Something’s growing in Oregon. This Pacific Northwest state, home to 4 million people, blooms with a variety of desirable crops. Lavender paints hilltops purple, producing a romantic fragrance reminiscent of the finest French perfumery. Hazelnut trees line up in perfect order and yield delicious morsels commonly listed on Oregonian menus as filberts. Pinot Noir grapes thrive in the rocky soil and long grow season, when damp winters give way to warm summer days and breezy evenings.
The Allison Inn & Spa is situated amidst this bounty in the Willamette Valley, Oregon’s largest wine region. Here, the farm-to-table concept permeates all walks of life—not just cuisine—and a passion for supporting local purveyors is palpable across the property. Sculptures by area artists dot an idyllic walking trail. Grape seeds and herbs grown on-site pop up in spa treatments. A snack basket of regional treats (chocolate-covered filberts, anyone?) greets guests upon arrival.
Since opening in September 2009, The Allison has set the standard for Willamette Valley luxury accommodations. Beyond quaint bed and breakfasts, The Allison is the place to stay when sojourning to Oregon wine country—and many valley vintners praise the resort for helping put the region on the elite travel radar.
In recognition of its tenth anniversary, The Allison is hosting a community-focused weekend, complete with special lectures and events that honor the evolution of Oregon’s wine industry. From August 30-31, the property will present The Allison Wonderland, a festive two-night program including a four-course dinner at signature restaurant Jory, a tasting seminar with Wine Bible author Karen MacNeil, and a garden celebration featuring live music, food, wine, beer, and spirits. The Allison Wonderland costs $2,200 for two people based on a two-night stay in either a deluxe king or queen guest room.
A study in understated elegance, the 77 rooms and eight suites all house fireplaces and terraces, where guests can watch hot air balloons rise along with the sun. Most visitors spend their days exploring the roughly 500 wineries that make up the Willamette Valley American Viticultural Area, which is divided into six sub regions. These expeditions are made easy by a bevy of transportation services that take oenophiles from one site to the next. The Allison also offers day use of Lexus test cars, so you can winery hop on your own time and in high style.
When in need of a respite between tastings, relax in one of the many modern Adirondack chairs that line the resort’s 32 acres or curl up with a charcuterie board in front of the communal living room fireplace. The Allison Spa is another sanctuary for relaxation. The 15,000-square-foot facility is outfitted with multiple sun terraces and designs its treatments around ecological elements. The Mimosa massage incorporates a Champagne oil that will leave skin feeling refreshed and effervescent—a few sips of its namesake drink doesn’t hurt either.
Speaking of libations, the wine selection at Jory, The Allison’s fine dining restaurant, boasts more than 800 labels, about 65 percent of which are from the Pacific Northwest. Guests can even get to know some of the vintners behind the bottles at tastings held every Thursday.
Some of the wines come courtesy of The Allison’s own vineyard, but the property produces so much more than Pinot Noir. Measuring an acre and half, the Chef’s Garden grows everything it possibly can for use in Jory’s seasonal menus inspired by the Willamette Valley’s indigenous delights. The garden delivers run-of-the-mill produce—such as tomatoes, lettuce, and squash—but doesn’t shy away from more peculiar kitchen requests like oca, an Andean tuber with a sour flavor profile. Tours of the garden are available by request, and if you hear some buzzing during your visit don’t fret: Tucked away in one corner are five hives that make honey for the whole hotel.
Most of that nectar ends up at Jory, where offerings are constantly updated to reflect the best of the garden and to highlight artisan items, such as extra virgin olive oil from Oregon Olive Mill and handmade cheeses from Briar Rose Creamery. It all commingles in innovative dishes like wild Oregon king salmon paired with chanterelles, pardon peppers, charred sweet corn, and an apricot coulis. Diners can watch these works of culinary art come together by reserving a seat at the counter adjacent to the open kitchen. Here, fires dance and china clings in tune to a soundtrack of epicurean excitement.