Curt & I opened the B&B in August 2007. That means that when I am asked, “How long have you been open?” I can now switch from “two and a half years” to ”almost three years”. I wouldn’t have thought I’d already be writing about our returning guests, but I’m so thrilled to do so! With three couples making return visits just this week, it’s getting to be like family around here.
It seems just a few months ago I was welcoming in Jim & Marion for the first time… actually it was more like two years ago. Today I will welcome them in for their 10 night of staying with us. They stop by on their annual pilgrimage to and from Ashland’s Oregon Shakespeare Festival. While at the B&B, they sit out on the deck of their room with dinner and a bottle of wine. In the morning, they are refreshed for the rest of their drive. When their schedule permits, they hang out an extra day or two to do some wine tasting, but not this year as they have just welcomed their second grandchild into the world… Congratulations!
The second couple was Jimmy & Mary, who I just sent off to see their grandkids in Eugene after their second visit with us. As they had last year, they flew in to Portland and got started wine tasting that afternoon. With so many wineries in the valley, they can visit new ones each year as they search for the perfect wine. Maybe there is no such thing, but the search is sure fun. Their favorite restaurant, Tina’s, saw them for dinner twice. We aren’t having such splendid weather these days, so breakfast was inside this year, but each part of their breakfast was a new dish for them. Mary was kind enough to check out the rough draft plans we have drawn for our new house and gave us her experienced opinion on the matter; they expect to see the foundation laid by their visit next year.
Later this afternoon John & Susan will check in for the weekend for their second stay with us. They are coming to celebrate the high school graduation of a niece who lives in Newberg. Later in the month, they are coming back to golf around Oregon, including Newberg’s Chehalem Glenn Golf Course.
Part of the fun of owning a Bed & Breakfast is meeting new people. But it is also a real pleasure to have those people, now friends, come back time after time.
And then we were going down, landing in the river? No, just touching the bottom of the hot air balloon basket to the river and rise again on the morning wind.
Co-owner of Vista Balloon Adventures, Roger Anderson was our pilot for our morning adventure. Curt and I were joined by my folks and my aunt and uncle. Both my dad and uncle are pilots of noisier vehicles, and were enthralled with the quiet peacefulness of the propane flame filling the balloon as Roger maneuvered between the layers of airflow to take us the most scenic direction. After an hour of flight, we landed softly with not even a bounce in a mown wheat field and began to roll up the giant nylon balloon that had carried us just a few miles away from our launch point. Christine Driver, Roger’s co-owner and wife, drove our designated chase van to pick us up and return us to the airfield where breakfast was just about ready.
As we waited for the other 6 balloons to land and arrive for breakfast, we toasted our flight over mimosas and sparkling cider. Christine got busy making breakfast fajitas for us while Roger signed our posters.
Vista Balloon Adventures flies up to 7 balloons every day except Tuesday and Thursdays from April 1 through October 31, weather and wind permitting. They usually take off from the Newberg Sportsman Airpark. During the summer, the action starts about a half hour before sunrise and lasts about three and a half hours. Flights change to take advantage of the afternoon air in October.
You can reach Roger & Christine at (800) 622-2309 or (503) 625-7385
In a quiet Victorian house a block off Newberg’s busiest street hides one of the Willamette Valley’s finest gems. But it’s not so hidden anymore, as The Painted Lady has been recognized by Wine Spectator, Wine & Spirits, and Zagat, among others, for its excellence in Northwest cuisine, wine pairings and service.
Chef Allen Routt heads up the kitchen to present exciting flavor profiles of locally fresh foods in each of the four courses. The menu changes with availability from farmers and ranchers. In the early spring, the amuse bouche featured local red and golden beets… even Curt the vegetable-leary Iowan appreciated the creativity and tastiness. The house-made gnocchi is often a star of the first course, although the pate sings with complex flavors that get high reviews. In the seafood course, local halibut, salmon or steelhead are often among the choices, while the main entree list itself has a wide variety of meat choices that shine with modern flair of their own. My duck was super juicy and crisp while Curt’s steak was the perfect cut done just so. And dessert… I had the Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Tart with a little dessert wine. Good grief, what a treat.
That dessert wine I had was arranged by Jessica Bagley, as General Manager and co-owner with her husband Chef Routt. She has established a wine list at The Painted Lady that garners praise from all around, including winning the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. The list is extensive in Oregon and international selections.
For an adventure down a nicely planned path, during the winter and spring months, Allen and Jessica work with local vintners to present a Winery of the Month set menu in addition to the regular menu. This three course meal is designed to highlight the best tastes of a local winery with specially prepared pairings. They also host winemaker dinners throughout the
year… and will be co-hosting (with Bergstrom Winery) a dinner at the James Beard House in New York next Monday, June 14!
Not being a large restaurant, you can expect personal service throughout your dinner at The Painted Lady. It also means that we highly recommend planning ahead with reservations. We also recommend having a light lunch so that, as your mom said, you don’t spoil your dinner. This is one of the pricier choices in the Valley; Curt and I make it a special occasion dinner. But any day can be a special occasion, right?
The Painted Lady Restaurant is open Wednesday through Sunday for dinner from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM. It is located at 201 S. College Street, Newberg, OR 97132. 503.538.3850