Playing Catch-Up

Yikes! Time has slipped away from me folks, and I realized that with all the stuff going on right now I forgot to actually write about my spring break trip that I took with Chris. I posted a slide show of all the pictures on this blog a while back (you can see the pictures here), but I totally forgot to give you the inside scoop! So here goes…even if it is old news by now.

Sunday, March 28:

We started our road trip by stopping by the Hip Chicks Do Wine tasting room in Newberg where we sampled several yummy wines. However, we wanted to check out a few other places that were going to close at 5 pm so we kept moving down the road to our bed and breakfast, the amazing Abbey Road Farm B&B. The guest rooms are in converted grain silos and the grounds are amazing! Definitely check out the pictures. After checking in (we were the only people there during our stay), we went to downtown Carlton and stopped in at the Barking (a.k.a. Barfing) Frog (we weren’t impressed), and the Tyrus Evan tasting rooms. Then a nice dinner at Cielo Blue – terrific bruschetta and it was free, since the waitress spilled my water in my pasta and comped us the appetizer.

Monday, March 29:

While I’m not normally a breakfast person, I was looking forward to a farm-fresh meal. John and Judi (the owners of the B&B, not my parents) cooked us up a fancy meal of grapefruit (topped with toasted coconut, maple syrup and a raspberry) and crepes (with whipped cream, strawberries and kiwi). John went through an exhaustive list of the tasting rooms and wineries we should visit, and talked about all the people running the wine scene in the Willamette Valley. He knew A LOT about wine and we felt a bit overwhelmed and baffled after all his recommendations. So instead of heading out for wine at 10 am, we decided to tour the grounds, which consisted of us harassing the chickens (ok, so we mainly fed them cinnamon raisin bread), making friends with the goats (we’ll see you tomorrow morning, ladies!), and having John show us around the Agrivino Event Center he built. After, we headed out to The Carlton Winemaker’s Studio where JP gave us a nice intro to the local Pinots (we liked Lazy River and Britton’s Basalt Block) – they have several wineries featured at that tasting room, so it was a nice tour. We then went just up the road to Cana’s Feast to sample their wines…and by the end of that visit we had blown our wine budget (but we have lots of really good wine to enjoy at home!). We drove through Dundee and stopped at the Dundee Bistro for dinner, then went back to the Abbey Road Farm for our second night.

Tuesday, March 30:

We managed to get ourselves up nice and early to meet Ricardo, the goat tender, for some good old-fashioned goat milking fun. At 7 am it didn’t feel like so much of a vacation, but hey, we did want our farm-lite experience. Sunflower the goat was very patient with Chris and my unexperienced hands, but we got the hang of it eventually. After all four goats were milked, we took our pail of milk down to the kitchen to Judi who set it up to pasteurize. We had a delicious breakfast of granola with yogurt and berries, VERY fresh eggs, chicken-apple sausage, potatoes, and zucchini bread with lemon-zest goat cheese.

After that it was time for us to head on down the road. Down that road we made a stop at the Brigittine Monastary (their website has an E-zine…an E-zine!!!) where we were greeted by a very friendly cat who led us to the chocolate truffle sales room. It was tended by a monk who had apparently not quite taken a vow of silence, but who made some sort of promise to use as few words as possible during the day. So we bought a couple boxes of truffles, nodded to the monk, and said goodbye to the cat.

We ate lunch at The Beanery in Corvallis, then visited my good friends Jeremy, Dana, and Autumn Monroe for a couple of hours. It was sooooo nice to see some old friends, whom I’m sure will be in my life for a very long time. They all looked well and I was happy to see that Autumn already has quite the biological vocabulary at such a young age! After that, we kept driving south and stayed the night at the Eugene Hilton. Nothing of note there, really, other than the fact that Sarah Palin would speak at that very same Hilton a month or so later. Boooo!!!

Wednesday, March 31:

We were kind of done with wine tasting (by that point our palettes were very confused) so we decided to head to the coast and stay in Newport for the next couple of days. After leaving Eugene we stopped to see a dreary road-side glassblower in Mapleton, activated my new (i.e., Chris’ old) iPhone in Florence (yay!!!), then drove North and checked in at Green Gables B&B in Newport (we’ve stayed there before and liked it so much we decided to stay again). My friend Julie (from grad school at CSU) lives in Newport so I gave her a call and we met her and her boyfriend Perry at Quimby’s for dinner and drinks – I hadn’t seen her since 2002! She hasn’t changed a bit and it was awesome catching up with her. After, Chris and I checked out a whale skeleton sculpture at a beach park, watched Stardust in our room, then…well, maybe I should just stop there.

Thursday, April 1:

Oh, Thursday. Spring break was going by too fast! We finished watching Stardust (which is a very good movie, by the way), and enjoyed a delicious breakfast in the Italian Cafe (part of the B&B) with food made by sisters Rhonda and Yolanda (or Rho and Yo, depending on how bold you are). We had fresh-baked orange-cranberry scones and sweet rolls, and a cranberry sausage quiche which was amazing…

Later, we went down to Newport’s waterfront which is apparently undergoing a major facelift judging by all the construction. We stocked up on our decade’s supply of salt-water taffy (2 lbs, a variety of flavors), checked out the sea lions on the pier, and window shopped. We had dinner at the Italian cafe – manicotti, chicken parmesean, and orange-chocolate cheesecake – YUM!!! We enjoyed a second night at Green Gables, and had a storm roll in which was reminiscent of the storm we experienced during our first stay. Very romantic!

Friday, April 2:

Breakfast was soooo good the day before that we had the very same breakfast on Friday. It was sad that our vacation was almost over, but as you can see, we took some good pictures and will remember it for a long time. Plus, on our drive home we had Combos! Pizzeria and pretzel flavor – yippee!!!

Get it Right, Rogue!

The poll results are in! 6 out of 8 people (75%) agree that if you are female you should use the “hops” restroom, and if you are male you should use the “barley” restroom. Which is what I think, too. In brewing, the floral part of the hops is used (I think), and flowers are generally associated with females since the flower contains the ovary…whereas barley is used in grain (or seed) form, which is more typically associated with males. But this is coming from a biologist. When the bartender at Rogue Brew House in Newport was queried, he responded that females correspond to barley because they are sweet, whereas males correspond to hops because they are bitter. However, I’ve known many people who exhibit the opposite gender stereotype. Therefore, I believe my biological reasoning for restroom designations to be superior and more accurate than the rationale used by Rogue. Ask any botanist and you will likely get a similar response. Me thinks Rogue will be soon be receiving a letter informing them of the results of this highly scientific poll!

MLK Holiday Weekend in Newport

A holiday for me? Awww, shucks – you shouldn’t have! Why, yes, my name is Marci Leah Koski. Oh. Ok. Martin Luther King, Jr. I get it. I still get a day off from work though, right?

Hell yeah! Chris and I took advantage of the three-day weekend for a little trip to the coast. The weather was fairly cold, windy, overcast, and rainy, but what could be better for a snuggly visit to a B&B in Newport? We headed west from Portland, stopping in Depoe Bay to watch the storm waves come in and manifest themselves in spouting horns:

The coast was very beautiful but we were very wet by the time we got to Newport. We stayed at the Green Gables B&B – we could see the ocean from our Turret Room, and after settling in a bit we went out to the waterfront for some dinner at Rogue Public House. Chris and I debated the restroom designation system (are girls barley or hops?) enjoyed chowder, beer cheese soup, and bruschetta. Chris also enjoyed the Yellow Snow, which necessitated him testing the restroom designation system. After that we went back to the inn and watched a couple of movies – by then, the storm was really howling, complete with lightning, thunder, crazy wind, and horizontal rain.

The next morning we were supplied with delicious quiche and fruit bread, then we were off to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, which was really fantastic. The displays were really beautiful, and we took loads of pictures. We managed to get yelled at for touching sea creatures by a couple of volunteer attendants (they looked like they were in touch pools, ok???), but we got out of there before we started any real trouble.

After that we drove back up the coast, stopping at Cape Foulweather to check out the fortune teller, world’s largest insect, and penny smasher. We ate a quick lunch at Mo’s (chowder and grilled cheese sandwich – yum!) then headed back east to the city. I had a fantastic weekend, but it was entirely too short! I guess I’ll just have to look forward to President’s Day…

Here is a photo album of all my pictures from the weekend; check them out!