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Posts Tagged ‘Oregon wine’

Quiz: What Oregon Winery Should You Visit?

Posted on: June 29th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Montinore Estate
It’s time to discover Oregon’s wine country. If it’s your first time visiting the northern Willamette Valley, then it can be daunting to choose which of the 30+ wineries to visit first. While we think every wine tasting trip should include multiple vineyard destinations, here’s a quiz to help you choose which winery to stop at  first.  

What type of wine do you gravitate toward?
A. Pinot Gris
B. Riesling
C. You trust a winemaker’s blend
D. Pinot Noir

Though, please note that each winery excels at multiple varietals!

What’s your favorite home décor style?
A. Sleek modernism
B. Traditional with lots of classic wood pieces
C. Open-concept with free flow between indoor and outdoor
D. Italian villa

What activity do you like to do—with a glass of wine in hand—most?
A. Bocce Ball
B. Nerding out about organic farming
C. Getting cozy by the fire
D. Discovering new herbs for creative recipes

What kind of view do you like?
A. Panoramic views of the Chehalem Mountains
B. Coastal mountain range
C. Mt. Hood
D. Colorful gardens

Who are your wine tasting companions?
A. A mellow bachelorette party
B. Someone who has only wine tasted in California before
C. Your valentine
D. Your extended family

Key:

Mostly A’s: Ponzi Vineyards
Ponzi Vineyards in Sherwood is an Oregon old-school winemaker with lots of new-school charm. The multi-generation winery serves its wines, like the 2014 Pinot Gris that was picked as an “Editor’s Choice” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, in its incredibly classy gray-hued tasting room.

 

Ponzi Vineyards

Ponzi Vineyards

Mostly B’s: Montinore Estate
Montinore Estate in Forest Grove has a tasting room as regal as many esteemed Napa wineries. The Oregon twist? The stately décor remains unfussy, encouraging tasters to relax, ask questions and learn about the biodynamic winemaking process.

 

Montinore Estate

Montinore Estate (photo: David Brunkow)

Mostly C’s: Árdíri
Árdíri Winery and Vineyards in Cornelius was voted one of the best vineyard views in Oregon, which it celebrates with lots of patio seating tucked around multiple fire pits. Try the 2011 Pinot Noir Due Stati, which blends the best of Willamette Valley and Napa Valley reds into one tantalizing sip.

 

Árdíri Winery

Árdíri Winery

Mostly D’s: Alloro Vineyard
Alloro Vineyard in Sherwood transports wine lovers into an Italian daydream. In addition to the winery’s standout Pinot Noir offerings, be sure to peruse the herb garden for heavenly scents and serene views.

 

Alloro Vineyard

Alloro Vineyard

 

Which winery did your quiz results reveal? Be sure to explore all of the area’s wineries, vineyards and wine shops!

 

Tualatin Valley People’s Choice Award Winners

Posted on: June 24th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Do you use Yelp, Trip Advisor and the like? We’ve got one more authority to add to your go-to review resources. Enter, the results of the Tualatin Valley People’s Choice Awards. We put the power to the people with our open poll and received a whopping 858 votes. Check out our People’s Choice Weekend Getaway Itinerary, as well as get some extra tips on each winner below.

ABV Public House
Favorite Restaurant: ABV Public House
Why it’s so great: Housed in an unassuming Hillsboro business park, this spot is like a modern-day speakeasy. Instead of whiskey in bathtubs, find hundreds of bottles of beers and ciders lining the perimeter of the restaurant.
What to try: Cheese curds and green chili poutine—‘nough said.
When to go: Happy hour falls 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day.
Who to go with: Take your in-laws as the brews and kitschy décor give lots of conversation fodder.

Vertigo Brewing in Hillsboro
Favorite Brewery: Vertigo Brewing
Why it’s so great: With just a seven-barrel system, this Hillsboro brewery crafts an impressive array of standout beer.
What to try: Friar Mike’s IPA is a quintessential Oregonian beer with lots of Northwest hops.
When to go: A few hours before the Hillsboro Hops game for a happy-go-lucky crowd of sports fans.
Who to go with: Your sports buddies!

Ardiri Vineyards in Cornelius, Oregon
Favorite Winery Experience: Árdíri Vineyards
Why it’s so great: This Cornelius vineyard is the perfect mix of elegance and romance—without the pretentious veneer.
What to try: The 2011 Due Stati is in its peak drinking years right now. Salud!
When to go: A clear day, mid-afternoon will bring you amazing views of Mt. Hood.
Who to go with: Cuddle up with your honey around one of the vineyard’s cozy fire pits.

wine tasting in the northern willamette valley
Favorite Attraction/Activity: Wine Tasting in the Tualatin Valley
Why it’s so great: Just minutes from Portland, immerse yourself in Oregon wine!
What to try: Everything. Just try everything.
When to go: The North Willamette Vintners Association provides fantastic wine events in the region.
Who to go with: Rent a car and driver with a group of friends for an unforgettable wine weekend.

Remember, our People’s Choice Weekend Getaway Itinerary shows you how to happily go from one standout attraction to the next in one awesome weekend. We dare you to try it!

What’s New in Our Cities?

Posted on: May 20th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
World of Speed Museum

The World of Speed Museum in Wilsonville, Oregon delights car and culture buffs alike.

The Tualatin Valley is blooming with more than just flowers as new attractions make their spring debuts. That’s right, there are fresh new tasting rooms, museums and more popping up all the time. Help us usher in newcomers with a visit—and maybe a drink or two. Below, catch the details on exciting new additions to Cornelius, Forest Grove and Wilsonville.

Cornelius: Dion Vineyards Tasting Room

Dion Vineyards’ Tasting Room is a new attraction for a long-celebrated vineyard. Dion Vineyards has made the northern Willamette Valley and its fertile slopes of Laurelwood soil its home for more than 30 years, spanning three generations. Now, the estate embarks on a new chapter as it sets roots beyond the soil with a new tasting room in the charming town of Cornelius.  
Location: 33155 Reidweg Road, Cornelius
Hours: Open June thru November, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: $15 tasting

Forest Grove: Bull Run Cider Tasting Room

Bull Run Cider’s Tasting Room fits right into the friendly college-town vibe of downtown Forest Grove. Bull Run Cider is rapidly growing in production as more people fall in love with its not-too-sweet ciders; it was only a matter of time until their popularity gave way to a tasting room, as well. Looking for a late night hang out? Bull Run Cider is a safe bet, serving up cider brews until 1 a.m.
Location: 2225 Cedar Street, Forest Grove
Hours: Wednesday to Saturday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Cost: varied tasting and by-the-glass costs

Wilsonville: World of Speed Museum

World of Speed is a car lover’s paradise that appeals to those less enthused by hot rods, as well. World of Speed doesn’t just tell the story of American automobiles, but the history and culture surrounds it. Mid-century modern décor, rock-and-roll music and racing stimulators in actual race cars delight every taste. The Holiday Inn Portland South is just a skip away, making this fun stop even speedier!
Location: 27490 SW 95th Avenue, Wilsonville
Hours: Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday to Friday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Mondays)
Cost: $5 to $10; Simulator tickets $10

Taste what’s new in the Tualatin Valley—and then tell us about it with the #tualatinvalley hashtag!

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Ten Reasons to Love Oregon Wine

Posted on: May 13th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Celebrate Oregon Wine Month in the northern Willamette Valley!

It’s Oregon Wine Month and we’re taking full advantage of all the grapes, barrels and new releases that entails. In case you need any convincing, we’ll give you 10 reasons to visit the wineries of Oregon’s Washington County, proudly part of the northern Willamette Valley!

1. Gateway to Oregon’s Wine Country

So, you’re in Portland, drinking lots of fabulous local wine. Meet the makers of your new favorite blends! The northern Willamette Valley is your closest option with nearly 30 wineries just a short drive away.

2. Oregon Pinot

The Willamette Valley is known for its Pinot—and for good reason! The temperate weather and south facing slopes of our vineyards create Pinot that is earthy and nuanced.

3. More than Pinot

…But the northern Willamette Valley is so much more than Pinot. Try delicious Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese, Syrah, Riesling and Müller-Thurgau varietals (just to name a few!).

4. Biodynamic Wine

Organic wine-making is an enormous feat, which makes biodynamic wine truly incredible. Try wine that is created extra-sustainably at Cooper Mountain Vineyards and Montinore Estate.

5. It’s a Family Affair

Luisa Ponzi carries on the tradition of her parents, who established Ponzi Vineyards in 1970. Similarly, Elk Cove Vineyards was founded in 1974 and remains family-run today.

6. Creative Architecture        

Ponzi Vineyards modern tasting room is a treat for architecture buffs. The Beckham Estate Vineyard is handbuilt and double-duties as a gallery for the winemaker’s pottery art.

7. Live Music

Oak Knoll Winery’s bi-monthly summer concert series, Toast to the Tunes, pairs melodic soul with your Sauvignon.

8. Find Romance (and Scope out Wedding Venues)

Oregon’s Washington County is for lovers—and it shows with six vineyards wedding venues offering their views as the perfect backdrop for your “I do.”

9. Joy Ride Wine Tasting

Make wine tasting a full-out adventure by taking a drive on the rural side with the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route.

10. Check Oregon Wine for Free on Alaska Air

It’s true, Oregon Wines Fly Free through the spring of 2017. Check a full case of wine for free on Alaska Air flights leaving from Oregon.

Now, tell us why you love Oregon wine!

Find places to stay. | Create a personalized itinerary. | Find places to eat. | View the digital visitor guide.

10 Can’t-Miss May Events in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: April 29th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

May Events in the Tualatin Valley
May is the sparkplug of summer fun in Oregon’s Washington County: the Tualatin Valley. Whether you’re extending a business trip, tacking a few days onto a pre-existing trip to Portland or just want to plan getaway with friends, find art, festivals and sports to make May matter. See our top 10 suggestions below.

1. Art Walks

The Downtown Tigard Art Walk (May 1-15 on Main Street; free) includes an artsy re-vamp of the downtown area with new public art and bike racks made possible by a grant from the Washington County Visitors Association. Check out the pop-up gallery and a graffiti art demonstration the first weekend of the Art Walk.

2. Renaissance Faire

Forest Grove’s re-created medieval village, Faire in the Grove (May 2-3 at the McMenamins Grand Lodge; free), is a good excuse for history buffs and Game of Throne buffs to unite.

3. Cycling through Oregon Wine Country

The Montinore Bicycle Road Race (May 2 at Montinore Estate; $15-$30 registration) makes easy loops through lush countryside, while Reach the Beach Ride (May 16 at Southridge High School; $40 registration) offers a more challenging ride along farmlands.

4. Saké with a Twist

Oyster shooters just got more fun with the SakéOne’s Annual Oyster & Saké Event (May 2 at SakéOne; $15 per person). Pair fresh Pacific Northwest Oysters with different saké pairings.

5. Northwest Trail Run…with Peacocks!

Jog next to peacocks at Havoc at the Hideout (May 3, at Horning’s Hideout; $30 per person). Here, you’ll find some of the best forest trails in the Northwest.

6. Plant a Mini-Vineyard

Lay claim to four Pinot Noir plants at Buds to Bottles (May 16-17 at Plum Hill Vineyards), which will go on to become your own handcrafted Pinot Noir wine one day.

7. Spectacular Bird and Wildlife watching

The Tualatin River Bird Festival (May 16 at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge; free) is a fabulous way to see and celebrate wildlife. Go from land to water with the Tualatin River Bird Fest Paddle, too!

8. Visit a Brand New Tasting Room

The Dion Vineyards Tasting Room Grand Opening (May 16-17 at Dion Vineyards; $15 per person) celebrates its new digs tastings of its small-production wines.

9. Play Cornhole for Cash!

Oregon State Championships of Cornhole (May 30 at Pacific University; $30 registration) is perfect for casual and competitive cornhole players. Warm up your arm at the Oregon Cornhole Championships Kick-Off Festival the day before at the McMenamins Grand Lodge. Online registration is now closed, but there will be onsite registration at both the Friday and Saturday events.

10. Mother’s Day & Memorial Day

Of course, that’s just a sampling of May merriment. If you’re in town with your mom, then take advantage of these Mother’s Day Events. Plus, take a getaway for Memorial Day in the North Willamette Wine Country!

Have a happy May in the Tualatin Valley!

May Events in the Tualatin Valley, near Portland!

The Best Mother’s Day Events in the Greater Portland Region

Posted on: April 24th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Mom. Mother. Mama. Mommy.

No matter what you call the woman who helped raise you, it’s time to show her some special love this Mother’s Day. Luckily, there is no shortage of Mother’s Day events in the Tualatin Valley. Choose from brunch, wine, high tea and active Mother’s Day celebrations.

 

Celebrate Mother's Day with brunch and fabulous wine at Plum Hill Vineyards.

Celebrate Mother’s Day with brunch and fabulous wine at Plum Hill Vineyards.

 

Hillsboro Mother’s Day Events

Garden Vineyards Mother’s Day Brunch
12960 NW Dick Road | May 10, varying times | $20-$35
This stunning estate opens its grounds for a leisurely brunch based on century-old farm recipes. Eat a sustainable, hearty lunch of eggs, slow cooked pork and Bing cherry sauce

Hippie Chick Quarter and Half Marathon
Hillsboro Hops Stadium | May 9, 8 a.m. to noon | $79 registration
The only thing better than crossing the finish line alongside your mother is having a mimosa placed in your hands right after.

Mother’s Day Brunch at Cornelius Pass Roadhouse
McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse | May 10, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. | $16-$27
The cozy McMenamins’ spot has the famous octagonal barn—a perfect rustic-chic backdrop for your Mother’s Day pictures.

Tea’s Me Mother’s Day Tea
1601 B. SE Road | May 9-10, varying times | $25 per person plus $5 gratuity
Choose from the High Tea or a Crab Louie option—both are super fancy and will have your mother feeling like an absolute queen.

Portland Mother’s Day Events

Run Like a Mother 5k
Cook Park | May 10, 8 a.m. start | $40-$45 registration
For super active moms, start Mother’s Day with a heart-thumping 5k, followed by live entertainment in the park.

Nature Days: Roger Tilbury Park
965 NW 93rd Avenue | May 10, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. | Free
Little ones will love exploring local habitats, viewing how mother-child relationships play out in the wild.

Gaston Mother’s Day Events

Mother’s Day Brunch at Plum Hill Vineyards
6505 SW Old Highway 47 | May 10, noon to 2 p.m. | $35 per person
This friendly winery offers a five-course brunch paired with delicious wines from the vineyard.

What brunch, booze or beautiful view will you share with your mother this Mother’s Day? Any celebration in the Tualatin Valley will be sure to be a memorable one.

Find places to stay. | Create a personalized itinerary. | Find places to eat. | View the digital visitor guide.

 

Best Earth-Friendly Shopping and Souvenirs in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: April 22nd, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Happy Earth Day! When it comes to treating our planet nicely, small changes can make big differences—even when traveling. In addition to our eco-chic itinerary, we wanted to share a few sustainably-minded souvenirs from Oregon’s Washington County: the Tualatin Valley.

Used Books

Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing is the home hundreds of thousands of used—and often rare!—books. If you’re looking for a special, early-edition print of your favorite novel, then these are the shelves to scour. What’s more, this Powell’s Books location boasts an impressive collection of gardening and homesteading books so that you can work on your green thumb. For extra sustainability points, take the nearby MAX station at Beaverton Central instead of a car.

 

Literary greats often walk through the doors of the iconic Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing.

Find rare and special used books at Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing.

 

Biodynamic Wines

Alaska Airlines has extended its Oregon Wines Fly Free promotion, meaning Mileage Plan members may check one case of wine (6 or 12 bottles) for free on their Alaska Airlines flights out of Oregon airports. You might as well make that case of wine full or biodynamic ones that you picked up while wine tasting along our Sustainable Wine Trail. Both Cooper Mountain Vineyards and Montinore Estate produce their wines with farming practices that respect and uphold the beautiful balance of vineyard soils and environments.

 

Rudy Marchese of Montinore Estate is passionate about sharing the beauty, wine, and food along the Sip 47 Route.

Rudy Marchese of Montinore Estate is passionate about sharing his biodynamic wine-making process.

 

Antiques

Shopping antique is a win-win as you score a one-of-a-kind piece without adding the same carbon footprint as buying new goods. What’s your favorite decade? Whether it’s Victorian or totally ’80s, you can shop by the decade at one of our many antique, vintage and carefully-curated second-hand shops. Downtown Hillsboro is freckled with sweet antique shops ready for the most die-hard and leisurely of shoppers.

 

Can you spot any Depression Glass from the Railroad Street Antique Mall's window?

Can you spot any Depression Glass from the Railroad Street Antique Mall’s window?

Want even more ways to travel with Mother Earth in mind? Find more eco-travel tips—you’ll find ways to support and enjoy nature just minutes away from downtown Portland!

Find places to stay. | Create a personalized itinerary. | Find places to eat. | View the digital visitor guide.

An Eco-Chic Itinerary

Posted on: April 20th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

environmentally friendly itinerary near Portland, Oregon

Happy Earth Week! How do you keep your travel sustainably-poised? In Oregon’s Washington County: the Tualatin Valley, you can travel one environmentally-minded spot to the next, ranging from wineries to museums to restaurants. Extend your trip or plan a few extra days after visiting Portland to partake in our eco-chic itinerary,which can be completed year-round. Bonus points to those who complete it using an electric vehicle, which is easy when using our list of EV charging stations!

Environmentally Friendly Science Museum

The Tualatin Valley is home to a magnificent ecological history of volcanic proportions! To see what we mean, visit the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals, which has recently been named as an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. Prepare for a sustainable future by learning about the amazingness of the Earth’s past via thunder eggs, petrified wood, quartz, agate, jasper, metallic ores and gems.

Environmentally Friendly Restaurants

A healthy, earth-friendly cheeseburger?—yes please! A quick drive from the museum, the Cruise In Country Diner feels like a blast from the past with ethics focused on the future. Indulge your nostalgia for old-timey diners with classic milkshakes and juicy burgers. Every ingredient that goes into the food here is sustainable and often locally grown or raised.

Environmentally Friendly Wine Tasting

Drinking red can be oh-so green with a jaunt along the Sustainable Wine Trail. Going beyond mere organic practices, Cooper Mountain Vineyards and Montinore Estate employ biodynamic farming practices. This approach means that high-quality wine is produced through the utmost respects of the vineyard’s unique ecosystem.

Environmentally Friendly Lodging

If stargazing is on your end-of-day agenda, then book a cabin at L.L. Stub Stewart State Park. In the morning, you’ll wake up to sweeping views of the valley and easy hikes that start, essentially, out your cabin’s front door.

Camp like a Girl Scout at L.L. "Stub" Stewart Park with many badge worthy activities at your fingertips.

L.L. “Stub” Stewart Park offers eco-friendly lodging with the best views of the Tualatin Valley.

We hope to see you at one of our environmentally-friendly attractions soon! Share your tips for traveling sustainably in the comments below.

Wine Talk with Blizzard Wines’ Dana Blizzard – Part II

Posted on: April 6th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Find new favorite Oregon wines with the North Willamette Wine Trail Weekend.

Dana Blizzard, owner and winemaker of Blizzard Wines, welcomes wine lovers to the North Willamette Wine Trail weekend.

Are you a seasonal wine drinker, gravitating toward different varietals based on the weather? In the spring, many Oregon wineries debut new releases, making it a prime time to take a wine getaway. With the North Willamette Vintners’ annual North Willamette Wine Trail Weekend, happening this weekend (April 11-12), you can go on an Oregon wine adventure with more than a dozen wineries for a just a cool $45 (or $40, using the “WineTrail15” promo code).

We caught up with Dana Blizzard, owner and winemaker at one of the North Willamette Valley’s newest wineries, Blizzard Wines. First, read Part I of our chat with Dana. Then, find out her tips for the North Willamette Wine Trail Weekend below.

What makes the North Willamette Wine Trail Weekend so special?  
It’s special to see what makes each winery unique by visiting them in succession. They are all so different and have such great strengths: sweeping views, specialized wines and scrumptious food pairings.  

Any tips or suggestions for first time attendees to April’s wine trail?
Buy the 2-day weekend passes, get a designated driver and make an annual event of it. Remember—this is just the tip of the iceberg!  All seasons are great for wine tasting, especially in the North Valley since it’s such a short trip from Portland. Clear room in your cellar as you’re sure to find some new wines to love.

Dana has certainly convinced us to traverse the North Willamette Wine Trail! Here’s the skinny on tickets:

  • $45 per person includes the two-day Wine Trail weekend with activities, wine tastings, food pairings, and wine glass.
  • $30 per person for Sunday-only ticket from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; ticket includes glass, activities, wine tastings, and light food pairings.
  • $10 for a designated driver ticket

 

 

A short drive from Portland, enter the gateway to Oregon's Wine Country with the North Willamette Wine Trail.

Blizzard Wines offers a family-friendly environment for the North Willamette Wine Trail Weekend.

Remember!—Use the code WineTrail15 (case sensitive) for a $5 discount on each ticket that you buy. Be sure to show us your time on the wine trail with the hashtag #nwwinetrail.

Find places to stay. | Create a personalized itinerary. | Find places to eat. | View the digital visitor guide.

Wine Talk with Blizzard Wines’ Dana Blizzard – Part I

Posted on: April 3rd, 2015 by Jackie Luskey 2 Comments

Are you a true wine lover, always on the hunt for exciting new blends to try? With the North Willamette Vintners’ annual North Willamette Wine Trail Weekend, happening April 11-12, you can sip, swirl and savor wines from over a dozen wineries for a cool $45 (or $40, using the “WineTrail15” promo code).

We caught up with Dana Blizzard, owner and winemaker at one of the North Willamette Valley’s newest wineries, Blizzard Wines. She gave us the scoop on her family’s deep vineyard roots in the area.

 

 

Blizzard Wines of the Willamette Valley

Dana Blizzard of Blizzard Wines grew up around the vineyards of the North Willamette Valley.

 

Blizzard Wines is a relatively new wine label, but you and your family have deep roots in the wine country of the North Willamette Valley. How have you seen the wine industry here change over the years and what are you most excited about for the future?
My parents, Dave and Carol VanSchepen, purchased our family’s vineyard in Hillsboro in 1981 when I was 3 years old. Thirty years later, as a parent of my own toddlers, I came back home and started Blizzard Wines using that same vineyard and their 400 square foot garage. Now, my husband and I produce Pinot and Chardonnay from VanSchepen Vineyard and we are expanding, building a “proper” winery and tasting room scheduled to open next spring. Some things change and somethings stay the same—that’s what I love about North Willamette Valley wineries. It’s the same vineyards with new winemakers, new generations, new techniques.  

 

 

Dana Blizzard of Blizzard Wines tending to her vineyard.

Dana Blizzard of Blizzard Wines tending to her vineyard.

 

Blizzard Wines’ Wedding Blend keeps gaining accolades with wine lovers. Can you tell us a little more about it?
The Wedding Blend is a special wine for our whole family as it was made to serve at my brother’s wedding in 2013. It’s a traditional Bordeaux-style blend that’s been aged in select French oak—the joke was he was engaged for so long that we had time to let it age to perfection! Unexpectedly this spring, my brother is recovering from brain surgery and relearning to walk, use his left side and get back to daily life. He’s such a hard worker with an amazing attitude and his new wife is so dedicated to him. I’m proud my best wine honors such a loving relationship.

Check back on Monday for more from Dana as we discuss what makes the upcoming wine trail weekend so special.

p.s. Grab an overnight deal for the North Willamette Wine Trail from one of the participating hotels.