Weekly Adventure- McMinnville

This week I found a job ad that sounded fascinating and despite not having any of the major requirements thought I would apply for it (I call that gutsy not hubris). Archivist for a college in the middle of wine country. How cool would that be? I’ve always been fascinated by the preservation of books but do not have any experience as it’s quite specialized (think forensic science without dead people). The other sticking point? The school is in McMinnville, Oregon and I had no real idea how far a commute it would be so I decided to head off into wine country for an adventure under the guise of job hunting.

The route is quite straightforward- you take 99W. Period. The route is bucolic with rolling hills, fruit trees, and vineyards but the road quickly goes from four lanes to two. Add the 2 small towns with speed limits of 25mph on the way and you are looking at an hour to McMinnville. When I couldn’t find the school even with my GPS I took it to be the final sign this was not meant to be and bailed. My job criteria wish list is getting shorter but a reasonable commute is still right up there.

If the job thing wasn’t going to work then on to the fun of exploring one of the many small towns in the midst of Oregon’s wine country. I love these type of places- one main street with local shops of every shape and size. You park and stroll and even if it is an illusion, suddenly everything slows down and feels better. I chose Third Street and was pleased that the first store I spotted was Third Street Books. A large bookstore in a small town always bodes well and this place was no exception. They carry a great mix of genres as well as fun book related items. Even better they have a monthly book club which has me wondering if I could haul my lazy ass that far to meet other bibliophiles and talk about books. Not sure, I’ll keep you posted. Additionally, their magazine selection was as cool and eclectic as any I’ve come across. I chose the latest issue of Mental Floss, a journal for "knowledge junkies" (love it!) I’ve never even heard about, for my lunchtime reading companion.

After my lovefest in the book store it was time to eat. Suddenly I was confronted with the only drawback to Monday adventures- a lot of restaurants are closed. I had been looking forward to sushi but the restaurant wasn’t open so I rallied and went to La Rambla, a restaurant with northwest inspired Spanish cuisine. And here is where I embarrassed myself, reader. Despite a drool worthy array of hot and cold tapas I ordered…a hamburger. Does it get any worse then that? I actually apologized to the waitress but said I could not resist based on the description “all natural lean Kiff Ranch beef on a challah bun with caramelized onions, bacon, and valdion blue cheese”. She laughed and said it was not a bad choice for lunch but if I came for dinner I’d have to try the tapas. Deal!

Nice international woody feel but not too stuffy

Boring American tourist as it was, I did not regret my choice. Beef perfectly cooked with blue cheese oozing out the middle…I’m full again just thinking about it. Just as good was the side salad that came with it which is saying a lot. Usually, those things are an afterthought with boring greens and too much dressing. This was romaine with black currants and toasted hazelnuts dressed with a sweet-sour poppyseed vinaigrette. It worked on every level.

Be still my arteries (hey, I had a salad as well, all right?!)

My last stop was La Bella Casa which was just that. Another large open airy store with a great array of home accessories, candles, soaps, and tableware. I browsed for quite awhile but finally decided on the Caldrea Mandarin Vetiver hand soap liquid. The smell is fresh yet not feminine so it works perfectly in our kitchen.

Think these Mediterranean inspired hanging candle lanterns would be great in our backyard!

I have nowhere to put this table but am still pretty sure I need it

After shopping I walked the other side of the street (in an effort to burn off some of the calories from my decadent lunch), enjoying the intermittent shade and sunshine provided by the leafy trees then headed home. A quintessentially perfect summer afternoon.


  1. Sounds like a blisfull day! :)

    Ps. I noticed you're reading Kate Morton- love her!
    With your knack for writing and love for books, it seems to me that you should be writing reviews! Just sayin...

  2. Boy oh boy, Niki, that would be a dream job indeed! Unfortunately, there are too many recent grads w/ English degrees taking up the space. If you've got an 'in' let me know!


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