Q We are planning to travel from Portland, Ore., to the Willamette Valley for wine tasting and back via the coast. Any ideas for good places for overnight stops?
A Oregon has some 300 wineries and 700 vineyards, and two-thirds of those are in the Willamette Valley. Thousands of acres of vineyards blanket the hillsides from Portland to Eugene, between the Cascade Mountains and the Coastal Range -- but many of the wineries are within a 40- to 60-minute drive of downtown Portland.
Highway 99 west, or the "Wine Road," runs into Newberg, and from there you can follow any route to grapes -- up into the hills or down south to country towns like Dundee, in the heart of wine country (try the Black Walnut Inn, 866-429-4114, www.blackwalnut- inn.com; rates from $150). Another good resting spot is McMinnville, on the way to the coast and near Carlton, a former ghost town. Consider Hotel Oregon (888-472-8427; from $50), which has a rooftop and cellar bar. For a guide/map: Willamette Valley Wineries, 503-646-2985, www.willamettewines.com.
For the coastal portion, drive south to Salem (hitting the wineries along the way) and hang west to such seaside towns as Lincoln City and Newport, which has a top-notch aquarium. Stop at Manzanita, a sleepy beach town with a wine bar, or continue on to Cannon Beach, an artsy, upscale community with a cooking school and the photogenic Haystack Rock. The romantic Stephanie Inn (800-633-3466, www.stephanie-inn.com) has rooms from $189. Astoria, about an hour and a half from Portland, is rich in Lewis and Clark history and is home to the boutique Hotel Elliot (877-378-1924, www.hotelelliot.com; from $105).
My husband and I are going to Grand Tetons, Yellowstone and Glacier parks and have read about the possibility of altitude sickness. How prevalent is it and how can we alleviate it?
Dave and Jean Turnbull
Travelers who plan to explore Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier national parks by car or hiking boot rather than by climbing ropes or crampons should not suffer from altitude sickness. "Altitude sickness is not very common there -- we're not talking about Mount McKinley," says Stephen Bezruchka, a Seattle physician and author of books on preventing high altitude sickness. "When climbers go too high too fast, they can get sick. But for the common traveler, it's not a problem." Glacier's highest peak, for example, is 10,466 feet, but most of its well-trod trails start at 3,200 feet and top out at 6,686 feet.