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29 Places to Go in 2009 Spotlight, Willamette Valley #10

Published: December 31, 2008

The Shermans Travel Editorial Staff "brought their dollar-savvy expertise and collective travel mileage to the office globe to cast a wide net of 29 places to go in 2009, nearly all of which offer a good degree of affordability in addition to unique, memorable travel experiences."

In the United States & Canada, they chose the Willamette Valley for their wines and pastoral settings.

Located about an hour's drive south of Portland and spread out on the banks of the Willamette River, this up-and-coming wine region has been making waves of late in wine glasses across the nation. Billing itself as the "place for pinot," this slumbering grapevine district is home to more than 200 wineries, most of which beckon visitors with tasting rooms and even eco-wine tours ( Visitors can also opt to take in the vineyard-covered landscape from a hot-air balloon ride, trot along farm-dotted trails on horseback, or take home a one-of-a-kind find from one of the many antique shops.

Why Go In 2009: Although enthusiasts forecast that this area will be the next Napa Valley, the less-commercialized Willamette Valley remains - for now - a much more affordable vino-centric destination than its southerly California neighbor. Plus, new developments are on the horizon for those looking for an alternative to the area's charming B&B circuit - in August, for one, the region's first luxury inn, The Allison Inn & Spa (, will be unveiled, featuring extras like a restaurant dishing out regional cuisine and a working vineyard."