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Oregon's Golf Bounty

Following the round, go back to Carlton and pull out that to-do sheet the Stuarts gave you in the morning. A tour of Ken Wright Cellars, named the 2005 Pacific Winery of the Year by a regional publication, tops the list. For a personal touch, stop in at Carlton Hill Vineyard, where the owner, Dave Polite, just might engage you in a game of croquet. The authentic boutique experience can be found at ArborBrook Vineyards, which occupies a storybook setting complete with a red-barn tasting room, Arabian horses and Saint Bernards.

In the evening, take a short jaunt to the Red Hills of Dundee, where pioneering California winemaker David Lett planted Oregon's first pinot noir vines in 1965. Tina's Restaurant, with its seasonal menu showcasing produce from neighboring farms, is an intimate place to have dinner. Bed down at the Tuscan-style Black Walnut Inn and settle in there for the rest of the trip.

Day Three

This is decision day. Many visitors to the valley feel compelled to make the pilgrimage to the coast to play one of the three outstanding courses at Bandon Dunes. The trip takes just over an hour—that is, if you book a flight out of nearby McMinnville Airport. If you don't have access to a private plane, Cirrus Aviation (503-472-0558) can arrange a flight on a Comanche four-seater—large enough for three golfers and their clubs, along with the pilot. (An eight-hour round-trip excursion costs $770.) Keep the ball out of the Pacific Ocean, and you'll be back in wine country in time for cocktails.

Option two is much easier: Drive twenty-five minutes to Langdon Farms Golf Club in Aurora, a John Fought–Bob Cupp jewel. The memorable 126-yard "postage stamp" sixth is a short but exacting one-shotter.

Dress up for an elegant evening and indulge yourself at the Joel Palmer House in Dayton, a delightful restaurant in a converted home that's on the National Register of Historic Places. The organic offerings center around locally harvested wild mushrooms.

Day Four

Since it's your last day, keep things simple by driving a few miles to Chehalem Glen Golf Course in Newberg. Only nine of the planned twenty-seven holes are open, but you're sure to enjoy them. The first tee offers a panoramic view of the valley, and several of the par fours will test even the best golfers.

Before leaving the area, drive half an hour southwest to the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, home to a collection of historic aircraft, including Howard Hughes's Spruce Goose. Alas, your stay has come to an end, but in the Willamette Valley the harvest has just begun. If you've got the time and wish to lend a hand, maybe you could stay just a little bit longer.


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