The weather in Oregon is as beautiful as it is unpredictable. Fortunately, three of our favorite scenic viewpoints in the state are car accessible, so you can easily dash back in the case of inclement weather. Even better, each viewpoint is less than a thirty-minute drive from a picturesque fine dining establishment.
Otter Crest State Scenic Viewpoint – Otter Rock: While the name is a humorous nod to stormy conditions, the views at Cape Foulweather are a picturesque panorama perched 500 feet above the ocean shore at Otter Crest State Scenic Viewpoint. Just steps from your parking spot, a breathtaking crescent of white sandy beach is revealed, stretching south. When the surf is up, watch wetsuit-clad revelers catching waves. Around the cape to the north, a turbulent geologic wonder called Devil’s Punchbowl elicits oohs and ahhs from visitors as waves spring to life around the rocky formation. Whale watchers congregate here, too, hoping to spot gray whales on their spring migration to Alaska.
Dine: The Bay House – Lincoln City (Drive time from Otter Rock: 17 minutes)
Perched waterside in Siletz Bay, The Bay House in Lincoln City is a preeminent coastal restaurant and one of only two AAA 4-Diamond restaurants in Oregon. Fine dining- caliber cuisine tastes even more inspired when enjoyed during sunset as coastal birds land gracefully on ocean water. Whether you are seated fireside in the dining room or sipping a cocktail in the lounge, the all-encompassing coastal scene will satisfy the senses.
Pittock Mansion: After shopping the tidy row of well-appointed boutiques on NW 23rd Avenue, a ten-minute drive into Portland’s west hills brings you out of city life, past dreamy private homes, through a forest and up to Pittock Mansion. The only thing that stands between the parking lot and a sweeping view of Portland and Mt. Hood beyond is the grand mansion. Built by pioneer turned The Oregonian owner Henry Pittock and his wife Georgiana more than a century ago, this impressive mansion proves that the philanthropic couple knew how to pick a build site. The iconic estate was purchased— and saved from demolition and redevelopment—by the city of Portland in the 1960s.
Walk around the mansion and through its verdant garden, which reveals a grass runway to the precipice above Forest Park. There isn’t a better place to see the city grid, sliced down the middle by the Willamette River and flecked with lush green tones that expand to the wilderness beyond. Head indoors where, for a small entry fee, visitors can access a dose of early-nineteenth century grandeur. The Turkish smoking room is a highlight.
Dine at Departure Restaurant + Lounge: (Drive time from Pittock Mansion: 15 minutes)
Take the elevator to the fifteenth floor of downtown’s swanky hotel, The Nines, where floor-to-skylight windows deliver sweeping city views from Departure Restaurant + Lounge. Inside, modernity meets whimsy in an Asian-inspired restaurant. An outdoor lounge provides airy, well-heeled ambiance on dry days.
Pilot Butte: Breathe in the juniper scent while getting to know Central Oregon from its most accessible viewpoint. The extinct cinder cone that rises, bubble-like, out of Bend’s east side is one of only four volcanoes located within a city’s boundaries in the United States. Drive right to the top of the beloved vantage point to survey 360 degrees of high desert landscape and twenty-two peaks. A bronze wheel in the center of the viewing platform names each peak and identities its distance from Pilot Butte. Other iconic gems visible from this outlook include the smokestacks in Bend’s Old Mill District and Smith Rock.
Dine at Chanterelle Signature Dining: (Drive time from Pilot Butte: 28 minutes)
Pronghorn resort’s Chanterelle Signature Dining is a refined culinary experience. Set in a lavish clubhouse, complete with thronelike plush chairs, the dining room is anchored by a massive stone fireplace that extends into the exposed beam rafters. Further augmenting the elegant atmosphere is the view through the lofty windows, which frame the resort’s world-class golf courses and the Cascade mountains beyond. Open Fridays and Saturdays only.
This article is also published in Cascade Living Magazine. If you’re interested in looking for beautiful places for sale around Central Oregon, Portland, or the Oregon Coast, get in touch with one of our brokers.