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It takes a lot to get me up before dawn, but the prospect of starting an Oregon wine country tour with a hot-air-balloon ride was enough to roust me from my slumber. The balloon lift-off site is just 25 miles southwest of Portland. Soon after arriving, my sweetheart and I were floating 1,500 feet above the beautiful Willamette Valley. During the hour-long ride in our spacious gondola, we enjoyed views of a patchwork of vineyards below and mountains in the distance. Vista Balloon Adventures , based in Newberg, offers daily flights from April Fool’s Day through Halloween and is taking reservations for 2017. Once on the ground, we enjoyed a hearty brunch and ventured off to tour a few of the hundreds of wineries in the Willamette Valley. In recent decades, Oregon wines have received national attention for their quality, particularly the Pinot Noirs. Visitors take tours, use designated drivers or, this being Oregon, ride bikes responsibly between tastings. Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members can enjoy com- plimentary tastings at 300 wineries, and may check a case of wine for free on Alaska flights from Eugene, Medford, NW14 GREAT NORTHWEST ABM 12.16 gnw Oregon.indd 14 JOSHUA MEADOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Romantic Getaways Oregon wine country hot-air-balloon tour. Portland, Redmond/Bend, or Walla Walla, Washington. Visit oregonwine.org for more information. For those who wish to overnight in the wine country, book well in advance for The Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg, or the Dundee Manor and Black Walnut in Dundee. Cannon Beach. Cannon Beach: Beachcombing, souvenir shopping and dining at Sweet Basil restau- rant provide pleasant preludes to snuggling up at an inn or against a beach log to gaze at majestic Haystack Rock. C’est La Vie Inn: This Eugene jewel offers gorgeous gardens, sumptuous breakfasts and upscale comforts. Crater Lake Lodge: You and your loved one can rest and dine in comfort looking out over one of the world’s deepest and most pristine lakes. The lodge is open seasonally starting in May, but Crater Lake National Park has year-round outdoor activities. —D.N. DECEMBER 2016 ALASKA BEYOND & HORIZON EDITION MAGAZINES 11/17/16 6:21 PM