Travel Tips & Adventures

Real People. Real Travel.

Rhapsody of Corvallis: Not Your Usual Travel Destination

If we seem to be in rhapsodies over Corvallis, you’re right – and we have another activity to share. We happened into an event that features local vineyards paired with local stores. Great idea, right? Well, it was!“Rhapsody in the Vineyard” was an event that took place at retailers all over downtown Corvallis. Participants could purchase a wristband (like the kind they give you in a hospital) that gave a participant a wine glass and the right to participate in the event. Then, people paid for tickets, which gave them opportunities to sample wine. We bought 10 tickets for $5 and set out to try some local wines. The trick was that you had to go to different stores for each different vineyard.

The fun part was that the retailers served as hosts and provided nibbles to go with the wine sampling. At Many Hands Trading gift shop , the hors d’oeuvres were so delicious that I commented to the gentleman rapidly restocking the treats that whoever was providing them should be a caterer. It turned out that Margaret Wilson, the storeowner, used to be a caterer. Great job! Both her store – a fabulous gift and home furnishings store – and the catering were a high success. And we liked a couple of the wines, especially the Pinot Gris 2007,  from the Spindrift Cellars represented there, too.

After poking round in half a dozen stores and trying the wines and appetizers, we were full and a bit tipsy. People were friendly and in a festive mood. The “Rhapsody” lingered on, as we have fond memories of the event, the wines, the people, the stores – and, well, everything!

Where to stay in Corvallis

We stayed on the OSU campus at the Hilton Garden Inn. Our room was on an upper level far away from the elevator. It was large, comfortable and well-equipped. The hotel amenities were terrific with a large, indoor pool and a fairly well-equipped fitness center (weights, treadmills and the like).

The staff was extremely helpful and accommodating – “Where can we recycle this newspaper” – “Here” – “Oh, great!”

Where to eat in Corvallis

In addition to Block 15, we tried some other Corvallis eateries. For the most part, dress was casual and service was terrific. Again, we gave lots of 20% tips.

Big River from the upper dining area

Big River from the upper dining area

Big Meal at Big River

One evening, we tried Big River, and had an enjoyable meal over which we were allowed to linger. My “canelloni” was luscious, melt in your mouth, with a fresh salad; my husband’s pork was tender and flavorful.  We finished by sharing a rich, creamy vanilla creme brulee.  Our wait staffer was extremely patient and accommodating.   Their ingredients are local whenever possible and the menu changes to reflect that.

It was a good feeling not to be rushed as in places where they’re trying to “turn the tables” so they can make more tips. We lingered.

Seated upstairs in what was a converted warehouse, we were able to look at some of the food preparations below as we stepped downstairs. It is always interesting to see the orchestrations of a kitchen – with many people working in a small area, it is amazing that everything gets done, no one bumps into anyone else and the food gets out to people while it is still warm. We loved it.

Another restaurant where we ate lunch had all the vibes of the “crunchy granola set” going for it. “Healthy” food was proffered at Cloud 9. Burgers, sandwiches, teas, fresh large salads – a perfect place for a reasonably-priced lunch. We liked the food and the service, but the ambience was sparse.  They have an evening crowd that seems a lot more clubby, according to their Web site.

Leaving Corvallis…

Corvallis was one of those places where you didn’t really want to leave. We drove around in the community and saw a variety of homes from upscale to not-so upscale. It is definitely one of those places where you could see yourself living.

Now, granted, we were there when the roads were not clogged with traffic heading to a football game on the OSU campus. We did not see what it was like with the campus crammed with students. We could picture it – and we liked it there, anyway. We even read that they were working out strategies to move traffic more quickly on games days!

Planning, thinking, recycling, “green,” friendly – we like Corvallis!

Many Hands Trading

Big River Restaurant

Cloud 9 Bistro & Bar

Corvallis-Benton Chamber Coalition

Corvallis Convention & Visitors Bureau

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