trip I was super busy in the days leading up to our departure and didn’t get around to doing any of this … aside from the water, ice and Tejava.

For entertainment we listen to podcasts or an audio book. This trip we listened to the Smartness podcast with Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Sean Hayes. Have you watched Smartness On the Road? It’s hilarious!

I dress very comfortably for road trips. It was a little warm both days in the car and I wore a pair of baggy linen shorts from Target that are sadly no longer available (similar here). Good thing I bought a pair in white too … love them. Because they’re baggy I wear them with a more form fitting tank … and of course I brought a sweatshirt because Jim and I disagree about the level of air conditioning necessary in the car. Wearing black has its pros and cons … on the pro side I don’t worry about spills which do happen. On the con side, we have white dogs.

Road trip outfit flat lay.


Traveling with dogs requires some additional planning. It takes longer to pack them than me. These are few of my dog tripping essentials.


We’ll be road tripping again next month for nephew Noah’s and Katie’s wedding on the Oregon coast!

Engaged couple.

Nephew Noah & Fiance Katie



We found the cutest Airbnb in McMinnville, Oregon … The Pink House. I took no pictures. I know! Major blogger fail. Here are a few snaps from the website … we found the house exactly as advertised.

The Pink House Airbnb in McMinnville, Oregon

The Pink House

The house is well prepared for it’s 4-legged guests with little towels by the front door to wipe wet paws, and a basket of soft blankets to throw over the furniture so doggies can relax without concern of shedding on the good stuff.

Two couples sipping wine on front porch.

Porch Debrief of Day’s Events

The best part about it, aside from being dog friendly, is its location just a few blocks from downtown McMinnville. And it’s in a charming neighborhood perfect for dog walking. We strolled by many cute houses and wonderful gardens … this area has an ideal growing climate.

Garden outside home in McMinnville, Oregon.

Two of my must-pack travel essentials are a sound machine and a magnifying mirror. Most hotels have a magnifying mirror, occasionally they don’t, but not all magnifying mirrors are created equal. These days I can’t put mascara on with one one. Last week I shared the details of my party ensemble. I took a quick selfie in The Pink House’s armoire mirror before we left.

Woman taking selfie in mirror.



McMinnville is a charming town and wonderful home base for wine tasting adventures with 250 tasting rooms within 20 miles. It’s a Pinot Noir lover’s paradise. The town itself is full of wonderful shops, restaurants and tasting rooms.

McMinnville, Oregon clock.

There are a lot of Airbnbs in town. And a few hotels. We considered the Atticus Hotel before it became clear the dogs were tagging along. The hotel is dog friendly, but I think it’s easier to stay in a house with the pups.

Atticus Hotel in McMinnville, Oregon.

The hotel is very cool, and we had brunch at their Cypress restaurant. It’s a Mediterranean menu and quite good.

The Crescent Cafe seemed to be the happening breakfast spot in town. Lines of people waiting to get in.

Crescent Cafe, McMinnville, Oregon.

My sister-in-law told me about a new-ish resort in the area, the Allison Inn & Spa, that looks very nice and I’d love to stay there for a longer visit.


We celebrated Ruth’s birthday at Resonance Wines in Carlton, about a 15 minute drive from McMinnville.

Resonance Wines.

The Amites room is a stunning space with soaring windows with sweeping views of the vineyards. It was overcast somewhat chilly and they had a fire going that kept us warm and cozy.

Resonance Wines private event in members room.

We enjoyed passed hors-d’oeuvres paired with Resonance wines followed by a catered Italian dinner served family style.

Dinner menu, flowers and wine glass on table.

Jim’s sister Lisa is a chef and she made creme boule for dessert.

Creme Brûlée in butterfly ramekin.

Ruth has wanted to gather her entire family together for a long time and Jim’s older brother John and his wife Julie took on the Herculean task of making it happen. It was a special day full of love, laughter and appreciation.

Family photo in members room at Resonance Wines.

Winery’s are great places to hold group gatherings and celebrations. There’s the built-in activity of wine tasting, gorgeous scenery and many winery’s have private rooms and patios available. Food and wine pairing is a big deal and it’s common for winery’s have an in-house chef or to partner with local restaurants and caterers.

Couple standing outside Resonance Wines.


Odds & Socks ~

It takes me a day to recover from travels … short or long. And Wednesday I spent lounging around reading the September issues of several favorite magazines. They’re not as thick as they once were but I still love them and hope the print editions never end (yes, I’m fooling myself). On Thursday, I pushed the magazines aside to devour two new books (from my pre-order list) … my friend KariAnne’s 10-Minute Decorating Ideas is really good (and so cute). Organized by season she shares tons of quick and easy (and budget friendly) decorating inspirations. It’s an ideal gift book … and I’ve ordered a few more copies with hostess and holiday gifting in mind. And, The Cottage Garden from Claus Dalby is every bit as beautiful and enchanting (and informative) as you’d expect.

Loved reading Bay Area blogger Dawn Lucy’s What I Learned from Two Months Off. I have a love hate relationship with social media, I think we all do. It can easily take over your life and we need to find balance.

Dawn Lucy of Fashion Should be Fun blog.

Dawn Lucy, Fashion Should Be Fun Blog

Current favorites ~


And that’s what I have for you this week.

Let’s see what’s inspiring Kim and Elizabeth …



If you missed my last post, you can catch up here.

You’ll find all my weekend roundup posts collected here.

You can also follow along on Instagram and Pinterest.

Any thoughts you’d like to share?

I’d love to hear them and you can drop them in the comments below.

Woman standing on beach under pier.

Cheers from Snowberry!

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  • What a lovely 90th birthday celebration for Jim’s Mom! We celebrated our Mom’s 90th in a backyard picnic at her home. She and one older brother were the only surviving siblings of the original 10 children, but we included lots of other family and neighbors. I think it was the only party ever thrown in her favor and though she always said she didn’t want a party, she loved it! She was still in good health then and I remember that time fondly. So glad you could celebrate Ruth on her day!

    • Kelly, that sounds like so much fun and a great memory for your mom and everyone in the family. We need to celebrate more, right?! xo

  • The Allison Inn is one of our absolute favorite places to stay. We’ve spent a couple of anniversary celebrations there and attended a wine seminar hosted by Karen McNeil (author of “The Wine Bible”). The grounds are fabulous and the rooms have a lovely vibe

  • Juliet, we take the same road trip (have family in Corvallis) and stay at Lithia Springs up and back. It’s really to hard to make the drive all in one day. Our family loves McMinnville and the idea of a family gathering at a winery is fantastic..loved this post!

      • Thank you, Leila … I’m so appreciative of this tip because Weed is actually a great first stopping point distance-wise … and a cinnamon roll is lots of motivation to get there fast! xo

    • I insist that we stop at Weed for a cinnamon bun at Ellie’s. That means leaving Oakland very very early in the morning in order to arrive at Ellie’s when the buns are just out of the oven and so warm and gooey and simply delicious. Kerry (Leila’ spouse)

      • Kerry! What?! I’ve not heard of Ellie’s?! How is this possible … I love a cinnamon bun … or two! Thanks for the tip. xo

    • Isn’t Lithia Springs the best?! And we love their morning breakfast. Corvallis is on my list of places to visit. McMinnville was new to us and we love it! xo

  • Aren’t road trips a wonderful adventure! My husband and I live on the central coast of California and today is the start of week four of a three month vacation to the east coast for fall colors. We are in a 30 foot RV towing our Miata sports car, bicycles and Pickelball paddles. We picked up a good PBall match in Moab. Love hearing your adventures. Greer

    • What fun! The fall colors will be spectacular …and you’re traveling with all the comforts of home! I’m envious … enjoy! xo

  • Sounds like an epic journey, travelling with dogs in America. We take our dog from London to Brittany (and back!) at least three times a year. It does need planning, and we’ve found that getting an overnight ferry really helps, though sometimes it’s not possible.
    How lovely to get all the family together for your mother-in-law’s birthday, it looked like a very special occasion.

    Jude x

  • P.S…..I agree, my rule is no fall decorations until Oct 1. I was an interior decorator so I can set some rules, right? Just kidding! Greer

  • Speaking of dressing – I would love information on the blue dress. It is lovely on you. So if time permits please let me know if it is available and sorry forth! Thank you.
    Many years ago I went to intermediate grades and high school in Portland. It was nostalgic to see the lovely Oregon gardens.

  • I could remark on several things about your fun post, but I have to comment about the hazards of eating chocolate in the car. My hubby and I had errands to run in LA, 70 miles away and 10 degrees hotter than at our home. I took along some snacks for what was to be a long day. After taking a few careful (or so I thought) bites of a Kind bar coated in dark chocolate, I noticed I had a couple of chocolate spots on my pants. We still had one stop to make, so I scrubbed away at the spots until I looked presentable, and on we went to complete our final errand, a return at a J Crew in a big mall. We were tired and irritable by that time of day, and I didn’t realize until we were back home that I had walked through the mall and into J Crew with chocolate also smeared on my shirt….and a tiny piece of it stuck to my jaw. I finally had a good laugh on that busy, hot day.

  • Juliet I really enjoyed your blog and hearing what you take on a road trip. I need to pack more food because let’s face it, road food sucks and is not great. I loved learning more about these cute towns on your way up and the winery. The pink house is so charming and love the porch. That must have been relaxing having the doggies with you there. How wonderful Jim’s sister planned this and got you all together. What a cute crew and I bet Jim’s mom loved having everyone there for her. The menu looked delicious too. I know you said you were chilly, but the black dress was darling on you! You and Jim as always look sharp.
    I haven’t been to Ashland, but it’s on my list and so is this area!
    I missed Dawn’s post! I took this photo of her.. She’s so cute.
    Thanks for the book recc’s too.

  • Juliet,
    I love a road trip with pups! That is the best, then there are no worries about how they are doing.
    You are right, packing for the pups is a lot of work, bowls, food, cooler(for raw food), blankets, cages for safety, leashes, etc.

    As for car food, I am with you it is a must. Have you tried Kate’s Bars? They are delicious and come in multiple flavors and they have a little chocolate too. Great to keep in the car all of the time.
    I like to take carrots, celery, water and a bag of almond/cashews/cranberries.

    I also bring a pillow and a blanket because my husband and I never agree in the temps either.

    Congratulations and happy birthday to Jims mom! 90 and still healthy and able to celebrate with family! Savor these times.

    This town and your airbnb looks so cute, I love your outfit~you can never go wrong with a little black dress.

    Have a great day!

  • Hi Juliet,
    What a great birthday celebration. Your MIL looks so young! I would never have guessed 90. The family photo is really sweet.
    You of course looked fabulous, as always. And the doggies got a little vacay, too!
    I’ve never been to Oregon. I guess I need to add a visit to my ever-expanding list of places to see!
    Glad you’re back safe and sound.
    Xo Heidi

  • Hi, I’m Juliet … welcome to Make Mine a Spritzer where we talk about all things home décor, classic style and more! I’m so happy you’re here!

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